Foreign Affairs - erotic book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Alan & Michele

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Off the Beaten Path Erotica

This is a collection of unique erotic short stories about sexy travel adventures. They're rich enough in sensory descriptions to put the reader in the places they're set in, and not your typical couple-at-the-beach sex flings.
Unique stories, Interesting settings
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
Foreign Affairs is a collection of 21 short erotica stories, each written by a different author, that all share the theme of sampling the local "wares" during travels. Most of them feature singles looking for adventure, but a few involve couples either enjoying one another in a foreign location, or having a bit of a fling on the side. The latter type is rare though, so don't automatically discount this book if that isn't your thing. And though the book is heavily weighted with heterosexual characters, there are a few stories featuring gay, lesbian, and bisexual players too.

Physically the book is a bit taller than most of the other Cleis Press anthologies, and the tales average around 10 pages each, which gave the authors more space to flesh out the stories. Readers who like quick pick-ups that lead straight to sex won't be impressed, but we enjoyed the abundance of sensory descriptions that made it easy to slip into the sights, sounds, and smells of the settings. Many are the kind of stories that you can actually "get into", even with as short as they are. There were a couple that were so steeped in metaphors and similes that they deserved an eye roll in places, but even those weren't bad.

It was hard for us to pick out favorites this time, but here are a few to give you a sample of what's included:

Since we tend to like public play, Linda Jaivin's Peking Duck was the one that we both favored most. Set in China, it's the story of a female photographer who meets a local man who shows her much more than just interesting things to photograph.

At the Falls, by Opal Palmer Adisa, wasn't what we would call the best written of the bunch since her characters swayed between using broken English and perfect grammar (sometimes in the same paragraph), but the story itself was good. In it a woman leaves a disrespectful lover and travels to St. Lucia, where she has an affair with a mystery man who seems to know exactly what she needs.

Humor is something that we both appreciate in almost any situation, and Diane LeBow's The Sex Critic had us laughing more than once. She uses somewhat of a restaurant critic style to summarize twelve of her female character's assorted sexcapades around the globe, some of which are hot, and most of which are amusing. Such as, when her Egyptian partner yelled "I am going to throw" at the moment of climax, making her leap out of bed not knowing that it was the culture's phrase for "I'm going to cum".

As for the sex, that's on the tamer side in the majority of these tales. You won't find any serious bondage, domination or S&M between these pages, and there are only hints of anal play. But that doesn't mean there's nothing kinky to be found and, as general erotica goes, most are pretty hot.
Alan says:
We've read somewhere around 20 of the Cleis Press anthologies so far, but this one was very different. There was a lot more substance to the tales, and I think I enjoyed picturing the locations in a lot of them as much as the sex.
Don't expect all of them to have a happy ending though. There were a couple that ended with character death, actual or implied, which I thought was a bit out of place in an erotic book. My wife tells me that just adds to the "realism" of the stories though, so who am I to complain? Overall I enjoyed the book, and I think a lot of other couples might too.

Michele says:
A couple of book reviews ago, I made the statement that I get bored reading lengthy descriptions in erotica unless there is an interesting plot or some sexual tension. Well, most of the stories here had both: interesting plots and sexual tension, so there were very few that I didn't like. As opposed to the multiple erotica books that just collect dust on our shelf, I'm sure this is one that will be read more than once.
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  • Waterfall
    Very nice review Alan & Michele I can't wait to read this one, I like reading erotica that takes place in different countries and locations.
  • Alan & Michele
    Thank you
    We do too! It just makes them more interesting somehow. If Cleis every puts out another collection like this, it's a sure bet that it will finds its way into our library.

  • sexyintexas
    Great review, there are some strange stories in this book but they are intriguing nonetheless.
  • Crystal1
    Thanks for the review! I might have to check this out!
  • Illusional
    Oooh thanks for the review! I've been wondering about this one! I just finished Carnal Machines
  • ZenaidaMacroura
    Great review. This sounds like one my boyfriend would like. He likes traveling and all that. Maybe I could get him to read this one.
  • Screaming Violet
    great review
  • darkkitty
    Great review!
  • Jenny Smith
    thanks for the info
  • Aydios
    thanks for the review
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