Edmund White is a groundbreaking gay author (A Boy's Own Story), an influential figure in AIDS advocacy (he cofounded Gay Men's Health Crisis), and a superfreak in bed. These are the headlines from his provocative autobiography, My Lives, which includes an astute study of psychoanalysis, an insightful pre- and post-Stonewall gay history, and an NC-17 shut the blinds'cause the neighbors might see what you're reading ode to S&M. Each chapter name echoes the title ''My Mother,'' ''My Shrinks,'' ''My Hustlers'' a compartmentalized approach that sometimes forsakes clarity but allows White to delve deep into his psyche. (Curiously, the only subject that's basically off limits is White's current lover of 10 years.) It's titillating to see a semi-legend push the advice of Socrates ''the unexamined life is not worth living'' to absurdity.