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PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality

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PoMo: short for PostModern; in the arts, a movement following after and in direct reaction to Modernism; culturally, an outlook that acknowledges diverse and complex points of view. PoMoSexual: the queer erotic reality beyond the boundaries of gender, separatism, and essentialist notions of sexual orientation.


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PoMo: short for PostModern; in the arts, a movement following after and in direct reaction to Modernism; culturally, an outlook that acknowledges diverse and complex points of view. PoMoSexual: the queer erotic reality beyond the boundaries of gender, separatism, and essentialist notions of sexual orientation.

30 review for PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lord Beardsley

    This is probably the best book about gender and sexuality I've ever read. It discusses the many different facets of human sexuality that aren't necessarily mapped out by what you have between your legs or on your chest. In a world of cookie cutter voidoids who identify themselves purely by their sexuality (gym bunny fags and Michigan *barf* Womyn's Music Festival Nazis) not to mention the vast, dismal sea of heterosexism found in every-other-straight relationship out there, it's nice to read abo This is probably the best book about gender and sexuality I've ever read. It discusses the many different facets of human sexuality that aren't necessarily mapped out by what you have between your legs or on your chest. In a world of cookie cutter voidoids who identify themselves purely by their sexuality (gym bunny fags and Michigan *barf* Womyn's Music Festival Nazis) not to mention the vast, dismal sea of heterosexism found in every-other-straight relationship out there, it's nice to read about people not afraid to realise that everything is a construct and they can be whatever the hell they feel like being...and sexuality...it's great...but it's not your definition of self. This book has temporarily saved my life, acting as a reminder (in a predominantly hetero/conventional relationship/sexuality town) that those outside the norm of stereotypical gay or nauseatingly straight actually do exist!

  2. 4 out of 5

    AB

    PoMosexuals was recommended to me by a friend who knows me, and knows I don't quite fit into any of the specific, prescribed queer identity labels. She also knows I'm addicted to essay collections on queerness, sexuality and feminist topics. I love my friends. Many of the essays weren't of interest to me, but some struck a chord. I felt, however, that the book didn't make much of an impact on me, at least not as I was expecting. As I was reading the essays I realised PoMosexuals was published 12 y PoMosexuals was recommended to me by a friend who knows me, and knows I don't quite fit into any of the specific, prescribed queer identity labels. She also knows I'm addicted to essay collections on queerness, sexuality and feminist topics. I love my friends. Many of the essays weren't of interest to me, but some struck a chord. I felt, however, that the book didn't make much of an impact on me, at least not as I was expecting. As I was reading the essays I realised PoMosexuals was published 12 years ago, and this shows. It's not that the conversation on gender and definitions has moved on, mind. Much of the LGBT 'gaystream' could really profit from reading it. Forgive the condescension, but among my lesbian friends, many still have doubts about the existence of truly bi people, let alone pansexual. But the main problem with 'queerness' or 'pomosexuality' is that we give words weight, while at the same time forgetting they are cognitive tools. Words give us power and take it away, that's the primordial postmodern principle. But it comes full circle when we realise that if we opt out of that paradigm, we don't access the power that words and definitions give us. Queerness has the same problem, especially in its breadth. Anyway. I personally found the involving despite not being eye-opening. Riki Wilchins' essay on having sex in a trans body was the closest to home, but so was the one about a small poly family unit under Soviet Russia. I do recommend the book. Most essays will be of interest for those wanting to step away from rigidly defined queer identities and feeling like there's more out there to explore.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Arin Brutlag

    I looked to this book to find people like myself [bisexual, genderqueer, polyamorous, loving a cisgender person and a transgender person], but mostly what I found was gay men and lesbians with little quirks, bisexuals who refused to be called bisexuals [and some that outright owned it, thank goodness], and people who were most likely transgender but couldn't yet bear to call themselves such. I was frustrated by most essays, especially the absolutely baffling "Beyond Bisexuality," in which sexual I looked to this book to find people like myself [bisexual, genderqueer, polyamorous, loving a cisgender person and a transgender person], but mostly what I found was gay men and lesbians with little quirks, bisexuals who refused to be called bisexuals [and some that outright owned it, thank goodness], and people who were most likely transgender but couldn't yet bear to call themselves such. I was frustrated by most essays, especially the absolutely baffling "Beyond Bisexuality," in which sexuality comes down to a matter of math...? I enjoyed Pat Califia's "Identity Sedition and Pornography;" I have so much respect for him as a writer and a person, and his essay simply augmented that respect. Naturally, I had some trouble stomaching the outdated language of this book, including numerous uses of the grammatical failure "transgendered" and the uncomfortable "fag," and even one usage of the outright offensive "shim." Reading books like this shows me how far we've come as a community, and how much we still have left to learn.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Annabeth Leong

