Sep 252014
 

Sweet and RoughBook: Sweet & Rough:Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut
Editor: Sinclair Sexsmith
Publisher: Maverick Press
$7.99 digital book; epub, pdf, mobi (available now!)
$24.95 hardcover book (Nov 2014)

Sinclair Sexsmith is one of my favorite erotic writers, whose stories combine all of the things that are important to me: power and gender dynamics, intimacy, consent, kink, multidimensional characters, and believable plots. If anything, Sweet & Rough: Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut takes erotica to a new level for me, because it’s easier for me to identify with than most smut that I read.

As much as I enjoyed reading the book, it was even more of a pleasure to get to ask Mr. Sexsmith a few questions about the book…

All of your stories are written in first person and you are almost always packing. How important is having a cock to your masculinity?

Sinclair Sexsmith“It’s not that having a cock is important to my masculinity so much as it is important to my sexuality and sexual expression. For whatever reason, I’m very cock-centric, and much of my erotic play centers around penetration and reception. You might even say I have a penetration or a cock fetish. Interesting, coming from a dyke, huh? It’s a curious contradiction, to me, and one that has taken me a lot of deconstructing and reconstructing to make sense of.

Of course, masculinity is also important to my sexuality and sexual expression, so it isn’t that the masculinity doesn’t go hand-in-hand. But my cock isn’t so much about my masculine presentation as it is about playing with a lover’s body in ways that incorporate power, penetration, and energy. Since those are some of my most significant fetishes and kinks, and since strap-on cocks are a really excellent tool to play with all three of those, I tend to have an incredibly cock-centric sex life. Probably 9 times out of 10 that I have sex, I’m strapped on.”

I noticed that in pretty much all of these stories you integrate reading non-verbal cues as part of receiving consent. As a writer, how difficult is it to balance fantasy and enthusiastic consent?

“It’s so complicated! I am often in conflict with my role as a sexuality and BDSM educator and my role as someone who crafts dirty fantasy stories with the purpose of turning someone on and exploring erotic realms. Non-verbal cues are incredibly hard to teach about and talk about, because they are so easily misinterpreted. But what I love about writing is that you can show a character’s inner story and inner world really clearly, so you can show the conflict they feel about whether or not they got consent, or the very clear consent they are thinking even if their body language is the only cue.

The issue of consent and whether consent and ethics are clearly depicted in erotica is something I think about a lot, and try to play with consciously in my work. As I’ve been evolving as a writer and creator, I don’t think it’s as black and white as I previously thought it was, and I’m interested in exploring more of the nuance. (I refuse to add anything about “shades of grey.”)”

I can see many aspects of these stories that reflect what I know of you as a sexual person: gender play, power dynamics, sacred intimacy, and kink. What does it mean to you to write queer smut?

“Yes, absolutely—this book is really revealing, the closest thing to a diary that I’ve released. It’s been interesting how much vulnerability has come up, now that it is making the rounds and people are talking about the content! What does it mean to write queer smut … hmmm. I started because I have always been a writer, and because I was obsessing over reading “lesbian erotica” but most of it didn’t have the bite, the edge, that I was seeking. And, I started because I wanted to write as a way to explore my own fantasies and my own inner erotic world, in order to write myself into a better sex life. I gotta say: That worked. Incredibly well. Articulating my own fantasies and erotics made me more bold, more daring, and more able to go after what I wanted. So for me, writing queer smut means staying in touch with my erotic self, cultivating my own erotic desires, and prioritizing them in a variety of ways. When my erotic self dries up, there are so many consequences, and when I am deeply in touch, I am more creative and capable, and better able to act from places of love, strength, abundance, and vulnerability, rather than fear or scarcity. Writing erotica has been such an important way for me to come into my own power, kink, sexuality, desires, and deeper fuller self.”

Sinclair is right, this book is very intimate and revealing. This collection of stories is certainly extremely hot, but what I like best is the raw honesty at the heart of each story. It was easy for me to imagine myself in each character, to use each story as a starting point for my own fantasies. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give this book is that, after reading, I am imagining where I would let Mr. Sexsmith take me!

