Minneapolis book party tonight!

March 2, 2010

The only book party there will likely be for this book. Join us! More information about the book, like the introduction, can be found here.

March 2, 5:30-7:30
Best Sex Writing 2010 book party
Join Best Sex Writing 2010 editor Rachel Kramer Bussel and local contributor Diana Joseph, author of the memoir I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, for a reading and book party. The book collects the best sex journalism and essays of the year on topics ranging from teen sexting to penis size to the world’s thinnest condoms to voyeurism, swinging, Tijuana bibles, sex work, crazy sex laws and Twilight as “abstinence porn,” all centered on the them of sexual outlaws. Co-sponsored by Smitten Kitten; books will be available for sale and sex toys will be raffled off. Music by erotic bluegrass band Courtney McClean and The Dirty Curls; free cupcakes by Cake Eater Bakery in mint cookies and cream, white chocolate butterscotch and Elvis (peanut butter/banana/bacon).
Bedlam Theatre, 1501 S. 6th St., Minneapolis

Big thanks to local paper Vita.mn for the writeup.


John DeVore Best Sex Writing 2010 interview on Megan Fox, body types, male sex columnists and more

January 28, 2010

You are free to repost this interview as long as it’s posted in its entirety (from “Interview with” to “Cleis Press”) and you link back to https://bestsexwriting2010.wordpress.com/about

Interview with Best Sex Writing 2010 contributor John DeVore by Rachel Kramer Bussel

What inspired your essay “What Really Turns Men On” in Best Sex Writing 2010?

I wanted to write about the kinds of women that I personally find attractive. Not all men are lemmings.

You write, “There is a profound disconnect between what we’re told to think is sexy, and what it is that we actually think is sexy, between glamour groupthink and the sanctity of the individual kink.” How is your piece and point of view different from what’s seen in the media about the topic? Why do you think certain types (call her Megan Fox, as you do…or Pamela Anderson) are presented as the type of women men should desire?

This piece points out there’s a difference between fantasy and reality. It’s good to be reminded of that. There are men out there who are confident enough to follow the divining rod in their pants, and to ignore the clamor of the beer and boob literati. Likewise, there are women out there who aren’t total wedding and diet obsessed harpies, no matter what the lady mags demand. To thineself be true.

I haven’t the foggiest notion why women like Megan Fox or Pamela Anderson are successful commodities. It’s not an exact science. What’s sexy now, wasn’t sexy ten years ago. It will be different in ten years. Fashion is a fickle bitch, and the media spends all of its time chasing it through swamps, into thorn bushes, and over mountains.

I mean, you mention Anderson in the same sentence as Fox. They’re two totally different “types.” Anderson is a bubbly, blonde bombshell with big boobs. Megan Fox is sleeker, more sultry and sinister.

All I know is that when a certain type of woman strikes a chord with a large minority of men, that you can then sell that image and persona to those men.

Do you feel that women try to live up to these images rather than being themselves in order to attract men?

Yes. Absolutely. But becoming comfortable in one’s own skin is not a gender specific odyssey.

You write the weekly Mind of Man column for TheFrisky.com, and have written about everything from blowjobs to anal sex to threesomes to polyamory (“’Open relationships’ are like snowboarding. There are people who can do it very well. And then there are people like me, who will end up breaking something.”). What’s been your favorite column to write? Which has proven the most popular?

My most popular column, I think, was the one where I said that there’s nothing manlier than a man carrying a bouquet of flowers. That one blew up. I generally know my column is a success when I get nasty e-mails from self-proclaimed “feminists” and frat boys accusing me of “tucking my shlong.”

My favorite column was the one I wrote about the freakiest sex I ever had. Let’s just say, I somehow ended up biting my own foot.

One question I get asked a lot is why more men aren’t sex columnists. Why do you think that is? What’s it like writing for an audience made up mostly of women, after coming from Maxim?