    Wow. I almost never reread books, and I can't think of a time I wanted to begin a book again the moment I read the last page, but this book affected me that way. It's deep and refreshing, full of essays that are both personal and thought-provoking. I got a ton out of reading it, and I know I could get more by reading it again. This will be of particular interest to anyone who feels they don't fit neatly within a certain gender or sexuality label, but I think it would be great if it were read muc Wow. I almost never reread books, and I can't think of a time I wanted to begin a book again the moment I read the last page, but this book affected me that way. It's deep and refreshing, full of essays that are both personal and thought-provoking. I got a ton out of reading it, and I know I could get more by reading it again. This will be of particular interest to anyone who feels they don't fit neatly within a certain gender or sexuality label, but I think it would be great if it were read much more widely than that. It introduces important nuance to subjects that are all too often treated as black and white. PoMoSexuals was published in the late 90s, and there are ways that it is obviously dated. Current social trends have moved from where they were at the time the authors were writing. Honestly, however, the book comes off as all the more significant and prescient considering that. I found these voices from the past valuable in that they predicted ways society was moving and commented insightfully on those issues. It also gave me insight into feelings I had during the late 90s, since it reminded me of ideas that were floating around at the time. The book did make me a little sad. Some things it discusses, such as the stereotypes faced by bisexuals, do not seem to me to have improved much since the time the book was published. PoMoSexuals does not pretend to comprehensive discussion of gray areas, and some sections are covered better than others. However, I would say it's a vital exploration of territory that's ignored far too often.

  5. 4 out of 5

    kory.

    even with some of the language being dated and nothing said being anything i didn't already know, this book is what i want from a queer nonfiction/essay collection, because it's the epitome of genderfuck and whatever the sexuality equivalent of that is. content/trigger warnings; discussions of homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, transphobia, d slur, f slur, n slur, sex, abuse, incest, racism, lesbian separatism, intracommunity issues, aids, death, loss of loved one, suicidal ideation, some quotes: " even with some of the language being dated and nothing said being anything i didn't already know, this book is what i want from a queer nonfiction/essay collection, because it's the epitome of genderfuck and whatever the sexuality equivalent of that is. content/trigger warnings; discussions of homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, transphobia, d slur, f slur, n slur, sex, abuse, incest, racism, lesbian separatism, intracommunity issues, aids, death, loss of loved one, suicidal ideation, some quotes: "we coin the term to situate this book and its essays within and in relation to the lgbt&f community. it is in every way an artifact of, and in many ways a backlash toward, this community—or rather, to certain assumptions widely held within and/or about it, essentialist assumptions about what it means to be queer. we react against these assumptions in the same way that in the art world postmodernism was a reaction against modernism." "hence the "pomosexual," who, like the queer s/he closely resembles, may not be tied to a single sexual identity, may not be content to reside within a category measurable by social scientists or acknowledged by either rainbow-festooned gays or by ward and june cleaver." "pomosexuality lives in the spaces in which all other nonbinary forms of sexual and gender identity reside—a boundary-free zone in which fences are crossed for the fun of it, or simply because some of us can't be fenced in. it challenges either/or categorizations in favor of largely unmapped possibility and the intense charge that comes with transgression. it acknowledges the pleasure of that transgression, as well as the need to transgress limits that do not make room for all of us."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vi