Oct 062013
 

Adv Couple's Guide to Sex Toys 2eBook: “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys”
Written by: Violet Blue
Foreword by: Dr. Charlie Glickman
Published by: Cleis Press

We dare you to read this book.

Are you scared to ask your partner to try the kinky things you fantasize about? Or maybe you are at the other end of the spectrum – you think that together you’ve tried all of the sex toys? Then we double dare you to read Violet Blue’s new book, “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys.” Whether you’ve never even broached the subject of sex toys or you’re getting bored in the bedroom, we think you can use this guide to find some inspiration.

We’re pretty adventurous. Collectively, we have over 60 years of experience making, buying, and using sex toys. While we try to be as safe as possible, there have been some misadventures, so the first thing that we noticed about ”The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys” was Blue’s well informed safety tips. Important information is covered clearly and often highlighted in a boxout, making it easy to access. We wish that there had been a book like this when we were first looking at sex toys!

Countless people have told us stories of shame that made it impossible to ask their partner for what they really want. It drives us crazy because we believe that everyone deserves to have a fulfilling sex life. Well! We now have a resource to recommend to those people. ”The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys” doesn’t have all of the answers, but it focuses on good communication and offers some concrete suggestions for starting the sex toy conversation or surprising your lover with a toy (hint: surprise is not always a good idea). Blue’s personality shines through her writing, putting you at ease like you were having coffee with your sex smart best friend. There is no shame here, only fascinating data meant to empower you.

Our biggest criticism of the book is that it’s fairly heteronormative. While Blue has been very inclusive of all people, the book largely addresses straight couples. The chapter on strap-on sex has some great information about introducing men to anal play, but nothing about women playing together. Most of the material is presented in an unbiased fashion, but we found the overall assumption tended toward heterosexual couples. A minor thing of note: we found some of the language a bit forced or awkward from time to time, but it doesn’t interfere too much.

We loved pretty much everything else: the brightly colored cover, the highly accurate illustrations by Zanne DeJanvier, the foreword written by Charlie Glickman, PhD, and a whole chapter on resources for acquiring good sex toys. We appreciate Blue’s candor in naming names when talking about products she believes in. ”The Adventurous Couple’s Guide” bravely covers the gamut of sex toys: vibrators, butt plugs and other anal toys, dildos, strap-on harnesses, bondage, and nipple clamps. We were most excited to read about teledildonics (including webcam), sex machines, and sex furniture.

We found a lot of stuff in ”The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys” that we have tried. What surprised us was how much new information there was. Well, maybe not new, but things we haven’t ever talked to each other about. We read the book separately, but when we compared notes we discovered that we shared a whole new realm of fantasy we have not yet explored. Just reading this book was a huge turn on – thinking about everything we’ve done and things we’d still love to do inspired some heavy sexting and at least one masturbation session. Without this book, we might never have shared with each other a mutual and intense interest in trying out a Monkey Rocker!

So, we dare you. We dare you to share this book with your lover.

~Evoë  & Harold

May 222013
 

Best Sex Writing 2013Book: “Best Sex Writing 2013
Edited by: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Foreword by: Dr. Carol Queen
Published by: Cleis Press
More information: Amazon or Goodreads

 

Cleis Press and Rachel Kramer Bussel always deliver quality writing on the topic of sex, and this year’s Best Sex Writing is no exception. This collection of 20 essays span a broad range of topics, writing styles, and voices that are all provocative. While a few stirred me sexually, largely this book challenged me to think more.

The point of Best Sex Writing is to bring together all of the most fascinating essays published in the past year. Since I read a lot about sex, some of these pieces were a reread for me, but most of them were fresh. I was surprised to see a brief reference to Harold in an essay about polyamory. Weird!

I enjoyed reading through this book, but I have to say the overall tenor was discouraging. Best Sex Life’s tagline is, “The state of today’s sexual culture.” I suppose that’s true, but I found the collection to be strangely flat and depressing, almost as though a fog obscured nearly every piece. You can’t write interesting things about sexuality without engaging the emotions, and I’m afraid that very few of these grabbed me. Several made me feel very negative about sexuality. I’m afraid that our culture is still far from pleasure positive.

