Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Best Sex Writing 2013: The State of Today's Sexual Culture, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

(pb; 2013: sex essay/nonfiction anthology.  Foreword by Carol Queen, PhD)

Overall review:

Best Sex Writing 2013 is a choice anthology of essays centered around the current vibe of our Western culture, carnal and (sometimes) beyond it.  This is one of my favorite anthologies Bussel has edited, as well as one of my all-time favorite sexual anthologies, for its scope and (mostly) bullstuff-free take on what's going on in our world.

Only one of the essays didn't grab me because it was long-winded (Jonathan Lethem's "Live Nude Models").  Lethem's verbiage was occasionally clever, but ultimately not worthy of his essay's supposed pay-offs.

Lethem's work aside, this is an exceptional collection of works  - one worth owning.

Standout essays:

1.)  "Sex By Numbers" - Rachel Swan:  Excellent piece about polyamorous relationships.

2.)  "Very Legal: Sex and Love in Retirement" - Alex Morris:  The title says it all.  Especially good read.

3.)  "Notes From a Unicorn" - Seth Fischer:  A bisexual man details his evolution as a person and a sexual being.  Emotionally engaging, exceptional essay.

4.)  "Rest Stop Confidential" - Conner Habib:  The mindset of rest stop cruising is explored.

5.)  "When on Fire Island. . . A Polyamorous Disaster" - Nicholas Garnett:  The joys and pitfalls of polyamory play out in affecting and tragic fashion.  One of the best entries in this collection.

6.)  "Cherry Picking" - Julia Serano:  Wonderful, thoughtful piece about a transgender woman and her series of sexualized "firsts".

7.)  "Baby Talk" - Rachel Kramer Bussel:  A lover's predilection for 'age play' leads the author to consider her own predilections, carnal and otherwise.

8.)  "Dear John" - Lori Selke:  A woman parts ways with the traditional power dynamics of leather culture.

9.)  "Christian Conservatives vs. Sex: The Long War Over Reproductive Freedom" - Rob Boston:  The author outlines the history of birth control and religious/political interference; more importantly, he tells why we, as advanced cultures, must fight to defend our reproductive rights.  Excellent, a must-read entry.

10.)  "Porn Defends the Money Shot" - Dennis Romero:  Another exemplary essay.  In a shifting world, porndom finds itself having to change - or else face a tumbledown in their revenue streams.

11.)  "Lost Boys" - Kristen Hinman:  Overblown governmental budgets, social denial, corruption and other factors - some of them surprising - contribute to the misreporting and exacerbation of underage prostitution across the United States.  Illuminating call-to-action, this - and easily one of the best entries in this anthology.

Other essays:

"The Original Blonde" - Neal Gabler;  "Happy Hookers" - Melissa Gira Grant;  "Ghosts: All My Men are Dead" - Carol Queen;  "Enhancing Masochism: How to Expand Limits and Increase Desire" - Patrick Califia;  "Sex By Any Other Name" - Insiya Ansari;  "Holy F**k: The Fourth-and-Long Virgin" - Jon Pressick;  "Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex?" - Andy Isaacson;  "Submissive: A Personal Manifesto" - Madison Young

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<em>Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago. . . Volume 4</em> by various artists and writers

(pb; 2011: graphic novel. Collects Star Wars issues #68─85, the King-Sized Annual #3 and the original four-issue adaptation of Star Wars:...