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Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt Hardcover – November 25, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While Southerners may be famous for churchgoing and family values, they also "like to liberate themselves," according to journalist Parker, a Little Rock, Ark., native with a reputation for sexual controversy. One needs only an Internet connection, a car and an open mind, and the South is a veritable sexual smorgasbord, with its Passion Parties ("think 1970s Tupperware parties but with rubber penises instead of plastic ice trays"), Iron Belles (for "muscle fantasy"), bondage and s&m clubs, aqua porn, swingers parties, strip clubs and BBW (Big Beautiful Women) parties. The South may look straight-laced, Parker admits, but the same ladies trying and buying double-penis dildos at Passion Parties in Maumelle, Ark., are also reading the Christian apocalyptic Left Behind novels and going to church every Sunday. For better or worse, Parker's no social scientist, so she's quick to ditch her hook (the religion vs. hot sex problem) in favor of wide-eyed voyeurism. At any rate, it's probably more fun to read about Ms. Cindy's projectile ejaculations than how she feels about sin. Holding fast to her mantra "Your kink's not my kink, but your kink is okay" Parker interviews a host of sexually adventurous people (mostly heterosexual white women) who are grateful the Internet has helped them connect with like-minded fetishists and pleased that their sex lives have become more fun or more profitable. Curiously, the last stop on Parker's erotic odyssey is a pilgrimage to Gennifer Flowers's bar for a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi, trans-gender) literary soiree that only leaves Parker fantasizing about Clinton.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

The American South is a land of intrigue and mystery. To those who have never tasted her personally, a mention of the South often conjures Hollywood visions of debutante balls, hoop skirts, and a faint whiff of brimstone emanating from the pulpit. To the uninitiated, this is an anachronistic land where gentlemen and ladies live lives governed entirely by genteel manners and the Good Book.

Peel back the seersucker and organdy exterior, though, and you’ll find another world entirely. A world of public propriety, and private libertinism; where rectitude rules from Sunday to Friday, but sin rides on Saturday night.

Moral repression often breeds sexual creativity, and nowhere is that more true than in the South. Join Suzi Parker on a private journey to an eccentric side of sin where Southerners secretly (and not-so-secretly) defy sexual convention. In a region where towns often have more churches than liquor stores, you’ll encounter a host of unforgettable characters.

Enter the world of two Texas grandmothers who teach wives how to strip for their husbands. Go undercover and sneak into the secret world of Alabama’s thriving BDSM scene. And you’ll never ever forget Trigger, the Human Equine.

These are people who live, work, and worship in the South. Unbeknownst to you, your hotel desk clerk may also be an author of gay erotic tales. That nice couple from the PTA meetings may indeed be swingers. You just don’t know—until now.

Peer behind the magnolia blossoms and discover what makes Secret Dixie tick. This voyeur’s journey is not for the faint-of-heart or the prudish, but one thing is for sure—you’ll never look at the South the same way again.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Justin, Charles & Co. (November 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932112162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932112160
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,594,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Suzi Parker is a journalist, author and lifelong Southerner who lives and works in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her work has appeared in such diverse publications as "The Economist", "Penthouse", "The Christian Science Monitor", "The Washington Post", "Town & Country", "Salon", and many other national and international publications.

She is the author of "Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt" and "1000 Best Bartender's Recipes." "Echo Ellis: Adventures of a Girl Reporter" is her first novel.

An audiophile, Suzi is a devoted Duranie who loves Duran Duran, punk and new wave music.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Peterson on July 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I heard Ms. Parker on a radio talk show and decided to get this book, which I enjoyed. It is a fun and fast read.

Parker journeys around the South detailing sexual practices that are deemed deviant and perverse by some, but are just daily life for others. She details sex toy parties, pony play clubs, chubby chaser communities and "strait" men having same-sex flings. I thought Parker's description of people and their sex lives honest and engaging. I found myself thinking "Wow, I could know these people!" (and perhaps I do without knowing it). And in the end, she's learned something about herself.

