What Wild Ecstasy: The Rise and Fall of the Sexual Revolution

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( su 23 valutazioni fornite da Goodreads )
 
9780684810379: What Wild Ecstasy: The Rise and Fall of the Sexual Revolution

A history of the last three decades of sexual culture. The author details the rise of the science of sexology, the burgeoning of pornographic works which fanned controversies over freedom of expression, the homosexual and other minority lobbies, and the effect of all this on society as a whole.

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Review:

John Heidenry, a former editor at Penthouse Forum, has lived on the frontlines of the sexual revolution and knows whereof he writes in What Wild Ecstasy: The Rise and Fall of the Sexual Revolution.. Despite its bodice-ripper title, the book is a serious look at modern sexual mores and issues. Heidenry is unabashedly pro-sex, but responsibly so. As he chronicles the coming of age of sexology, the growth of pop-culture pornography in Screw magazine or the film Deep Throat, and the legal battles fought by gays and lesbians, he is as forthcoming about the idiocies his subjects often fall into as he is about their heroics. He gives equally scathing treatment to people he views as crass opportunists (the porn-star John Holmes, for example) and anti-sex moralists on the right.

Heidenry is particularly sympathetic toward those who occupy the margins of mainstream sexuality--the bisexuals, transsexuals, and homosexuals, the prostitutes and pornographers. In these cases, he focuses on shared qualities: a need for love, for pleasure, for intimacy. What Wild Ecstasy is a frank, humane, and open-minded discussion of a subject that many people still find it difficult to talk about. Readers who approach Heidenry's book in the same spirit in which he writes will find, perhaps to their surprise, that underneath all the hoopla surrounding the sexual revolution, sex is still just one part of life, not the whole enchilada.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A detailed and engrossing history of the sexual revolution, though at points marred by an uneven understanding of the landscape. Heidenry (Theirs Was the Kingdom, 1993), former editor of Penthouse Forum, chronicles some 30 years of our changing sexual culture--sexology and sex therapy; gay liberation; pornography and censorship; controversies over the female orgasm; swinging; sadomasochism, and much more. Heidenry has an eye for a good story, and there are plenty of stories here--including gossip about figures on the sexual landscape from author Gay Talese to porn star Annie Sprinkle to legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon. But Heidenry indulges in more than his share of wild exaggeration. He claims, for instance, that Andrea Dworkin and MacKinnon were, respectively, Marat and Robespierre ``in the radical feminist Reign of Terror against men that was to wash over the country.'' Similarly absurd is his claim that in the '80s the sexual revolution ``shut down altogether''; certainly there was and is conservative backlash, but the changes continue, and popular morality will never be the same again. Also, it is clear that Heidenry is an outsider--albeit generally sympathetic--to gay and feminist struggles; this leads him to some odd choices. He begins his gay liberation chapter, for instance, with a lengthy account of a transsexual's personal torment and eventual operation, even though he knows perfectly well (and states later) that transsexuals and gays have always been politically and socially separate, even at odds. Also, there is not always enough interpretation to lend shape to this rather sprawling narrative; at too many points he lets his anecdotes stand on their own, without speculating on their social significance. Plenty of pleasurable encounters, though not always satisfying. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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