    This book was likely a golden book for its time (in the 1990s). However. as a 2017 reader, you can definitely tell it's dated. (such as through the use of some terminology found in the book). The book is essentially a book that begins to dive into understanding the concept of pomosexuality (which is coined by this book), but majority of it is made up of different snippets of life stories from different people exploring their own sexuality, that wouldn't fit "typically" LGBT+ labels (bisexual, ga This book was likely a golden book for its time (in the 1990s). However. as a 2017 reader, you can definitely tell it's dated. (such as through the use of some terminology found in the book). The book is essentially a book that begins to dive into understanding the concept of pomosexuality (which is coined by this book), but majority of it is made up of different snippets of life stories from different people exploring their own sexuality, that wouldn't fit "typically" LGBT+ labels (bisexual, gay/lesbian, etc.). Asexuality was NOT well known at the time of this book, so I'm not surprised it isn't really mentioned in said book. I would advise readers to NOT jump into this book, expecting just a book about exploring philosophies and sociology behind LGBT+. That is NOT what this book is (though the title and book description might give that impression). As someone who enjoys reading about different kinds of "queer/LGBT+ theory", this book does give a good taste of exploring "What is the gray area of LGBT+", but I feel like this book leaves more to be desired. This book would be ideal for people just beginning to explore their sexuality, as well as for those who want to be challenged about what "exactly" is "lesbianism/gayness" and "bisexuality". I feel that the contemporary Pomosexual community (as in the 2017 individuals who identify as Pomo, since that's the year of this review) would greatly benefit from writing an "updated" version (per say) of the idea and concept of pomosexuality. On a side note, there are sections of this book that get explicitly sexual with some depictions of the individual peoples' sex lives. If you are sensitive to those descriptions, you can honestly skim those sections of the book and still get a good idea of how the different people are exploring their sexuality.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leilani

    kate bornstein was correct in saying this book would change how i view things, as cliche as that may sound. i have always rejected the terms gay/lesbian/bisexual because the notion of there only being two genders (XX, XY, XO, XXY, XXO, etc. being various "common" chromosomal orders though the anomalies are dubbed as "syndromes") seems alien to me. however, along with my queer self-identity, i have a tendency to carry, "i like female bodied people because of their female bodies and i like male bo kate bornstein was correct in saying this book would change how i view things, as cliche as that may sound. i have always rejected the terms gay/lesbian/bisexual because the notion of there only being two genders (XX, XY, XO, XXY, XXO, etc. being various "common" chromosomal orders though the anomalies are dubbed as "syndromes") seems alien to me. however, along with my queer self-identity, i have a tendency to carry, "i like female bodied people because of their female bodies and i like male bodied people because of the male bodies and i would like others but i haven't had the oppurtunity yet ..." but inherently, i meant that there was a female-female way of loving in my relationships with female-bodied people while there was a female-male way of loving in my relationships with male-bodied people and i never realized how constricting that was. i have reprimanded myself in the past when i would fantasize about old female-bodied lovers "penetrating" me, saying that was putting a heteronormative paradigm on a supposedly liberating relationship. however, though i should have known this, sexuality is far more subtle than the labels and identities we give ourselves and to others. the idea of changing my genitalia was not anything new to me but something i am thinking about more and more after reading the accounts of other transsexuals.

  8. 5 out of 5

    za

    half way through. i have some hesitations about this book because it claims to take on the hefty task of breaking down boundaries within/among queer identities and queer sex. certain essays are really amazing and well written while others have a dry style or present breakdowns that are a little "last week". the dorothy allison essay is incredible. read it if only for allison's essay. half way through. i have some hesitations about this book because it claims to take on the hefty task of breaking down boundaries within/among queer identities and queer sex. certain essays are really amazing and well written while others have a dry style or present breakdowns that are a little "last week". the dorothy allison essay is incredible. read it if only for allison's essay.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Edie Kestenbaum

    I need to read more books like this. Reading this book was like falling into someone's arms, or taking a warm bath. Reminded me that it's okay to be messy and outside of the boxes. Reading books like this helps me break down the labels until they dissolve into people. I need to read more books like this. Reading this book was like falling into someone's arms, or taking a warm bath. Reminded me that it's okay to be messy and outside of the boxes. Reading books like this helps me break down the labels until they dissolve into people.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Landen

