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Best Sex Writing 2009 Paperback – January 6, 2009
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"..provocative answers and even more provocative questions about the role of sexuality in our lives...If you're the type who thinks the brain is the most important sex organ, you'll definitely want to read on--and you won't be disappointed."-Clean Sheets
"Everything here is well-written and could pass for a piece found in a magazine like The New Yorker"-AVN
A fun, nimble book that never loses its sense of humor about itself.” Salon
Interesting and thought-provoking. Like a whole issue of The New Yorker if The New Yorker gave any attention to sex.” Kevin Killian, author of The Wild Creatures
From the Inside Flap
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 everywherein 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 everywhereincluding 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, respectivelymake 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 the book's blog 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
More About the AuthorsDiscover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Top Customer Reviews
The contents speak volumes (hah!). There are pieces on virginity, chastity and military regulations of sex toys. There are deeply heartfelt pieces on love and abuse, where the pain and intensity of the author emerge in well crafted writing. A piece on sex offenders is written by one of the victims, who avoids falling prey to hysterical reactions despite her own difficult past. There is a piece by a man who remained a chaste virgin, even to himself, until he was out of college. There is a remarkable spectrum of pieces that speak not just to sex, but something a lot deeper, a lot more difficult. In the end, what I took away from this little volume was about relationships.
Relationships are perhaps the most complex layer of human experience. What we as individuals bring to a relationship is a lived experience; we never really get much from school or home on the actual mechanics - it's something we have to see, feel, experience along the way. Much of that, clearly, is difficult.
Any attempt to bridge the aforementioned divide between popular and scholarly runs a considerable risk. Critics on the scholarly side will quickly note the dearth of references, and few citations.Read more ›
This is the second edition of the book that I've been fortunate enough to read (also read last year's 2008 collection), and both have wowed me. This year's Best Sex Writing 2009 is full of interesting articles on a plethora of subjects, ranging from dildos as contraband in Iraq to different takes on abstinence-only education/programs/teens who wait until marriage, and so much more.
To me, the first piece, by Tracy Egan, was entrancing. As a feminist, she talks about trying to hire someone to fantasy rape her, and her surprise at all of the issues that came with this, although they weren't the issues that you'd expect. I really enjoyed this piece, far more than I expected to, and it really set the tone for the rest of the book.
I liked that this spanned so many different sub-areas within the incredibly broad field of sexuality. As someone with a degree in human sexuality, I have been frustrated that people tend to lump "sex writing" into either erotica, or research/papers/dissertations. This book is a collection of some of the best written, most interesting, incredibly deep essays, interviews and articles written on the spectrum of sexuality.
I found this book incredibly enjoyable, well-edited and collected, and immensely hard to put down. I'm sure it will be making the round among my friends and peers alike, and I plan to use it to reference for future sex writing of my own. I applaud Rachel Kramer Bussel on this work of hers.
This sometimes funny ("Hi, Mr. Clingy Prostitute!") and always smart collection of stories talk about sex in terms of fantasies, cybersex, politics, post traumatic stress disorder and even the evangelical approach in "Soulgasm" by Dagmar Herzog. This story looks at sexual points of view for devout Christians. It approaches what may or may not be considered normal and acceptable in a loving Christian marriage. It even offered a prayer for those faithful, yet horny Christian wives:
"Lord, keep me growing as a godly and sensuous woman. Keep me from worrying about what is normal and let me dwell on what is a successful sexual encounter for me and my husband."
I found this a little funny, but still encouraging to know that not only the 'sinners' are calling out to Him during sex!
This collection the kind of sex writing that all erotica writers aspire to write, in my opinion. To reach an audience, inform and inspire through the truth on taboo topics in a way that engages the brain and allows us to grow into braver and educated society. Bravo! for a great collection and another great read.
"Dangerous Dildos," about the military's uncalled-for searches and seizures was eye-opening to say the least, and it really makes you wonder what freedoms we're protecting if we can't allow our own citizens the freedom of keeping their sexuality private.
"Sex is the Most Stressful Thing in the World" is a hilarious look at how much we all overthink sex in our own lives, and if you don't laugh out loud reading about the author's foibles, you're really missing out.
Brian Alexander's piece is also quite enlightening when it comes to what the average Jane or Joe is doing (side note, if you like Best Sex Writing, you should read Alexander's book, "America Unzipped").
I've passed around my copy of the 2008 edition to everyone I know who's remotely interested in sex as an intellectual topic, and 2009's edition will be much the same. Bussel did a fine job pulling together all the best author's and articles for the latest compendium of carnal knowledge, and it's a must-read for anyone of age and with a pulse.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Clinical and boring. Big disappointment and the word clinical should have been used in the preview. This author usually deliversPublished on March 6, 2013 by Randal
Best Sex Writing is for the most part a pretty good read, exploring many of the much needed discussions about sexual issues, ranging from "teen sexting", the trend of bareback sex... Read morePublished on February 15, 2010 by Bakari Chavanu
Didn't like this book at all. Someone in my book club recommended it. First of all, who wants to have a book that looks like that on your bed side table.... Read morePublished on October 6, 2009 by Wormy
I wasn't really sure what to expect from BSW09. I read a lot of smut and erotica, and while I knew this anthology would be non-fiction writing about sex, I think I expected more... Read morePublished on May 4, 2009 by Sinclair Sexsmith
"Sex is everywhere." But good writing about sex isn't. That's why it's gratifying that Rachel Kramer Bussel and Brian Alexander have done the dirty work of finding it and... Read morePublished on March 27, 2009 by Erobintica
The only things I like better than having sex are talking or reading about sex and sexuality. This wonderful anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel gives us a diverse... Read morePublished on February 1, 2009 by K. Wilke
Best Sex Writing 09 is exactly what I could have hoped for in terms of a "best of." After spending the last two years out of school and without internet, I was starved for... Read morePublished on January 31, 2009 by Brook Bolen
This is a very interesting collection. But first, a word of caution to those who judge books by their covers: this book is not as `naughty' as the cover and title might lead you to... Read morePublished on January 13, 2009 by Akron Reader