According to a recent American sex survey, we've become a nation of fairly tame monogamists. In several new erotic novels, however, promiscuity still rules though it makes men crazy and drives women to self-abasement and suicide. Just like the Puritans said.
In John Herman's The Weight of Love, a happily married New York City wine merchant named David Smith feels compelled, shortly after his 40th birthday, to seek out and fall in love with a cavalcade of women: the mother of his daughter's classmate; a French countess with ''an instinct to lie''; even a ditsy physical therapist. ''It seemed,'' he moans, ''that without the love of women I would die.'' And when his serial obsessions drive him to despair, he almost does. Though Herman's prose often feels mannered and is entirely humorless, it's always evocative and smart. And the bedroom scenes are hot. B