lack of interest in sex, an interest previouslyncentral to his life. Comfort andnpleasure are the twin rulers of his world.nThere surely must be, he concludes,nsomething very seriously wrong with anman whose appetite is not markedly,nconstantly, and earnestly stimulated bynthe sexual banquet promised by his culturenthrough television, radio, magazines,nbooks, advertising, film, andnalmost everything else. Referred to anspecialist. Dr. Proinsias Rosenberg, hendocilely undergoes the treatment offerednby professional sexologists fornsuch a tragic condition. The ludicrousn”profession” of sex therapy is Amis’snimmediate target but not his principlenone. Rosenberg’s diagnosis containsnevery silly cliche we have come, alas,nto accept as absolute truth. “Our society’snrepressive attitude toward sex hasnengendered an unrelaxed attitude innyou. You’ve been conditioned into acceptancenof a number of rigid taboosn. . . You’re suffering from guilt andnshame.”nJake is suspicious of the diagnosis,nsince his experience suggests that henlives in a society in which anythingngoes, a society, in fact, which insistsnthat he take up the sex game with thenenthusiastic intensity of everyone else.nHe concludes later, “Repressive? Inn1977? I was doing fine when thingsnwere really repressive, if they ever were,nit’s only since they’ve become, oh, permissiventhat I’ve had trouble.” For now,nhe dutifully goes along with the prescribedntreatment; he is in the habitnof doing exactly what the doctor orders.nAlthough one is not surprised by thenilliteracy of specialists nowadays, Rosenbergnis astonishingly remarkable innhis indifference and antipathy to everythingnbut his narrow profession. Henprescribes a methodical, joyless programnof nongenital and genital sensate focusingntherapy in rigidly controlled stages.nJake is bored. Dr. Rowena Trefusisnoffers the technological approach to sexn— high speed artificial stimulators andnRichterlike measuring apparatus. “Nobody’snthinking of you as an individualn14nChronicles of Culturenor a person. You’re just an object.”nJake registers a disappointing .9 on an33-9 scale. The girlie magazines andnother fantasy masturbatory techniquesnalso leave his libido unrehabilitated.nJake thinks the girls have faces likenJimmy Carter. Finally, he is sent to Ed,nthe American “facilitator,” for groupntherapy. “I aim to release checks onnemotion and improve insight.” Ed’snabuse therapy and humiliation techniques,nwhile driving one patient to ansuicide attempt, convince Jake that thengame is not worth the candle. All thenfact that they hold it, their use of misunderstandingnand misrepresentationnas weapons of debate, their selectivensensitivity to tones of voice, theirnunawareness of the difference innthemselves between sincerity and insincerity,ntheir interest in importancen(together with noticeable inability tondiscriminate in that sphere), theirnfondness for general conversation andndirectionless discussion, their preemptionnof the major share of feeling,ntheir exaggerated estimate of theirnown plausibility, their never listeningnand lots of other things like that,n”The title of the mw .uu novel is .i pun on ihe hern’s .inachronisiic mulenchauvinism and lii^ [ruMnbi-r. wliii-li is ;dni()sl as inoriliund as LordnChatterley’s.”n— Booklistn”. . . there are problems- amoni; tluinnyoung, a tauntini: ‘1 ory narrowness .. .”‘na gi’owini,’ nuMiines.s unvard then— Benjamin Du.MottnAtlantic MoHlhlxn”It must be said thai /f/.’t • 7/’.’«;;• is a ery tunny hook …'”n— Si’u- York Re vie ir of Hooksnsexologists have to offer, he concludes,nis arrogance, effrontery, and greed; intellectuallynthey are beneath contempt.nBrenda, however, finds another mannin the process and leaves Jake. Settlingnin “a perfectly bearable couple ofnrooms,” Jake never wonders if or fornlong how much he misses her. Learningnthat his problem is physical after alln(testosterone level), he declines thensimple cure.n”Jake did a quick run-through ofnwomen in his mind, not of the onesnhe had known or dealt with in the pastnfew months or years so much as all ofnthem: their concern with the surfacenof things, with objects and appearances,nwith their surroundings andnhow they looked and sounded in them,nwith seeming to be better and to benright while getting everything wrong,ntheir automatic assumption of thenrole of the injured party in any clashnof wills, their certainty that a view isnthe more credible and useful for thennnall according to him.nSo it was quite easy. ‘No thanks,’ hensaid.”nJake’s decision is not a victory,neven a limited one. Although he isnrightly critical of and indignant overnthe cultural malaise of which he is anpart, his withdrawal into cold indifference,nwhile necessary, is hardly triumphant.nThere is a submerged scenarionin the novel pointing to things morensignificant than the desperately funnynsatire on sexology, which is, after all,nmerely a symptom of society’s sexualnmadness. It is necessary to look at Jakenfrom another perspective. The passagenquoted above, for all its insight, containsnthe key words, “all according to him.”nThe women in Jake’s life make ancommon accusation against him. Brendan”considered her husband to be at bestnindifferent to all women except as sex-n