This year marks the first publication of a new series: Best Sex Writing of the Year: On Consent, BDSM, Porn, Race, Sex Work, and More. This new book was edited by Jon Pressick, blogger at SexinWords.ca, who has graciously written a guest post for me. Check it out below. Hooray!
This anthology is important if only because it’s a real book about sexuality. It’s part memoir, part critique, part educational, and it’s all real accounts of sexuality and how it plays out in people’s lives in the present day. For these accounts I am grateful and I think this book is a must-read.
Joan Price writes about losing her lover to cancer; and how, as she held him for the last time, his body warmed up from her body. One final embrace. Morgan M. Page writes about walking a tightrope in being a trans woman who is subjected to critique both by the world and by the queer community. Here’s an excerpt:
If we show too much emotion at any time (read: any inconvenient emotion), we get hit with a double whammy of misogyny and transphobia, quickly written off as hysterical “crazy trans women.” Accuse the wrong person of something, anyone too close to queer-home, and that’s the end of our credibility and the revoking of our entrance passes to Queerlandia.
One piece depicts what it’s like to live with herpes. Another discusses how sobriety and BDSM go well together for many people. From condoms in porn to questioning the term “sex toys,” from libido during pregnancy to fisting, this book runs the gamut on sexuality topics.
Keep in mind this book is an anthology. Each chapter is a bite-sized portion of information. Often the chapter titles can give a sense for what the pieces are about. If not, the first paragraph or two will. Reading this anthology piecemeal can be a great way to get a sense for what sexuality topics need to be part of a greater discourse. This book is cutting edge: it serves as a call-to-action for what we as educators, performers, bloggers, etc. can work on going forward.
Check out Jon Pressick’s guest post below. Thanks to Cleis Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review of it. xoxo
How was the experience of editing Best Sex Writing?
I am not easily intimidated. Full of DIY spirit and a general attitude of “Of course I can do that” I have tried and succeeded at many different projects. I have also tried and failed at many different projects. That desire of try has always been central to what I do.
Sure, failure stings. And, certainly, success is sweet. But not trying is just not in me.
I have been writing and publishing for a long time. Mostly on my own, with zines and websites and posters and books. But those have all been on my terms, my needs, my desires. Having also worked in the book industry for years, I am fully aware of what it takes to make a book, and what can sink it.
When I was offered the chance to edit Best Sex Writing of the Year, I jumped headlong and heartstrong. This is my chance, this is my moment. Contracts signed, the world told, me jumping for joy and getting the word out asking for submissions.
Lots of submissions! More than I could have guessed. As they rolled in, I gave the works a peruse. Personally, when editing collected works, I prefer to do a dedicated read once the call for submissions closes. I don’t like to pre-pick favourites before they are all in. But I saw names and had to peek at their choices.
Those names! Those choices! Remember that bit about not being intimidated?
I received work from some of my sex writing heroes. People I look up to, people I look to for guidance and mentorship from afar. People I’ve been reading and loving for so long.
And now I had to choose between them.
Impossible! Overwhelming! As I tried to narrow the works, tried to separate on a scale from 1 to 5, I found the high-ranking pile towering over the others. This was too much. Too many. Too much awesome writing about sex!
But I had a job and it was a challenge. A new challenge. One of those challenges I was never intimidated by before. Taking my fanboy tendencies and pushing them to the side, I dove back into the pile and sorted. And read and balanced my thoughts.
Being humble (and Canadian), I can’t be the one to say how meaningful this book is to the world. But I can say what it means to me: Best Sex Writing of the Year is the most fulfilling project I’ve ever worked on.