Sex is a fantastically vulnerable thing, and I think men are uncomfortable with that. For all our bluster, men are strangely tight lipped about sex. Sure, we brag about conquests. We might even occasionally regale our friends with over the top tales of sexual derring-do. But there is a boundary, a place we do not go with one another. It’s a minor irony that modern men are very chaste in many ways. That said, I get a lot of shit for writing about sex. Good natured ball breaking from friends and some straight up crazygrams from angry brodawgs.

Women, however, are much more open. Also: they love to read. As a writer, I enjoy writing for those who love to read.

What’s the biggest misconception you think women have about men (and vice versa)?

That we want sex all the time and that women don’t.

Do you feel the term “sexual outlaw” applies to you and your writing?

If I’m a “sexual outlaw,” it’s because I’m writing about sex from a personal, alpha nerd point of view.

What are you working on next?

Besides my work for The Frisky, I write daily sex and dating advice for Guyspeak.com. I scribble regularly for Playboy, CNN, and AOL. Follow me, why don’t you, at twitter.com/johndevore.

John DeVore writes the “Mind of Man” column for The Frisky.com. A former Maxim magazine editor, John has written for Comedycentral.com, Playboy.com, and for the infamous political parody Whitehouse.org. For two and a half years, he cohosted the radio show “DeVore and Diana” on Sirius Satellite Radio.

You can order Best Sex Writing 2010 from:





Cleis Press

An affair that doesn’t involve Tiger Woods

December 4, 2009

As you may or may not know, the theme of Best Sex Writing 2010 is “Sexual Outlaws,” taken from Betty Dodson’s essay of the same name (click above to read the introduction) that’s in the book. In a week when affairs, Tiger Woods’ in this case, are omnipresent in the news, let’s have a look at a wanted affair, one that nobody is going to have to usher a major public apology for because its author is claiming it happily, lustily, and intelligently before it happens.

Here’s an excerpt from “Anatomy of an Affair” by Michelle Perrot – I will have more information from the author about this very hot topic. Media: Best Sex Writing 2010 review copies are available now. Email rachelkb at gmail.com or Brenda Knight at Cleis Press at bknight at cleispress.com with your publication and mailing address.

I don’t want 1950s-style advice about “date nights” and lingerie and role-playing. I don’t want to “spice up my marriage.” I want rough sex. Dirty, spit in his mouth sex. Wet, disgusting, nasty talk about pussies and cum and fuck-me sex. The kind of hate fucking where afterward you can’t move. And the bottom line is that I don’t want that kind of sex with my husband, this man I love.

For a number of years, of course, I assumed I would forgo this sort of sex. It was worth it to keep my marriage intact. Marriage is about compromise. It’s about some degree of sacrifice. Honestly, if what I would have to sacrifice were something other than the sort of sex that most fills me, I’d be happy to oblige. But sexual desire is so intensely personal, so completely something you don’t control. I can’t just decide that I will no longer crave that sort of sex, and our desires don’t always fit well with the monogamy our culture demands.

The running psychological theory is that we eroticize what has shamed, hurt, or frightened us, that our “lovemap cartographic systems,” as described by John Money, the famous John Hopkins psychologist, are learned. If that’s true, it could be argued that I spent my childhood feeling helpless, unable to control the ways in which my parents emotionally wounded me. As the years went by I tried to control the world where it felt out of control. I pursued men vigorously. I yelled at them when they hurt me, tried to force them into being who I wanted them to be. These were the men I had the best sex with, the ones who wanted to make clear who was really in charge once we got in the bedroom, the kind who made me go blind mid-orgasm, who told me my pussy was so wet and their cocks were aching with need for me, who smacked my ass while we did it from behind. These were the kind of men I never would have married. I wanted to get married, to share my life with someone.

I chose my husband because he was not one of these men.

Best Sex Writing 2010 will be in stores in about two weeks and we are finalizing the 6-city book tour now (New York, San Francisco, Eugene, Portland, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City, with other cities pending).

