Review: Best Sex Writing 2013: The State of Today's Sexual Culture
Best Sex Writing 2013: The State of Today's Sexual Culture by Rachel Kramer Bussel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is filled with opinions and editorials rather than fictional erotic stories. Although some of these are questionable in their facts. My review is going to be a bit different than usual. These are my own opinions based on these sexually charged articles. I'm dividing them up into how I felt about each chapter. Instead of listing the best first, I'm going to start with the articles that enjoyed and end with ones I thought were best. I'm going to stick the ones I loathed in the middle so that people will forget they even existed.
There are two in here which I read and just felt good while reading them. The book kicks off with Live Nude Models by Jonathan Lethem. It's a sweet trip down memory lane for the writer who started early on as an artist. Oh Baby! Baby Talk by Rachel Kramer Bussel deals with a much disparaged ageplay fetish. Since I adore ageplay, I appreciated this one. Ms. Bussel, will you my Mommy?
Much to do about nothing
Holy Fuck: The Fourth-and-Long Virgin by Jon Pressick just makes me shake my head. I agree with Mr. Pressick. Tim Tebow is an athlete who is a virgin. So what? Mr. Pressick makes good points about the sexual expectations of a star athlete. When did we become a society where hypocrisy is the acceptable norm? We don't want people telling us what to do yet we want to force our stereotypes upon others. Really, who the fuck cares if Tebow is a virgin? People with too much time on their hands.
Why is this illegal?
These two stories probably lead me down the path of damnation. In Rest Stop Confidential by Conner Habib, it exposes the allure of anonymous sex in public men's restrooms. I never understood the problem with having sex in a bathroom. What's the issue here again? It's not like the men are exchanging money. Okay, I get that we shouldn't push "our" kinks upon others in public. I guess I wonder why people are riveted watching animals having sex at the zoo yet we can't have sex in public restrooms. Not that I would want to have sex in a public bathroom, because they are filthy germ ridden and potentially spider infested nastiness rooms.
The second one which makes me scratch my head is Happy Hookers by Melissa Gira Grant. This essay is all about the "oldest professional" in the world. Why is this still illegal? I never understood why it's bad to pay for sex.
Poly good, bad and ugly
These two essays deal with poly relationships. Sex by Numbers by Rachel Swan shows a working poly formation with ups and downs. It's not perfect, but it's possible. When on Fire Island A Polyamorous Disaster by Nicholas Garnett is not a flattering look at a married couple who try out swinging. It's a train wreck which is uncomfortable to witness even second or third hand.
I hear you
These are ones which are just okay for me. I felt nothing. There were a couple of good points. Such as Porn defends the money shot by Dennis Romero. This is the argument as to why condoms aren't used in porn flicks. The porn addicts paying for it don't want to see the love glove. With an abundance of free porn through internet, it's difficult to sell porn with actors using prophylactics.
Very legal: sex and love in retirement by Alex Morris enlightens me on grandma sex and why they don't get hitched again. Not too applicable for me now, but good to note when I'm old, alone and in a nursing home. Cherry Picking by Julia Serano is a little boy coming of age story as he turns into a sexually aware young lady. It's sweet.
Oddly enough, even though I'm submissive, Submissive a personal manifesto by Madison Young was just okay for me. I understand her different roles. The ending just seemed over the top.
If I went by the lowest ratings, this collection would be a 1 star based on these two articles. Sex by Any Other Name by Insiya Ansari can be summed up in one word - Cocktease. I didn't care for this one at all. The girl comes across pretentious.
Christian Conservatives vs. Sex The Long War over reproductive freedom by Rob Boston is a total fail for me. Here are some points which I'd like to have taken into consideration.
Arizona's House Bill 2625 was a response to Obama mandating there should be no co-pay for women at all when it comes to birth control. Arizona seems to have a knee jerk response against Obama and based upon Obama's constant opposition with them, it's not a surprise. Early on, Arizona made some legislations which they felt makes sense for their state. It's the United States of America. Depending on a person's personal leanings, they may agree with a Federal versus State legislation. However, each state is different and can have different needs. When Arizona was called out early on during the first term, this riled them up. Seriously, where is the common sense? You try to bully or bash a person or entity in the public, what would their response be? Once, they get miffed. More than twice, they now consider you an enemy. Ever cross a person before? They will hold a grudge and next time you have something important, they'll block it just for the sake of blocking. This is basic negotiation class 101 material.
