Book Review: The Best of Best American Erotica 2008

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Jun 132010
 

There’s really four types of erotica books, when you get down to it.

The first is kind of what many us grew up mocking….the Romance Novel that was really just word-porn disguised by a sappy plot and trite nicknames for body parts. Think Fabio on the cover, sort of books.

The second kind is still a full-length novel but it’s more artistic in its prose. The thinking man’s erotica, I suppose. A real story, real believable emotions and situations. If you find flowing hair and ripped bodices in these it is only because the novel is a period piece.

The third kind is a bit like the first, but in a short story anthology form. Of course, it only resembles the first in that there’s a lot of sex. A lot of raunchy sex. Which inspires you to either fuck yourself or fuck your closest most willing partner. The books that Rachel Kramer Bussel and Allison Tyler edit are mostly like these.It’s like a sex toy for your mind.

The fourth is a bit like the third, but in short story anthology form. Thinking man’s erotica. Stuff that leaves your brain wondering and your hormones maybe wanting more, there’s a bit of a buzz (or maybe a lot if it particularly resonated with you) in your underwear. There’s perhaps outright sex, perhaps just sexual innuendo and talk. It inspires you to fill in the blanks, to lower the book unconsciously and let your mind wander.

The Best of Best American Erotica 2008 is the fourth kind of erotica book.

That’s not to say it’s bad, by any means. Some of the stories you’ve read and don’t fully realize until it’s over that it was, indeed, erotic. Arousing. Twisted, maybe. Some of the stories actually made me feel almost like I shouldn’t be aroused. The first 3 stories, for example. The first is about a brother and sister, twins. They’re closer than your average set of siblings. Way closer. The second story is about two addicts; the female ends up cruelly using the male. Ruining his life, and then leaving in laughter. The third story is about a couple with sexual issues, and a therapist who goes too far and then gets caught in their fucked up trap. There’s sex in these stories, no doubt. But it’s kinda like the stuff of fetishes. So many of these stories end up having a twist that surprises you. Just when you think it’s a lesbian story….maybe not.  One thing these stories all do have in common is scene and character development. You get background, foreshadowing, you know their wall color.

The book is the 15th anniversary of The Best American Erotica series, edited by Susie Bright. The stories were picked from the 14 prior BAE editions; at the end of each story the author writes a few paragraphs about the piece – where they were in life when they wrote it, how they feel about it now, what inspired them, etc. You don’t normally get that kind of insight from anthologies. At the end of the book, in addition to the anthology-standard author’s bio section of those who appeared in the book is a list of every person who was published in the BAE series (just names) and then a guide to the most influential erotica editors, sex zines, etc. Susie contributes a story to the book, as well as her editor intro to the book which talks about her journey of editing the series, and as well as her thoughts on the pieces included.

What this book is: Erotic writing, that sometimes is barely erotic and sometimes is teeming with it in a slightly disguised way. This is literature. This is something for book lovers and erotica lovers and writers.

What this book is not: Something to read to get your motor running. This is not a fluffer book. This is not a book that you get 3 stories in and have to either fuck or jerk off. Some of the stories will indeed affect you that way, some will not.


Thanks to Edenfantasys for sending me this (way too long ago) for review. I’m glad to have it in my treasury and highly recommend it.

If this book is your style, you’ll also enjoy Best of Best Women’s Erotica, I also own this one.
For more of the raunchy style, in addition to the RKB and Allison Tyler compilations linked above, I also highly recommend Frenzy: 60 stories of Sudden Sex (short, and the point stories)

“Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission”

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May 042010
 

There was a point in time when I wanted to devour all BDSM erotica books. To glean knowledge, to gather ideas for us.

When things ended with R, I went to the opposite side of the spectrum. I removed those books from my wishlist. I’d skip over male D / female s stories in other anthologies. For awhile I even stopped reading the blogs of submissive women. But I’ve gotten better, I’d gotten over it mostly…..

Or so I thought.

By the third story, I was getting that little ache inside. Except that this time, it wasn’t a good ache for me. It was an empty ache. Acknowledging what I’d tried so hard to bury for months.

