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Women in Lust: Erotic Stories [Paperback]

Rachel Kramer Bussel
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 8 2011
Lust is urgent, overpowering, and potent. While in real life readers may not always act every time desire calls, in fiction, they can abandon the safety of propriety to seek out lust and sex wherever they find them. The characters in 'Women in Lust' may vary in the objects of their lust, and how they go about acting on it, but what connects them is that pure impulse for a lover. Sometimes he is someone she knows well, a boyfriend or a husband; in other stories, he is a stranger, and is desirable precisely because he represents the unknown. Whether watching a lover playing guitar, going out for a smoke or simply engaging in a chance encounter, these women seize the opportunities presented to them, and savor the lovers who teach them about themselves, helping open them up to new sensual possibilities.

Winner of IPPY (Independent Publisher) Bronze Award for Erotica

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About the Author

Rachel Kramer Bussel is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, reads at packed venues, writes a featured column in SexIs, and formerly wrote the "Lusty Lady" sex column for The Village Voice. She has edited the Best Sex Writing series since 2008. A prolific erotica editor, her titles include Spanked, He's on Top, Yes, Ma'am, Crossdressing, and Bottoms Up. Visit her at www.rachelkramerbussel.com.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Honest Fantasies June 15 2013
Format:Paperback
This anthology of twenty erotic stories has an intimate tone, since each story is told by a female narrator. The authors are all women (or they fake it well), and most are popular and well-known in the field.

Most of the pairings in these stories are heterosexual, but otherwise, a spectrum of scenarios is presented, from complicated triangles to initiation stories to black-leather-and-steel BDSM scenes to cougar stories of middle-aged women getting their second wind with younger men. Several of these stories could be classified as "travel erotica," since the heroines discover new sides of themselves while visiting exotic locations.

This collection is not advertised as "true stories," but the first-person narrators give it an aura of authenticity. None of these stories seems strictly factual, but they all seem to express sincere lust, as the title suggests. The rising sexual tension in all the characters seems spontaneous, genuine and revelatory. "I never did this before" is one of the phrases that gets repeated like a mantra in several stories.

These stories are all competently written, well-paced and engaging. Finding favourites is hard to do, since they're all good. However, several are noteworthy for their playfulness and creativity.

In "The Hard Way" by Justine Elyot, a female solicitor in a British police station acts out her fantasy with a detective sergeant whose job is to interview suspects. She asks him to "interview" her and he is glad to oblige:

'His sorrowful smile looks so genuine. It always does. He always looks as if the felon's fall from grace is breaking his heart.

I jut out a lower lip. "I didn't do it, officer."

He takes my chin in a hand, leans down to kiss the lie from my lips.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Like Lust July 3 2012
By Extinct Flightless Arts Collective - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are some very funny moments in this collection of 20 stories; it's not just fodder for dithering, though of course it is that. There are quirky insights into varied womanly perspectives -- how they view male body parts (including the oft-underappreciated male rear); how they view their own bodies; how they experience desire and relationships and orgasms.

RKB writes in her introduction, "we embrace our lusts even when they are maddening, even when they make us do things we might otherwise consider reckless." There is recklessness in this book -- encounters with strangers and with duct-tape and with nettles (brrr) -- though there are also prophylactics and conversations and solicitations of consent. There are "zipless" encounters as per Erica Jong, and hilarious self-aware interior monologues akin to Jong's own prose.

It's hard to *review* erotica; I didn't love every story, and some of that was due to the It's Not You, It's Me factor (Lucy Hughes' "Bite Me": it doesn't matter to Flightless what else happens once there is a naked razor blade in the unnegotiated bdsm scene; she is shielding her eyes and waiting for someone to tell her it's safe to look again. It turned out it was safe for most folks to look all along, but I had to go for a walk). There is also a knife-play story, "Beneath My Skin." Unlike "Bite Me," "Beneath My Skin" is female-submissive, as are about half the stories in the collection. Oh and it also has spanking in it, as do at least 1/4 of them. (Did we mention that RKB likes spanking?) Let's see, approx. 1.5 lesbian tales, one male masochist, one hot strap-on pegging scene, and three threesomes (all M-F-M). Several protagonists are over 40 and several of their lovers are younger men, which our aged Collective members quite liked.

There's even one story ("Unbidden" by Brandy Fox; do we think that's her real name?) that ventures wonderfully into seldom-charted territory -- this reader can remember only one other story, by Michael Chabon, that dared to do this: it describes hot, intimate, passionate sex between two people who are married -- to each other.

I don't know how anyone manages to write erotica without any terrible porny cliche phrases, but (as with the other RKB anthologies I've read), this one did its darnedest. (Apologies to "Ride a Cowboy," but I cannot read the phrase "balls deep" without thinking of Helms Deep and wondering whether they've ever done a sequel to Bored of the Rings.) At least two stories -- "Queen of Sheba" and "Ode to a Masturbator" -- had interesting enough prose that I'd recommend them even on non-prurient grounds, although the latter did take me out of the moment with lines like "She is blonde with enough curves to appear like a cursive lowercase q." It turns out that I have no idea how one is supposed to make a cursive lowercase q, and never did.

