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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Deep inside Best Sex Writing 2013 - the virtual book tour kicks off!

I'm going to kick off the Best Sex Writing 2013 virtual book tour by simply telling you why I consider this book my pride and joy. Firstly, I'm a nonfiction nerd. I read more fiction than nonfiction in book form these days, but a heartfelt, can't-stop-thinking-about-it article or essay will always stay with me longer than fiction. Not that it's a contest, but it's true. It's why as I pack up my apartment I'm keeping so many of my books about sex, ones that are one year old, five years old, ten years old, fifteen years old. Because they are still important to me. And that's what I hope this book is: important. Provocative. Powerful. I hope that even though it has the word "2013" in its title that in 2023 and 2033 and 2043 people will maybe still pick it up and find something useful in it, though I hope by then we are more evolved on topics the book covers, like polyamory and sex work and bisexuality and BDSM.

Seth Fischer writes his coming out as bisexual essay "Notes From A Unicorn:" "I wanted to join a team so I wouldn’t have to answer any more questions, so I wouldn’t have to say that I preferred one or the other or whether I exist or if I’m a unicorn or how I can ever hope to be monogamous if I’m attracted to more than one gender." To me, even though his piece is about being bisexual, it speaks to anyone who's ever felt alienated about their sexuality, who's felt like they have to pick between sexual orientation A and B, fetish X and kink Y, identity 1 and identity 2. I'd venture that almost all, if not all, of the pieces in the book are similarly open to adaptation--about a very specific topic, but also about more. For instance, my essay "Baby Talk" is about age play, but it's also about exploring any fetish or fantasy with a new partner. I wrote in that essay:
One of the things I enjoy most about sex is the sense of connection where nothing is held back. If agreeing to be his “mommy” would get me to that place, I was game. I had long been a champion of people baring their deepest fantasies. You can’t do that in a half-assed way.
I love that the pieces in the book span so many topics, and explore business (such as Andy Isaacson's "Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex?" to aging (Alex Morris's "Very Legal: Sex and Love in Retirement") to Tim Tebow, sports and virginity (Jon Pressick's "Holy Fuck: The Fourth-and-Long Virgin"). They look at worst case scenarios, best case scenarios, and plenty of scenarios in between. In this, I find them extremely human. I guess all writing is human, but sometimes writing about sex tries too hard to prove a point, and doesn't allow the nuances and complexities. I love the nuances and complexities, the moments of hesitation and complication, the places where sex meets so many other areas of our lives. A few touched on in the book are family, public spaces, sexual subcultures, the law, death. I write in the introduction: "Part of why sex writing is so vital is because we all have things to learn—about ourselves, and about others. While this book will not teach you how to have sex, you will learn about what motivates others in their sexual desires, whether to engage in multiple relationships, perform sex work, come out as bisexual, build increasingly advanced vibrators, or more." I hope you will take a peek at this book, or more than a peek. Yes, like many Best Of collections, most of these pieces are reprints, but I hope that even if you've read them before, they are worth rereading. I think they complement each other well, and also leave room for the endless pieces about sex written and yet to be written.

Best Sex Writing 2013 table of contents

Foreword by Carol Queen
Introduction by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Live Nude Models Jonathan Lethem
Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex? Andy Isaacson
Sex by Numbers Rachel Swan
Very Legal: Sex and Love in Retirement Alex Morris
Notes from a Unicorn Seth Fischer
Rest Stop Confidential Conner Habib
When On Fire Island…A Polyamorous Disaster Nicholas Garnett
Cherry Picking Julia Serano
Holy Fuck Jon Pressick
Baby Talk Rachel Kramer Bussel
Dear John Lori Selke
Sex by Any Other Name Insiya Ansari
Enhancing Masochism Patrick Califia
Ghosts: All My Men Are Dead Carol Queen
Happy Hookers Melissa Gira Grant
Christian Conservatives vs. Sex: The Long War Over Reproductive Freedom Rob Boston
Porn Defends the Money Shot Dennis Romero
Lost Boys Kristen Hinman
The Original Blonde Neil Gabler

Purchase Best Sex Writing 2013 from:


Kindle (ebook)

Nook (ebook)

Books a Million

Indiebound (independent bookstores)

Cleis Press

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