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The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People by…
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The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People (1981)

by Irving Wallace, Amy Wallace, Sylvia Wallace, David Wallechinsky

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I read "The intimate sex lives of famous people" for the first time many years ago now, when the youth I possessed was particularly calloused and my knowledge of sex somewhat limited.

One can imagine the shock I felt then to read of things like Havelock Ellis being a urination voyeur, James Boswell's weird fixation on trees and coprophilia (I looked this up in a dictionary and got the surprise of my life).

"The intimate sex lives of famous people" consists of short biographies of over one hundred famous people from history, ranging from Tsar Alexander II of Russia to Emile Zola, with attention given to whatever fetishes or peculiarities each figure enjoyed (for Alexander it was his collection of erotica, while Zola was a polygamist). The authors attempt to show that without knowledge of the sex lives of the famous, how can we fully understand their public actions. Well, it certainly gave me a more rounded understanding of some famous people.

In decades since "The intimate sex lives of famous people" was first released, sex as a topic for discussion has become more open and so the contents of the book feels less risque, and in fact sound quite conservative compared to the tell-all stories of today's celebs.

My favourite biography would have to be of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who had a spanking fetish, was into exposing himself in public (which led to him being attacked by a posse of broomstick carrying women), who fell in lust with inanimate objects (much to the consternation of the owners of such objects) and "Sex became so painful for him that he gave it up entirely for the last twenty-three years of his life, returning to masturbation."

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone curious enough to want to know what famous people got up to in their spare time. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Nov 7, 2014 |
This book chronicles the sex lives of a wide variety of people throughout history, organized by occupation: from artists to scientists to politicians to royalty to activists and so on. I wish more non-Western people had been profiled, though. The book is written in a very professional, encyclopedic tone. Each entry has a biographical sketch of the person, a picture of them, information on their sex/love life, a quote from them on that subject, and suggestions for further reading.

I was very surprised by some of the things I learned. For example, Havelock Ellis, who was basically the father of modern sexology, was impotent until he was 60 years old.

Because of the way the book is designed, it's not meant to be read in one sitting. (And you probably couldn't anyway; it's very long.) I would recommend it as bedside-table reading or even toilet reading; each entry is about the right length for that. Anyone who is interested in sex trivia or historical trivia would enjoy this. ( )
2 vote meggyweg | Mar 30, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Irving Wallaceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wallace, Amymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Wallace, Sylviamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Wallechinsky, Davidmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The way in which people make love may tell us more about them than any searching analysis could.

Maurice Nadeau, editor of "Les Lettres Nouvelles"
Dedication
First words
To the making of sex books there is no end.
Quotations
"Women are like elephants to me: I like to look at them but I wouldn't want to own one."
W.C. Fields
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Revealing! An encyclopedia of what our celebrated betters do between the sheets."--TIME "More astonishing and outrageous than most of us would even imagine."--Forecast "Entirely fascinating. . . . Hugely entertaining."--Auberon Waugh,Inquiry "Something for everyone . . . eminent flashers, fetishists, flagellants, plain old down home fornicators, and goings-on galore."--Cosmopolitan From the indefatigable Wallace family, authors ofThe Book of Lists andThe People's Almanac series (New York Times bestsellers that sold over eight million copies internationally), came 1981'sThe Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People. This compelling bestseller that kept many a reader up at night with its two hundred revealing profiles and three hundred rare photos just got better with a dozen new entries on the nocturnal fascinations of the iconic Tupac Shakur, Carlos Casteneda, Jim Morrison, Nico, Wilt Chamberlain, Ayn Rand, Kurt Cobain, Princess Diana, Aleister Crowley, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Hutchence, and Malcolm X. Irving Wallace was the famous novelist and screenwriting author ofThe Chapman Report andThe Word. His wife,Sylvia Wallace, wrote the best-selling novelThe Fountains. The Wallace family's publishing magic lives on withAmy Wallace, author ofThe Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda, andDavid Wallechinsky, author ofThe Complete Book of the Summer Olympics andTyrants: The World's Worst Dictators.… (more)

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