By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com August 09 2012 5:13 PM ET
Gloria Brame, Ph.D. and Race Bannon write about alternative sexualities and relationships in their books. Brame is the author the new series, The Truth About Sex, while Bannon's Learning the Ropes: A Basic Guide to Safe and Fun BDSM Lovemaking is legend among kinksters. They’re also good friends.
Bannon: You write about such a wide range of sexuality and relationship topics. If you could pick one topic about either that you consider of the greatest interest to you, what would it be and why?
Brame: I couldn’t ever commit to only one topic. I’m not a scholar per se, the person who can devote their lives to one quest for knowledge. I’m in it for the war, and eager to fight on different battlefields. So I write and blog about all aspects of sex and sex history. While I’m best known for my work on BDSM, my new books are devoted to examining the history and science of sex. I want to open dialogue about more realistic and humane models of sex and gender.
Bannon: You’re also a sex therapist.
Brame: Yes, I love being a sex therapist. In addition to the personal gratification of seeing clients succeed it’s taught me that there is so much work to be done on sexually educating adults. In that respect, I want to alleviate the unnecessary suffering out there about sexual identity and function and normality, and debunk the myths and illogic that seem to govern our culture. How about you? Learning the Ropes has become a classic text and on every BDSM must-read list. Are there other subjects that draw you?
Bannon: Your timing is impeccable with that question. Although much of my professional life has revolved around the written word, the bulk of my personal writing has focused on alternative sexualities, BDSM in particular. That appears to be changing. I find so much in life fascinating. I've recently begun to write about any topic that appeals to me. My blogs have been my outlet thus far for these writings, but I'm also working on a couple of new books that are completely different than the BDSM subject area covered in Learning The Ropes.
Bannon: One thing in particular fascinates me the most and that is the dissection of the life experience to its most basic components — the principles by which life operates. I think my strongest life skill is my ability to synthesize entire areas of life experience, or specific subject areas of life, and arrive at underlying, foundation principles upon which those experiences are based. I'm discovering that this permeates all that I do and it's likely to be something I more consciously focus on in the future when I write. Gloria, your books are classics in both the BDSM and general sexuality realms. The quality of your work is never questioned. But I'm curious, if one day you look back upon your career, particularly your writing career, and can have attained but one objective, what might that be? How do you want to specifically influence the world?
Brame: I want to change the world. Is that asking too much? I started my writing life as a poet, and poets think of writing as holy and powerful enough to move people, and I think that fanciful dream underlies all my work, that somehow my writing will help foment meaningful change. I see myself as part of the great collective of sex activists, rights activists, feminists, and intellectually untrammeled thinkers who are working, each in their own ways, to create positive change and advance the cause of sexual freedom. My new book series, The Truth About Sex, is really my life work: it’s all my thoughts and theories about how sex is lived by real people, as opposed to how the anti-sex prudes and propagandists pretend sex works. I shared my vision. Would you share yours, Race? As a man with so many passions in life, is there one place or several where you’d like to make your mark?
Bannon: There are two areas of interest besides kinky sex that I am currently quite passionate about. The first is self-education, sometimes also referred to as autodidactism, informal learning or self-directed learning. I feel our educational system is mired in an outdated industrial education model. Our society still falls for the notion that one can push knowledge and skill into someone's head versus the student pulling that information to them in ways that are more meaningful. I don't have much hope that our educational system will change adequately to truly address the learning needs of most people. Since I have learned so much through self-education versus formal education, I'd like to write and evangelize more about fostering and supporting self-education skills, particularly among adults who have soured on the relative ineffectiveness of our formal schooling system to provide them with the useful knowledge and skills needed in the increasingly fast changing information landscape we live within today.
Brame: What's the other area you're interested in?
Bannon: The other area is the more general one of self-improvement. Since childhood I've been a voracious reader of self-improvement books. From perhaps the first real personal development writings of Epictetus to more contemporary books, they've always been a type of written wisdom I am drawn to. Over my lifetime I've developed a personal collection of what I refer to at the principles of life. These are what I consider the foundation, universal principles that underlie the entire spectrum of life experience. I believe that by fully understanding these principles, it informs and guides everything we do in life to make our life experience better. So those are the two areas I'm currently focused on besides kinky sex, although I don't see myself slowing down on my writing about alternative sexualities and relationship options anytime soon.
About the Authors:
Gloria Brame is a sex therapist and the author of Different Loving, Come Hither: A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex, and The Truth About Sex, Vol. I, Sex and the Self. The Truth About Sex Volume II will be published this fall. Learn more about Gloria’s body of work at GloriaBrame.com.
Race Bannon is an author, among other pursuits. A new 2.0 ebook version of his book, Learning the Ropes: A Basic Guide to Safe and Fun BDSM Lovemaking, will be published soon. You can read his blogs at Bannon.com and RaceBannon.com.