Still, I had to share my favorites with Harold and we’ve engaged in a little He said/She said for you enjoyment…

Very Legal: Sex and Love in Retirement, by Alex Morris: A report on love and sex in an assisted living facility.

He said: I am getting old myself… wait, can that be? Yes, I’m coming up on 65. What strikes me about aging so far is how little the core of my sex life has changed in 50 years. Well, it’s true I can’t get a good hard-on any more without Viagra, and I don’t jerk off four or five times a week like I used to, but the overwhelming joy of reaching ecstasy and sharing intimacy is still there, just the way it always has been, at the center of my life.  Alex Morris writes about people in their 80’s and 90’s, people coming up on death who are living with the inevitable failing of their bodies, who seem to be finding the same thing… sex may get more difficult physically, but still has that vibrant emotional kick to it. The story makes me happy.

She said: How delightfully refreshing to be talking about ninety-year-olds’ relationships! These are all things that I’m not thinking about yet, so I really enjoy seeing that romantic interests and libido doesn’t die as one ages. In a way, the people discussed in this essay have more freedom to be honest with themselves and each other about what they want. I’ll totally be sneaking into Harold’s bed 30 years from now.

Baby Talk, by Rachel Kramer Bussel: A personal memoir about the author’s first experience with age play and being a “Mommy.”

He said: What happens when your lover asks you to treat him/her as a child in bed?  I’m a father, I adore my children, and I’ve always felt very protective of their personal boundaries. I’ve known too many people whose fathers let sexual desire leak onto their children explicitly or subliminally, causing lasting damage. I would never want to impose adult sexuality on any child. But then… my lover asks me to make love to her as if she’s 13 years old. Oh no, I couldn’t. But she shows me that it’s healing because of her past, it’s a kind of acceptance that would be precious to her. I understand, but… does this make me a pedophile? How real is it? Are there boundaries within our imagination? It’s not an easy place, truly. I’ve gone there though, and it was possible, and healing, and good. That’s what Bussel is writing about too.

She said: Having myself been confronted with a lover’s odd kinks spontaneously in the middle of sex play, I really commend Rachel for going with it and immediately seeing the potential. Age play can be such a minefield. My heart just opened up reading this account and her willingness to push her own boundaries. This is a very sweet essay, and a bit wistful over the outcome.

Ghosts: All My Men Are Dead, by Carol Queen: A love note to the men the author is mourning, as well as a coming of age story.

He said: While sudden death can tear a hole in the fabric of reality, lingering death eats away your heart. Carol Queen writes simply and beautifully about her friends and lovers who have fallen over the years to the plague of AIDS and related syndromes. It’s so hard to know what to do with death in our culture. As she says, “I think we are ashamed to die.” By celebrating their memory and honoring her own grief, Queen makes it easier to face the losses we have to deal with and the end we all come to.

She said: This is hands down, the best essay in this book. I read it with tears silently streaming down my face. Carol is so honest, so authentic. Talking about death could easily become manipulative or maudlin, but she doesn’t go there. It’s so easy to see myself in her writing. I was incredibly moved by her account of self discovery and personal evolution entwined with dying lovers and the character of the city she loves. Hauntingly beautiful.

Lost Boys, by Kristen Hinman: An exposé on the inflated numbers of underaged girls being sex trafficked, the numbers more likely to be real because they’re based on science, and how many boys in sex work fail to get aid at all.

He said: Sex work is like recreational drugs: criminalization and demonization blur all distinctions in a fog of myth, and create the very horrors people say they want to prevent. Hinman reports on the best studies of underage prostitution in the U.S., and makes clear that nearly half the young sex workers are boys, and only around 10% work through pimps. The kids don’t particularly like doing sex for money, but they like the money. What is clear is that their main exploitation is economic: no one will offer them any other work. And the worst of this is that horrendous trafficking by adults, often parents, in very young children is put in the same bucket as teenagers choosing to make money the only way they can find, by selling sexual services. The former is a devastating crime of violence, while the latter is a symptom of our society’s economic failure.

She said: I’ve been hearing some outrageous “statistics” lately about the 3 million underage girls being pimped out and it makes me angry. Don’t get me wrong, I know that sex trafficking happens and I want it stop, but this essay made it clear that many of the organizations set up to help rescue trafficked girls exist mostly to make money for themselves. It’s a lot of politics. They aren’t even trying to understand their demographic. I really appreciated this article because it was understated and let me come to my anger on my own.

