Best Sex Writing 2010 - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Adriana Ravenlust

Best Sex Writing 2010

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Focus on the title, not the cover

Consider Best Sex Writing 2010 and other books in the series like a coffee table books. The stories and essays should get your mind in motion and spark thoughtful conversations about sexuality between yourself and others. Arousal is just a side effect.
Interesting, covers a wide range of sex topics, entertaining and informative
Cover is misleading, many personal anecdotes, hit or miss stories, language not always sex positive
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
This is now the second Best Sex Writing I have had the opportunity to own and I will probably pick subsequent publications up to add to my collection. You see, I love to read about sex as an intellectual pursuit and these anthologies provide the reader with essays about all sorts of sexuality-related topics from the past year.

Best Sex Writing 2010 features more personal anecdotes that I remember from the previous year's volume and, admittedly, I think that these pieces do detract from the overall value of the book. I would much rather see intellectual discussions and essays about sex as in Thomas MaCauley Willar's "Toward a Performance Model of Sex," in which the author proposes that the current commodity model of sex is sexist and damaging to anyone or even Violet Blue's biting, to-the-point letters that make up the included piece "The Future of Sex Ed" than Michelle Perrot's selfish admittance that she is and continues on planning having affairs without her husband's knowledge because she loves him too much to have the nasty sex that she wants with him.

In fact, I would say there is a definite decline in technological and intellectual quality in the most recent edition of this book, and I am not sure why. Last year, I read enthralled as authors covered topics ranging from Japan's sex dolls to service women being able to have sex toys on deployment. Granted, Jesse Bering writes intelligently about the evolution of the penis and the very reason for its phallic shape just as "The Trouble With Safe Sex" takes an honest look at why members of the gay community may not be as concerned with safe sex as they once were. Still, little of the content felt new and fresh. Little looked toward the future or made me excited for what my sexual future may hold. Where were the exciting medical, psychological, evolutionary and technological discoveries about sex in 2010?

The pieces were frequently focused in the past, full of nostalgia and not inappropriate for the respective memoirs of the authors--should the authors decide to write such a piece. To put it another way, some of these entries seem like they came straight out of someone's personal blog (I'm sure some of them did, actually!) and while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it makes me wonder where the editor draws the line between "interesting" and the "best" sex writing of the year.

I read a lot of positive-but-not-raving reviews for Best Sex Writing 2010 and many of the readers came off as confused as to just what type of book this is. Judging from the cover, a black and white shot of two bodies embracing, one might expect something much more erotic or steamy than what actually exists between the covers (rest assured, however, that you will probably find yourself turned on at some point or another). This was one of my complaints last year, as well; however, the cover has been toned down this year. People may feel misled from the cover image and those who truly want to read intellectual stories about sex won't mind interesting, if less in-your-face, imagery.

It doesn't mean the writing in Best Sex Writing 2010 isn't the best or even interesting--because it is!--it simply means that it may be time for the publishers and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel to determine just where this series is heading and whether it may be time to focus on a certain type of writing.
This product was provided at a discounted price in exchange for an unbiased review. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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  • Kayla
    Great review. Your book reviews always make me jealous since you do a great job. I keep meaning to pick up one of these books though, but I haven't done it yet.
  • Adriana Ravenlust
    I didn't really like my review for this, but thanks! I'd recommend last year's more than this one.
  • namelesschaos
    Thnaks for the review. You've made me interested in this series.
  • Selective Sensualist
    Thanks for the wonderful review! I will look into this series.
  • Danielle1220
    Great review!!
  • AmandaA
    Nice review!
  • zracer
    Great review
  • Adriana Ravenlust
    This is definitely a good book to check out
  • lineswecast
    Fab review, thanks!
  • smasmasma
    Great review! Maybe I will try this one out.
  • heather-mooney
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