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Stayin' Alive: The Invention Of Safe Sex Hardcover – May 27, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813340926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813340920
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Berkowitzis a journalist who lives in New York City. His writing has appeared in SPIN, The New York Press, The Boston Phoenix, and many small publications. He is a frequent commentator on safe sex practices in the media and has given lectures in a variety of forums, from conferences to bathhouses.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alan on January 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Richard Berkowitz, AIDS activist and a freelance journalist (and former S&M Hustler) writes a compelling history of how safe sex was invented back in the late 80's.

It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when using condoms was unheard of. There was, apparently, a time when they were quite difficult to obtain because no one used them. That's all well before my time -- back when God was a child. By the time I was old enough to know about sex, safe sex was already the watch word.

But back in the time before time, safe sex was unknown. However, once the direction of the epidemic became obvious -- and more importantly for the author, after a scare of his own -- Berkowitz details how he found ways to continue his work as a hustler, and yet stay safe. His experiences became the basis of the safe sex advice now routinely given out by clinics, educators, and doctors.

What I found most interesting about this book, however, was that it is the first time I've ever read or heard anyone take responsibility for their own behavior and how that behavior unwittingly contributed to the AIDS epidemic. Basically Berkowitz argues that, given the huge number of STDs that many gay men were being infected with in the late 70's and early 80's (infected, and reinfected, and reinfected) people should have realized that such promiscuity was going to have consequences greater than a quick shot of penicillin could cure. He's not laying blame, he's taking responsibility, an important difference, but it's the first time I've read a book where someone had the courage to do it.

This is a short read, but worth a few minutes of your time. Especially if, like me, much of this is history for you.
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