From the onset, I knew I’d get along with Aden Ardennes’ Militant Eroticism. Like Aden, I’m unashamed of my sexual proclivities and uncompromisingly clear about what I want out of the whole shebang. It’s a matter of principle that I put real work into maximizing the joy I get from sexual experiences and relationships in general. In his opening chapter he names his audience, or at least his fan club, “For the few who have the courage to own up to their ‘deviant’ desires, I have reserved the title ‘Militant Eroticists.’” Polyamorist, transsexual, a fan of hardcore BDSM that pushes the boundaries of consensual, I don’t make apologies and I don’t try to moralize anything I do. Any of my friends know the subject of my sex life is never boring, though maybe sometimes gross and uncomfortably honest. They also know that I’m a Militant Eroticist. I know I’m talking about me, my favorite subject, but I’m talking about the book as well.
And you might be thinking, “Ohhh, that sounds juicy!” or “Oh, that sounds...outlandish.” Well, it is and it isn’t.
Though written by a gay man, it’s a book for anyone with an interest in getting the real dirt on sex and sexuality. Aden lays out several strategies for getting the partner you want, getting off with them, and not being a misguided idiot in the process. It’s not a book on hedonism. As he makes clear, it’s an epicurean approach to sex. There is discipline involved. And though discipline is indicated, it’s not a step-by-step guide for idiots, but more of a touch-and-go rundown of some basic concepts that should prove useful to most anyone. Loose guidelines on intimacy, effectively acting on and creating better fantasies, being selective, increasing orgasmic potential, cultural problems with bonding, and affecting a useful demeanor are all here for the taking. (And there are even free poems and Satanic rituals with your purchase of the book.)
From an LGBT cultural perspective, the book is a page-turner, though I wouldn’t say I agree with every page. There are chapters dealing exclusively with the world of being a gay man in our times. Aden laments the loss of a focus on gay men fucking gay men in homosexual culture, harkening back to an era when hard-scrabble homos and transsexuals fought against cops at Stonewall, and now we’re camped out in a wasteland of glitter and glam where myriad disparate groups vie for dominance on center stage. Where’s the masculinity? Why, in the process of mainstreaming, are homos aping the rituals and behaviors of often misguided heterosexuals? What’s with the dress codes? And why the shit are diverse people from dyke chicks to transsexuals to beefy homosexuals listening to diva music and reading articles about skinny jeans? I raise some rainbow colored objections to some of his points. But he has some fine points, even when summing up cultural problems in ways I just wouldn’t and arriving at conclusions I think are arguable. It is, after all, a book of useful generalizations.
It would be mistaken to view this book as a missive on gay culture and lifestyle; that’s only a small part of it. At its core, Militant Eroticism is simply a guide on figuring things out for yourself. It’s a nudge in the right direction, whether giving a brief overview on condoms or how to deflect all the malarkey that comes along with belonging to any sexuality or cultural group. Take the nudge...in your butt.