Celebrating the ingenuity with which gay men manage their sexual and aggressives drives and fantasies, Dancing Around the Volcano is a passionately pro-sex book with potentially healing--even revolutionary--implications for everyone. Kettelhack wants to "tell the truth about the sex gay men are really having"--offering a path to sexual liberation that embraces the conflicts and paradoxes of sex.
Kettelhack, a 40-something gay man in New York City whose brother recently died of AIDS, is not unaware of the implications of having sex as a gay man in the U.S. today. It is therefore significant that this author of several self-help and recovery books so strongly advocates a reasoned return to the unbridled sexuality of the 1970s. This book is part of a growing trend among gay writers and thinkers militating against the fear that has infiltrated the sex lives of gay men since the mid-1980s. And like Douglas Sadownick's recent Sex Between Men and Frank Browning's 1993 Culture of Desire, Kettelhack's book is an intimate, evenly argued, entertaining celebration of the variety of gay male sexuality. Though he introduces a Jekyll-and-Hyde dichotomy early in the book to illustrate the gap that often exists between a gay man's sexual life and his working and personal life, Kettelhack's discussion manages to reflect the complexity of the human condition. And though he hasn't sufficiently contextualized or assimilated the psychoanalysis to which he anchors significant portions of his argument, the book is still a success.