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The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers Paperback – Nov 23 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (Nov. 23 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067931007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679310075
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #382,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

If you thought swinging went out with the '70s, guess again. The "lifestyle" is three million strong in North America, according to Canadian journalist Gould, with crowded conventions, an anti-defamation league and thousands of Web sites. The investigative magazine reporter tells us that he initially approached the topic for his first book with the same suspicion he employs for his usual subject--the shadowy underworld of organized crime. But after spending a few years exploring America's swinging playgrounds and interviewing scores of "play couples," he now vigorously defends the lifestyle against the charges of feminists who say it's demeaning, religious leaders who say it's immoral and a press that looks down its elitist nose at the suburban phenomenon (although the author claims he has never joined in himself). Drawing examples from anthropology, biology and history, Gould repeatedly claims that lifestylers--from "soft swingers" to "fast lane couples"--are more moral than others because they don't sneak around on their spouses; they are usually middle-aged, middle-class, tax-paying professionals who are happily married, defend monogamy and more often than not believe in God. Though we get an occasional peek behind the curtain, Gould generally avoids graphic descriptions, giving us a tour of the fantasy rooms of a hard-core swinging playground only when they're empty. Despite the author's intent, in the end, the lifestyle, with its toga parties, conga lines and ice-breaking party games, comes off as more goofy than anything. Agents, Perry Goldsmith and Robert Mackwood. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Almost everything you wanted to know about swinging sex, but were afraid to ask. As a member of the Lifestyle, Gould (How the Blind Make Love, not reviewed) brings swinging out of the closet as he argues that consenting adults should not be denigrated for engaging in private behavior that (he claims) harms no one. Through a history of the Lifestyles Organization and interviews with swingers (mostly married couples), Gould depicts a world refreshing in its sincerity, openness, and normalityin spite of such apparent contradictions as swinging Mormons or Republicans. The view that emerges of the Lifestyle is one of hedonism, but an ethical hedonism in which individual choices are respected and boundaries never crossed without permission. Although Gould describes swinging trips to such hotspots as the New Horizons club (known as the ``Disneyland of swing clubs''), we see fairly little sex throughout the book beyond discreet suggestions that some couples do indeed pair off. With this surprisingly chaste approach, Gould fails to give the whole picture to his reader; consequently, some tough questions remain. Why does the Lifestyle encourage bisexuality among women, but not among men? How do swingers explain the Lifestyle to friends, family, and co-workers, and what are the repercussions for such honesty? Gould also undercuts his message with hearsay passed off as history: for example, very little evidence supports his argument that the Lifestyle's incarnation in contemporary America descends directly from the sexual practices of WWII fighter pilots. Likewise, his defense of swinging sex based on evolutionary theory (``fight sperm wars in females!'') relies more on assertion than proof. Although the ``Blind Fondle'' contest and other aspects of the Lifestyle might not appeal to everyone, Gould humanizes a marginalized community and demonstrates that sexual expression does not automatically equate with deviance. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The subject is, on the surface, swinging - sharing sexual partners. A closer look shows that the subject is the dynamics of close relationships. There is much written about the subject of relationships, so, you may ask why I think swingers have something to say? My answer is that swingers removed the taboos and discarded the 'already known facts' before examining the subject.
The book is not, I say, a definitive work. It is more of an investigation. It is far more complete, accurate, unbiased, thoughtful, and provocative than anything else I have seen on the subject. It will be quite valuable to anybody who reads it. I do not mean that whoever reads this book will see that swinging is the way to go - not at all. You don't have to be a swinger to benefit from what swingers have learned just as you don't have to be an astronomer to benefit from what astronomers know.
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This is a fantastic book, and extremely well-written. If you are not interested in swinging, this book wont convert you, however it will educate you, and open your eyes to better understand why individuals would be interested in the swing lifestyle. The book also includes a short section discussing polyamory - non-monogamous relationships that differ greatly from swinging but are often equally misunderstood. The best part of the book is Gould's writing - his journalistic experience is clear as he exposes the world of swingers, without judgement or sensationalism. I'd love to see him cover other alternative lifestyles in a similar manner. This is a book I frequently recommend to open-minded friends who love to read. It's a treat - even if the subject matter isn't your bag.
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As a member of one of the clubs 'featured' in the book, I can confirm the accuracy, not only in a factual sense but in getting the correct 'feel' for how things work in 'the lifestyle' so many of us love. While I might quibble with some conclusions, I didn't at any time find the book to be significantly off the mark. It rings true to those of us on the inside, and you can't ask for more than that in this sort of book.
If you are a swinger, you will appreciate the history and analysis of what we do. If you are thinking about swinging, it will give you a good idea what you should expect (and what you should bring to the experience). And, if you have only a curiosity about it, this will tell you what you want to know in an unbiased, unvarnished manner.
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Despues de leer este libro y otros, espero que muchas personas puedan hacerlo, es una libro que narra entrevistas, investigaciones serias y documenta un comportamiento sexual, que nos hace mas libres ahora. Ayuda mucho a entender nuestra conducta sexual y las razones, describe algunos eventos, reuniones y convenciones de Lifestyle, donde uno descubre que las personas son tan normales como cualquiera y que la vida sexual se puede disfrutar mas, siendo conciente. Como dice en el libro el Lifestyle no salva matrimonios, los hace mejores. Se pueden imaginar una pareja donde uno u otro goza cuando su conyuge disfruta mas y al regresar a su hogar comparten el mas intenso momento? Mas o menos es la actitud que se descubre en este libro, lo que mas me ha gustado es todo el trabajo de investigacion y documentacion. Describe varias teorias de conducta sexual y hace algunas confrontaciones interesantes, saca a la luz que la mujer esta mas reprimida por toda una historia de imposicion machista que geneticamente. Refiere a los trabajos de varios sociologos, biologos, sexologos y antropologos, en fin de los cientificos que estudia el comportamiento humano. Algunas teorias presentadas son en contra y otras justifican una sexualidad mas abierta, tambien cita aspectos historicos. Es un Libro Analitico, para entender mas y reflexionar, no es novela.
Leeanlo, vale la pena!
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The Lifestyle is a well-written, fascinating, evenhanded look at swinging in North America today. If you've ever wondered, as I have, what makes these folks tick, this is the book to get. Very insightful, well-researched, and complete. Gould is remarkably objective for writing about such a sensitive subject. He is not an apologist for swinging, nor is he on a witch-hunt; rather, he seems intent on discovering the truth and communicating it clearly to the reader.
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