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PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality Paperback – October 10, 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

We live in a complicated world, and according to PoMoSexuals, it is a lot more complicated than we thought. Now that society has become accustomed to the idea that gay men and lesbians exist, Lawrence Schimel and Carol Queen have brought together 15 essays dedicated to demolishing those categories. They are not, of course, arguing that homosexuals don't exist, but simply that these categories and words cannot do justice to the wondrous complexity of human sexuality. In PoMoSexuals you can read about heterosexual women who identify as gay men, the politics of placing a transgendered personal ad, and how trendy gay male ghetto culture is less about sexual liberation than brand-name accumulation. No matter what your sexual identity is, PoMoSexuals will startle and enlighten, provoke and entertain.

From Library Journal

As the gay and lesbian movement heads toward the mainstream, the trans movement is left behind at the margins, virtually alone in challenging the way society constructs and defines gender and sexuality. The executive director of GenderPac, Wilchins combines personal narrative, essay, photojournalism, history, and a critique of the feminist and queer movements to present a unified rage against gender-based oppression. In her enlightening and moving book, she challenges us to break out of our boxes and view gender, eroticism, oppression, and persecution through the eyes of a strident member of the trans community. Covering much of the same territory, PoMoSexuals gives voice to 15 people living in the gray areas of gender and sexuality who struggle with what it means to have "nonstandard" erotic desires and identities in America. They represent people on the margins of gender and sexuality, ranging from a man who becomes a lesbian woman to a heterosexual woman exploring her attraction to gay men and a lesbian who writes gay male porn. These eye-opening stories carry us into the lives of people we don't usually encounter. The collection varies in quality, but pieces by well-known authors, such as Dorothy Allison and Pat Califia, help to carry the rest of the work. Wilchins also offers a powerful autobiographical essay. Academic libraries with gay/lesbian and feminist collections should include both books in their collections.?Jerilyn Veldof, Univ. of Arizona Lib., Tucson
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Cleis Press; 1st edition (October 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573440744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573440745
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Carol Queen is a writer and cultural sexologist with a Ph.D. in human sexuality. She is a noted essayist and erotic fiction author whose work has appeared in dozens of anthologies. For more information see her website: www.carolqueen.com. Her newest book, written with her longtime friend Shar Rednour, is The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone. Come As You Are author Emily Nagoski PhD called it "an inclusive, compassionate, funny, and comprehensive guide to being a human with both a brain and genitals." Tristan Taormino said, "...dedicated to demystifying all the amazing diversity of sex and sexuality[,] Carol Queen and Shar Rednour are the brilliant, bad ass aunts we all need to teach and advise us."

Carol's first book, Exhibitionism for the Shy, published in 1995, explores issues of erotic self-esteem and enhancement and was reissued with new material in 2009.

Her essay collection, Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, was published in 1997 and reissued in 2002; it is read in university classes across America.

Her erotic stories can be found in several Best American Erotica volumes, among many other anthologies; her erotic novel, The Leather Daddy and the Femme, was published in 1998 and won a Firecracker Alternative Book Award the following year. A "director's cut" edition with new material came out in 2003.

She is co-editor of the anthologies Best Bisexual Erotica (volumes One and Two), Sex Spoken Here, Switch Hitters, and PoMoSexuals; the latter won a Lambda Literary Award in 1998. She's also edited Whipped! and two volumes of 5 Minute Erotica, short-short erotic fiction. She has appeared in several explicit educational videos, notably "Carol Queen's Great Vibrations: An Explicit Consumer Tour of Vibrators" and "Bend Over Boyfriend: An Adventurous Couple's Guide to Male Anal Pleasure." She's the writer and presenter of "G Marks the Spot: The Good Vibrations Guide to the G-Spot and Female Ejaculation."

Queen works as staff sexologist, company historian, and curator of the Antique Vibrator Museum at Good Vibrations, the women-founded sex toy and bookstore in San Francisco, where she has worked since 1990, and blogs for the Good Vibrations web magazine at www.goodvibesblog.com.

In 2000 she co-founded the nonprofit Center for Sex & Culture with her partner Robert Morgan Lawrence. It's located in San Francisco; see more at: www.sexandculture.org/mission. (And it's on AmazonSmile!)

She has addressed numerous scholarly and professional conferences, including the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, the International Condom Conference, the International Conference on Prostitution, and the International Conference on Pornography; she frequently addresses college as well as general and specialized audiences. In February 2009 she debated the question of promiscuity ("Virtue or vice?") for Oxford University's debate club, the Oxford Union.

Carol Queen is active on behalf of progressive sex education and sexual diversity. She has been speaking and writing about non-mainstream sexualities, from lesbian to leather, for over 35 years. Her perspective incorporates personal experience, accurate sex information, and informed cultural commentary.