I missed having someone to call Sir.

I missed pleasing someone. I missed the power exchange. I ached for the physical domination. The hair pull. The throat grab.

By page 37, I had to put the book down. My cunt was thrumming and wet, but my chest was aching and raw. “Another day, I’ll try again on another day when my mental status is a little more firm….when I don’t miss it quite so badly”, I thought. Take this as a testament, then, as to the quality of these first stories.

As with any anthology there is a wide variety of writing styles, topics, angles and more. You’re bound to have a few favorites and a few you couldn’t even finish reading in amongst all the stories contained within. While a few stories in this book didn’t fully trip my switch, I must say they were all good stories. And some? Some are shining stars that kept me riveted for those few moments, lost in the imagery and thought and words. I was left wanting. If you are in a D/s relationship already then perhaps this book can serve for excellent imagination-fodder to fuel your current explorations.

I think one of my favorites was about a woman who has been taking a self-defense class from a martial arts instructor. She comes in on a Saturday for a make-up class, they’re alone and tick tock the moves get more sexual as the minutes go on. Power fighting against power. Her angry power to his calm power. Hmm I think I might develop a thing for guys who study martial arts after reading this one.

My other favorites include a couple about semi-public concealed foreplay and sex. Is that really a surprise to you, though? I didn’t think so. I, too, could possibly enjoy the opera if I had a calculating and controlling Master making me squirm.

Check out the book trailer and then go buy the book! If you’re at all into female submission…you’re going to want to read this book. Also at the book’s WordPress site you should check out this post where Rachel reads the story she had in this anthology about a topic I’ve fantasized about yet never experienced……erotic choking and face-slapping.

Mar 282010
 

You know, I don’t get ALL my sex toys for free. Sometimes I get impatient and just buy them. Sometimes I do a “buy out” for review at edenfantasys.com which means I get a discount but I still have to review it, such as the Devine Play Chest or the Fleshlight.

But there’s things I purchased with my own money (err…I mean EF giftcards that I got from writing for Edencafe plus the commissions I got from affiliate sales at EF) recently that I want to talk about, both the good and the bad. So read on for my thoughts on the Toiboks Original, the Erosillator 2, a couple of toy storage bags, the Nobessence Seduction dildo, and the Wahl 7-in-1 2-speed Massager.

Toibocks Original

This is a pricey yet unique toy storage item for someone with a few bedside toys that needs total privacy and discretion. The Toibocks IS beautiful, a dark mahogany wood that looks like a plain box and the lid opens to reveal a jewelry-tray thing. Keep cheap jewelry there, watch, anything that you like that’s average and doesn’t warrant a closer look. To anybody that looks at it in depth they’ll know that the box is big but the tray is shallow and try to lift up the tray. But it is locked in place with no obvious key hole. The key is contained within this piece that is stored inside the box magnetically to the metal logo on the underside of the lid. Problem is, in my eyes, that “key” is obvious that it doesn’t belong. In other pictures I had thought it to be metal, but it’s just plastic. Not even fake-chrome-plated plastic, it’s the swirly metallic-silver and so it looks like an oversized play-money coin from a child’s board game, and that’s really my only disappointment with this whole thing. The box is lined with velveteen-flocked cardboard and appears to be well made and sturdy. Like I said…..pricey, not for storing serious valuables, but it IS pretty and inconspicuous. Good choice for bedside storage if you have roommates or kids.

Toy Pouches

These are being sold under EdenFantasys as the brand, and are cute drawstring toy pouches. I purchased one of each, unable to tell exactly if one was better/different than the other. Other than one having the EF logo in glued-on rhinestones, there’s absolutely no different and IMO not really worth sending the extra $6. They come in black or purple on the outside and it’s a faux-suede material. The inside is a hot pink satin. Sturdy, thick cords make up the drawstring. Shiny silicone dildos/vibrators will not smoothly glide along the satin on the inside, so I took one and turned it inside out (that’s the pink one you see above). While the suede will likely stain more easily if the dildo isn’t clean, it can be easier to use it this way for some toys. I was able to fit the Wahl in the pouch by removing the attachment and just dropping it in the bag. I could probably fit one more attachment in it. Toys longer than 9.5-10″ won’t fit in and still let the pouch close.