You can also read more at the Best Sex Writing 2010 blog.

Available from your local independent bookstore via IndieBound or:




About the Best Sex Writing 2010 authors

November 25, 2009

About the Authors

Brian Alexander, guest judge for Best Sex Writing 2009, is the writer of MSNBC.com’s “Sexploration” column, author of America Unzipped: The Search for Sex and Satisfaction (2008), and a frequent contributor to national magazines. He is also at work on another book. It has nothing to do with sex.

Jesse Bering is director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, where he studies how the evolved human mind plays a part in various aspects of social behavior. He writes a weekly online column for Scientific American magazine called “Bering in Mind.”

David Black is a journalist, novelist, screenwriter and producer. His articles have been published in the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s and Rolling Stone. His novel Like Father was named a notable book of the year by the New York Times and he received Writers’ Guild of America Award for The Confession.

Violet Blue is the sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, notorious blogger, high-profile tech personality, best-selling author and editor, podcaster, GETV reporter, technology futurist, public speaker (ETech, Google Inc.), sex-positive pundit in mainstream media (such as CNN and Oprah Magazine), and a Forbes Web Celeb. Find her at tinynibbles.com.

After spending years working on an arcane and socially irrelevant doctoral dissertation, debauchette dove into the world of sex work. She has worked as a nude model, a fetish worker, a call girl, and a courtesan, before retiring to work on the online magazine F/lthyGorgeousTh/ngs, which she cofounded with a fellow sex enthusiast.

John DeVore writes the “Mind of Man” column for The Frisky.com. A former Maxim Magazine editor, John has written for Comedycentral.com, Playboy.com, and for the infamous political parody Whitehouse.org. For two and a half years, he cohosted the radio show “DeVore and Diana” on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Betty Dodson (dodsonandross.com) has been one of the principal voices for women’s sexual pleasure and health for over three decades. Her books include feminist classic Liberating Masturbation: A Meditation on Selflove, Sex for One and Orgasms for Two. In 1994, she earned a PhD in clinical sexology. She presented the first feminist slide show of vulvas at the 1973 NOW Sexuality Conference.

Seth Michael Donsky is a filmmaker whose work has screened at the Berlin, Seattle, London and Cinequest International Film Festivals and MoMA, New York. As a journalist he has been published in Los Angeles Confidential, Gotham, the New York Press, and the online versions of ELLE Décor, Metropolitan Home and Home. Contact sethmichaeldonsky.com.

Ellen Friedrichs lives in Brooklyn where she teaches health to middle and high school students. She also teaches human sexuality at Brooklyn College and runs the GLBT teens site for About.com. More of her writing can be found on her SexEdvice.com website and on the gURL.com State of Sex Education blog.

William Georgiades worked in Manhattan media for over a decade, as the editor in chief of BlackBook, as the book reviews editor at the New York Post, as an assistant editor at Esquire, and as a contributor to Vanity Fair, GQ, The Advocate and The London Times, among others.

Johanna Gohmann has written essays, articles and reviews for Bust, Elle, Publisher’s Weekly, Red, Babble.com, the Irish Independent and others. A native of Indiana, she spent nine years in New York City writing about everything from werewolf erotica to the Queens Mineral Society. She currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.

Chris Hall is a bicoastal sex nerd who keeps one foot in San Francisco, one in New York, and his mind permanently in the gutter. Chris is cofounder of the website Sex in the Public Square (sexinthepublicsquare.org) and senior editor of CarnalNation (carnalnation.com).

The author or coauthor of ten books about relationships and sexuality, Janet Hardy has traveled the world as a speaker and teacher on topics ranging from ethical multipartner relationships to erotic spanking and beyond.

Diana Joseph (dianajoseph.net) is the author of I’m Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing but True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother and Friend to Man and Dog.

