Talking With Edmund White: His New Novel, Gay Looksism, Dick Size, and Hooking Up at 76

Rich Juzwiak · 04/06/16 09:00AM

At a certain point while preparing for my interview with the novelist, memoirist, and editor Edmund White, I had to ask myself: What could I possibly say about a certain segment of gay life that Edmund White hasn’t already said beautifully or unflinchingly? “What we desire is crucial to who we are,” he wrote in his 2009 memoir City Boy. “People also like to slur someone who’s very good-looking; beauties are often branded ‘sluts’ or ‘whores,’ though these words make little sense in a sexually permissive age. What, in fact, do they mean? That someone likes to have a lot of sex with a lot of people? What’s so bad about that?” he asked in the ‘Beauties’ entry in the original 1977 edition of The Joy of Gay Sex, which he edited. And then there’s this astounding paragraph from his 1980 travelogue about regional gay culture, States of Desire:

Choire · 08/15/07 12:30PM

This website that reviews Manhunt gay sex-seeking profiles finds Edmund White's a bit lacking, but we admire its straightforwardness. We assume there's intended to be an undercurrent of shame-casting to the endeavor of identifying and mocking a dude's online sex profile. Umm, Ed White not only wrote The Joy of Gay Sex in 1977, he's a Genet biographer. He's evolved way beyond shame. We should all be so lucky. [Hunters and Gatherers]