The Edge of the Bed : How Dirty Pictures Changed My Life

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9780316688499: The Edge of the Bed : How Dirty Pictures Changed My Life

In a lively and poignant autobiography, next-wave pornographer, cybersex pioneer, and hopeful romantic Lisa Palac takes a frank, funny, and completely fearless look at the evolution of her sexual persona and the cultural influences that have had their way with her. Eight pages of photos.

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Review:

In the early '90s, after a stint as a senior editor at the groundbreaking lesbian sex journal On Our Backs, Lisa Palac took charge of a new magazine called Future Sex. Tapping into the "cyber" ethos that permeated the Bay Area scene--Mondo 2000 was in its ascendancy, while Wired was still a full year away--the magazine achieved a quick burst of mainstream notoriety and became a longterm underground icon. But you won't need to don a full-body cybersex interface to appreciate Palac's The Edge of the Bed.

With disarming honesty and self-deprecating humor, Palac writes about how she began to gain control of her sexuality. When she found a boyfriend's stash of pornography, her kneejerk reaction was to tell him that if it didn't go, she would. He managed to convince her to watch a video with her; that led to another, and another...soon, Palac was renting her own tapes and started writing her own erotic stories.

Although sex-positive feminism can be a powerfully liberating philosophy, Palac does not sugarcoat the hardships. Not every sexual encounter was wonderful; sometimes there wasn't even any sex. ("I was a perfect candidate for cybersex," she drolly comments at one point. "I wasn't getting laid, I liked to masturbate, and I could type.") But the story of Palac's spiritual and physical awakening and her efforts to maintain honesty and integrity will continue to inspire long after they've finished titillating--and that's a mighty long time.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A clear-headed look at some of the most explosive sexual issues of our daypornography, cybersex, freedom of sexual expression, marriagethrough an autobiographical lens. Palac, like her close friend and mentor Susie Bright, has been one of the foremost pop critics of the American sexual landscapeand of repressive tendencies in feminism. This book, part autobiography, part cultural analysis, shows off her lively writing and wacky sensibility. She describes her introduction to vibrators (she was cleaning out a closet, and one fell on her head; later she used it to masturbate to orgasm for the first time); her sexually repressive childhood (Catholic, though she's careful not to make too much of this too-worn theme); the boyfriend who introduced her to the joys of pornography (despite her hard-core feminist opposition); her quest to create erotic material that reflects women's desiresas a fiction writer, editor of the lesbian sex magazine On Our Backs, and founding editor of Future Sex magazine, a weirdly technologically oriented porn magazine; and her own adventures in S/M, E-mail and phone sex, love, and weddings (first as minister, then as bride). The author's story concludes with her marrying the man she loves, and she unfortunately ends up by too easily brushing off issues she's courageously raised (notably, how does someone raised to believe in sin, and in salvation through suffering come to grips with eros) simply because she herself has resolved them. And though the book is engaging throughout, it isn't focused enough to be a memoir, and, at only 34, Palac hasn't lived long enough to write a really satisfying autobiography. It would have made more sense to organize her material by topic rather than by the chronology of her life Still, Palac's approach to sexual politics and to her own life is infectiously spirited. (8 pages photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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