During the decade in which the following essays were composed, I was fortunate in having as initial readers some remarkable persons. First among these was my wife, Lynn Randolph, who suffered through successive drafts and my persistent irritation at her persistent insight.
A very special reader was the late Robert J. Stoller. Bob read early versions of everything except the last essay and his responses were generous in criticism and enthusiasm. Beyond our too few conversations and exchanges of letter, he came to constitute a significant other whose understanding I could assume and whose approval I wanted; writing, in part, often became a one-sided conversation with him. This, of course, is in addition to all I learned from conversing with his substantial writings.
A similar role was played by Martin Levine, whose premature death also represents a great loss. He, too, was a person whose understanding and approval were important considerations for more than two decades.
Virginia Carmichael was one of the first persons to read this as a single manuscript. She returned a document thoroughly scarred by the application of her intelligence, her substantive knowledge, and her severe editorial pencil. In responding to her numerous comments and suggestions, I found myself approaching a clarity that I had previously been successful in avoiding. In subsequent tampering with these essays I can only hope that I have not undone too much of what she helped me realize.
John Gagnon, friend since graduate school days, colleague at the Institute for Sex Research, and collaborator for two decades (1965-85) is obviously a continuing presence in this work. Many of the ideas that constitute this work were initially articulated in the course of this very fruitful collaboration. John coauthored the essays on “sexual scripts” that provided the basis for what, after considerable revision, became Chapter 2. While I am sure that much of what is contained in Chapter 2 is still consistent with his thinking, I am also sure that in the decade since the end of our collaborative efforts our thinking has moved in different directions. His most recent views on sexual scripting and its uses can be found in Lauman and Gagnon (1995) and Lauman et al. (1994).
The earliest versions of what came to be Chapters 3 and 4 were written while on a faculty development leave from the University of Houston, for which I am
very appreciative. I must also acknowledge the succession of students in my course on Sexuality and Society. Being as much a talker as a writer, I talked through with them much that is contained in what follows, in ways that sometimes may have served me more than them.
During this period, my life and work have been enriched by the interaction with many persons—colleagues, students, friends and many who were these in combination. Among these are: C. Alan Haney, Russell Curtis, Ed Willems, Ed Hill, Suzanne Bloom, Artis Bernard, John Bernard, Simon Moss, George Reiter, Patricia Y. Miller, Howard Kaplan, Simon Gotshalk, Diane Kraft, Denise Bullock, Jill Ross, Nancy Stevens, Tony Fuller, and, most recently, Zack Schiller, Greg Carlton, Yvonne Carlton, and Jim Townsend. And almost from the very beginning, James and Veronica Elias and Richard Green.
Writing, like sex itself, can be served as much by argument as by affection. My children, David Simon, Jonathan Simon, Adam Simon, Cean Randolph and Grayson Randolph, by their persistent arguments, shared discoveries, and numerous provocations continuously challenged and often humbled me. From each I continue to learn. Lastly, my brother, Myron Simon, generously shared the reading of page proofs. More importantly, he was the one who led the way into the once alien landscape of North American Academia.
An early version of Chapter 1 appeared in Psychology and Sexual Behavior. Earlier versions of Chapter 2 appeared in Archives of Sexual Behavior and Theories of Human Sexuality (edited by J. Geer and W. O’Donoghue, New York: Plenum). A version of Chapter 5 initially appeared in The Southwest Media Review under the title, “They Lied: Liberty Valance Lives”.