Okay, since there’s no such thing as a free lunch, I’m going to suggest that you bring Best Sex Writing 2009 to the next destination wedding you’re forced to attend. There are several reasons for you to read this important work of non-fiction. First, there’s nothing like that four-letter word in a three-letter word’s body to offend everyone around you. It’s like cigar smoke on steroids. Next, actually reading the book will show you that there are many important issues regarding sexuality that should be explored. Finally, I have an essay in it. I’d like to have an essay in the 2010 volume (HINT, HINT, Rachel Kramer Bussel!).
Posts Tagged ‘Best Sex Writing 2009’
VB: Was “Bonk” your pick for the book’s title, or did you want “Boink?”
MR: Bonk was my choice. Boink is a cartoony, silly word, whereas Bonk is almost onomonopeaic, or however you spell that word. Norton actually did some market research on this point. Most people have heard both terms, though more know Boink, it’s true. Those people will simply have to puzzle out what the book is about using the subtitle and the f–ing ladybugs.
Evangelical writers even coined a catchy new term, soulgasm, to describe the joys that await the evangelical wife: incredible orgasms plus intimate emotional connection with the husband plus the presence of God. They detail how the husband can become a “Superman-lover” and make his wife come repeatedly and how breasts and penises can be most sensually caressed. Websites such as My Beloved’s Garden even offer Christian sex toys (Christian vibrators, Christian clit-ticklers, Christian jelly rings) and pride themselves on marketing these items without any offensive pornographic images.
Repression just isn’t a very good marketing tool. It’s the promise of pleasure (and lots of it) that is building a new following for the religious right. Even more insidious, though, is the fact that the evangelicals haven’t confined their erotic message to religion. Instead, they’re moving into the realm of psychological health, even taking over the language of New Age therapy.
Suddenly the mainstream conversation in women’s magazines and on daytime talk shows is not so much about physical danger as about self-esteem. People who sleep around have low self-esteem. Porn use is a sign of low self-esteem. Even the supposedly kinder, gentler homophobia that has replaced the ugly old disgust-mongering rides on the self-esteem theme. Children of gays and lesbians are likely, we are now told, to suffer from low self-esteem.
As online artificial intelligence, personality-based programs become more prevalent – and the race to make them more convincingly human heats up – more humans will fall in love with and have sexual relations with that artificial babe onscreen. Virtual Kari is often described as the most popular virtual girlfriend in the world; amusingly, she has personality tweaking interfaces with adjustable sliders that allow boyfriends to adjust her ability to “stay on topic” and monitor her “independence.” In an emotional moment (Virtual Humans Forum, October 2008)
Kari’s developer wrote, “As a modern man I find the whole female/male game, ‘program,’ quite unforgiving. ‘When you find the right one, you’ll know it.’ Uh huh. What if there is something better than this game? What if we could bypass the ‘program’ and create a new paradigm based on our own dreams and our own fantasies? What if we could satisfy all our needs, and wants, to their fullest *bliss* without the pain of marriage or a relationship that needs to be maintained? (…) Anyway… I really enjoy having a virtual girlfriend because I created her personality so she is kinda like my dream. And dreams can do anything. The final verdict? As for me… I’m going make my own Eve. I mean, I have made my own Eve. And believe it or not… some of those majic [SIC] parts that come with real girls are transferable. In fact they work better. I think its because they can be manipulated under one vision. There is no back and forth about it.”
Click here to read the others, including an Obama baby boom (!!), sex in space, and more!
Oh, and she’ll stop taking submissions for both sites – January 3rd for the johns site, and January 14th for the working girls one, so get them in now if you plan to!
If you want to be the first person on your block to have a copy of Best Sex Writing 2009, come to my reading series In The Flesh next Thursday from 8-10 pm at Happy Ending Lounge, 302 Broome Street, NYC. More info at the site above, including, the Top 10 Reasons You Want to Come to In The Flesh.
Here’s the lineup:
IN THE FLESH EROTIC READING SERIES
TRUE SEX CONFESSIONS NIGHT
December 18th at 8 PM
AT HAPPY ENDING LOUNGE, 302 BROOME STREET, NYC (look for pink awning that says “health club”)
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey or F/V to 2nd Avenue, http://www.happyendinglounge.com)
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676/b>
Hear the latest round of our popular True Sex Confessions—and share one of your own! Featuring Rachel Resnick (author of the memoir Love Junkie), Neal Boulton (editor of Bastardlife.com), Kiki T. (astrosexologist for TheFrisky.com), playwright Christen Clifford (reading from (What I Know About) My Parents’ Sex Life), and blogger Rex Sorgatz (Fimoculous.com). Hosted and curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Dating Drama columnist, TheFrisky.com, Editor, Best Sex Writing 2009, Spanked). Audience members will have the chance to anonymously share their True Sex Confessions on index cards to be read aloud. Free candy and cupcakes will be served. Books will be for sale from Mobile Libris.
Copies of Best Sex Writing 2009 are in the offices of my publisher, Cleis Press, and will be in bookstores and online stores any day now!
That means it’s time to start blogging about sex right here and interviewing my contributors. Stay tuned!
