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Nov 112011

“Lust is more than simple arousal; it is the force that makes us not just turned on, but craving a certain person (or people).”

— Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of
Women In Lust

I’m delighted to be reviewing Women In Lust. Lust is, in some ways, a four-letter word. As an educator who focuses so much on helping people learn about how sex works, about emotional and physical safety, I love being able to take a step back and remember that desire and lust are what drive sexuality. Lust doesn’t even have to be about sex. I think of lust as the desire for enjoyment. In our world, where sex is discussed with shame, fear, or a sterile detachment, lust exists to remind us of depth and human connection.

As I read Women In Lust I laughed, shed a few tears, smiled, shook my head, nodded vigorously, twitched, and…well, that’s all I can tell you!

Like most Anthologies, the stories range in style, sexual content, and degree of explicitness. I rarely like every single story I read in a collection like this, but one thing I can say for Women In Lust is that every single story impressed me in some way, even if it didn’t appeal to my personal preferences. Though these stories are primarily about sex,they all include some aspects of character and plot development, some pathway into the ways in which sex intersects with life. Perhaps it is at this intersection in which lust appears and thrives. Each story gives us subtle or specific clues into the lives of the characters, the thoughts, emotions, and experiences that have brought them to the point at which the story finds them. Sometimes it is small details that add subtlety and complexity to the tale, and sometimes it’s something more dramatic. Read Smoke through to the end and you’ll discover something that will either delight or horrify you and will cast the entire story in a new light.

Nor is there anything simple about the sex in these stories. Depictions of women in lust here are so much broader, so much more complex, so much more daring than whatever might jump to mind, mostly overused jokes about the bored housewife and the mailman. Most of these stories include some sort of kinky or taboo element, such as dominance and submission, public sex, or the fulfillment of forbidden fantasies. Rain shows us a woman, bored in her pretty, cookie-cutter life, who finds her power in exploring the submissive side of her sexuality with her best friend’s boyfriend-of-the-month. Indeed, most of these stories touch on ways people tune into their erotic fantasies for the first time. Naughty Thoughts shows us a woman who is surprised to learn that not only does her lover perceive her deepest fantasies of submission, but he knows how to satisfy them. In Bite Me our woman in lust discovers, first reluctantly, then joyfully, that she can satisfy her lover’s desire for pain. In this, and many of the other stories, we are shown the strength of erotic desire to push us past our boundaries into new and exciting places. orchid takes a step backwards, titillating us with the evidence that so-called vanilla sex is full of intriguing, spicy notes, overlying the floral sweetness in provocative ways.

I would like to have seen more stories exploring erotic connections between women. The erotic potential of same-sex fantasies and experiences is great, and there’s a rich variety of lesbian erotica out there, so I am surprised that more of it wasn’t included in this collection. On the other hand, Kayar Silkenvoice’s Cherry Blossom, is so lusciously filled with surprises and erotic details, it almost makes up for the fact that it’s the only one. It, too, illustrates the spiciness of vanilla encounters, as a chance, literal run-in between two women fuels fantasies, and a later chance encounter stokes the fire.

If women’s lust and desire, and well-crafted stories are both your thing, then you’ll love this book. Your eyes will open with surprise, your mind will say “hmm”, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be inspired to some new fantasies, and maybe even experiences, of your own.

To learn more about Women In Lust go to The Women In Lust Information Page.

Thank you so much to Rachel Kramer Bussel for the review copy of this book.

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