She's working (slowly) on a new book tentatively titled Three Essays on Sex & Culture. Not surprisingly, it will include more than three essays. Why? There's quite a lot to say.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wanted to read more after I finished the book. Yet, within the space of close to 200 pages, POMOSEXUALS touched upon issues most of us either ignore (because we can) or lack the words to discuss. And indeed the essays within the anthology managed to challenge assumptions of gender and sexuality, creating, hopefully, words and spaces to talk about the unspeakable. As the collection proved, gender and sexuality can no longer be thought of in binary notions, rather a full-range of transgressive possibilities exist--which I think is the root of pomosexuality (postmodern sexuality problematizes our assumptions of gender/sexuality). And in my opinion it is exactly those possibilities that make life exciting; such an opinion as shown in several of the essays is threatening even to 'the lesbian and gay community' and especially to society as a whole. I found all the essays well written, provocative, and honest; each of the essays moved me in one sense or another. This is a collection not to be missed. It is a quick and enriching read. My only criticism would be that it wasn't long enough. I wanted to read more.
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The subtitle of the book says it all and this book fulfills its promise. In this anthology, writers talk about their most personal experiences of themselves as sexual beings: the gender they feel they are-sometimes in contrast to their physical bodies, what sexual experiences feel in synch with their arousal, and how each of these are changeable over the course of a lifetime.
None of the authors fit the general expectation of lesbian, gay, bi, or transgendered. If a self-identified lesbian and a gay man are partnered sexually, how do they then define themselves? Why are bisexuals so often discriminated against by gays and lesbians as well as by the general public? And in terms of being part of a community, how do others label them?
Understanding the fluidity of desire and identity can reveal these mysteries, which challenge the queer community as well as mainstream folks who worry about how children will be raised and what makes a family.
"PoMo" refers to postmodern as the editors articulate so well on page 21 "Postmodern thought invites us to get used to the Zen notion of "multiple subjectivies" ---the idea that there is no solid, objective reality, that each of us experiences our reality subjectively affected (or influenced) by our unique circumstances. This mode of thought encourages overlapping and sometimes contradictory realities, a life of investigation and questioning as opposed to essentialism's quest for the One Truth, the innate quality, indubitable facts on a silver platter, the answer to everything."
Each essay is honest, thoughtful, and very well written. I enjoyed this book more than I would have guessed and look forward to reading other work by the individual authors.
~~Joan Mazza, author of DREAM BACK YOUR LIFE; WHO'S CRAZY ANYWAY; THINGS THAT TICK ME OFF; and EXPLORING YOUR SEXUAL SELF, A GUIDED JOURNAL (May 2001).
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Format: Paperback
A small volume of essays from mostly radical sex activists who put queer theory into practice, all the way to actual erotic experiences and the identies created by them.
This work deals with the postmodern as the construction of "mulitple subjectivities" and features contributions from transsexual authors. Cutting edge stuff, more accessible than other theorists. Also written from a different perspective, one that helps close the gap between the academy and the street.
A lived testimony to the inadequacy and decontstruction of "heterosexual" and "homosexual" as discursive labels.
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If you want to read really cutting-edge gender theory, but don't have the experience or patience for Haraway and Butler, try this one. Short, incredibly accessible essays.
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Carol Queen, my hero, goes exploring for wisdom from the unlikely source of genderbenders and folks whose sexualities can't be expressed in a single word (eg. straight, gay). She finds an above average collection of revelations about life from people who have taken the time to examine and re-examine why they think differently. Keep in mind that Pomosexuals is a collection and the quality of insight varies but queer folk have a special duty to read this book before they laugh at a pre-op or dismiss someone who loves boys and girls as going through a phase. Call Pomosexuals a paradigm buster.
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A truly wonderful book, Carol Queen et al have given the gift of insights into things that I have long felt and tried to convey to friends in much less eloquent language. These are real stories from real people who prove that human sexuality is never an either/or affair. It shows that narrow-mindedness and discrimination occur within nearly every group -- including within the queer community and its sub-communities. When will we accept that we are all sexual -- period -- and that we needn't categorize, condemn or exclude based on how others choose to express that sexuality? To do otherwise is to live a lie and to force others to do the same. Read this book and share it with others!
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By A Customer on March 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you've ever chafed at being asked to choose from "straight/gay", "man/woman," or wondered why anyone else did, you'll love these essays. I laughed, I cried, I was turned on...; it's all in here. I would have liked to see more racially-diverse perspectives (although Lawrence Schimel's essay was a welcome and much-needed addition), but it's an excellent book nonetheless.
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