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Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality

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Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality Cover

ISBN13: 9780425219362
ISBN10: 0425219364
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

New York Times bestselling author Suzy Spencer posted a simple online request: “Need to talk about sex…”

Suzy Spencer set out to investigate sex in America—to go beyond the talk and find out what people are really doing in their private (or not so private) lives. What she discovered online, at sex clubs, and elsewhere was truly eye-opening.

She started talking to men and women—from across America of all ages and sexual orientations—who make no apology for how they fire their imaginations and satisfy their desires. Soon she found herself invited to be a voyeur—listening in on phone sex, reading e-mails describing sexual encounters in graphic detail, and attending BDSM mixers and workshops. It was all astonishing… and enticing. At every turn she felt herself pulled deeper into people’s secret lives and began questioning her own choices about relationships and sex. Secret Sex Lives is an intimate account of a journalist who is seduced by her subject; a woman who sets out to look behind closed doors but ends up on a personal, revealing journey to find herself…

Review:

"True crime writer Suzy Spencer (Wasted) tries a new subject in her latest book: alternative sexual lifestyles. While setting out to research other people's sex lives, Spencer ultimately turns her book into a memoir, chronicling her coming to terms with her own long-held views on sex — and her long-dormant libido. The interviews with swingers, dominatrices, cross-dressers, and more scattered throughout provide fascinating, human faces to the stereotypical leather, whips, and nonmainstream sexual practices. But while Spencer's personal journey ought to be interesting — someone of her sexual inexperience and Southern Baptist upbringing learning the most intimate details of others' kinky lifestyles — she fails to offer the strong personal anecdotes that would make the reader understand Spencer's background and her internal struggle about sex. As a result, her personal reactions to interviewees feel like unwelcome distractions from the juicier stuff. Short on research citations outside of her own interviews, and equally short on Spencer's own life and feelings, this sex book succeeds neither as a serious examination of sexual lifestyles nor as a memoir. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Suzy Spencer is the author of four true crime books including Wasted, a New York Times bestseller, and Breaking Point, the story of Andrea Yates. She holds a master's of professional writing and a master's of business adminstration, both from the University of Southern California.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Rachel Kramer Bussel, October 2, 2013 (view all comments by Rachel Kramer Bussel)
This is one of the best books about sex I've ever read, and I've read a lot. What I thought made it stand out is that Spencer is up front, from page one, about her own biases. She's afraid of touch, though she doesn't know why. We later learn she hasn't had sex in ten years. She weaves her personal story in and out of the one she tells about her work as a journalist jumping into an unknown world that takes her to various parts of the United States to explore swingers, casual sex, affairs and more.

Spencer is not trying to write an exhaustive account of everything going on behind America's bedroom doors. Rather, she humanizes sex, letting her subjects tell their stories. Does she have opinions? Of course, and while there were moments when I feared that her opinions would get in the way of her ability to understand the subjects she calls (lovingly) her "sex freaks," I don't think it did. Instead, I feel that it made her open to their stories, many of which we don't hear about very often, or if we do, it's under cover of scare tactics (men on the down low and/or interested/having homosexual experiences but who are otherwise living straight lives especially).

This is not necessarily an easy book to read, though it is lively and fascinating. I found it hard to read and not empathize with Spencer, yet I also wanted to know more about her fears and concerns. This book is billed as journalism and memoir, and for the most part, the two play off each other extremely well. Spencer focuses on quality and depth, rather than breadth of information, as she allows us to get to know her subjects and their hopes and fears. By being so open about her biases, she also invites the reader to be free in their reactions. I don't believe in judging anyone on their sexuality, but I also think it's not realistic to pretend that there aren't things that disturb even the most supposedly open-minded among us. This is a fascinating, highly readable book that doesn't try to titillate readers, but certainly uncovers some mostly hidden aspects of sexuality, while showing that even those with a double life desire an outlet to unburden themselves. It made me wish for more openness in our culture where people didn't have to hold their sexual secrets so close to them and live in fear, and I admire Spencer for exposing her own and for the compassion and empathy she showed toward her subjects.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780425219362
Author:
Spencer, Suzy
Publisher:
Berkley Publishing Group
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.23 x 5.5 x 0.95 in 0.64 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Sex
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Sexuality » General

Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality Used Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Berkley Publishing Group - English 9780425219362 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "True crime writer Suzy Spencer (Wasted) tries a new subject in her latest book: alternative sexual lifestyles. While setting out to research other people's sex lives, Spencer ultimately turns her book into a memoir, chronicling her coming to terms with her own long-held views on sex — and her long-dormant libido. The interviews with swingers, dominatrices, cross-dressers, and more scattered throughout provide fascinating, human faces to the stereotypical leather, whips, and nonmainstream sexual practices. But while Spencer's personal journey ought to be interesting — someone of her sexual inexperience and Southern Baptist upbringing learning the most intimate details of others' kinky lifestyles — she fails to offer the strong personal anecdotes that would make the reader understand Spencer's background and her internal struggle about sex. As a result, her personal reactions to interviewees feel like unwelcome distractions from the juicier stuff. Short on research citations outside of her own interviews, and equally short on Spencer's own life and feelings, this sex book succeeds neither as a serious examination of sexual lifestyles nor as a memoir. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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