Eroscillator 2

After reading Epiphora’s stellar, glowing review I decided to try it out. However….her review was for the tippy top super deluxe package of every attachment plus the stronger motor. SheVibe carries various packages, but the one I first tried was the “2 Plus” basic kit. I liked it….but it wasn’t perfect for ME. I like pressure and with the oscillations you can’t apply pressure, or they’ll slow down a lot. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this though for other women, so long as they don’t require pressure like I do. It can be powerful or subtle, good for a wide range of women. Even my husband liked the sensation of it when I applied it to his hard cock, at the frenulum. I think that I could love it if I was able to try out the super deluxe package, with a more powerful motor and different attachments. In the end, I wound up loving  the Wahl so much that I no longer reached for the E2 and so I gave it to Backseat Boohoo as a surprise. (she loved it)

UPDATE: I eventually was able to try out the “Top 2 Deluxe”, the model that boasts more power. Combined with the absolutely-essential Fingertip Attachment, I finally understood what everybody who loved it was talking about. I could truly get rid of all other attachments and solely use the Fingertip. It makes the difference; without it, I was feeling pretty lukewarm about even the Top 2 Deluxe model.  It’s a pricey spend, but will offer you a lot of variety with texture and sensation plus could be the thing that changes your mind about vibrators. It’s an “oscillator”, not a “vibrator”.

Wahl 7-in-1   2-speed Massager

That sounds so clinical, doesn’t it? This is another “body massager” that has become a pervertable vibrator in disguise. Not for those with sensitive clits, but it’s very different from the Hitachi’s power. The type of vibrations can’t even be compared. The Wahl comes with 7 little plastic attachments but to ME most are not going to work was a sex toy. Especially the scalp massager attachment (the one with nubby spikes). Ouch. There’s 2 speeds and they deliver more than just differing speeds….it’s totally different types of vibrations. The first is almost buzzy and surfacey but yet….not. Because long time readers will know that my clit doesn’t like that type and my clit loves the Wahl, both speeds. The second speed is…..whoa. Only for the aroused clit. The word “jackhammer” comes to mind, but not in a scary way. It’s not a numbing buzz like the Hitachi, it’s…..literally like a hammering/thumping sort of vibration. That might sound painful but I swear, it’s not. And holy shit is this thing QUIET especially on the first speed. On the first speed you wouldn’t be able to hear it from a few feet away. The cord is nice and long. The Wahl has become my go-to vibe now. Sure it looks funny but I can’t even tell you the last time I reached for my Hitachi since I now own this and the Climax Twist. Also, unlike the Hitachi, I never ever go numb from it, clit OR hand. This paragraph doesn’t even do it justice, maybe I’ll write about it more elsewhere, another time. LOVE IT. Buy one. BUY IT. You’ll love it.

Nobessence Seduction

The Nobessence Seduction is a pretty awesome dual-ended wood dildo. This dildo is NOT for those who think their vagina is small. This is a dildo for the size queens, but yet with some “warm up” many should be able to handle the larger end. I LOVE IT. I’ve used both ends; the larger end gives me the more broad g-spot action from feeling fulfilled, while the small knobby end can give pinpoint pressure. Due to the design, it’s anal safe, too, and that small end would be great for prostate massage. They use a different finishing method than Hans Hardwoods dildo I own, and it seems to seep into the wood giving it a 3D glowy sheen almost. It’s a pricey dildo but SO fucking worth it. And the packaging? Cute. CUTE! Hard pressed/colored/textured cardboard that is very thick and sturdy; the inside is padded and has a few elastic bands to hold the item in place.  I really can’t recommend this enough. It’s lightweight, it’s really well made, it can be sanitized and cleans up easily and is super beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Feb 142010
 

The bulk and details of my actual review are over at Edenfantasys, but since I can’t post photos there, I’m doing it here. This item is something that I did as a “buy-out” review, meaning I got a 30% discount so I paid for most of it. I’m super picky on what items I’ll actually buy simply because I know me….and I know I’m super picky. Nothing is worse than the feeling of “Oh wow, I just spent over $100 on something and I don’t like it” (hello, Eroscillator) but even us reviewers take risks. So you get two things here in this post that won’t be at my review on EF: lots of photos, and product comparison.


