Cover image for Cruising culture : promiscuity, desire and American gay literature
Cruising culture : promiscuity, desire and American gay literature
Gove, Ben.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 207 pages ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library HQ76 .G684 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This publication offers an examination of issues that go to the heart of American cultural concerns at the close of the 20th century. The text provides an analysis of the competing understandings of promiscuity within American gay culture.


Promiscuous sexuality remains a central source of cultural fear and fascination, as seen in the resurgence of heated debates within American gay culture on its place in the era of AIDS. Cruising Culture provides the first extensive critical examination of competing understandings andexperiences of promiscuity, both in post-war American gay culture and in American culture more broadly.In this original and provocative book, Ben Gove unpicks the root assumptions and contradictions which contribute to dominant punitive notions of promiscuous sex and desire. He challenges normative dichotomies between 'good' monogamous sexualities and 'bad' promiscuous sexualities by illustrating the inherent promiscuousness of all sexual desire, regardless of consciously expressed attitudes to sexual practice. The reader is guided through the maze of conflictingattitudes towards promiscuity in American gay culture with innovative readings of texts by influential, but hitherto critically neglected, authors such asAndrew Holleran, Larry Kramer, John Rechy, Edmund White and David Wojnarowicz. The book also draws on numerous critical and historicalperspectives to represent an intricate picture of promiscuous sexual life in contemporary America.Cruising Culture will be essential reading for gay/elesbian/queer studies, gender studies and American studies, and for anyone else seeking a thorough discussion of the complex debates surroundingpromiscuity.

Author Notes

Ben Gove has taught at the University of Sussex and at Lehigh University.

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