    It starts off feeling less like a necessary read in a world steeped in very vague and often weaponized post-modern thought, and there are times it reeks of… WELP just looked it up! All these authors are white! And that’s why. It’s palpably myopic in this way. One of the authors acts like they HAVE to write the n-word to prove something about power words have. Bad piece ! It had a lot of good reminders, and maybe a couple important realizations for me, and it helps to read if you yourself need vali It starts off feeling less like a necessary read in a world steeped in very vague and often weaponized post-modern thought, and there are times it reeks of… WELP just looked it up! All these authors are white! And that’s why. It’s palpably myopic in this way. One of the authors acts like they HAVE to write the n-word to prove something about power words have. Bad piece ! It had a lot of good reminders, and maybe a couple important realizations for me, and it helps to read if you yourself need validation that your experiences are Queer, I suppose. But I’m white too Damn I came in with a much stronger review for this book! There are some strong pieces in this compilation. (Lol some not) I can imagine it is a strong substitute and entry point for a very specific subset of people, but with the Internet that set gets waaaaay smaller

  11. 4 out of 5

    Madi

    A product of its time that opened up my eyes to a myriad of queer writings; one of the best anthologies I’ve read thus far. Was easy to set down between authors and pick back up again with the switch of a topic, though some subject matters felt like they were not reflective of a modern take to queerness (though, to be fair, Pomosexual’s entirety stands to defy the very definition of queerness). Overall a great read with absolutely lovely editing and intro.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cavar Sarah

    Surprisingly excellent given its age (a year older than I am) and contains several lyrical, unique essays in relationships between gender and sexuality that aren’t usually explored, particularly gendered embodiment and specific sexual desires.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zane Carey

    Very graphic, much more than what I usually read, but very good. I loved the exploration into confusion, bisexuality, and fluidity. A short read, but very mentally taxing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chloe B.

    A little dated, since it WAS published in the 90s, but entertaining and interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    Fantastic. This was written in 1997 but felt very relevant to 2018 queer life in terms of cultivating expansive attitudes toward orientation and gender.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tobi

    About the ways in which individual sexual identity does not fit perfectly into the Lesbian/Gay, Straight, or Bisexual catagories created (and also some about gender being non-binary). It is a wonderful explanation through personal experiences and analysis as to why folks might identify as Queer, Pansexual, or not at all as a way to specifically choose not to identify as gay or bi. Much of what it covers has become a such a part of my day to day life that I might not have found it very enlightenin About the ways in which individual sexual identity does not fit perfectly into the Lesbian/Gay, Straight, or Bisexual catagories created (and also some about gender being non-binary). It is a wonderful explanation through personal experiences and analysis as to why folks might identify as Queer, Pansexual, or not at all as a way to specifically choose not to identify as gay or bi. Much of what it covers has become a such a part of my day to day life that I might not have found it very enlightening if I first read it today. However, when I did read it, it was incredibly formative of my personal identity development. And even reading it more recently, I find it to be full of good stories and useful to trace how the ways people have represented such perspectives have changed. And the fact that it seems less revolutionary today than it did when I first read it seems to be more indicative of how what it is about is so incredibly significant and has spread rapidly through queer communities in the decade.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Lady Bear

    This work embodies everything that all texts surrounding gender fucking should have years ago, it is a must read for anyone that thinks their collection falls short, it will complete it as well make you question everything you already think you know. Required reading for everyone as far as I am concerned, I was in love with this book as soon as I saw Carol Queen, Kate Bornstein in the same work. My favorite story in this would be "Loaded Words" by Greta Christina. If there is one thing you do ove This work embodies everything that all texts surrounding gender fucking should have years ago, it is a must read for anyone that thinks their collection falls short, it will complete it as well make you question everything you already think you know. Required reading for everyone as far as I am concerned, I was in love with this book as soon as I saw Carol Queen, Kate Bornstein in the same work. My favorite story in this would be "Loaded Words" by Greta Christina. If there is one thing you do over winter Please read this, just saying...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Craven

    Not a lot here that's completely groundbreaking or that I haven't read somewhere else, but still pretty worth your time. There's quite a bit of personal essays in here that are either steamy or candid and bare. Since everybody is entitled to their story and everyone's story is different, these proved to be the most interesting pieces. The more theoretical parts were rather dry and didn't quite introduce me to anything new. Overall, a good read. Not a lot here that's completely groundbreaking or that I haven't read somewhere else, but still pretty worth your time. There's quite a bit of personal essays in here that are either steamy or candid and bare. Since everybody is entitled to their story and everyone's story is different, these proved to be the most interesting pieces. The more theoretical parts were rather dry and didn't quite introduce me to anything new. Overall, a good read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl

