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Red Thread of Passion Paperback – April 20, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (April 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590303334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590303337
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,858,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blending memoir with literary and journalistic profiles, Guy (The Autobiography of My Body) explores how a range of liberated people have understood the connection between sexuality and spirituality. According to Guy, sex, misused and misunderstood, can be little more than an addictive and ultimately disappointing escape from anxiety. Yet, through interviews and examples from literature, Guy affirms that sexual energy is sacred and that the pursuit of sexual understanding and liberation is an inextricable part of spiritual realization. Offering brief biographies of Walt Whitman and D.H. Lawrence, Guy points up the intriguing contrast between their expansive views and the often tortured unfulfillment of their sex lives. Biographies of Zen student Alan Watts and writer Marco Vassi follow. Guy devotes the second half of the book to profiles of contemporary sexual healers, including the writer Carol Queen, a former stripper and lesbian activist who now lives with a man; Judith Anderson, a former porn star; and the Jesuit-trained Joseph Kramer, bright, ebullient and gay, who has synthesized Tantric, Taoist and Western theories about sexual energy into the Body Electric School of Erotic Massage. He also interviews Collin Brown and Selah Martha, the couple who now runs the tribal, freely sensual Body Electric workshops originated by Kramer. The book as a whole is phallocentric, but Guy is persuasive in demonstrating how important sex can be, for all, when we stop trying "to make personal and private the primal energy of the universe."
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

What do Walt Whitman and Annie Sprinkle have in common, or D. H. Lawrence and a porn queen? Just about everything, Guy argues. Most especially, they share experiential knowledge that sex is one of the most profoundly spiritual human experiences. In an engagingly confessional voice, Guy describes his lifelong quest to understand the place of sexual passion in our spiritual lives. In less skillful hands, some passages of his report would be just sordid accounts of masturbation and massage parlors. But his self-revelation redeemingly serves as a bridge to the more extreme experiences he finds in literature and in life. His chapter on Whitman is particularly excellent, for he eliminates the distinction between the poet's polymorphous sexuality and his profound spiritual nature. Similarly, when interviewing gay activist and body worker Joseph Kramer, Guy captures the interconnections between social activism, ecstasy, and meditation that might have eluded less complex writers. This is a genuinely lusty book and a genuinely spiritual one, too. Patricia Monaghan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Bach on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you go into your local bookstore, looking for something on sex and spirituality, chances are what you will encounter are a plethora of books about Tantric sex, or at least that's what I found.
What a pleasant surprise to open this book and find...an essay on Whitman. And one on D.H. Lawrence, and then lots on some people I had never heard of, but boy, they sounded intruiging.
This book is a scholar's dream, and David Guy approaches his subject, sex, and his setting for it, spirituality, with a scholar's diligence, a true researcher's obsession. Whitman, Lawrence, Alan Watts, these are all perhaps predictable choices for a book like this if you consider Guy's approach. But an essay on Marco Vassi, pulp pornographer, bathhouse aficianado and paramour of sex queen Annie Sprinkle? Well, as Guy says, if you want to really research the field, you look to the experts, people who have gone to the edge and come back to tell the tale.
Guy divides the book into three parts: a true confessional (this part might make you look at your normally sedate husband in a new light), a look at the trail-blazers of the sex-spirit link, and an introduction to some folks who are perhaps the unsung heroes of the healing arts world, alive and well and doing their thing (alas all on the West Coast).
You know, you could write an encyclopedia about the way sex is pushed down in our country, made into the stuff of sleazy porn shops, peep shows, strip clubs, and curb-side pickups. And you can easily find the how-to tantric sex manuals, and try to get your aura flowing as well as all those other body juices. Here is a book that serves as a bridge. Can you consider a former stripper and sexual escort as a spiritual healer? Well, yes. Guy does, and by the time we're finished with his book, we do too.
And while you're at it, pick up Leaves of Grass again. You'll read it in a whole new light.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I can't recommend too highly this very insightful, down to earth, funny, honest, intelligent, courageous, clear headed, warm hearted,sensible, provocative...wish this book could be the core of discussion on say tv but you only get moronic level discussions or all that fundamentalistic nonsense...but at least we have books like this. Most excellent!
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By 99 on June 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The world or at least I needed a book that was more koan than pontification. Somewhere between ye olde shame and pleasure-seeking boosterism/consumerism there must be people encountering ambiguity; Guy is not that writer. I was immediately suspicious when massage parlor experience was not integrated into the rest of his autobiography. Then there was the overall literary and bio-pic approach that kept experience in safe, easily digested New Yorker styled energy bars. Details, such as the Whitman to Ginsberg physical continuum were worth the read, but overall, sub-par
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author does a good job of addressing a difficult topic. His style is a much appreciated person reflection on his journey of coming to understand and feel comfortable with both his sexuality and spirituality. He opened doors of thought for me to better understand what my spirituality is, and how I can set aside much of the clutter that I have gathered in my life.
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