First I have to say this: I do not know why (Devine won’t give us details on the EF forums) but this is a Limited Edition case. The black one that I have sold out quickly at first and I feared it was sold out for good. I put an alert on the item and thankfully it was back in stock in less than a week. The black is now sold out again, and we’re not being told if that’s permanent. If you like this, and like it in black, put an alert on the item and jump on it.

This is my second Devine toy case to review, and my first one (the satchel) didn’t rate very high with me. It was essentially a bag with no pockets and a flimsy divider down the middle; I also took issue with their very cheap and easy-to-break padlock. Given the grand design of this case, I had really high hopes for improvement and in all but one area, there has been improvement. So let me get the bad out of the way before I show you the rest. The lock. It’s a very old-school luggage lock. The key is nothing but a prong shaped thing of cheap metal, and as you can see in the photo below it has bent already. Given the design of the lock though, that doesn’t matter, which tells me that the “key” is worthless. Anybody with something resembling this key can get into the case. Bobbypins, anyone? So it’s not a secure lock in the presence of adults. The lock just pushes in on a spring. Should that spring break it will never lock again but will hopefully still keep closed.

This case is a lot bigger than I anticipated. Which is both good and bad. The Hitachi easily lays down inside of it. You can over-fill the center portion because of the design of the lid. The divider is snug against the base of the case, because both are firm. The divider failed on the satchel because the base of the satchel was not solid. The divider can be removed, it’s velcroed in there. They give you a little mesh pouch there and an elastic band. There’s two mesh pouches inside the lid. Mine holds my flogger in one and the attachments for my Wahl and Eroscillator in the other.

This thing really can hold a lot of toys – I don’t have a high number of toys in here in these photos but that’s because I chose all big ones. There is, of course, a downside and that is once I had all this stuff in there? Holy fuck I could barely lift the case! Granted, I’m a weakling.

In the one photo I laid in there the entirety of the Black Label accessories kit for my Liberator Ramp & Wedge combo. In another here I’ve got an Impressions paddle and a 15ft hank of hemp rope. If you’d like to use this case to transport your play session bondage items, you could fit a LOT of rope and leather in here.

As for the other toys in there? Hitachi, Wahl, Eroscillator and Pure Wand on one side. A custom made dildo from Hans, the Nobessence Seduction dildo, the Jollie and a book.

So you can’t exactly talk about one sex toy case without comparing it to another. But yet, how can you when they’re so vastly different? For You Nymphomation cases are truly secure and locking, because they all use better quality padlocks. The bigger cases like the XL Toy Box that I own have removable pouches and little velcro-shut tabs. Your stuff doesn’t just lay in there in a heap. Of course the smaller cases by FYN they do just lay in there. The Devine cases are almost all decidedly very femme. FYN cases can be more gender-neutral. The FYN XL Toybox and ToyChest are not thick/tall, but this means they can fit under the bed. The Devine Playchest? It’s not going to be as easy to stow away, and it’s so pretty that it begs people to ask about it.

All in all, I’m happy I bought the Devine Playchest and I won’t always be using it for sex toys. I can see this coming with me on the train to NYC (but never would I take it on a plane and deal with TSA). If you think you’d like one, hurry!

Nov 212009
 

012

You all know I love my written erotica, so reviewing these books is quite a treat for me. Sure, the sex toys get me off, but these books can get me worked up enough in the absence of anything else to a high enough level of arousal to elicit some really strong orgasms.

There are two main types of erotic novels – full novel-length single-author jobs, and multi-author short story compilations like this book. I can appreciate both. The full length books allow you to get immersed in the characters and scenes; if the author and reader have vivid enough imaginations then the reader can feel like a true fly-on-the-wall observer or even part of the action. It takes skill to be able to pull this off in short story format and I have to say that many bloggers that I read can pull this off just as well (or even better) than some stories published in these anthologies.

