MAKING LOVE: An Erotic Odyssey by Richard Rhodes
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MAKING LOVE: An Erotic Odyssey

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Pulitzer-winner Rhodes, apparently galvanized by the overwhelming emotional response to his account of his abused childhood in A Hole in the World (1990), pushes still deeper into forbidden territory with this frank exploration of how he learned to heal his wounds, largely unconsciously, through sex. The result is a sexual autobiography that intentionally and methodically breaks most of the bounds of literary propriety--and that will leave many loyal readers breathless. ""Sex is a sovereignty waiting to be explored, just as consciousness was for early modern fiction,"" writes Rhodes. The manner in which he delves into the purpose and meaning underlying his own sexual history is reminiscent of such fiction in its intensity, diligence, and ambition. Tracing the ways in which the physical abuse he experienced in childhood may have led to and probably demanded the working out of certain sexual fixations (most involving the excruciating and exquisite postponement of gratification), Rhodes introduces readers to early homoerotic fumblings with affection-starved classmates at the school for boys he attended; his loss of his virginity with a New York prostitute at age 18; and an expansive gallery of real-life lovers, porn-film companions, disillusioned ex-wives, and, now, in his middle age, a devoted, similarly wounded, and equally creative female lover. Readers will be surprised at Rhodes's extreme frankness--he appears to revel in descriptions of favorite scenes from his pornographic video collection; of his rigorous daily masturbation routine; of his fascination with extended orgasm; and of the ways in which he has brought some of his lovers to a peak of erotic fulfillment. But his purpose here is clearly not to exploit or to titillate; Rhodes is simply cutting to the quick in his uniquely incisive, courageous, and aesthetically gratifying manner. A stunning act of self-revelation, bound to create a stir.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster