Category: ‘Book Review’

I am bummed.

September 16, 2014 Posted by suefairview

First let me explain my credentials to discuss the issue of condom versus bare back sex in porn.

I worked for 22 years at big pharma, some of it in the lab as a chemist, some of it as a safety coordinator, some as a clinical research auditor, and some as a clinical research protocol manager. During that time, I worked on all phases of clinical trials that led to the final approval of a novel antiretroviral therapy. I also worked on an anticancer agent to fight Kaposi’s Sarcoma. I had dedicated my life to fighting HIV and cancer. Unfortunately, this all ended after my brain hemorrhage disabled me.

During the time I was working on the antiretroviral therapy, I traveled across the country and saw very disturbing things. I saw men [some women and children also] who were being robbed of their lives by AIDS and its related illnesses. I saw people who could not walk across the room and were blue with lack of oxygen in their blood due to AIDS related anemia. I saw people covered in Kaposi’s lesions, which along with the accompanying edema crippled them. I saw patients who were on oxygen because of pneumocystis pneumonia.  I could go on and on with the scary instances of concomitant illnesses common in AIDS patients. Back then, AIDS was a death sentence. I saw brave patients go with us to the FDA to plead for drug approvals, which we were fortunate enough to obtain.

Young people, through no fault of their own, have no idea how terrible AIDS can be as they didn’t live through that time. Some people think, “Oh, if I find that I am HIV+, I will just take some pills and be okay.” But think a minute about that. How many pills? [And they will be for the rest of your life.] What will they cost? How will you pay for them? How much will you worry at every cough that you have? Or worry with any symptom that you have? Of course, you may be immunosuppressed as well, and therefore have increased susceptibility to other diseases, including STD’s. I have suffered with a chronic illness and complying with the medication is not easy and can be depressing. From thereon forward, you will be HIV+, and need to take precautions such as telling your sexual partners that you are positive and having regular blood testing for CD4 counts and HIV levels. And of course as you get older, being HIV+ can complicate diseases of aging. Oh, and did I mention the possible side effects of HIV therapies that you will have to tolerate for the rest of your life?

Yes, I mean to scare you.

I was also a safety coordinator for about 600 employees. At big pharma we worked with all kinds of infectious diseases [including HIV] as well as toxic and radioactive chemicals. We followed OSHA and NRC procedures and were audited for same. I personally maintained records of exposure to radiation for every employee who worked with it, as was required by regulation. I also maintained accident records for the site. I did laboratory inspections and made reports. I headed both the safety and radiation safety committees and in this capacity, wrote safety procedures to improve our safety and standards.

So, my views of safe versus unsafe sex are formed by these experiences in the scientific, medical and professional safety capacities.

I  have been reviewing gay pornography since 2008. Of course I adore gay porn!!!! I thought that my blog would be a good way to spread the message that safe sex is hot sex.

In the past year or two however, many of my industry friends have opted to the bare backing scene. I too have been approached by studios who have bareback sex for reviews and promotion and I have always said “No thank you”. A well known director who has won awards told me in confidence that he believed that studios in the future would all be bareback.

My opinion is that what one does at home is one’s own business. But once a sex worker steps into a studio, that employee’s safety should be protected by the employer. Period. It is totally a question of employee safety in my mind. The entire freedom of speech argument is a non-sequitor and illogical. The studio is a workplace; the employee is given instructions to follow by the employer. It is all a question of safety. I could not go into big pharma and say whatever I wanted for fear of being fired. Or, I could not choose not to follow safety requirements because of free speech. I would be at risk of being fired. Plus I could endanger fellow employees and the property. Using condoms in porn is the only known way to protect employees from HIV and STD’s.

When AB1576 was introduced in California, I was hopeful! Finally condoms would be required in porn in California.

Resistance was fierce. Most of it was for financial reasons though; never a good slant for safety. I could recount many times that safety was sacrificed for the almighty dollar.

