by Kevin Keck
Cleis Press, 2005
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jan 19th 2006
Oedipus Wrecked is a gut-wrenchingly funny and rather sad, being a collection of stories of a compulsive masturbator. If you read it in a public place, be prepared to laugh out loud but have to keep the pages away from others’ glances. Keck starts his book with the time when he was 16 that his mother mentioned to him that she had a vibrator. Within a day he had used it on himself, anally. He talks in some depth of his sexuality as an adolescent, including the time he thought he must be gay and his very limited experience with a male friend. He even goes back to his preteen days when he started masturbating, when he had to explain to his mother why he had carved a hole though the soap. He tells of his soiling of the underwear of various women and girls with his self-pleasuring, and the repetition of this theme will leave women reluctant to let any male alone in their house, and will reinforce parents’ protective feelings towards their daughters. Keck’s confessions make him a rather sad figure, but he is more than willing to tell stories in ways that make him the butt of the joke. The list of “lubricants” he uses during masturbation he relates to a doctor is astounding, including motor oil, toothpaste, garlic-butter sauce and ice cream. The doctor tells Keck that he is lucky that he penis hasn’t fallen off. In the final title story, Keck reveals more about his relationship with his parents, including his killing of his father’s wiener dog. When he mentioned this fact to his psychotherapist a few years later, the clinician suspected Keck might be making it up, because it was too perfectly Freudian. It would be fascinating to know more about what Keck learned in therapy, and how much his overenthusiasm for bashing the bishop was related to his family dynamics. Oedipus Wrecked is a short book, and it stays pretty much at the surface of Keck’s pathology. It is It is refreshing to read about a topic that most men would be rather shy to discuss openly. Keck’s humor makes the subject more accessible, yet still reveals the embarrassment and social difficulties that his masturbation can cause.
Link: Author website
© 2006 Christian Perring. All
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor
of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.