Second, the law does NOT say women can't have contraceptives. Somehow the article devolves into women dying of abortion because conservative Christians aren't letting women get free contraceptives. So, contraceptives are no longer going to be made? The Pill and other contraception will now be illegal? Do the pharmaceutical companies know this? Do the manufactures know this? What the bill is saying, is employers are not forced to keep it as something they must cover. It gives employers the choice to opt out of covering for it. Women and men can still buy it and pay for it themselves.
"Boo hoo hoo! The drugs costs too much! The mean company I work for SHOULD pay for it. It's my constitutional right." Let me get this straight, my premium now needs to go up due to a service I don't use, because you want it for free? There's something called free will. If your employer doesn't cover it and it's a big deal for you, find a new employer. Or better yet, let's ask the real question no one seems to be asking. This is the one which I find interestingly suppressed.
The problem is. the cost of the different birth control pills and devices are so expensive. Why? If the issue is that the drugs are not affordable, let's determine the cause. Is it a monopoly? Is it a collusion? Why blame employers? Let's look at the root of the problem - the drug companies selling it at these so called unaffordable prices. Or is it the insurance companies. Do we even know how much this costs?
As a last thought on this one. Is Viagra covered? If it is, then I can just as easily make the supposition that these lawmakers are really against women's equality for allowing Viagra or any sexual enhancing drug to be covered for free or co-pay. Because this means heterosexual males using this will be sexing up their females which results in pregnancy. It's clear the purpose of covering Viagra is oppression of women through getting them knocked up. Women will be stuck at home pumping out kids and squirting out milk to feed them. This is just as ludicrous as equating allowing employers to opt out resulting in women dying from using hangers to scrape out a baby they don't want.
Slit my wrists now
These articles just depressed me. They are moving and one can feel the pain emanating off the pages. The title Ghosts: All my men are dead by Carol Queen says it all. Lost boys by Kristen Hinman is a deeper look at young boys selling their bodies for various reasons. Dear John by Lori Selke is just sad. The divergence between her kinky style and the current Leatherman culture is just depressing.
Notes from a Unicorn by Seth Fischer hits home for me. His struggle is aggravating because I find it's unnecessary to force people into roles and labels. His experience is heartbreaking. I think bi-sexual males are worse off than bi-sexual females.
The Original Blonde by Neal Gabler is a lovely tribute to Jean Harlow. It's also a tragic look at the rise and fall of a young sassy woman. In ten years, she lived a live more drama ridden then most people who live twice her age.
There are several articles which I found myself musing over for days after reading it. I want my friends to read this book so I can discuss these particular ones with them. Can a better vibrator inspire an Age of Great American Sex? by Andy Isaacson falls into this category. This article makes good points about removing the stigma of with selling and buying sexual aids. With vibrators moving into stores other than dingy back alley sex stores, it's no longer a dirty secret. Having spent several hundreds of dollars on different sex toys, I can agree that better vibrators will inspire greater American sex. My orgasms have shown great improvement with my purchase.
Enhancing Masochism: How to Expand Limits and Increase Desire by Patrick Califia is by far, the best one for me. 5 star material all the way. He spends time distinguishing between abuse and non-abuse.
Is there any objective proof that people who get wet during a spanking are also getting ripped off financially, intimidated by bullies, anorexic, being battered, or likely to engage in self-mutilation? No. And there never will be, because we are conflating two separate categories of human experience. One is a sexual identity or experience; the other is a state of disenfranchisement, oppression, traumatization or self-hatred. People consent to the former; they wish they could escape the latter(p. 119).
The one which captures my submissive essence is Mr. Califia's point below.
The submissive wants to be possessed and yield to another person; they want to be of service. They will take pain if you make it their job to take it. The pain becomes one item on a menu of conduct or sacrifices that you, the master or mistress, demand because it pleases you. Pain becomes a way to demonstrate your control over him or her (p. 119).
This collection of writings is for kinky readers who want a book they can think about and discuss with others.
*provided by BDSM Book Reviews
View all my reviews