Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime

Alex Espinoza (Author)


"Espinoza's book stands out as a beacon for future queer writers, thinkers, and activists. Reading these accounts, I felt myself drawn into a past both wonderful and strange, a world I hope we will continue to celebrate and preserve." --Garrard Conley
Acclaimed author Alex Espinoza takes readers on an uncensored journey through the underground, to reveal the timeless art of cruising. Combining historical research and oral history with his own personal experience, Espinoza examines the political and cultural forces behind this radical pastime. From Greek antiquity to the notorious Molly houses of 18th century England, the raucous 1970s to the algorithms of Grindr, Oscar Wilde to George Michael, cruising remains at once a reclamation of public space and the creation of its own unique locale--one in which men of all races and classes interact, even in the shadow of repressive governments. In Uganda and Russia, we meet activists for whom cruising can be a matter of life and death; while in the West he shows how cruising circumvents the inequalities and abuses of power that plague heterosexual encounters. Ultimately, Espinoza illustrates how cruising functions as a powerful rebuke to patriarchy and capitalism--unless you are cruising the department store restroom, of course.

Product Details

$21.99  $19.79
Unnamed Press
Publish Date
June 04, 2019
5.0 X 0.9 X 7.9 inches | 0.5 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Alex Espinoza is the author of the novels The Five Acts of Diego Leónand Still Water Saints, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Magazine, NPR, Salon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. His awards include a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León. He lives in Los Angeles.


"Espinoza candidly inserts himself into this striking examination with memories of his own cruising adventures and segments of stimulating commentary on gay liberation and the tenets of stealthy sexuality. Provocative, curious, and noteworthy." --Kirkus Reviews
"What makes this book so appealing is the way Espinoza combines his own experiences of cruising with a cogent analysis of the role of cruising... and he writes beautifully. Recommended for LGBT and contemporary culture collections." --Library Journal
"Cruising is touching, resonant, and deeply felt... Espinoza's book invites us to think about the right to freedom of sexual expression and where it fits in within the larger aims of the LGBTQ community." --Michael Nava, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Espinoza explores the ways in which men have learned to navigate the strict policing of same-sex intimacy. But woven throughout is a deeply personal account of his own experiences with cruising. The effect is a constant regrounding of a topic that could have otherwise been rendered completely academic, a reminder to readers that this practice is at its core deeply human." --James Feder, Kirkus Reviews
"Just in time for Pride Month, this is a fascinating history of cruising as a pillar of gay culture." --Sarah Nielson, The Brooklyn Rail
"For a raunchier yet no less incisive take on the intricacies of gay sex, romance and search for community, Alex Espinoza's Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime takes readers on an inspired, greatest-hits tour of public bathrooms, bathhouses and wooded areas in cities the world over to reveal the scintillating backstory of anonymous gay sex and its evolution, from Greek antiquity to the present." --Alexis BurlingSan Francisco Chronicle
"Memoir is the powerful heart of Espinoza's book, the places where he makes us feel the power of cruising as what he calls a 'cultural identifier' of gay experience, the act that marks us as constitutionally different from straight people." --John Birdsall, Los Angeles Times