Paul Krassner (paulkrassner.com) is the founder, editor and frequent contributor to the free-thought magazine the Realist. He currently writes columns for AVN Online and High Times. His books include In Praise of Indecency, Pot Stories for the Soul, Tales of Tongue Fu, One Hand Jerking and Confessions of a Raving Unconfined Nut.

Judith Levine (judithlevine.com) is the author of four books, including Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex, which won the 2002 Los Angles Times book prize. She is an activist for women’s freedom, civil liberties, and peace and currently serves as a director for the National Center for Reason & Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Vermont chapter.

Thomas MacAulay Millar is a New York-area litigator, a parent and spouse, a feminist, a progressive, a Scottish-American, and a cis-het-white male, not necessarily in that order. He contributes to Yes Means Yes Blog, Feministing Community, and sometimes Feministe.

“Michelle Perrot” is a pseudonym to protect her marriage. She has published four books and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post and Brevity, as well as other anthologies, magazines and journals. She lives with her family somewhere in the United States.

Kirk Read (kirkread.com) is a writer, performer, and event-maker based in San Francisco’s Mission district. His books include How I Learned to Snap (American Library Association Honor), a memoir about being openly gay in a small Virginia high school, and This is the Thing, a collection of performance essays. He co-curates San Francisco’s two longest-running queer open mics, Smack Dab and K’vetsh. He has toured the country twice with the Sex Workers’ Art Show.

Rachel Sarah is the author of Single Mom Seeking: Play Dates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World (Seal Press). When she’s not contracting for Match.com, Rachel hosts a juicy blog at singlemomseeking.com for single moms and dads.

Christine Seifert is an associate professor of communication at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah where she teaches professional writing and rhetoric. She earned a PhD in English from Oklahoma State University. Christine is currently working with an agent to revise her own young adult novel…sans vampires.

Monica Shores is an editor of and regular contributor to $pread magazine. She has also written for Alternet, the Rumpus, DCist, Popmatters, Boinkology and the Feminist Review. “Red Light Rights” is her biweekly column on CarnalNation.com.

Rachel Swan is a staff writer at the East Bay Express newspaper in Oakland, California.

John Thursday is an erotic philosopher who has devoted his adult life to doing field research for his dissertation on Kant’s lesser known work, The Pure Critique of Fellatio. In his down time he enjoys dancing, cooking and masturbating. You can find his work at Johnthursday.com.

Mollena Williams is a New York City born and raised writer, actress, solo-performer, BDSM Educator and Executive Pervert. She travels hither and yon speaking on a broad spectrum of subjects within the Leather Lifestyle. She’s a founding member of the Crowded Fire Theater Company, lives in San Francisco and blogs at mollena.com.

About the Editors

Guest judge Esther Perel, one of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, is the author of Mating in Captivity, now available in twenty-five languages. Esther was named one of Elle Magazine‘s 2007 IntELLEligentia and she is the recipient of the 2009 book award for The Society for Sex Therapy and Research. She has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Today Show,” and “CBS This Morning.” Fluent in nine languages, Ms. Perel is a frequent keynote speaker around the world and serves on the faculty of The Family Studies Unit, Department of Psychiatry, New York University Medical Center and The International Trauma Studies Program affiliated with Columbia University. She is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. More at estherperel.com.

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) is a New York-based author, editor and blogger. She is the editor of Best Sex Writing 2008 and 2009, and has edited or coedited over twenty books of erotica, including Peep Show, Bottoms Up: Spanking Good Stories; Spanked; Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 1 and 2; The Mile High Club; Do Not Disturb; Tasting Him; Tasting Her; Yes, Sir; Yes, Ma’am; He’s on Top; She’s on Top; Caught Looking; Hide and Seek; Crossdressing; Rubber Sex; Sex and Candy; Ultimate Undies; Glamour Girls and Bedding Down. Her work has been published in over one hundred anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, Zane’s Chocolate Flava 2 and Purple Panties, Everything You Know About Sex Is Wrong, Single State of the Union and Desire: Women Write About Wanting. She serves as senior editor at Penthouse Variations, and wrote the popular “Lusty Lady” column for the Village Voice.