    A very interesting, sort of folksy collection of queer theory essays. Leans more toward the personal than the academic which is always a plus for me. A really good place to start an exploration of gender/sexuality fluidity. Possibly out of print....if you really want to read it and you know me, I will lend you my copy. But you'll have to swear to guard it with your life! :) A very interesting, sort of folksy collection of queer theory essays. Leans more toward the personal than the academic which is always a plus for me. A really good place to start an exploration of gender/sexuality fluidity. Possibly out of print....if you really want to read it and you know me, I will lend you my copy. But you'll have to swear to guard it with your life! :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I loved this book. I think it will be a book that I pick up occasionally - just as the preface suggests - and find inspiration / solace / something to be mad about / something to be happy about. It's a great book for anyone trying to figure out how their identity fits into the dominant queer community. I loved this book. I think it will be a book that I pick up occasionally - just as the preface suggests - and find inspiration / solace / something to be mad about / something to be happy about. It's a great book for anyone trying to figure out how their identity fits into the dominant queer community.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    I read this at 19, and I don't know if it would hold up for me now, but I know that, at a time when I was struggling with the pressure to fit into prevailing sexual categories and my inability to do so, this book blew my mind and made the life I wanted to build feel possible. I would probably recommend it still for baby queers-- and, possibly, for older queers, as well. I read this at 19, and I don't know if it would hold up for me now, but I know that, at a time when I was struggling with the pressure to fit into prevailing sexual categories and my inability to do so, this book blew my mind and made the life I wanted to build feel possible. I would probably recommend it still for baby queers-- and, possibly, for older queers, as well.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Ebert

    I loved this book in college, but after reading it a second time I've concluded that it's absolutely boring. Most of the stories seemed to revolve around butches and FTMs who fucked men and did a lot of naval-gazing about identity. I got the feeling they felt this was somehow way cool and radical. Meh. I loved this book in college, but after reading it a second time I've concluded that it's absolutely boring. Most of the stories seemed to revolve around butches and FTMs who fucked men and did a lot of naval-gazing about identity. I got the feeling they felt this was somehow way cool and radical. Meh.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    This book turned me on with just the right mix of queer theory and erotically charged narrative. I finished this on the plane to a trans conference and reveled in the complexity of these intelligent personal reflections on gender and sexuality.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eddie

    This was a pretty good book as an overview of people who don't quite feel they fit into the convenient gay/lesbian/straight categories. It was certainly very interesting, although I would have preferred something which had gone into more detail - it won't be the last I'm reading on the subject! This was a pretty good book as an overview of people who don't quite feel they fit into the convenient gay/lesbian/straight categories. It was certainly very interesting, although I would have preferred something which had gone into more detail - it won't be the last I'm reading on the subject!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leigh M

    This was challenging to read, because I lack a foundation of the literature in sexuality and gender studies. But after hearing Carol Queen speak at an event, I had to try it. I'm grateful these ideas are circulating! This was challenging to read, because I lack a foundation of the literature in sexuality and gender studies. But after hearing Carol Queen speak at an event, I had to try it. I'm grateful these ideas are circulating!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    Loved it. Read it. Definitely a little dated with some language usage and I think there's mention of a pager at one point. But the important ideas and concepts presented are in no way dated. Still could be considered quite progressive by some. Everyone should read this. Loved it. Read it. Definitely a little dated with some language usage and I think there's mention of a pager at one point. But the important ideas and concepts presented are in no way dated. Still could be considered quite progressive by some. Everyone should read this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    J

    The purpose of this book really seemed to me to be "we hate labels, so we've made a new label." I think postmodernism is fine (I practically majored in it in college) and diverse gender and sexualities are great, but this book was not. The purpose of this book really seemed to me to be "we hate labels, so we've made a new label." I think postmodernism is fine (I practically majored in it in college) and diverse gender and sexualities are great, but this book was not.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Richards

    About what I expected from a book of essays. Some were interesting, some were annoyingly pretentious and self-indulgent. I liked that they were short and I could read one in a sitting before doing something else.

  29. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    Probably the first book I ever read that raised questions about gender. I think Keith recommened it, but maybe it was Shannan.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Not my favorite book by her, but still a great read.

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