Are you an erotophile or erotophobe? Do you have a positive healthy attitude toward sexuality, or do you fear it and worry about it permeating society? How you answer that question will determine on which side of the war you find yourself and, according to Marty Klein, it is a vicious war indeed. Welcome to the United States, a country plagued by child-scarring wardrobe malfunctions, marriage-ruining homosexual couples, and a silent majority of fifty million porn consumers who threaten the very fabric of society.
In this succinct, well-discussed, and researched book, Klein offers the various “battlegrounds” over which individual sexuality is being actively repressed often on the behalf of nonexistent threats. Rather, the leading erotophobes use a variety of misinformation, misleading statements and correlations, and outright attacks on people who choose to embrace and celebrate their personal and consensual concepts of sexuality.
He examines the major battles being fought over sex education, reproductive rights, media censorship, the Internet, pornography, and the sexual rights of consenting adults. With each one, he explains how erotophobes (typically conservative and mostly religiously-driven) are not codifying morality but attempting to whitewash sexuality to a point where it is devoid of any meaning except for the sole purpose of heterosexual procreation. While erotophobes find this as the only way to purify and bring meaning back to sex, they fail to carry this purity to other aspects of life. The same folks who would fail to respect a plurality of sexuality would not preach about a single-minded perspective on food, clothing, or even literature. But few people are willing to stand up against fear-mongering ideologues who purport that all sexuality is a monster waiting to prey upon “the children.” Klein acutely identifies the ways in which erotophobes display this message and ways they manipulate people to see sex as much more pernicious that actual science reveals it to be. Interspersed between his “battleground” chapters, he includes smaller essays on tactics, framing, and quotes that help readers gain tools to counter-argue and deconstruct the messages provided by erotophobes.
Readers will note the angry tone of Klein’s words, which is to be expected. As a marriage counselor and sexual activist for years, he has continually worked to protect sexuality rights and expressions. His monthly newsletter and websites are filled with excellent information and tools for understanding one’s sexuality. His knowledge of what is right contrasted with the current state of affairs has fired him up enough to become a general for erotophiles in this war. His attacks are sometimes aggressive and spiteful but often warranted when considering the tactics of erotophobes who turn anybody with a positive-sexuality viewpoint into a pervert and lecher. Additionally, he serves up some great one-liners and quotable remarks that will make many readers laugh. One of the more popular lines in the book has Klein talking about the Right’s “Axis of Moral Evil—homosexuals, liberals, and pornographers.”
Guilt, fear, and shame are the tactics of erotophobes, and Klein puts forth positive reinforcement, facts, and explanations in response. The book is a great resource for anyone trying to come to grips with society’s turmoil over sexuality as well as for anyone interested in understanding their own sexuality in a social and political context. If knowledge is power, readers will feel quite empowered after reading Klein’s book.