I was surprised and delighted to find Best Gay Romance 2009, ed. Richard Labonté, Cleis Press , an absolute pleasure to read, and more stimulating to me – a straight woman – than most heterosexual erotica.
Partly it’s the romance aspect – the stories and characters are gentle, sweet, and very sexy – and because the whole book is men, men, men. Each story has at least two sexy, loving men who get aroused and naked together, which for me was delicious, fantasy voyeurism.
Each story even offers an interesting plot -- not just a rush to the genitals -- and non-stereotypical characters. Several are even our age, though most are young. The stories are tender and erotic without being the least bit raw, rough, or sleazy. I lapped it up (so to speak).
As my readers know, I lost my beloved husband last summer. I’ve been sexually hibernating since then (while continuing to think and write about sex, as you know). Believe it or not, Best Gay Romance got my sparks sparking again, at least within the cocoon of fantasy.
I wrote to Richard Labonté, editor of the series, about this, and he wrote back:
I’m so happy to hear that the collection helped get your "juices flowing." I’m not surprised, though - in my A Different Light days (I helped open this still-extant gay bookstore in Los Angeles in 1979), I sold a lot of gay male romances, especially early Alyson titles (way before the Best Gay Romance days) to straight women. I particularly recall a group of six or so women, age range early 30s to late 40s I’m guessing, who would come into the original ADL store in Los Angeles in the '80s every two months or so and buy everything new since their last visit, often four or five books each, not always the same titles (I’m sure they also shared). Like you, they appreciated the erotic (but not too erotic) male content.
Read more of my sex and/or aging book reviews and author interviews here.