Sex by the shore

For readers looking to beef up their IQ in the ultimate sex ed course, this account of the sexual histories and revolutions that shaped the cultural and social dynamic of modern San Francisco reads like a gritty, no-nonsense textbook. From the prostitutes that trolled the legendary Barbary Coast during the gold rush era to the bathhouses and expansion of gay bars in the ’60s and ’70s (followed by the devastation of the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s), Erotic City provides countless, uncompromising vignettes depicting those who fought on the front lines of various sexual revolutions throughout the city’s history. Brothel owner Sally Stanford had a sharp tongue and an innate ability to avoid police raids in the 1940s. In later years, marchers picketed for access to birth control and GLBT equality in the workplace. Sides explores both the political and social elements associated with the fight for sexual liberation in an unflinchingly honest fashion.