Rachel has written for AVN, Bust, Cleansheets.com, Cosmopolitan, Curve, Fresh Yarn, TheFrisky.com, Gothamist, Huffington Post, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, Penthouse, Playgirl, Radar, San Francisco Chronicle, Tango, Time Out New York and Zink, among others. She has appeared on “The Martha Stewart Show,” “The Berman and Berman Show,” NY1, and Showtime’s “Family Business.” She has hosted In The Flesh Erotic Reading Series since October 2005, which has featured everyone from Susie Bright to Zane, about which the New York Times’s UrbanEye newsletter said she “welcomes eroticism of all stripes, spots and textures.” She blogs at lustylady.blogspot.com.

Diana Joseph on sluts and teen girl sexuality

October 7, 2009

Diana Joseph’s essay “The Girl Who Only Sometimes Said No,” from her memoir I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, opens Best Sex Writing 2010.

Below you can watch her reading part of the essay at September 2009’s In The Flesh Reading Series.

And here is an interview I (Rachel) did with her the next day:

Best Sex Writing 2010 to be published in December 2009

April 9, 2009

I’m VERY excited about
Best Sex Writing 2010

We just finalized the Table of Contents and WOW is this book going to be amazing!

Introduction: My Favorite Sexual Outlaws by Rachel Kramer Bussel

The Girl Who Only Sometimes Said No Diana Joseph
Secrets of the Phallus: Why is the Penis Shaped Like That? Jesse Bering
The Vagina Dialogues Johanna Gohmann
Sex Laws That Can Really Screw You Ellen Friedrichs
What Really Turns Men On John DeVore
It’s a Shame About Ray by Kirk Read
BDSM and Playing with Race Mollena Williams
Remembering Pubic Hair Paul Krassner
Sexual Outlaw Betty Dodson
Go Thin or Bust: How Berkeley’s Mayer Laboratories won the battle of the thin condoms Rachel Swan
‘Sex Surrogates’ put personal touch on therapy Brian Alexander
What’s The Matter With Teen Sexting? Judith Levine
The Anatomy of An Affair Michelle Perrot
The Portal Janet Hardy
Bite Me! (Or Don’t) Christine Seifert
Hot. Digital. Sexual. Underground. David Black
Loving Lesbians by William Georgiades
Lust and Lechery in Eight Pages: The Story of the Tijuana Bibles Chris Hall
The Trouble With Safe Sex Seth Michael Donsky
Piece of Ass Monica Shores
The Future of Sex Ed Violet Blue
A Cunning Linguist John Thursday
SWL(actating) F Seeks Sex With No Strings Attached Rachel Sarah
Toward a Performance Model of Sex Thomas MacAulay Millar
The Client Voyeur debauchette

Best Sex Writing 2010 Introduction: “My Favorite Sexual Outlaws”

If there is a theme to this year’s anthology, I’d like to think it’s one of being a sexual outlaw, echoing the title of Betty Dodson’s essay. Because it’s the outlaws who, I’d like to think, are getting the most out of sex. That’s not to say that we should all be off having unconventional sex for the sake of being an outlaw, but rather that instead of listening to and blindly adhering to the conventional wisdom about sex, we need to create our own.

We see this theme in the pieces here about sex work, which defy the “sex worker as victim” trope to evoke new ideas about sex work and the people who engage in it as well as those who purchase sex. In “It’s a Shame About Ray,” Kirk Read is actually the one left wanting, when his client, Ray, knows exactly what he wants, and gets it. Read is left a bit wistful, wishing Ray had occupied him for a full evening rather than a mere two hours. In many ways, debauchette experiences the same thing when she’s hired by a voyeur. “The intensity reminded me what it felt like to want, and not have. He hadn’t touched me, but in all the silence and focused attention, I’d slowly let go of my resistance, transformed from defensive affectation to open, raw lust,” she writes.