It’s the nature of the design that when you buy these compilations, you will have varying opinions of the stories contained within. The pieces in Frenzy: 60 Stories of Sudden Sex are about brevity. Brevity of the encounter or of the tale. Given the title I expected all the stories to be about “sudden sex” but some fit the description so loosely that it can throw you off a bit, waiting, “where’s the impromptu fuck??”.  Some are so short that they don’t even fill a page. While these can be just as erotic and vivid, it takes great skill to do so. I don’t think that many of the super-short-shorts in this book deliver. They have potential but more is needed.Most of the pieces in this book though are between 3-5 pages, a good length.

Of course with the shortness of the story comes the ability to cram in a larger variety into the book – and this means a greater probability that you’ll be aroused by most of the book. And aroused I was. I found myself devouring 3, 6, 8 little shorts in each session. Of course there is a necessary break inbetween sessions for sustenance and orgasm. But ultimately you have your choice – do you laze away your day and succumb to the temptation of escaping into many different little worlds and orgasms? Or do you draw it out with daily respites like an oasis, a sweet end to your day?

All in all, do I recommend it? Yes indeed. Alison Tyler included a great many hot steamy pieces here. I don’t count every erotic compilation book a success and this fares pretty well in my opinion. If you’re looking for even more short-attention-span stories, I’d also recommend her 2003 book “Down and Dirty: 69 Super Sexy Short-Shorts“. I’ve had that one for a while now and it’s one of the few I’ve pulled out every couple of years for a re-read. Thanks to Edenfantasys.com for sending me today’s book!

Nov 142009
 

With this review I decided to try something different – the mysterious world of lab-created pheromones. We know that pheromones are something that is excreted in sweat that attracts people on a base level, but the sciences behind them seem to vary especially when it comes to products containing Androstenol. When I researched it I couldn’t find any definitive answers online.

So the main test then would be using it. Did it work? Since I didn’t do a formal study I’m not sure that I can say one way or another. I know that I’ll continue to use it and try to be more “scientific” with it. The Bare Essence Gift Box gives you three methods of delivering the pheromone – a candle, a bar of soap and a perfume.

ZBEGB

I do want to mention that the bar of glycerin soap that was in my package was a much darker color – more like slightly-diluted Coke. I assume though that the color is no indicator of a scent variance.

The perfume is dispensed a roll-on style glass tube because the consistency is that of body oil. The perfume is a nice vanilla-musk scent, not overpowering and not cloyingly sweet. I’m extremely picky when it comes to perfumes/colognes and I liked this one. The soap claims to be skin-softening and pure glycerin – the scent is more musky than the perfume and wasn’t all that great in my eyes but yet not offensive. Perhaps I’m not a fan of glycerin soaps (I much prefer my bodywash) but I wasn’t thrilled with the way my skin felt when I rinsed off the soap. Afterwards though my skin didn’t feel any different from normal. I also couldn’t detect a scent on my skin after the shower. The candle is scented more like the perfume, and comes in a nice tin – great for the bedroom and a very safe containment system for burning wax.

I used the perfume the most. My husband did seem to be all over me when I first brought out the soap (and left it in the shower caddy where he could smell it while bathing) but again I can’t say definitively that his heightened interest in me was because of these products.

From what I have read online, the pheromone won’t turn people into drooling lust-crazed baffoons – but it will relax them. One article said that if your natural personality is a bit abrasive then this pheromone will make people more relaxed around you; I guess it makes them view you as less abrasive and brings an overall peaceful feeling to those who sniff it. I have only ever tried one thing prior to this that claimed to have pheromones and that was a lube – and the scent of it was offensive to me.

So all in all, this is a review without an opinion. I can’t say for sure that it does or does not do what it claims to do. I will most certainly continue to use the items though. When I have a better, firmer opinion I will post an update! My recommendation is that I am inclined to tell people to try it. I’m not backing it 100% but I am saying that it’s worth a shot. Thank you to EdenFantasys for letting me try this out! They’ve got a lot of other bath & body products, some sexy and some romantic.