“Sex Between Men: An Intimate History of the Sex Lives of Gay Men Postwar to Present”– a sexual experience

Sadownick, Douglas. “Sex Between Men: An Intimate History of the Sex Lives of Gay Men, Postwar to Present.” HarperCollins, 1997.

A Sexual Experience

Amos Lassen

Douglas Sadownick is a brave man who has written a brave book. It is not only a history of gay men but it rips open our soul. Written with wit and intelligence, “Sex Between Men” shows not only where we have been in the past but it also explains who and how we are. The book says a great deal especially since it looks at gay men from the sexual perspective. The sexual side of our lives has long been considered a taboo subject and it has often been alluded to but written around. This book starts looking at our lives right after World War II—the late 40’s and 50’s, goes through the sexually liberating 60’s, the party days of the 70’s, the awakening to the AIDS crisis of the 80’s and the introduction of drugs in the 90’s.

Yet the book also mentions spirituality and shows how many are related to new age philosophy and thought or ignored altogether.

Sadownick breaks ground with his book even though it is ten years old. I find it strange that a book like this has never been attempted before and the emphasis on the dynamics of the unconscious mind is crystal clear throughout the book. Here is both a provocative history and philosophy of the gay male. Here is a scholarly book that reads like a novel and Sadownick is to be commended for the research he has done and the literacy of the prose with which the book is written. Nothing is left unsaid and the exploration of our sexual lives is remarkable.

Gay male awareness as well as sociology, psychology, and politics are all covered here and admirably. But what is important is that the word “sex” is put back into the homosexual. Here is more than a book about gay male sexuality—it is a sound investigation. Sadownick takes the life force and embraces it as he presents vivid accounts of our sexual history and shows how through desire and sex we can achieve spiritual grace. It reveals what gay men do what they do even in the face of opposition.

Everything is here—sex, soul and society—passion and fear, glory and grief, community and isolation. Our deepest psychological fantasies are detailed as the book intersects the sacred and the profane. The author is determined to “value the subjective in the individual lives of gay men over and beyond anything else”. Sadownick knows the truth and tells it boldly and honestly, refreshingly and with candor. It’s a history like none other you have ever read.

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