What can a child make of a small-town culture in which love is a given, but intimacy is deemed sinful? What does a shy adult do when he finds out his great-grandmother ran a bordello? How does a stubborn individual resist labels and remain the “gentleman” he was raised to be? Growing up gay and Catholic in the state of Kentucky in the mid-twentieth century, author and Broadway performer Kevin Lane Dearinger was puzzled by what he heard about sex: the sneers, lies, misrepresentations, distortions, guilt, and secrecy. Some of his experiences were traumatic, but most just contributed to a life-saving sense of the absurd. The natural was made unnatural by gossip and judgment, fear and cruelty, and sex was “bad” in Kentucky, but language, humor, and time have provided protection and perspective. Bad Sex in Kentucky is about seeking grace under pressure, even at the risk of a pratfall. It is about place, family, and heritage. It is about survival at a price and a kind of ferocious forgiveness. It is about the search for identity within the tangled intersection of sex and love.
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