 

As always, Best Sex Writing is a must read, if only to get a snapshot of the year in sexuality. This year, I came away with two main points, one personal and one a universal truth. Personally, I discovered that I really dislike the term “open marriage” to describe polyamory. It’s kinda like asking a pair of lesbians which one gets to be the man. It is using the rules of the cultural norm to define something totally outside of the rules. But, whatever. The most important thing I learned was that sexuality changes all the time throughout life. I find that very reassuring.

May 282012
 

Curvy GirlsBook: Curvy Girls
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Publisher: Seal Press, April 2012
Retail: $17.00

What’s the best way to spend Memorial Day weekend? Lounging about reading erotica, of course!

Having been a curvy girl since puberty, I appreciate seeing a whole book of erotica celebrating fuller figured women. I love lush ladies who are confident in their sexuality. Curvy Girls covers the broad expanse of curvy – from runner’s calves, to carrying a little extra weight in all the right places, to a few weeks postpartum, to huge asses. I think most women can find something here to identify with.

It is reassuring to read sexy stories about people who seem real. The strength of this book is also it’s weakness: most of these stories feature women who are insecure about some aspect of their bodies. While they often use sex to work through those issues by the end of the story, I got tired of reading about how they didn’t feel lovable or how they hated a particular part of their body. It was never out of place in context, but collectively I wanted at least the fantasy of seamless sex, without insecurities. Yet, seeing all of the vulnerability that goes into sex was a huge turn on. I guess what it comes down to, for me, is that this anthology does a fantastic job. I just wish that our culture supported women of all shapes and sizes.

I am seeing a shift, with books like this, Tumblrs that focus on curves, and fat-positive porn. Rachel Kramer Bussel has done a fantastic job of bringing together a collection of erotic tales that leaves no doubt that curvy girls have some smokin’ hot sex.

Let me tell you just a little bit about a few of my favorites:

Before the Autumn Queen by Angela Caperton is the steamy tale of a museum docent who seduces the patron who loves a certain painting as much as she does. The painting is as much a character in the story as the two of them. I love how rich the story and the environment is and when they have sex in the museum it’s deliciously transgressive. Gorgeous and haunting!

Decadence by Satia Welsh features a handsome chef who falls for a sexy confident woman who relishes every bite that he cooks. Lots of sensuous eating gives way to a wild romp around his restaurant. This story is unapologetic and takes no prisoners. Makes me totally wet.

Passing the Time by Gwen Masters is a different take, with the main character wondering what’s up with her boyfriend’s sudden lack of interest in her. Deciding to put that aside for a time, she makes love to herself, getting herself off with dildos and fantasy. Different and emotionally rich.

What Girls Are Made Of by Evan Mora caught my attention because of the voice of the story. It’s one of three girl-on-girl adventures in this book. In very descriptive language, the main character describes her perfect woman, “a dapper butch… with a little substance to her,” and the kind of seduction and sex they would have. I want to do it as a performance piece. It’s brilliant.

In the Early Morning Light by Kristina Wright is intensely touching in it’s realism, telling of a woman 9 weeks postpartum who just wants to sleep. Her husband begins to make love to her, and despite her desire to be left alone, her body starts to respond. I adore the exquisite blending of worlds here, returning to sexuality after journeying into motherhood. Beautifully done.

Curvy Girls is a good read, quality writing and lots of super sexy curves engaged in a variety of sex acts. If you want to get in on this action you can purchase the book from Amazon.

 

Related Posts:

  • Book tour: Say Please, edited by Sinclair Sexsmith
  • Review: Best Sex Writing 2012
  • Book tour: Women in Lust
  • Review: I’ll Show You Mine
  • Curvy grrrl needs lingerie!
  • Full body nude

Apr 042012
 

Say PleaseBook: Say Please
Editor: Sinclair Sexsmith
Publisher: Cleis Press, April 2012
Retail: $14.95

Sinclair Sexsmith, the editor of the new Say Please anthology of lesbian BDSM erotica, is calling their book release tour the DIRTY QUEER SEX TOUR, and I’m so happy to be participating! I wasn’t sure what to expect from Say Please, but I was delighted by the wide swathe of kink that this literary erotica cut through my imagination. I’m always interested in the myriad ways that gender expresses itself and Say Please is full of variety. The BDSM quotient zoomed through all of my favorites (except CBT, for obvious reasons) and right into areas that pushed my comfort levels. In other words, it was so hot to read that I had to get myself off.

