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Sunday, January 08, 2012

What readers are saying about Best Sex Writing 2012

The reviews are in and I figured I'd let you take their word for what's inside Best Sex Writing 2012 (click to read my introduction), aka the book of mine I'm most proud of and think is, ahem, the best. I know that's totally subject but I'm just super excited about this book and the readings we're planning - so far on tap are readings in Portland, Oregon and Seattle and San Francisco and NYC. Also stay tuned for more contributor videos (I'm working on those) and in non-Best Sex Writing news, I'll be in Milwaukee doing an erotic writing workshop February 9th.

And thanks to everyone who participated in the BOGO offer! Stay tuned for more special offers.

But what I wanted to share were these reviews, which I think get at the heart of what the book's all about:

Five Stars - Fascinating, Engaging, Thorough, January 6, 2012
By mjims
This review is from: Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture (Paperback) The 2012 edition of "Best Sex Writing" is one of the most thorough compilations of journalistic writing I have ever encountered. Rachel Kramer Bussel and Susie Bright have done an excellent job of selecting pieces that address the year's most newsworthy events, as well as issues that I knew nothing about until I read this collection. Pieces that I was surprised to find in this collection (and are well worth reading) in particular were: a discussion of a ballot initiative to ban circumcision in San Francisco; a thorough examination of the John Ensign sex scandal, and the involvement of current presidential candidate Rick Santorum therein; an article comparing and seeking out the correct definitions of `premature ejaculation'; a fascination explanation of conflicting age of consent and child pornography laws. The list goes on and on. Also included are a large number of personal essays, both humorous and profound. Among them are an open letter to butch lesbians from the point of view of a femme, a touching treatment of sex at 66 years old, and a user's manual for a particularly complicated penis.

This collection is essential reading for anyone interested in the current state of the American sexual landscape. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is worth reading cover to cover; every piece in this book has something to offer for the curious and open-minded.

Provacative, bold, and well-curated, January 5, 2012
By Victoria Bloom
This review is from: Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture (Paperback) Erotic writer and anthology megaeditor Rachel Bussel and smart-ass sex activist Susie Bright have pulled together an intelligent, spirited, and thought-provoking collection of political and personal essays about sex in America today that makes you want to read in a private place. Not because you are embarrassed to read a sex book in public or because you're going to be aroused, but because you're going to want to talk back out loud to the strong-voiced authors of these no holds barred commentaries, either to yell "Hell, yeah" (for me, that was Camille Dodero's "Guys Who Like Fat Chicks"), argue back with the author (Marty Klein's "Criminalizing Circumcision"), cry a little (Joan Price's "Grief, Resilience, and my 66th Birthday Gift"), or just giggle outrageously (Susie Bright's "Why Lying About Monogamy Matters"). Tough topics like rape, sex work, queerness, STIs, sex and the military, and statutory rape get unapologetic coverage here, and though you won't agree with everything you read here, you'll certainly find that each and every essayist has been eloquent about saying their piece. Overall, an excellent collection, and worthy of the title "Best Sex Writing". I'll follow this series in the future!

Intelligent and Satisfying Writing about Sex (At Last!), January 4, 2012
By Donna G. Storey "writer and Japan scholar"
It seems every headline you see online or in the grocery store is a sexual come-on, promising the top ten secrets for superstud bedroom techniques or the inside scoop on the latest Hollywood nanny sex scandal. Invariably these articles fail to deliver anything but shallow clich├ęs, leaving me to wonder why I wasted my time. Best Sex Writing 2012 is different. I could barely put the book down, and its power still lingers. The articles always made me think and often brought me to tears. Just as promised, the editors' wide variety of offerings--from humorous to poignant to fiery truth-telling--brilliantly reflect the complexity of sexuality today. And like all the best writing, these articles allowed me to empathize with people whose experiences are different from my own, yet also realize that these issues directly impact me. Joan Price's powerful memoir about the vitality of sex in our later years should be an inspiration to us all as we grow older. Hugo Schwyzer's unforgettable piece on the male desire to be wanted brought a new understanding of how both sexes are deprived of full personhood in our current sexual climate--and resulted in a very touching conversation with my husband. The fascinating variety of male desire, the dangers of shoddy journalism, the horrifying injustice around sexuality in our legal system, it's all here. I could go on and on with examples, but I'll conclude by saying I was very, very glad I read this book and would recommend it highly to anyone craving a thoughtful, provocative treatment of sexuality in our time.