The only negative side is the chip on Parker's shoulder. In the introduction, she describes getting in trouble with Southern Bible belters for writing about sex in her newspaper column. This book is a thinly-veiled (and a little caustic) response to this, showing that Southerners aren't quite so squeaky clean as they pretend.

Although descriptive in some places, I didn't find the book in poor taste (with one exception) or pornographic.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leah French on October 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Suzi Parker is my hero! She is a naughty Nancy Drew with a wicked edge! Instead of learning to tap walls for hollow spaces she learned to tap behinds with implements of pain and pleasure!
I read the book straight through Saturday night and finished in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. My upstairs neighbor probably thinks I have lost my mind. I sat in the middle of the bed reading and cackling out loud with a few loud gasps in between. I loved it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Humphrey on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just picked up the book on Friday and finished reading it on Sunday. Of course I'm a Southerner, so this kind of stuff is just too tempting to put down until you're finished.
I think the biggest appeal of the book is the affirmation that we Southerners share the same repressed sexual background. Southern sex is so sinful but so delicious because of the hell-fire and damnation guilt thats driven into us from childhood onward.
Can't wait for the sequel!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Philip Matheson on October 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book on a whim on my way out of town, and couldn't put it down. Read it all in one day/night. Parker's voice is hysterical, and I seriously laughed until my ribs were sore. My wife and I agree--Sex in the South is the funniest book we've read in a long time.
It's not porn or anything, but it's a brutally funny look at how people act down there in the South when it comes to sex. Parker goes through the South interviewing people about their weird/unusual sex habits. Example: she goes undercover and infiltrates a bondage scene (complete with senior citizens) in Alabama. The resulting scene is not what I normally think of when it comes to S&M, but it's funny funny funny.
I'm going to have to find out where Suzi Parker is signing books--how else can I propose?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Billie Caudell on October 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What a fun book! I'm a transplanted Southerner (now living in Chicago), but reading this book really took me back down to Dixie. I'm going to have to call my mama and ask her to tell me the REAL story of our neighbors in Atlanta.
Although I loved several of the chapters, I was the most intrigued by the musclebound honeys known as the Iron Belles. The thought of oiled-up female bodybuilders being paid to throw businessmen around hotel rooms is one that I can't stop laughing about.
Five stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sus_S on August 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a Little Rock native, I had heard of 'The Book' from the time it first came out. I recently attended a reading by Ms. Parker and I laughed until I cried at some of the passages. From a man-horse named Trigger to the steamy S&M club, Ms. Parker went there and did that (or at least watched) to find out what's really going on behind closed doors in the prim and proper Deep South.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ellen foster on October 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Loved this book. Suzi Parker has done what I've always lacked the courage to do; that is, just go out and expose the hypocrisy. Unlike me, though, she did it in a very funny, spirited way.
The book should be required reading for anybody interested in the South or who claims to be a Southern Studies scholar.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought a used copy of this book through Amazon because I often see articles the author has written in local and national publications, and (if Facebook can be believed) I am a "friend of friends" of hers. I may even have attended the same college she attended. In any case, I was curious to read the one book-sized work Amazon shows under her name.

The author's writing is clear and direct, but overall the book is pretty uneven. It could have benefited from some more editing in places. Some of the sections are genuinely funny, but haven't aged well, and other parts ramble more than others. It also tends to dwell on subjects the author apparently considered shocking.

I suppose I expect the book to seem outdated, as each section was apparently intended to be a "behind the scenes" look at the (then current) societies she traveled in, and society changes over time. For example, when the book came out the Internet had only recently become mainstream, so a similar book written today would include more of what we now call "social media" references. In another few years, what will THOSE sound like? :-)

I suspect the book suffered a bit from its organization (by geographic region) whereas if the author had arranged the book using a different theme it could have been edited more tightly. It doesn't really hold together as a travelogue.

I suppose another way to bring its parts together would be to insert more of a unifying story to bring the themes along. For example, she mentions a good friend who goes along with her on several of her escapades. She could have expanded the descriptions from the guy's perspective, making him more of a character seeing different events unfold along with her, and allowing him to "speak" more at the end of the various sections.
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