- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Dutton Adult; 1 edition (April 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525941649
- ISBN-13: 978-0525941644
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 6.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sexual Ecology: The Birth of AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men 1st Edition
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There was a time, before AIDS, when gay male culture was often synonymous with multiple partners, bathhouses, and an emphasis on youth and physical beauty. Monogamy was identified with "straight" culture and therefore something to be resisted. Even when the AIDS epidemic was at its height, the gay community promoted condom use but did little to discourage risky behavior. In his groundbreaking book Sexual Ecology, author Gabriel Rotello views the epidemic in a new way: as part of an ecological system. Rotello's approach, while unique in the study of AIDS, is one familiar to the environmental movement. He sees the disease not as a discrete element, but as part of a system of "behaviors, thoughts and feelings that made gay culture so susceptible to AIDS."
Although Rotello aims his book primarily at a gay audience, Sexual Ecology has a wider appeal. His chronicle follows the growth of promiscuity among homosexual men through its promotion by bathhouse owners and the gay media. Equally fascinating is the current trend toward more mainstream values among many gay men. Finally, his suggestions for making gay culture sustainable (in the words of environmental science) instead of self-destructive provide serious food for thought and for debate.
If gay men want to end the AIDS epidemic, they must renounce promiscuity. That is the crux of Rotello's careful exposition on why AIDS struck in the '80s, why a second wave of it hit in the '90s, and why, despite condoms, AIDS will regularly recur if promiscuity isn't curbed. The mainspring of the epidemic, Rotello insists, is the high number of other men (more than 1,000 a year) with whom each fast-lane gay man has sex. Rotello demonstrates that by closing the avenue of infection such promiscuity creates, disease prevalence must decline. Culturally, he says, closing those avenues demands reducing the allure of the acts that transmit HIV most readily and promoting sexually faithful monogamy. Rotello's restatement of an argument that is not entirely new is extremely important because of its thoroughness and because he is a gay radical who here parts company with the gay-lib party line that promiscuity is essential to gay male identity. Young gay men especially should heed him. Ray Olson
Top customer reviews
This book accurately explains the phenemenon as an ecological niche-
1. A subset of the population that has a lot of sexual partners per year
2. Events where there are high volumes of sex in a short period of time with a lot of partners (Circuit parties, sex clubs etc.)
3. Connections between these people that have a lot of partners a year/events with high volumes of sex
= a "gay fast lane".
Basically, the people that have a lot of sex end up having sex with others who have a lot of sex. Get a piece of paper and draw dots as men and lines as sexual connections. In the centre there will be a very highly connected pack of men (the fast lane) with connections extending outwards into the population.
The book brings this reality lucidly to the forefront and explains how safe sex education will never fully be able to tackle this risky ecological niche given everything we know about human nature and risk taking.
The solution is simple: hyper-promiscuity simply must go. The ecological niche has to change to more moderated levels and become spread out. As a homosexual man I await the day when circuit parties etc. are a thing of the past.
Rotello really explains in a simple sensible understandable fashion how the AIDS epidemic resulted from changes in technology , sexual role changes among gay males , social patterns of IV drug users (those in NYC shared needles in galleries while on the West Coast most used their own works at home and escaped the epidemic) and finally how hyperpromiscuity in large cities were the core centers for spreading this epidemic.
Most importantly, Rotello sees a continuing disaster in the gay community if old patterns of multi-partner 1970s promiscuity are reverted to by today's generation.
This is a must read book for anyone touched by this disease. It should get 50 stars.