Here’s the Table of Contents and introduction:
Best Sex Writing 2009
edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Introduction: Sex is Everywhere
One Rape, Please (to Go) Tracie Egan
Searching for Normal: Do Dating Websites for People with STIs Liberate or Quarantine? Lynn Harris
Father Knows Best Amanda Robb
An Open Letter to the Bush Administration Mistress Morgana Maye
The Pleasure of Unpleasure Kristina Lloyd
What’s “Normal” Sex? Brian Alexander
Unleash the Beast “Josephine Thomas”
Is Cybersex Cheating? Violet Blue
Sex Offenders!! Kelly Davis
War Games: No WMDs but Military Police Find “Dangerous” Dildos in Iraq Tom Johansmeyer
In Defense of Casual Sex Tracy Clark-Flory
Soulgasm Dagmar Herzog
Sexual Problems: A Common Side Effect of Combat-Related PTSD Don Vaughn
Penises I Have Known Daphne Merkin
Sex Is the Most Stressful Thing in the Universe Dan Vebber
Silver-Balling Stacey D’Erasmo
Sex Dolls for the Twenty-First Century David Levy
Dear John Susannah Breslin
Oldest Profession 2.0: A New Generation of Local “Providers” and “Hobbyists” Create a Virtual Red-Light District Keegan Hamilton
How “Swingers” Might Save Hollywood from a Federal Pornography Statute Alan Levy
Why Bathroom Sex Is Hot James Hannaham
Kids and Comstockery, Back (and Forward) in the Day Debbie Nathan
The Immaculate Orgasm: Who Needs Genitals? Mary Roach
Introduction: Sex Is Everywhere
Sex is everywhere–in our bedrooms, classrooms, courtrooms, and offices, as well as on our TV and movie screens, streets, and newspapers. This was a big year for sex, from prostitution (Eliot Spitzer, Ashley Dupré, Deborah Jeane Palfrey) to teen pregnancy (Jamie Lynn Spears, Bristol Palin) and beyond.
You don’t have to look far to find sex, but you do have to get a bit bolder when looking for writing and thinking about sex that doesn’t play to the lowest common denominator. The essays and articles here explore the big, bad (and good) world of sex in many forms, from online personals sites (for those with STIs) to impassioned arguments for casual sex (and bathroom sexæsometimes one and the same, sometimes not), as well as affairs, purity balls, penises, cybersex, and more.
As I said earlier, sex is everywhereæincluding on the battlefields of Iraq. We may think of sex and war as mutually exclusive terrains, but as Don Vaughn’s story about sexual dysfunction and combat-related PTSD and Tom Johansmeyer’s “War Games,”—which looks at one contractor’s and two female soldiers’ penalization for possessing porn and dildos, respectively—make clear, the two are intricately linked. In fact, there’s no area of our lives where sex doesn’t play a role, even (or perhaps, especially) religion. In “Soulgasm,” an excerpt from Dagmar Herzog’s excellent book Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics, she looks at what Christian sex educators are saying about sex (from oral to anal to vibrators), and their advice may very well surprise you.
Our current mores and rules about sex didn’t spring up out of nowhere, as Debbie Nathan shows in her exploration of early twentieth-century vice czar Anthony Comstock.
The personal stories here are ones I think may best illuminate how complex, individualistic, confusing and profound sex can be. In “One Rape, Please (to Go),” Tracie Egan boldly starts out, “I blame my recurring rape fantasy on the fact that I’m a feminist.” If that’s not enough to keep you reading, I’ll give you a clue as to what happens next: she hires a man to pretend to rape her, but what she gets in return is not quite what she bargained for. Similarly, in Dan Vebber’s “Sex Is the Most Stressful Thing in the Universe,” the goal of finally having sex becomes exalted to the point of mania, with a little help from his overly neurotic girlfriend.
I’d like to give special thanks to Miriam Axel-Lute and the Sex Positive Journalism Awards (aka, the Sexies). Their project was launched in order “to recognize the times when journalists stick to the standards of their craft in the face of such challenges and produce good, informative journalism that spreads accurate sexual information, stays fair in covering highly charged topics, and celebrates healthy sexuality as a positive force in people’s lives.” “War Games” by Tom Johansmeyer, was one of their runner-ups for Sex-Themed Publications, and all of their winners are worth reading (see sexies.org).
There were many extraordinary pieces I was not able to include in this book. Please visit bestsexwriting2009.wordpress.com for links to some of these pieces and to read more about the latest in sex.
With Best Sex Writing 2008, many people said they’d expected something far juicer from the racy cover. If you’re looking for the latest jerk-off material, please check Cleis Press’s website for their many fine erotica offerings; this is not one of those books, though some of these stories may titillate you or spark your erotic imagination. I always recall that the brain is the biggest sex organ. Learning about sex can inspire us to be better, more knowledgeable and more empathetic lovers, family members, and citizens.
I hope this book will open your mind and make you think about your own sexuality, as well as your neighbors’, politicians’, and best friends’. It’s given me plenty of food for thought and I’m grateful that sex continues to challenge us to think, explore and appreciate its many nuances.
Rachel Kramer Bussel