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Dancing Around the Volcano: Freeing Our Erotic Lives: Decoding the Enigma of Gay Men and Sex Hardcover – October 8, 1996

2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kettelhack, a 40-something gay man in New York City whose brother recently died of AIDS, is not unaware of the implications of having sex as a gay man in the U.S. today. It is therefore significant that this author of several self-help and recovery books so strongly advocates a reasoned return to the unbridled sexuality of the 1970s. This book is part of a growing trend among gay writers and thinkers militating against the fear that has infiltrated the sex lives of gay men since the mid-1980s. And like Douglas Sadownick's recent Sex Between Men and Frank Browning's 1993 Culture of Desire, Kettelhack's book is an intimate, evenly argued, entertaining celebration of the variety of gay male sexuality. Though he introduces a Jekyll-and-Hyde dichotomy early in the book to illustrate the gap that often exists between a gay man's sexual life and his working and personal life, Kettelhack's discussion manages to reflect the complexity of the human condition. And though he hasn't sufficiently contextualized or assimilated the psychoanalysis to which he anchors significant portions of his argument, the book is still a success.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Kettelhack, a prolific author of self-help books for gay men (Sober and Free, LJ 12/95), here explores the ways that gay men use sex: as a form of recreation, as a way to meet others socially, and as a way to explore the darker, more mysterious realms of the psyche. He sets out to examine the "sharp and profound sense of what it means to have an 'outer' and an 'inner' self?especially with regard to sex." Of particular interest to the author are men who have achieved a breakthrough and healed an aching inner wound. Along the way, he augments the narrative with stories of how some have achieved sexual intimacy and fulfillment through the recognition and acceptance of the complex nature of sexual desire. To help him express his arguments, the author relies on an impressive choir of thinkers and writers?Marguerite Yourcenar, Carl Jung, and Camille Paglia, among others. This book is recommended for libraries with gay and lesbian research collections or large self-help psychology collections.?Kevin M. Roddy, Univ. of Hawai'i at Hilo Lib.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (October 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517701030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517701034
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,203,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Society really makes it hard being gay, even in today's enlightened times where we are seeing sitcom characters come out of the closet and openly gay candidates elected to political office. For many gay men, the journey isn't over when they've accepted themselves as being proud of who they are. The next hurdle is a deeper insecurity over sex and their participation in and enjoyment of it.
Kettelhack's discourse, a part of his own process of self-discovery, serves to make gay men stand back and try to throw away the bulk of society's anti-sex conditioning while they evaluate the role of sex and aggression in their own lives.
There are cogent arguments presented that show the amount, place, and aggressiveness of every gay man's sexual encounters are not up for judgement by anyone other than that man and his sexual partner. This is very a refreshing outlook in a current society that continues to self-censor it's most basic sexual instincts, even in the more "liberated" gay community. In fact, Kettelhack's book shows that sometimes members of the gay community can be even more self-censoring in their sex lives for fear of what straight society thinks.
Dancing Around the Volcano doesn't advocate the sole position that all sex is good under all circumstances. It makes steps to educate the reader that decisions about one's sexual habits are can only be made by the person and their *honest* and *true* feelings, and should not be influenced by what society perceives as pathology. Kettelhack demonstrates that each person can be different and everyone is free to make their own decisions. Through case studies, examples are given of men releasing themselves from the burdens of society's mores on gay sex, as well as examples of men who decide they are honestly for themselves pursuing an unhealthy sex life and decide to change it.
Eric Hunt
Austin, T
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not very original after all.
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By A Customer on January 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
As I was reading this book, I felt that I should be out in the wilderness, in some sort of native american dress (no offence to native americans), with a drum and a speaking stick, expressing my maleness. The author's attitude of men will be men and they cannot but help to act in an irresponsible manner is limited, insulting, and dangerous. Is this a mergering of the mens' movement and the gay right's movement? Are we as shallow and predatory as the stereotype portrays us? According to Guy Kettlehack, I guess we are. Lawrence
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