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The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex

Jesse Monteagudo's Book Nook

The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex: A Medical Handbook for Men; by Stephen E. Goldstone, M.D.; Dell Trade Paperback; 276 pages; $12.95.
insoutsgaysex.jpg - 13.56 K Stephen E. Goldstone is a physician with "a busy surgical practice in the New York metropolitan area". Many of Dr. Goldstone's patients are gay men--he himself is gay--so the decision to write a book about gay men's health was a natural follow-up to his professional work.

Goldstone also felt that there was a need for a book of this sort: "shelves overflow with books on HIV and the joys of gay sex but little has been written about the many other sexually related problems gay men face. Most gay men still don't know the answers to their questions even many years after escaping the closet. And contrary to that popular saying, ignorance is never bliss."

Little has been written about non-AIDS, sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) since the early 1980's, when the emergence of AIDS put every other health issue on the back burner.

This type of tunnel vision, writes the good Doctor, can be dangerous:

"Although these other STDs may not carry the same grave prognosis as HIV, many are just as incurable and all of them can make you miserable." All the usual suspects are here; not only syphilis and gonorrhea, herpes and hepatitis, but also condyloma acuminatum and molluscum contagiosum.

Nor does Dr. Goldstone dismiss the continuing gravity of the AIDS epidemic, new medications notwithstanding: "Although great strides have been made in HIV treatment, we still have a long way to go."

Related Articles from the GayToday Archive:
STD Risks Dangerously Underestimated

Just What Do You Like to Do In Bed?

Abstinence & Sex Ed: Church-Lady Style

Related Sites:
University of Virginia Safe Sex Study
GayToday does not endorse related sites.

The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex begs the age-old question of whether or not gay sex, particularly anal sex, is more conducive to STDs than other sexual combinations. Dr. Goldstone admits that "Anal sex is probably the highest-risk sexual act performed by men who have sex with men--and not just because of HIV. . . Before you let that guy inside you, make sure he's clean and you're protected."

Goldstone admits that he "would never tell an HIV-negative straight couple to continue having safe sex", which is something doctors advise their gay patients to do. They do so "Because HIV is far more prevalent among men who have sex with men, and men are promiscuous creatures." In short, I conclude, straight men would be as promiscuous as gay men--and as likely to acquire STDs--if only women would "cooperate".

On the issue of oral sex, Goldstone is understandably edgy: "I wish I could give you a straightforward answer that yes, oral sex is 100 percent safe or not, it's not, but I can't. . . . Suffice it to say that most physicians agree that there is a slight risk of HIV infection after unprotected oral sex and that the risk increases if your partner ejaculates into your mouth or if you have sores or bleeding gums. . . Condoms clearly reduce the already low but possible risk of HIV transmission during fellatio. Dr. Goldstone is quick to add that "HIV isn't the only STD you can catch during oral sex" and recommends a "flavored brand" of condom for those who don't like the taste of latex.

On the whole I found The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex to be very informative and helpful, though of course it will never take the place of my primary physician. Being written by and for gay men, it restricts its scope to sexually-related issues, figuring that men who want to read about lung cancer, leukemia, heart disease and so on would check other books.

In any case, The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex establishes Stephen E. Goldstone as an authority on gay men's health issues. Those who have access to the World Wide Web can send their health-related questions to Dr. Goldstone's column, also called "The Ins & Outs of Gay Sex", which now appears in The Advocate's Web site.
Books In Brief:

South Beach resident David Leddick is best-known to "Book Nook" readers as the author of light and lively novels like My Worst Date and The Sex Squad. Leddick is equally famous for his art books; more precisely, books about artists and photographers whose work celebrate the male art form.

In Naked Men and The Male Nude, Leddick chronicled the history of nude male photography, the men who produced it and the men who posed for it. Those men, by asserting their right to appreciate the beauty of men, paved the way for the modern gay liberation movement.

Leddick's latest art books only confirm his status as an authority in the field. The Homoerotic Art of Pavel Tchelitchev (Elysium Press) is a pricey art book ($75.00) but well-worth the cost.

Though few people remember Pavel Tchelitchev (1898-1957) today, in his time he was famous as part of the "Neo-Romantic" movement of the 1920's.
homoeroticart.jpg - 14.10 K Cover of The Homoerotic Art of Pavel Tchelitchev

Those "in the life" knew Tchelitchev as the lover of writer Charles Henri Ford (The Young and Evil) and the creator of a startling (for its time) set of male nudes and homoerotic drawings and paintings (1929-39).

"Tchelitchev's male nudes live in a dream world, a dream of fulfillment, a dream free of guilt, a dream where the body exists for beauty and beauty has its purpose. A dream that was an important part of growth in this artist's development."

Those who consider Tchelitchev's work to be too esoteric (and expensive) might prefer Leddick's Men in the Sun (Universe Publications; $16.95).

Even the most culturally-challenged faggot will appreciate this sunny collection of photos, by Miami-based photo-graphers (Ali, Andy Devine, Patrick Sarfati . . .) and featuring the kind of men who made South Beach famous.

As if the photos weren't enough, Men in the Sun also features essays by the likes of Leddick, Quentin Crisp (a former model, believe it or not), Paul Roche and Brad Gooch.

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