Captures the heart and soul of what’s happening behind the bedroom door, where lust, desire, gender, identity, sex work, and politics collide.
The best sex journalism of the year in one unforgettable book.
Do Jewish girls give better blowjobs? What does it mean to be a modern-day eunuch? Does abstinence-only sex education work? Would you want to work in the pink ghetto or live in the glass closet? How “hung” are African-American men? What happens to a celebrity sex tape star in Iran? Best Sex Writing 2008 answers these questions (and raises many more) as it probes the inner lives of those on the front lines — political, personal, and cultural — of lust.
From dangerous dildos to professional submissives, the erotic appeal of twins, sex work, pornography and much more, these authors delve into the underbelly of eroticism. Probing stereotypes, truths, and the tricky areas in between, Best Sex Writing 2008 opens the bedroom door and explores the complexity of modern sexuality with thought-provoking, cutting-edge essays and articles.
I'm the editor of the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series and over 70 anthologies including The Big Book of Orgasms and Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica. I've also written a wide range of erotica about everything from French fries to fishnets. I write about books, culture, sexuality and relationships, teach erotica writing workshops and consult with erotica authors and sex writers to help them advance their careers. I read a wide range of genres, from erotica to romance to mystery to memoir to graphic novels and anything that strikes my fancy. See my website for my newsletter with book giveaways and writing samples.
I didn't know this series existed until I got a request for one of the books through interlibrary loan. Whoopie! I immediately requested all three of the books in the series that my library owns. This is the first one available to me.
The writing in this book is NOT erotica, but thought-provoking essays on a variety of topics dealing with sex. My favorites include "Battle of the Sexless" by Ashlea Halpern (about castration for non-medical reasons), "Tough Love" by Kelly Rouba(about the sexual challenges and possibilities for people with disabilities), "Dirty Old Women" by Ariel Levy (about adult women who have sex with underage boys), "Sex and the Single Septuagenarian" by Liz Langley (about the threat of HIV and AIDS in the elderly population), "Dangerous Dildos" by Tristan Taormino, (about phthalates in sex toys), "Menstruation: Porn's Last Taboo" by Trixie Fontaine (a first person essay about one woman's attempt to make porn while on her period that was positive and affirming), and "Buying Obedience: My Visit to a Pro Submissive" by Greta Christina (another first person essay about a women who--as the title says--hires a female submissive).
Honestly, I appreciated (and dare I say, learned something from) each essay in this collection. I can't wait to read the other two books in this series that I have on hold.
Look at the cover. That high heel hooked in the back of underpants. I'm so sure. Anyway, I remembered the liking the last one of these I read much better. Many of the topics seemed familiar to me. However, I loved Trixie Fontaine's piece about including her period on her online porn site, and how seriously transgressive that turned out to be.
Too many of them were just okay. Maybe the idea or the topic was interesting but it wasn't developed enough or the writer went off on an unnecessary tangent or something. A few of them are clearly dated, but I didn't penalize for that in my rating. I tried to read the one on castration, but no. I skipped the menstruation one.
Favorites: "The Prince of Porn and the Junk-Food Queen" - Gael Greene This was a fascinating read. She dated Jamie Gillis.
"Buying Obedience: My Visit to a Pro Submissive" - Greta Christina This one probably succeeded the most as a complete whole.
"Sex in Iran" - Pari Espandiari and Richard Buskin Quite informative for people (like me) who don't read about Iran much. A bit dated though.
“Best Sex Writing 2008” by Cleis Press, is compilation of twenty-one provocative personal essays, sex journalism, and sex blogging that all focus on that one “dirty” word: sex.
Best Sex Writing 2008 is a must read for those who want to be intellectually stimulated by provocative essays that explore the edges of sexuality, and as Rachel notes at the end of her introduction: “[like:] good sex should do: leave[s:] you wanting more.” Rachel Kramer Bussel certainly has her finger on the pulse of the world of sex writing.
Okay, there are a few articles in this book that don't strike me as all that interesting or innovative. But for the most part, this series is worth reading. The pieces that particularly stood out for me, both because they taught me things I didn't know and because they were well-written, were on clandestine sex parties in Iran, voluntary castration, HIV awareness campaigns targeting the elderly, and paedophile entrapment. It finishes with a piece by Greta Christina about visiting a professional submissive, which is a) hot, and b) honest about her feelings of awkwardness before and after. Which is the kind of sex writing I like best.
Various short essays relating to sex and gender issues ranging from the trapping of paedophiles on the internet to the rise in cases of HIV in the elderly in Florida. All well written and some to make you think.
Really interesting set of essays ranging across the various manifestations of sex. Raised some interesting dialogue on sexuality, safety, consumerism and social stigma. Would definitely read others from the series as covered such a high volume of different content.
Certain articles, like Eisenstadt's piece about having (or not having) sex on one's wedding night and Halpern's piece about male eunuchs are really well written and interesting, but overall, the book is rather flat.