Saturday, January 12, 2013

Best Sex Scene Ever Written?

I'm not obsessive about checking the stats on this blog. Last I did was seven or eight months ago, because I have a steady readership that doesn't fluctuate too much. Or so I thought, but in the meantime I'd posted a critique of the book about the the best sex scenes ever written (except that it wasn't about that!).

So I checked my stats this week.

Have you ever read The Little Prince?
Picture the drawing of the elephant.
Now picture the drawing of the snake that swallowed the elephant.

That post about the best sex scenes book is the elephant in the graph of my readership, a spike of about 500% over my other posts. Obviously, many people want to know where to find the best written sex scenes, and you'd probably think that I, being an erotica writer and long time reviewer of erotica at Erotica Revealed, could point you to the good stuff.

I want to help, but I'm not sure if I can. What do you mean when you ask for the best? If you're looking for something that will get you off, are we ever in for a long conversation.

Does it take a certain scenario to get your libido humming? Horny nymphet? Alpha male? Cowboys? Like it romantic? Want to dabble in rape fantasy? Are you into BDSM? Which part? The B? B&D? D? D/s or S&M? Female dominant or male dom? How do you feel about leather? Rubber? Balloons? Furries? Mucus? Tickling? (As an aside, many of the pink salons in Japan offer menus so shy types don't have to state their preferences. Want blow jobs from twins dressed as sexy nurses? Just circle it on the menu. Brothels in Pompeii had pictures on the wall you could point to. How brilliant was that?)

I can almost hear you grumping, "I just want sex, ferchrissakes! Regular old sex!"

Okay. But regular for who? I assume you mean vanilla, as in not BDSM and not kink or fetish, but do you mean vanilla for a lesbian, a gay man, a hetero male of female, transpeople, or a threeway? (And be sure to define if that threeway is FMF MFF MFM MMF FFF MMM FMT FFT MMT FTF MTM TFT TTT TMT....)

What works for me probably won't get you off (almost guaranteed), so while I can appreciate your triggers, I can't possibly point to one story and say "This is the definitive 'sex during a high wire act while in full clown makeup and wearing fetish ballerina shoes' story that will get you off in no time flat!" Sorry.

But if you're looking for erotica with literary merit, there I can help you. There are the classics, such as Anais Nin's work, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Story of the Eye, Fanny Hill, and The Story of O.If you want to read contemporary writers, I suggest anything by Remittance Girl, M. Christian, Alison Tyler, Sommer Marsden, Fionna Zedde, Nikki Magennis, Donna George Storey, Peggy Munson, Mike Kimera, Xan West...

Hmmm. Erotica is a small but tight (go ahead and roll your eyes or smirk if you must) community. A list is only going to bruise egos. There must be a better way to point you in the direction of quality erotica.

How about this? Publishers. Oh, wait, readers don't care who publishes a book. Only writers do. So if I were to tell you to look for offerings from Cleis Press, Circlet Press, Torquere, Coming Together, etc your eyes will probably glaze over.

Would you be willing to search for editors such as D.L. King, Kristina Wright, Simon Sheppard, Alison Tyler, Kathleen Warnock, Rachel Kramer Bussel, M. Christian, Maxim Jakubowski, or Todd Gregory? They have great taste in the stories they choose for their anthologies, which is why they're often trusted with acclaimed annual anthologies such as Best Lesbian Erotica, Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Best Women's Erotica, etc. and/or themed anthologies. You'll find good or even great literary erotica in those offerings, which will lead you to well-written sex scenes.

However, as with sexual preferences, literary merit is definitely in the eye of the beholder, so I can't tell you the best 100 Sex Scenes Ever Written. You get to judge that yourself. But at least with my recommendations there will actually be sex in the sex scenes. You're welcome.


Donna said...

Excellent post! I totally agree that Best American Short Stories is subject to the same subjectivity as anyone's list of best sex scenes, but because most of us are expecting to be turned on by the sex scenes, that adds an extra element of pure personal affinity. Add to that the fact that you can easily shame and ridicule sex and most "respectable" people will be too afraid to come to the defense of that kind of free speech, well, sexually explicit writing is the easiest kid in the literary playground to bully. The pointers you give here are the best way to let us all make up our own minds. I wish readers would adopt that approach with all writing! (And, needless to say, it's an honor to be included in the list with my mentors and literary inspirations!)

Kathleen Bradean said...

Donna - absolutely agree that the judgment of erotic is based on reviewer shame, not on literary merit. That says much more about the reviewers than the writing!

And your novel Amorous Woman truly deserves to be mentioned among the other works of great literary erotica. I read it because I saw such glowing reviews on Erotica Revealed that I had to see what had others so excited. It's such a pleasure to read quality work, no matter what genre. It's not "only" a good piece of erotic, it's a good story.