From Kirkus Reviews
What do people actually do in bed? That's the question that nagged at oral historian Maurer (Strange Ground, 1988, etc.), who, at age 44, realized that he rarely talked explicitly to his wife about sex, much less to others. To answer it, he interviewed about 120 men and women; here, in a smoothly edited, erotically charged report, is what 55 of them had to say. Maurer's subjects range from a 12-year-old boy just awakening to sex to a 68-year-old woman plunging into the sexual revolution by way of personal ads; from a happily married, monogamous man to a pricey prostitute and a man who would obsessively call pay phones to have phone sex with chance passersby. Each talks at length in baldly graphic terms about sex: what turns them on, what doesn't, and why: about orgiastic sex with strangers; intimacy with a spouse; the power-plays of sadomasochism; or techniques of masturbation, foreplay, and intercourse. At times, the text is so bawdy--Maurer admits in an preface that often both he and his female subjects were aroused during their talks--that it resembles nothing more than a collection of Penthouse letters. But the difference is that these confessions--and most do have a quality of the forbidden revealed about them--presumably reflect reality, not fantasy, and it's fascinating to be privy to the astonishing variety of sexual expressions on display. Maurer works hard to order his material, grouping the voices into sections like ``Masculine/Feminine'' and ``Turning Points''; providing intros to each; presenting cautious findings, such as on the surprising (to him) verbal openness of women as compared with men; but the testimonies here stand mostly on their own: revelatory, heated, shocking. Too haphazard and noninterpretive to rank with the comparable oral-history of S&M sex, Different Loving (p. 498)--but, still, opening a clear window onto the sex lives of the neighbors, for those bold enough to peep in. (First serial to Playboy) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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