It was true though that sex workers’ records would have to be maintained at the studio under AB1576. But this was never a problem at our company. Personal information was kept confidential at all costs. A responsible employee would not have trouble with doing this. Also, there would be no need to sero-sort performers who were using condoms. If bare backing companies are sero-sorting, don’t they already have personal medical information? Why isn’t it a problem if BB studios do it, but as soon as it is done for safe sex, privacy is an issue.

Unfortunately, the bill failed. That is why I am so bummed.

I am against bare backing because of my concern for employee safety and also because I believe that influenceable viewers may copy what they see their favorite porn star doing on-screen. The CDC reports that HIV infections are up in the US. Infection rates are also up in Europe and Asia. Here is another article on the matter. Though no scientific study has proven the association to be true I feel the association is a no-brainer. Besides, shouldn’t we err on the side of safety?

I feel that the real heroes of this story are those sex workers who refuse to take the bigger paycheck that bare backing offers, which can easily be more than $1,000 per scene plus airfare. For many of these people, that is a huge amount of money. Also worthy of note are the studios that refuse to go to raw sex, even given the greater financial rewards available.

Part of the problem is that the porn market is changing and salaries are far lower than they were in the past for sex workers. At one time, a sex worker would earn $2,000 per scene, now that has dropped to $400 to $600. Plus amenities such as airfare are not paid out anymore.

All of these problems could be solved if there was a sex worker union formed. Salaries are determined by unions as are worker safety standards. But forming a sex worker union is quite problematic when escorting is not legal in many states. Even if it was, still the organizing and signing up of sex workers would be a monumental task.

So, I am bummed. Majorly. I have lost interest in doing reviews and even in watching porn altogether.

All I can say is that if you are a sex worker who is bare backing, take Truvada. It should protect you from sero-converting if you can tolerate it. Unfortunately it will not protect you from other STD’s.

DEAN MONROE’S WORLD is finally here April 21

April 7, 2012 Posted by suefairview

FELIXITATIONS by Roger Kean Reviewed

April 6, 2012 Posted by suefairview

Amazon Book Description

Publication Date: March 30, 2012

One Being – Millennia – Destinies Changed

Facilitator and felicitator, to have winsome young Felix step into a man’s life is a transforming event: the course of destiny is altered. Emotions are unlocked, hidden longings are revealed, luck changes for the better… and sometimes for the worse. When Felix appears pleasurable fun and deserved pure, dreamed-of felicity or punishment ensue.

Over a span of thousands of years this enigmatic being’s random odyssey affects the lives of men attracted to his mesmerizing persona… yet Felix bears no hidden agenda, does not choose when or where he materializes – all happens by felicitous chance… or does it?

Embark on an erotic journey through time. From Ancient Summer, Egypt and Rome through Renaissance Italy, modern Europe, Africa, and the Americas to the future above Earth, witness a kaleidoscope of human lives felixitated by this most enchanting being, named Felix.

Review:

What a lovely book Roger Kean has written! I was going to race through it and write my review, but the text caused me to savor it slowly; it was that enjoyable.

The enigmatic and ephemeral Felix, perpetually young, blond haired and blue eyed, pops up repeatedly through times in history and locales as well as in the future in this well written novel. Kean’s impeccable knowledge of history makes this novel exquisitely fun to read as does the fact that he is obviously well traveled. Each vignette puts the reader in the time and place with the detailed descriptions. The characters are also well described and some of them are also repeated through time.  Thankfully, Kean is a romantic and I just love romance in a story! Though not all of the story is romance; some is quite tragic. Then of course there is the sex, and that too is well depicted to the point of eroticism. I got the feeling that Mr. Kean’s life experiences were poured into this book and fortunately, the benefactors are the reader.

There are many young men who discover their true gay nature as a result of a visit by Felix. So this novel is recommended for anyone coming to grips with their sexual identity. I am highly recommending it in general – it was a very enjoyable read worth savoring at the beside nightly!

