Dancing Around the Volcano: Freeing Our Erotic Lives: Decoding the Enigma of Gay Men and Sex

( 3 )

Overview

In the tradition of Frank Browning's The Culture of Desire comes Guy Kettelhack's provocative, honest, unapologetic look at the sex lives of gay men. Dancing Around the Volcano is essential reading for the American gay community.

Gay men have long been told that regardless of their individual characters and desires, they should aspire to a monogamous model in their romantic and sexual relationships. Now, Guy Kettelhack wants to "tell the truth about the sex gay men are really ...

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Dancing Around the Volcano: Freeing Our Erotic Lives: Decoding the Enigma of Gay Men and Sex

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Overview

In the tradition of Frank Browning's The Culture of Desire comes Guy Kettelhack's provocative, honest, unapologetic look at the sex lives of gay men. Dancing Around the Volcano is essential reading for the American gay community.

Gay men have long been told that regardless of their individual characters and desires, they should aspire to a monogamous model in their romantic and sexual relationships. Now, Guy Kettelhack wants to "tell the truth about the sex gay men are really having," offering a path to sexual liberation that embraces the conflicts and paradoxes of sex.

Using the voices of different men who tell of their experiences, Kettelhack questions the assumptions about the "pathology" of promiscuity, sexual compulsion, prostitution, sadomasochism, fetishes, and celibacy. These personal stories are often sexy, sometimes funny, almost always poignant in their honesty, and startling in their insights. We hear about everything from hustling to monogamous gay relationships, from the baths to the private bedroom, from fisting to French-kissing. What emerges is a sex-positive take on the whole gamut of gay male sexual behavior.

Celebrating the ingenuity with which gay men manage their sexual and aggressive drives and fantasies, Dancing Around the Volcano is a passionately pro-sex book with potentially healing--even revolutionary--implications for everyone: gay or straight, male or female.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kettelhack, a 40-something gay man in New York City whose brother recently died of AIDS, is not unaware of the implications of having sex as a gay man in the U.S. today. It is therefore significant that this author of several self-help and recovery books so strongly advocates a reasoned return to the unbridled sexuality of the 1970s. This book is part of a growing trend among gay writers and thinkers militating against the fear that has infiltrated the sex lives of gay men since the mid-1980s. And like Douglas Sadownick's recent Sex Between Men and Frank Browning's 1993 Culture of Desire, Kettelhack's book is an intimate, evenly argued, entertaining celebration of the variety of gay male sexuality. Though he introduces a Jekyll-and-Hyde dichotomy early in the book to illustrate the gap that often exists between a gay man's sexual life and his working and personal life, Kettelhack's discussion manages to reflect the complexity of the human condition. And though he hasn't sufficiently contextualized or assimilated the psychoanalysis to which he anchors significant portions of his argument, the book is still a success. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Kettelhack, a prolific author of self-help books for gay men (Sober and Free, LJ 12/95), here explores the ways that gay men use sex: as a form of recreation, as a way to meet others socially, and as a way to explore the darker, more mysterious realms of the psyche. He sets out to examine the "sharp and profound sense of what it means to have an `outer' and an `inner' self-especially with regard to sex." Of particular interest to the author are men who have achieved a breakthrough and healed an aching inner wound. Along the way, he augments the narrative with stories of how some have achieved sexual intimacy and fulfillment through the recognition and acceptance of the complex nature of sexual desire. To help him express his arguments, the author relies on an impressive choir of thinkers and writers-Marguerite Yourcenar, Carl Jung, and Camille Paglia, among others. This book is recommended for libraries with gay and lesbian research collections or large self-help psychology collections.-Kevin M. Roddy, Univ. of Hawai'i at Hilo Lib.
Kirkus Reviews
An intelligent but awkward little book arguing that the more outré sexual needs and fantasies of gay men should be indulged rather than suppressed.

Kettelhack, the author of numerous self-help/recovery books, begins by positing a Jekyll-and-Hyde relationship between his own quotidian self and the part of him that delights in slapping French boys at S&M clubs; fessing up to the importance of one's baser urges, says the author, is the only way to escape feeling guilty about them. The gamy testimonials of a handful of gay men are offered as evidence of the pitfalls of compartmentalizing the Hyde side. The first of these tells of a man who had hosted multiple personalities, among them a vicious, gore- obsessed "leather biker top"; when a nonjudgmental lover accepted all the personalities, the man's psyche miraculously reintegrated, which happily reduced the risk that his homicidal fantasies would be played out. Dubious authenticity aside, the anecdote is so extreme that it will speak to few readers. One interviewee anguished before confessing his sock fetish to his lover, who didn't mind at all; another is an Episcopal priest who found his libido only after getting decked out in nun drag for a Halloween party. The author suggests that promiscuity is the natural male impulse, and pooh-poohs the "ultimately guilt-inducing message that there's only one kind of right sex—the intimate kind." As advertised by the redundant jumble of metaphors in the title and subtitle, many terminologies are called up to explain the same simple concept: Jekyll vs. Hyde eventually becomes formal-Apollonian-Warrior- superego-Jekyll vs. volcanic-chthonic-Dionysian-Shaman-id-Hyde. Calling on authorities from Jung to Camille Paglia for support, Kettelhack invariably encourages gay men to embrace their inner Hydes.

If you strip away the four-letter words, this is a routine self-help book: a useful insight or two amid much jargon-ridden psychologizing that often leaves subtleties unaddressed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609801512
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/16/1997
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Guy Kettelhack is the author and coauthor of more than twenty-five nonfiction books. He lives in New York City.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note - And Acknowledgments
1 Paying Attention to Sex 1
2 The Uses of Sex 23
3 The Ambiguity of the Jockstrap: Gay Men as Warriors and Shamans 63
4 Our Own Private Idahos: Reassessing Sexual Pathology, Compulsion, and Dysfunction 98
5 "This is It, Kid: Sing" 144
Bibliography 173
Index 175
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    Lol

    Lol good book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2014

    Gay

    Love this book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    Yuck

    NOOOOOOOOO never

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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