SUSIE BRIGHT'S SEXUAL STATE OF THE UNION by Susie Bright

SUSIE BRIGHT'S SEXUAL STATE OF THE UNION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Insight, rendered with soul and humor, on sex and sexual politics. With her usual panache, Bright (The Best American Erotica 1994, etc.) delivers an update on sex in America today. She acknowledges that sexual liberationists have won the feminist sex wars; in visits to college campuses around the country, she has found that students no longer assume feminists oppose erotica. In other pieces, she continues to skewer the religious right, inferring that pornographic fantasies underlie their sexually repressive politics. At her best when she combines personal experience with social observation, she describes her first encounters with pornography as well as celebrating other widely maligned erotic experiences--sex with strangers, anal sex, sex on the Internet, and sadomasochism. Bright is endearing about her own mistakes; having, as a lesbian, mentally as well as physically separated sex from reproduction, she once had unprotected sex with a man and got pregnant. She cringes now at her impracticality yet celebrates that liberatory mindset, the impulse to view sex as, above all, intimate and pleasurable. She champions tolerance of all things sexual, yet is honest about her own limits. Sometimes Bright can be politically unsophisticated, asserting, for instance, in a somewhat unimaginative anti-religion rant, that churches ``will never play a part in the leadership of social change,'' when in fact, they do, all over the world. In another lapse, she reports that ``feminism as an intellectual movement has been largely torpedoed by stupid sex questions''; many--probably including Bright herself, in a more reflective moment--would argue that debates over sexuality have strengthened feminism, not weakened it. An honest spokeswoman for a thoughtful, inclusive politics of liberation, Bright deserves her growing popularity and influence; this collection, while not as pioneering as some of her earlier work, offers a sound and refreshingly hopeful commentary on the state of our erotic mores. (First serial to Playboy)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-684-80023-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1997




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