Because it turned me on so much, I showed some of my favorite stories from Say Please to Harold and asked him to share his thoughts and feelings on them. For reference, we are polyamorous – partnered to each other and married to others. Depending on the day, I identify as pansexual, queer, or hard femme. Harold is still looking for the right boy (which is to say, mostly straight, but wistful). It was hard to pick just three stories, but I did. Here are our opinions of a few of the fantastic stories in this book:

First Ride, by Wendi Kali

Evoë:
Some of my favorite kinks – A motorcycle, chain bondage, flogging, hard packing, and strap-on sex! I’m delighted. It’s hot, hot, hot! I love this story because it’s a study in opposites – the hard, experienced butch and the soft, inexperienced femme. I like how all of the subtext of their conversations is evident in the story. It feels very intimate for the reader.

Harold:
This story (and many of the others) reminded me how much of gender is in our heads. This butch is a gentleman indeed, as well as a hot, skillful top. And the sweet, innocent (!) young woman who wants more experience… we play these roles because it all works so well. The echoes that I heard here which I miss in corresponding straight narratives, though, are about the vulnerabilities we all feel, but  that sexual conventions too often mask.

Unworthy As I Am, by Elizabeth Thorne

Evoë:
So romantic! Within a few paragraphs the main character is comparing herself to a Shakespearean heroine, which I find very sexy. This story portrays submission and masochism beautifully, and I’m happy to read a story that deals with needle play too. I like the symbolism of the invasive nature of needles in a book about lesbian sex – just another non-standard way to penetrate. And collaring is the BDSM equivalent of the engagement ring. This story is so sweet.

Harold:
This story was the most intensely, viscerally sexy for me, no doubt because I’ve found myself in a similar place of passionate surrender. Is it hard for me as a somewhat het guy to identify entirely with a gay woman? Um, no!  And the story unfolded gracefully, with just the right balance of contextual detail. A tour de force!

A Slap in the Face, by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Evoë:
I think this was the most intense story in the anthology, and that’s saying a lot because they are all pretty amazing. Partly it held me riveted because I find slapping somewhat taboo and therefore fascinating, partly I found the character development seductive. Yes, it’s a short story, but I was charmed by the emotional progression. I appreciate the safeword explanation and appreciate that there is not a strap-on used in this story, although it’s implied that there will soon be some strap-on play. It makes me want to follow these two women home!

Harold:
This powerful story put me in a place I often end up reading edgy BDSM erotica: wondering about the origins of the kink. I love and understand the heat, the almost unbearable turn-on that just the right mix of fear and pain can arouse, but I also sense roots winding back to some childhood trauma no child deserves. I salute the healing power of hot and loving kink, but it scares me, still, about what it is to be human.

Want to hear more about Sinclair Sexsmith’s Say Please, Lesbian BDSM Erotica DIRTY QUEER SEX TOUR? Check out these stops on the physical and virtual tour!

