Best Women's Erotica 2010, ed. Violet Blue, from Cleis Press is an edgy anthology of women's erotic fiction, filled with swollen vulvas ("a cushiony mass of need") yearning for and achieving release through many interesting means: an especially thorough boot shining; a police officer locked in the line-up room; a hot, nasty man in a Barcelona bar; an after-hours martial arts class; three Geniuses in an Apple Store; a beautiful young man in a corset; and even a carrot. The stories are well-written, and no two plots, settings, or characters are alike.
Personally, I go for more tenderness and romantic connection in my erotica than most of the stories in this anthology deliver, but that doesn't mean you like as much foreplay in your reading as in your real life, as I do. For me, many of the stories were raunchier and more aggressive than I prefer, and some made me downright uncomfortable. "I felt sluttish and used, at the mercy of these callous brutes, and it was bliss," was more disturbing than erotic, as were a few other stories that had more pain and degradation than pleasure.
However, the fun of an anthology like this is that you can enjoy the stories that make you smile and tingle and skip the ones that don't feel right to you. I applaud editor Violet Blue and Cleis Press for not shying away from hardcore, women's erotica. My favorite story was "Secret Service" by Rachel Kramer Bussel, a sweet and sexy tale of a restaurant specializing in "oral bliss": good food plus cunnilingus interludes to leave its customers completely satisfied.
I'm always happy when I get books to review from Cleis Press because they publish an enormous variety of erotica and other sex-themed books. Here, let me show you -- these were among the titles Cleis sent me recently:
Peep Show: Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Playing With Fire: Taboo Erotica, ed. Alison Tyler
Surfer Boys: Gay Erotic Stories, ed. Neil Plakcy
Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Whatever your gender, gender preference, or taste in sex fantasies -- from airplane sex to vampire sex, you'll find erotica from Cleis Press that fits. ...Oh, except for senior sex/elder erotica. Is that coming, dear folks at Cleis?