***** 5 stars

THE WOLF GIFT – by Anne Rice: Reviewed

March 17, 2012 Posted by suefairview

A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles (“unrelentingly erotic . . . unforgettable”—The Washington Post), Lives of the Mayfair Witches (“Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature”—San Francisco Chronicle), and the angels of The Songs of the Seraphim (“remarkable”—Associated Press). A whole new world—modern, sleek, high-tech—and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history: the making of a werewolf, reimagined and reinvented as only Anne Rice, teller of mesmerizing tales, conjurer extraordinaire of other realms, could create.

The time is the present.

The place, the rugged coast of Northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer . . . An older woman welcoming him into her magnificent family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . An idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence, the young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation, as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing what he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf” by authorities, the media, and scientists (evidence of DNA threatens to reveal his dual existence) . . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there may be others like him who are watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time who possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge. And throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

Review:

Thank goodness that Anne Rice has stopped writing about religion and returned to Gothic horror! I really enjoyed this book!

The protagonist, Reuben, is only 23, just out of college and all of his friends and relatives don’t consider him an adult yet as we can see by the boyish nicknames used for him and they way they treat him. He even has trouble seeing himself as one. His first foray into the adult work world is as an journalist. Although he is wonderful at this occupation, he does not see it.

Interestingly, he falls for a woman who is 15 years senior to him when he goes to write an exposé on a house up in Mendocino. After he is bitten, he grows in bulk and stature and it seems as if he awakens to the world as he has never been before. His senses become alive and becomes aware in many ways he wasn’t previously. For example, he begins to think about good and evil, since the fatal attack on the home’s owner. The former part of this is surely because he is becoming wolfenkind as well as because he is a victim of a crime.

This “awakening” is a crucial epiphany in his being as it leads him to become an entirely new and adult person. One that none of his relatives or friends will ever recognize again. They feel distant from him immediately and show appropriate concern – his surgeon mother running all kinds of tests and contacting specialists from around the world.

Of course, he understands none of it. The book is really about his search to understand and accept what is happening to him. He finds that in his wolfen state he can detect evil and is drawn to destroy it. But he must do this without being found or captured. He also realizes that if he accidentally bites anyone, he can pass on the wolf gift.

What a wonderful book from Anne Rice! I heartily recommend it to all lovers of the horror genre!

*****

BIG BEN Reviewed

February 2, 2012 Posted by suefairview

From Amazon:

London, England. Ben Barlettano, a successful, highly-sexed yet still wet behind the ears 26-year old New York lawyer lands in the Elephant & Castle. Through a chain of unexpected experiences, Ben discovers his new life: exciting, sometimes harsh, occasionally extreme, but never dull. Ben meets a number of people, each with stories and secrets. There is the respectable senior partner who is addicted to bondage clubs; the serenely efficient office manager who cannot bring herself to tell her boyfriend she, too, used to have a penis; the statuesque gym instructor hiding his emotions under a perennial smile; and of course the woman Ben falls for, almost on day one, who seems afraid of nothing – until she gets scared.

Uncomfortable encounters in Turkish baths, moonlighting as an escort for charity, violent arguments with a neighbour and thoroughly mismanaging a ménage-à-trois are just some of the things that Ben is utterly unprepared for.

Will Ben survive what London throws at him, or will he end up scuttling back to his Italian mamma in New York?

Review:

This was a totally fun read; a British version of the beach-book, if you will. I am very glad that Erik tossed it my way. The characters are well developed and the locations are well described. You get that “I could be there” feeling while reading the book. The plot was entirely plausible and holds interest for people who are dealing with sexual identity issues as well as learning about gay lifestyles. Of course if you are already an out and proud gay or bisexual, you will probably enjoy the book too. Even if you are a open-minded heterosexual female, like me, the book will charm you!

[NB: This book was only available on Kindle when I read it. I don't have a Kindle, but I have an iPhone. I downloaded the app for FREE! Now my iPhone is a Kindle! The paperback will be available in March.]