April 1      Say Please release party in SF
April 1 Viviane http://www.thesexcarnival.com
April 3 Rachel Kramer Bussel http://lustylady.blogspot.com
April 4 Giselle Renard http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com
April 5 Evoë Thorne http://www.wholesexlife.com
April 6 Liz http://AlphaHarlot.com
April 9 Roma Mafia http://www.romamafia.com
April 10 Official release date! Sinclair http://www.sugarbutch.net
April 11 Dede / deviantdyke http://deviantdyke.blogspot.com/
April 12 Helena Swan http://www.cuntext.com
April 13 Kim Herbel http://www.butchlesque.com
April 13   Say Please release party in NYC
April 14 Lily Lloyd http://theblackleatherbelt.com
April 16 Lyzanne http://sexpositive.tumblr.com/
April 17 Lula Lisbon http://lulalisbon.tumblr.com
April 18 Ali Oh http://www.madeofwords.com
April 19 Jameson http://www.ftmbutchdude.com
April 21 Charlie Ninja http://charlieninja.tumblr.com/
April 22    Say Please release party in Boston
April 22 Meredith Guy http://meridithguy.tumblr.com
April 23 Wendi Kali http://astrangerinthisplace.blogspot.com
April 24 Lolita Wolf http://leatheryenta.com
April 25 Audrey at Babeland http://babeland.com/blog
April 26 Seth B http://smokebellyscorner.wordpress.com
April 27 Danika http://www.lesbrary.com
April 28 DL King http://www.dlkingerotica.com
April 29 Kiki http://kikidelovely.wordpress.com
April 30 Dilo Keith http://dilokeith.wordpress.com/blog-2/
April 30 Xan West http://tgstonebutch.livejournal.com/
May 2 Say Please release party in Seattle

Jan 312012
 

Best Sex Writing 2012For erotica, I’ve become a big fan of Cleis Press. I’m especially impressed with Rachel Kramer Bussel, both as an editor and as a writer. So I was curious to read Best Sex Writing 2012, never having read one of these annual compilations of what people have been writing about sex. The fact that Susie Bright was a guest judge and wrote the introduction is icing on the cake!

I’m impressed. Not all of the articles appealed to me – I even disliked a couple of them, but every one of them inspired thought. Every voice had something provocative to say in the realm of sexuality. This is not erotica. These pieces are brilliant reporting, touching memoirs, and humorous expositions. This book engaged my brain – sometimes my heart, and occasionally my libido.

It’s hard to pick out my favorites. They tend to be the more personal pieces that touch my emotions and perspectives that are very different from my own. The book is excellent as a whole, but here are a few of what I consider the best essays:

“I Want You to Want Me” by Hugo Schwyzer discusses men’s longing to be admired. I’ve heard many of my partners express this exact desire, feeling that it is somehow disgusting or repulsive to be male and wanting on a deep level to be cherished, but this is the first writing I’ve seen on the subject. I found it very honest and brave.

“Grief, Resilience, and My 66th Birthday Gift” by Joan Price describes the loss of her great love to cancer and her journey out of grief back into being a sexual person. I was moved to tears because I can so easily imagine myself in the same situation. I also was impressed by her courage in writing about the sexuality of people over 60, which I don’t see often, and her frank discussion of buying sexual services as a tool for healing.

“Guys Who Like Fat Chicks” by Camille Dodero focuses on men who fetishize overweight women, but it says interesting things about why certain things turn certain people on. It’s often hard to say why we fixate sexually on particular things. This is fantastic reporting on an under-represented group.

“Adrian’s Penis: Care and Handling” by Adrian Colesberry is a humorous look at what it is to have a penis. Despite my reservations about someone who speaks of themselves (and their penis) in the third person and writes excessive footnotes, I appreciate what he says about being male. I think there are so many misconceptions about erections in our culture – how easy it is to get hard and come. I’m happy to see an open discussion about what’s normal for this man.

“Love Grenade” by Lidia Yuknavitch is a beautifully bittersweet ode to women she made love with during grad school. She manages to capture perfectly the tone of a lost weekend. Her descriptions of the people and activities are hot, but what really gets to me is the feelings I’m left with. It’s brilliant.

There are so many more I could mention, tackling topics like circumcision,  dating with STDs, slut shaming, the criminalization of teen sex, poor reporting of sex and sex violence, and Latina transwomen performing in drag shows. Collectively, these essays please me. It means that there are a lot of people out there starting the conversations that I think we should be having. Many of these conversations happen on the internet, but I would totally recommend this book for an insightful overview of the year’s highlights in sex!

Nov 262011
 

Women in LustBook: “Women in Lust
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Publisher: Cleis Press, October 2011

Lust. It’s one of those four-letter words that trips off the tongue. When I say it out loud, it makes my lips want to curve into a smile. Lust is more than simple arousal; it is the force that makes us not just turned on, but craving a certain person (or people).”
– Rachel Kramer Bussel

Exploring lust has been a bit of a theme for me recently, and this book has been the drumbeat for the soundtrack. I read these erotic stories one or two at a time, letting myself get carried away by the desires of the women depicted. Not all of the stories got me hot, but many of them inspired masturbatory fantasies. I had Harold read one of my favorites, “The Hard Way”, by Justine Elyot, aloud to me while we lay naked, me on top of him, during one of our dates. It makes me wet to hear the the sizzling hot words in my lover’s voice.

