With Fifty Shades of Grey grossing nearly $250 million in worldwide ticket sales in its first weekend, I guess it’s no surprise that there’s been renewed interest in Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American SexualityTo say I’m pleased with that is an understatement.

Secret Sex Lives

I got my first hint of that interest when a photo journalist for the Chicago Tribune sent me an email that had “Loved Your Book!” as the subject line. Her gracious email resulted in a beautiful Chicago Tribune review of Secret Sex Lives. In the review she wrote, “Spencer’s memoir is a touching, honest look into the intimate lives of a few and a deeper look into the author’s own inner conflict with sexuality.”

Ah yes, that makes me sigh with happiness.

A week or so after the review came out, I was asked to appear on Good Day Austin, my city’s Fox affiliate morning show. I was told I was going to be talking about loneliness in America. Instead, we discussed Secret Sex Lives. In less than four minutes, we covered how the book started and how it evolved. I found it be a remarkable good summation.

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Secret Sex Lives in Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune recommends “Secret Sex Lives” as alternative reading to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”


Suzy Spencer, Secret Sex Lives

Suzy Spencer interviewed on “Good Day Austin” about “Secret Sex Lives.”







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That night, I was in my favorite bookstore, BookPeople, to record The Write Up with Owen Egerton. Owen is a novelist, screenwriter, director, and improv artist, and The Write Up is a podcast he does for KUT radio, Austin’s NPR affiliate. During  most episodes of The Write Up, Owen talks in depth to authors about their work, their influences, their motivations, etc. So I was prepared to tell him about my love for Dennis the Menace comic books and how I couldn’t stop reading about Johnny Tremain, Patrick Henry, and the like during my elementary school years.

Instead, we talked about Secret Sex Lives and Secret Sex Lives and sex and more sex and BDSM and swinging and fried chicken and bacon. And did I say we talked about sex? In other words, we laughed for an hour. It was fabulous fun. Afterwards, The Write Up producer Rebecca McInroy wrote on my Facebook page, “Suzy Spencer, you were captivating, hilarious, moving and honest!!! What a true joy!! Thank YOU!!” 

To say I’m now in love with Rebecca McInroy is also an understatement. And when The Write Up podcast goes online, I’ll definitely be inserting a link.

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But let me clarify that mixed with all this joy is the reality of writing and publishing. Some days are winners. Most days aren’t. With that in mind, my friends at The Writing Barn asked me to blog about rejection. Specifically, rejecting rejection. Today, that essay went live. I hope “I’m Tired of Rejection” makes you laugh and, if you’re a writer, gives you hope. After all, writing  and “success” at writing is not something that happens in a nanosecond. It takes time, often years, and perseverance, particularly on days when you want to give up and others encourage you to give up.

Secret Sex Lives author on rejecting rejection

“I’m Tired of Rejection” — Rejecting Rejection

Perseverance. Let me say that word again. Perseverance. In the world of book publishing, publishers, editors, publicists, sales reps, bookstores, reviewers and even the general public usually give a book three or four months to succeed. If a book isn’t a success in that length of time, they must move on to the next possible hit, because there are stockholders they have to please with profits. So to see Secret Sex Lives reviewed in the Chicago Tribune two and a half years after the book was first published is a miracle, a miracle for which I am grateful.

The next miracle I want is to see Secret Sex Lives as a cable TV series. Just like most people didn’t see the Chicago Tribune reviewing Secret Sex Lives two and a half years after publication, most people don’t see Secret Sex Lives as a cable TV series. But I do, and I know it can be “captivating, hilarious, moving and honest” as Rebecca McInroy said, and “touching” and “honest,” as the Chicago Tribune stated, and filled with a beautifully layered cast of characters. If you don’t believe me, contact me and ask me. I’ll be more than happy to tell you.



Suzy Spencer is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist.
  1. angela Reply
    Man oh man am I happy to see you still dreaming and driving Secret Sex Lives Suzy. It makes me proud to have been a part of it and of you for having the courage to take it from a collection of stats and interviews into the map of your own journey into exploring sexuality, loneliness and honesty. Not only are people lonely and feeling isolated, even ashamed if they are "not normal" but most of all I firmly believe people want to hear the truth. They want , to know that life, sexuality, relationships, intimacy are not as restrictive or colorless as fear or mainstream culture would have one believe. They want to know someone sees them in all their complexity and says hey that is pretty cool, even kind of amazing. I firmly believe you will be remembered primarily for this one book. I believe that is a pretty awesome legacy on its own merits. It would be even more satisfying if you, your sex freaks and all the folks still hiding in the shadows could take this legacy a step farther. I have a new mantra now: Sex Secret Lives is quality TV. Let's do for alternative sexuality what shows like The Wire or Sons of Anarchy did: cast the light of day into the corners and recesses of America. Angela
    • Suzy Reply
      Your belief in my work and me ... well, I don't know how to express that much gratitude. Thank you, Angela.

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