Women In Lust - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Jenny Swallows

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There's a Time to Say "Stop" - and a Time to Say "What The Hell!"

Twenty stories dancing between taboo an total abandon, and a few hot corners in between - a little deceptively themed, I think, but if you just want to enjoy a raunchy read, here you go.
Probably an even split between the stories that reach out and grab you...
...and those that just lay back on the bed, and think about painting the ceiling.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

There was a time, in living memory too, when people didn't believe that women experienced lust. Not in a sexual form, anyway. We might lust after chocolate, new shoes or a purse, money or power or a set of knives that can cut through metal tubing. But lusting after sex... after a man (or a woman)... nope. It was just those crazy hormones. Either that, or a means to an end. (ie: chocolate, new shoes... etc.)

We've come a long way since then. Most great erotica of the past twenty years has been written by women, and if the average housewife of the mid-1950s was suddenly transported sixty years and shown the state of play today, she'd probably assume that the female species was extinct, and had been replaced by a new breed altogether.

Or not. Lust has always been with us, both men and women, and if one gender was too polite at the time to actually get down and dirty in public, behind the scenes it was something else.

Politeness is not something this book really cares about. Neither is privacy. "She tried on a slinky black dress that was in no way appropriate for school... and promised herself she'd wear it to class." That's the heroine of Rachel Kramer Bussel's "Hot For Teacher," and it sets the tone for the rest of this collection (which RKB also edited). Shameless exhibitionism is a powerful aphrodisiac, after all. And shameless voyeurism comes very close. Kin Fallon's "Guitar Hero" offers up a bit of both; Aimee Herman's "Ode To A Masturbator" delivers more of the same. Which is kind of appropriate, don't you think, given the guitar's reputation as just another penis substitute, purchased somewhere between puberty and the first big red sports car.

Ha, guess who once got jilted by a musician?

I'm not going to pretend I agree with every inclusion in this book. For me, the notion of "Women In Lust" also suggests some predatory instincts, and a seething undercurrent that snarls, "I want it, I'll take it." And too many of the stories here are more even-handed than that. The heroines (or, occasionally, perhaps oddly, heroes) may turn out to be wanton once the story gets going (I love that word so much... [italic]|wanton]! I want to be wanton!), but first they need to be teased to awareness. In other words, the lust must be cultivated, which in my mind suggests they have been led to lust, as opposed to be immersed in it. And I want immersion.

Another criticism, and this may or may not be petty. But at least one of the stories here, Jen Cross' "Queen of Sheba," turned up in another erotica collection, the same editor and publisher's Tasting Her. There, it was one of the best tales in sight, and it retains that lofty status here. But was it so good that it needed to play an encore? You decide.

Elizabeth Coldwell's "Smoke" is smart, too, all grimy bars and greasy pick-ups, and one of those sentences that you know will haunt your dreams tonight: "on my knees in a back alley, half-dress with a stranger's cock in my mouth." And the BDSM tinged "Something To Burn" is Amelia Thornton's exquisite rendering of how a simple picnic can become something else entirely.

Overall, though, this is a book to glide through without assuming a theme, an average collection of generally average stories. And the search for genuine wicked wantonness continues....
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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  • deltalima
    Thanks for the review.
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    Thanks for the review.
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