There were other stand outs for me: “Strapped” by K D Grace really spoke to me because it starts with a woman trying to pass in a gay bar and ends up with her fucking with two gay men. I adore that she’s packing and ready to take the guy who picks her up in the back alley. Hot, hot, hot! Also “Naughty Thoughts” by Portia Da Costa, the first story in the book. It is a beautiful tale of a woman revealing to her lover that she likes to be spanked and of him fulfilling her desires. “Hot for Teacher” by Rachel Kramer Bussel also caught my attention, telling of a middle aged woman going back to school and crushing on her professor. He gives her the attention she’s been craving. I love her unapologetic sluttiness. The sweetest story was “Bite Me” by Lucy Hughes, featuring two college students figuring out how to share a kink.

Many of these erotic stories are worthy of notice. I was impressed with the overall quality of the writing, and I will certainly be reading more erotica from Cleis Press. I’m thrilled to see so much diversity in the stories – younger women’s lust and older women’s lust, leading to straight, gay and kinky sex, and in all cases to hot sex.

Here’s an excerpt from another fabulous story in Women in Lust, “Smoke” by Elizabeth Coldwell:

There’s something I need to know before this goes any further. “When I arrived here, you were sitting with three girls.” I picture them in my mind, young and pert, attractive in a wholesome, farmer-folk way, like the barman inside. “If you’re in the mood for a fuck, what was wrong with them?”

Gijs shrugs. “They don’t do it for me. I like someone older, someone who knows what she wants.” He leans closer. “Tell me, Barbara, what do you want?”

I want what I’ve wanted since my first sip of beer, since the music started to rouse me on some primitive level: to be filled with hot, hard cock. More than that, I want to try something I would only dare in a foreign country, where I know there’s absolutely no chance of bumping into someone I know who wouldn’t approve, or understand.

“You and Peter. At the same time. And we’ve got to be quick, because I’ve left my beer sitting on the bar. How about it?” As my words hang in the air, I can’t believe I’ve been so bold. Playing for such high stakes has never really appealed to me before.

Peter spins his empty bottle on the table. Is he deciding whether to go for it or not? A quick glance between the two men, then they nod.

Gijs extends a hand to me. “Come on.”

Order Women in Lust from:

Amazon

Kindle edition (ebook)

Barnes & Noble

Nook (ebook)

Powells

Books-a-Million

IndieBound (search for your local indie bookstore)

Cleis Press

Nov 142011
 

A Year of Sex by Mia MartinaBook: “A Year of Sex
Author: Mia Martina
Where to buy: Amazon KindleBarnes & Noble NookApple iBooks, and Google Books

Mia Martina’s debut memoir is brilliant! I devoured the whole book in one rainy Sunday. I generally like reading about sex, but what really drew me in was her brutal honesty about herself, how appealing she is as a person. It’s easy to care about her ups and downs over the course of a year of sexploits and relationships because she seems real. Her voice is so authentic, I want to be her friend. It helps that I can totally identify with her experiences, but I’ve never read anything like this before.

Mia offers some of the best observations I’ve ever heard about sex parties. In her book she says, “Just because you can get naked and fuck doesn’t mean you’ll want to do it.” and “I’m learning that the unknowns about couples’ dynamics are the most interesting part of attending sex parties.” Both very true, in my experience. She does a great job of examining all aspects of a sex-positive lifestyle.

“A Year of Sex” is well written, which is a turn-on in itself. While the sexual content is fabulous and hot, Mia’s story it isn’t like typical erotica; it’s real life, where sex is seldom zipless or seamless. This story titillates, but is dedicated to authenticity, not getting you off (but don’t worry, there’s a happy ending). I even loved the bonus materials: a glossary of sex terms, tips for attending sex parties, music suggestions, and resources for further research. Like parting from a lover after a weekend of bliss, I’m left feeling turned on, emotionally engaged, and sated while yearning for more.

