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Best Sex Writing 2009 Paperback – January 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Best Sex Writing
  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Cleis Press (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573443379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573443371
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,778,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"..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

Table of Contents

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 everywhere—including 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 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

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In "Sex Offenders!!"
David and Shoshana Cooper
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.
Shanna Katz
This is a very interesting collection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David L. Houston on January 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful surprise. I volunteered to do a review, and was unprepared for what I got. This is not a book of sexy stories (although after reading this I will confess that I now am rather interested in Ms. Kramer Bussel's other work). Rather, it is a collection of writing about sex from the social standpoint. It's not quite social science, and it's definitely not erotica. This is one of the things that I am very taken with: the book bridges a large gap, in my mind, between the often dry, remote world of academe and that of the often over-stated world of sexuality.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Ferrieri on March 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
When I first got this book, I naturally assumed it was another erotica book as most of the books edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel are. I quickly realized that the stories were not erotica, but all on the topic of sex.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shanna Katz on January 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
One might assume that Best Sex Writing 2009 is solely a collection of erotica, or at least a book that contains some hot and heavy material. One might also be incredibly wrong.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sinclair Sexsmith on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
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 writing about the actual act of having sex, like pieces about BDSM theory or acceptance of radical acts. Instead, I was a little bit unengaged, flipping through the relatively short (and very readable) essays to find something exciting.

Maybe I was expecting to be more titilated? You'd think after an opening piece like "One Rape, Please (to Go)" by Tracie Egan, that the exploration of taboo sexual fantasies would be exciting, but it ends up reading as not so substantial. I would've liked to see a more significant analysis of consent in sex play.

If I picked it up again expecting it to read like a magazine, I might enjoy it quite a bit more - it's very readable, and accessible, to mainstream folks who probably don't read much about sex and are unfamiliar with sex writing.
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