John DeVore, one of the few straight men writing a regular sex column (for TheFrisky.com), challenges his fellow males to fess up to not necessarily lusting after Megan Fox—or at least, not exclusively lusting after Megan Fox. Paul Krassner takes us back in time to an era when Brazilian bikini waxes weren’t the norm, lamenting the loss of pubic hair. For William Georgiades, stepping out of the straight male norm and into Northampton, Massachusetts, where “I soon found that the only people who were making sense to me were the die-hard gay grrrls.” He navigates the tension between being a straight man, a breeder, and falling for women who sometimes, maybe, wanted him, in “Loving Lesbians,” one of several essays here that defy our need to put labels neatly around sexuality. (Betty Dodson says it much more emphatically, giving herself this advice when it came to the dreaded “S/M” label: “Embrace the label to destroy its power over you.”)

One of the most cherished tropes about sex is that monogamy, and marriage, are what will make us happy. That the two are intertwined is a given even in an era when acts like BDSM and alternative sexualities are more accepted. That’s why a piece like “The Anatomy of an Affair” by Michelle Perrot (a pseudonym) is so powerful. She’s claiming her marriage and her sexual autonomy, stating:

I don’t want 1950s-style advice about “date nights” and lingerie and role-playing. I don’t want to “spice up my marriage.” I want rough sex. Dirty, spit in his mouth sex. Wet, disgusting, nasty talk about pussies and cum and fuck-me sex. The kind of hate fucking where afterward you can’t move. And the bottom line is that I don’t want that kind of sex with my husband, this man I love.

Each of these authors has inspired me to think about sex in a new way, to not accept the norms, whether it’s Diana Joseph defending her slutty self to both herself and her son, Judith Levine reassuring us that sexting is not the evil of teenage life it’s thought to be, or Rachel Sarah weighing in on the erotic allure of breastfeeding. Noted sex and tech expert Violet Blue schools us on where our country needs to go if our sex education is truly going to serve the people it needs to, while Jesse Bering giving us a science lesson all about cock (okay, he calls it the phallus or the penis, but cock is my personal favorite word for that particular body part).

Some of the pieces here may unnerve you: Mollena Williams’s extended meditation on “BDSM and Playing with Race” is thoughtful, honest, brave and at times, disturbing. I’ve included it because this is one of the most taboo topics, along with the realities of safer sex that Seth Michael Donsky uncovers. Williams calls humiliation a “delicate balancing act,” and while the specific type of race-based play she’s talking about takes that to an extreme, I think sex itself, and sexual fantasy, are so often very delicate balancing acts where we are trying to make sense of the insensible, or perhaps, the opposite, letting ourselves lose our senses only to find something that defies logic, sense, smarts, and instead stems from the body. “For me, humiliation is a broad-brush full-bore way for me to feel the worst of how I feel about myself, give it away to someone, and have them hold it. Once someone else holds it up for me, mirrors it back, shows me the depth of my own feelings, my self-deprecation, I can see it for what it is,” writes Williams.

Each of these writers brings a powerful way of looking at sex to this book. I’d love to hear what you think and welcome your suggestions for future editions of Best Sex Writing—feel free to contact me at rachel@bestsexwriting.com and read more about the series and my guidelines at bestsexwriting.com.

I’d also like to add that some people have commented that the erotic covers on these books trick people into thinking there will be more arousing material than what’s actually inside. To me, though, as an ultimate voyeur, reading about other people’s turn-ons, unearthing their sexual secrets, seeing how the other halves live, is not just educational or entertainment. It enhances my sex life because it leads me to new possibilities. These authors, the smart, daring, provocative sexual outlaws, have taught me about biology, nonmonogamy, cybersex, and so much more. I hope these essays and articles speak to your brain, as well as other organs, and at the very least, clue you in that sex is a lot bigger, broader and more complicated than you ever expected.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

It is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

For now, please check out:

Best Sex Writing 2009

Best Sex Writing 2008.