Another year, another edition of Best Sex Writing. Actually, this anthology of essays, blog posts and personal tales doesn’t come out every year, but we’re fortunate to have a release this year. This is the first since Best Sex Writing 2013, and it’s a bit different from previous options due to a new editor, Jon Pressick.
Thus, Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1 sounds like the first title in a brand-new series, but it’s actually not. So if you’ve read any of the previous Best Sex Writing books, then you know what to expect from this one. And if you haven’t, you’re in for a collection of stories and articles to entertain and inform.
There’s plenty that’s familiar with the books that are now edited by Mr. Pressick, who you might know as the brains behind Sex in Words. For instance, there is a touching piece from Joan Price, who knows how to tug at my heart strings when discussing her deceased husband, and a piece about what exactly we should call sex toys by our own Epiphora. The former editor, Rachel K. Bussel, has even submitted a thought-provoking piece on sobriety and BDSM.
Best Sex Writing of the Year incorporates personal stories with professional studies and everything in between. Per usual, I find myself somewhat more enamored with the chapters that analyze sex and society from a scientific/research viewpoint. However, some of those personal pieces were interesting. Two such stories were those by former porn star Danny Wylde and current porn star Stoya. Wylde discusses his sex life after porn and Stoya discusses her mother’s influence on sex education, feminism and motherhood.
In another piece dedicated entirely to the industry of sex work, Laura Augustin looks at the complicated and often heart-breaking relationship that sex work and sex workers have with the world at large. Often ignored, penalized by laws and ignored by police, these people are treated as less than human and stigmatized. The article is insightful, articulate and well-researched.
There’s also a great op-ed from Alexandria Goddard, the blogger who is responsible for outting the young men of Steubenville who participated in, recorded and later posted about on social media the gang rape of a woman woman. Goddard was undoubtedly crucial to bringing these men to justice, and like her title says, wouldn’t change anything about what she did, even though she received a lot of flack for her actions.
There are too many stories to name individually. Jiz Lee and Mollena Williams discuss fisting and desire/submission, respectively. Tina Horn’s chapter about The Gates, a dominatrix house in Califonia, was telling and relateable, even to someone who has never been a prodomme.
In the pages of Best Sex Writing of the Year, you’ll find memoirs that make you cry, articles that enrage you and personal stories that make you chuckle and nod in understanding. Topics range from sex toys to laws to BDSM to sex work and everything in between. No corner of sexuality is left in the dark of this year’s anthology, and the collection is not only one of superb pieces by intelligent writers who love to talk about sex. Like other books in this series, and perhaps this is why I love it so much, it encourages you to talk — and think — about sex in new ways, as often as you can, and to everyone upon whom you happen.