Jun 222011
 

I'll show you mineBook: “I’ll Show You Mine
Publisher: Show Off Books, February 2001
Editor: Wrenna Robertson
Photographer:  Katie Huisman
Cost: $30

This book is fucking amazing. I love it. It consists solely of vulva photos and women talking about how they feel about their genitals. There are two photos for each woman and they are all shot exactly the same way – one straight on while the woman is standing and one with her legs spread so the labia are exposed. My favorite pages are at the beginning and the end and line up all 60 pictures. I like being able to make a fast comparison with all of these very different looking vulvas. I had no idea how diverse woman’s genitals are!

Which is why this is such an important book. I have had more opportunity  than most people to see what vulvas look like. I was a doula for years and have attended many births. I look at porn. I’m pansexual. But I realize now how little I’ve been able to really examine vulvas. I had no idea what “normal” looks like. I now know that there is no normal, or at least, normal is so broad that it covers everyone. This is deeply moving for me.

Cynthia pageThe whole book moved me. I adore the smooth, subtle pink cover. The shape of the book itself reminds me of a wedding guest book. I’m tickled by the thought. When I started reading it I fell in love with each woman. They are so diverse, and yet the same. I’m thrilled that queer and trans are represented. I like seeing young and old pussies – not that you can always tell the difference. I’m so happy to see the differences in skin tone. Truthfully, all of these pictures are beautiful.

I have to admit though, I reacted badly at first. I read around a dozen profiles before I realized that I was feeling queasy. I put the book down and thought about it for a while. Why did seeing naked women make me feel sick? For me it came down to my sexual abuse history. I had feelings of disgust and shame toward my own body and I projected it onto the pictures in the book. I’m not normally aware of these feelings, but the book put them into focus in a way that made it easier to look at.

open vulva collageIt has something to do with pubic hair. I have an uneasy relationship with my pubic hair. I don’t want to be shaved because I look like a little girl, but I’ve had this perception that it was wrong to be hairy. I’ve continued to get bikini waxes even when I stopped shaving my armpits and legs. What I’ve learned from “I’ll Show You Mine” is that I am nowhere near the hairiest woman in the world. I like my pubic hair. I like grooming my pubic hair, but I no longer feel compelled to have it any specific way.

I was able to read the rest of the book without difficulty. I really enjoyed it. I plan on using it to teach other women about their bodies. I’ll leave it where my kids can look at it if they have questions. I’m hoping that continues to grow as a movement. I’d love to see a website where women can share their stories and pictures of their vulvas. It’s a powerful thing.

Along those lines, I have chosen to share my photos, shot as close to the book as possible, and my story about my vulva:

Evoë outer view

Evoë, inner view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evoë

This is my cunt. I like the word cunt because it feels right to me, kind of cozy and mysterious. The biggest mystery of my cunt is that all five of my children came into the world via this passageway. It is also deeply amazing to me the pleasure that I feel both with partners and alone. I feel blessed by a beautiful body. But I haven’t always felt so good about myself.

Years of childhood sexual abuse left me feeling dirty and ashamed of my body that would respond even when I didn’t want to. I felt separated from my private parts. If people wanted them but not the rest of me, then I would just seal my mind away from the rest of my body. I didn’t feel ownership of my vulva until my mid-twenties.

Then a few years ago I started worrying about my labia being too small. My outer lips are usually quite closed. I became paranoid about looking like a little girl. I wondered if the abuse that I survived had maimed me somehow. I didn’t have anything to compare myself to, but it seemed like the images I saw showed women with larger labia. I heard about women who wanted smaller labia and felt confused. My partner found some photos of other women for me that made me feel more comfortable with myself. He also took close up pictures of my cunt so I could really see what I looked like.

I fell in love with my body. I could still see everything that I thought of as imperfections – places I tore giving birth, a mole, my pubic hair going grey – but I could also see the beauty of my vulva. I still sometimes feel self-conscious. I am hesitant to let someone go down on me if I’m on my period or think I’m smelly, but I now publish pictures of my vulva on the internet. I hope that it helps other women to love their cunts!