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On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men Who Sleep With Menby James L King
Synopses & Reviews
Delivering the first frank and thorough investigation of life "on the down low," (the D.L.) J. L. King exposes a closeted culture of sex between black men who lead "straight" lives. The trend is proving to have skyrocketing health consequences for wives and girlfriends unwittingly caught in the double lives of their men: African American women represent 68 percent of new HIV cases, and an alarming one out of 160 black women carries the virus, compared to one in 3,000 white women.
Drawn from hundreds of interviews, statistics, and the author's firsthand knowledge of D.L. behavior, On the Down Low reveals the warning signs and protective measures every African American woman needs to know. Providing a long-overdue wake-up call, J. L. King bravely puts the spotlight on a topic that has until now remained dangerously taboo. Volatile yet vital, On the Down Low is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
"Black men living 'on the down low,' or DL as they refer to it, don't consider themselves gay; they only 'get with' men from their gym, church or club who, like themselves, lead 'normal, straight lives' with girlfriends or wives in tow. They're so deep in denial of their homosexual desires, King writes, that these men rarely practice safe sex when indulging in a little same-sex 'somethin' somethin'.' 'To put on a condom is to think about what you are doing,' explains King, who was on the DL for 25 years. 'It stops it from being a thoughtless, lustful act that they have no control over.' King volleys this warning directly at African American women, who may be unknowingly exposed to HIV/AIDs and other diseases by DL husbands and boyfriends. To protect their health and dignity, King offers insight on this closeted culture from his own life experiences (his marriage ended when his wife caught him having an affair with another man), as well as from hundreds of interviews, meetings and panels with other men on the DL. He also includes candid tips on spotting DL behavior and a description of the distinguishing characteristics of five DL 'types' he's identified over the years (Mature Brother, Thug Brother, Professional Brother, I Have a Wife/Girlfriend Brother, and the 'I'm Just Curious' Brother). Urban vernacular generously flecks King's prose (every black woman is referred to as a 'sister,' every black man, a 'brother') and sometimes seems overdone; however, King's street-wise, older brother persona is ultimately a comforting way to address this sensitive and complex subject matter." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A survey by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta found that nearly a quarter of black HIV-positive men who had sex with men consider themselves heterosexual." Essence
"An HIV/STD prevention activist and educator, King uncovers a deadly secret regarding same-sex partners in the black community, one that is causing health problems for the wives and girlfriends of bisexual men." Library Journal
Delivering the first frank and thorough investigation of life "on the down low," King exposes a closeted culture of sex between black men who lead RstraightS lives. In this explosive tell-all, the author informs women of what they need to know to save their lives and the lives of their children.
A bold exposé of the controversial secret that has potentially dire consequences in many African American communities
Delivering the first frank and thorough investigation of life “on the down low” (the DL), J. L. King exposes a closeted culture of sex between black men who lead “straight” lives. King explores his own past as a DL man, and the path that led him to let go of the lies and bring forth a message that can promote emotional healing and open discussions about relationships, sex, sexuality, and health in the black community.
Providing a long-overdue wake-up call, J. L. King bravely puts the spotlight on a topic that has until now remained dangerously taboo. Drawn from hundreds of interviews, statistics, and the author’s firsthand knowledge of DL behavior, On the Down Low reveals the warning signs African American women need to know. King also discusses the potential health consequences of having unprotected sex, as African American women represent an alarming 64 percent of new HIV infections. Volatile yet vital, On the Down Low is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
About the Author
J. L. KING is an HIV/STD prevention activist, educator, and author. His expertise has been cited in national publications such as the New York Times and Essence, and his television appearances have ranged from The News Hour with Jim Lehrer to Black Entertainment Television. The father of three, he lives in Chicago.
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