sexy, powerful, hilarious & thought-provoking, January 3, 2012
By J. Kelley (Macon, Georgia)
I could not get enough of this book: exceptional writing, intimate conversations, and mind-expanding viewpoints on familiar controversial topics. A lot of sex scandals break all the time ... we're used to them by now. But these stories explain how the emotional hype and judgment over sex scandals keeps everyone from exploring sexuality safely and pleasurably. And in between serious stories about political cover-ups, careless and criminal language used in reporting, and criminalizing teen sexuality, there are stories that make you laugh, smile, feel sexy and dream about how great sex can be. Adrian Colesberry's piece is NOT to be missed. And "Love Grenade" by Lidia Yuknavitch was probably the hottest story I've read all year.

This anthology opens the door for more honest discussions around sexuality -- if we could talk more about the emotions, laws & the gray areas of sexuality, it wouldn't be so easy to judge & criminalize any part of sex that scares people.

Impressive collection of the year's best, December 31, 2011
By Robert T Bakie
Typically, I'm much more of reader of stories of sex (erotica anthologies) than stories about sex, but I've really enjoyed Best Sex Writing 2012 as evidenced by last night's speed read through it.

I guess I like to focus on the happy side of sex, without worrying about how someone's hang-ups somewhere are making someone's else's life miserable and so on. That's a pretty short-sighted view, I'll admit, and this book has plenty of content that doesn't fit that view at all. From the funny and honest "Adrian's Penis: Care and Handling by Adrian Colesberry" to Rachel Kramer Bussel's story on Sexting, it covers a lot of ground. Some stuff I'd caught as the year went on and some I'd missed out entirely.

Basically, it's a great book if you're any kind of sex geek, which, apparently, I am. :)

Eye-catching, informative, funny, entertaining, and writing indeed, December 29, 2011
By Sam Chupp "sambearpoet"
This review is from: Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture (Paperback) I tend to read collections such as this in a non-linear format, thumbing through the book until something catches my eye. Well, every piece featured in this book edited by Rachel Kramer Bussell and selected by Susie Bright has its own eye-catching hook. My empathy was aroused reading Amber Dawn's butch/femme memoir in "To All The Butches I Loved Between 1995 and 2005: An Open Letter about Selling Sex, Selling Out, and Soldiering On," realizing that I have heard similar regrets from vanilla, straight folk. The cold terror of a pre-Don't Ask, Don't Tell Navy was made clear in "An Unfortunate Discharge Early in my Naval Career" by Tim Elhajj - which just makes me even more glad for DADT's repeal. There are humorous pieces as well: Love Grenade by Lidia Yuknavitch made me laugh at its sheer honesty and ebuillience about young lesbian road trips, Adrian's Penis: Care and Handling by Adrian Colesberry was gentle and sweet and funny in a sympathetic manner. There are topical pieces, explications of complex subjects like elder sex and child pornography and writings of slices of life in the Latina Drag community and the New York Meat Packing District gay leather community.

I enjoyed reading the work of so many curated for my attention and I am now left wishing it were 2012 and I could start to read the best of 2013.

A sexy, cute and thoroughly engaging read!, December 29, 2011
By Patrick M. Whitehurst "Whitehurst"
This review is from: Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture (Paperback) Rachel Kramer Bussel gauges hot blood with the accuracy of a thermometer. She's edited more sexy anthologies than almost anyone in the erotic literary scene. And she proves herself a true queen of the sexual word with her non-fiction effort - a smart collaboration with famed erotic author and "sex politician" Susie Bright. Bright chose the journalistic stories collected in the volume and penned a laugh out loud introduction that helps set the tone of the book. "Best Sex Writing 2012" counts as a marker in the world's sexual evolution, indicating the flavor and tempo of the planet's lustful ambitions at this particular point in history. Containing a number of non-fiction stories, some humorous, some sad, many sexy, the book ramps up society's sexual discourse to a new level, beginning with Amanda Marcotte's take on the SlutWalk and ending with Kevin Sampsell's hilarious "Pottymouth," the collection covers everything from transgender latinas, political sex scandals, religion and sex, dating with STDs and much more. I thought it would take me at least a week, with a rum and Coke in hand, to read the book. Instead it took only two nights. Lots of hot fun here.

Order Best Sex Writing 2012:


Kindle (out January 10th - pre-order now)

Nook (out January 17th - pre-order now)



IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore

Cleis Press

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