There are a few gorgeous descriptions of male bodies here (thank you, Elizabeth Coldwell's "Smoke"!), but I wanted more. Many of the men were invisible ("I hear his zipper, the rustle of fabric") or were merely their penes and hands, while female narrators lingered over descriptions of their *own* bodies. Sure, that hyperawareness stems from our society's relentless depiction of female bodies as objects of desire, decorative rather than sensory, but I had hoped to get away from that for a bit. But we all bring our brains with us, and one of the most winning aspects of this anthology for me was the moments when it does get intimate with women's squirmy gray matter. I dug the whole sequence in Jen Cross's "Queen of Sheba" about being *looked at*, the uneasy and complicated feelings of a young woman when her male lover is gazing at her naked -- first her whole body, while she resists the urge to pull up the sheets, and then:

"...He wanted inside me and sure I know that as a whole person, I didn't exactly exist anymore when he got into that wet fleshy focus, but at the same time I knew in that moment that I was being revered." (Jen Cross, "Queen of Sheba")

The whole book is fun, though I do recommend getting an actual paper copy and not trying to crash through it in one sitting just because you have a blog post to write. You'll laugh, you'll quiver, you'll turn down page corners.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A broad look at Lust from an expert in erotic story anthologies Nov. 3 2011
By Jvstin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What is Lust?

Lust is one of the Deadly Sins.

Lust is one of the precepts that Buddhist practices abjures.

Lust is an intense longing, not necessarily sexual, but often categorized as such.

Lust is one of the most powerful of the emotions. Women in Lust is an anthology of erotic stories edited by Erotica anthology impresario Rachel Kramer Bussel exploring the idea, consequences, motivations and geography of lust, specifically from a woman's point of view.

Lust makes people do dangerous, reckless, even trangressive things.

Women in Lust is an anthology that embodies those principles in 20 stories, many of them veterans of Bussel's anthologies before. Bussel herself has a tasty story, anthologist's privilege, you bet, in "Hot for teacher". No laws are broken in this story, but it does play with that very classic trope and plays with it well.
Speaking of tropes and themes, while the overarching theme of lust might not give you a clue as to what truly is in store, I discovered a variety of scenarios, kinks, motifs and interpretations of the theme. The stories range from a pretend interrogation ("The Hard Way" to a dominance and submission themed threesome ("Her, Him and Them") , There is even, much to my surprise, a knifeplay story, "Beneath my skin".

What was the strongest story for me, you might ask? Besides Hot for Teacher, which pushed my buttons in all the right ways? Probably the "anchor story", Donna George Storey's "Comfort food". Yes, the story involves food, but nothing as simple or straightforward as using food in kinky ways.

The thing that detracts from the anthology, and it's a strength nearly as much as a weakness, is that with such a broad theme and such a variety of participants, the anthology is extremely broad and shallow in terms of the types of stories here. Although Bussel has curated anthologies like this before, in this case it seems especially spread out. This means that while your kink is probably guaranteed to be here in some form or another, it also means that the lack of overlap in that respect of the stories in the book might make you think the book has less value than it truly does. I think the stories could have been a little tighter together.

Women in Lust is a well written anthology, don't get me wrong. I don't think it is quite the best collection Bussel has put together, but I've never been disappointed in one of her anthologies, and Women in Lust is no exception.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Book Will Make You Fall In Lust With It May 13 2013
By QuixoticOrchid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love the exotic flavoring the pages of this book offered, lust found in crevices I never thought to look before -- the smile of a vanilla Russian, the happy ending given by a Japanese masseuse, the police interrogation of an attorney (Damn, I've never wanted to apply to law school so bad!) -- This book will make you fall in lust with it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice collection of women's erotica. Jan. 18 2012
By PJ Holmes-Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Women in Lust is pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. The stories are well written and the collection well edited, but few of them, I found, were really my cup of tea. Roughly half of the stories star women in discernibly submissive roles. My preference runs toward women being in control...or at least "even" with their partners. If your taste runs otherwise, though, you'll have plenty to read in this collection.

Highlights include: "Ode to a Masturbator" by Aimee Herman, "Unbidden" by Brandy Fox, Del Carmen's "Ride a Cowboy," K.D. Grace's "Strapped," Elizabeth Coldwell's "Smoke" and Rachel Kramer Bussel's "Hot for Teacher." My favorite was "Comfort Food" by Donna George Storey, about a cougar, a younger stud chef, and their lustful appreciation of food.

A quality collection that is sure to whet the appetites of many readers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Written Erotica But Geared Towards Submissive Heterosexual Women Dec 13 2011
By Adrienne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As I have several Rachel Kramer Bussel edited, Cleis Press released erotic anthologies on my bookshelf I know them to reliable sources of well written erotica with literary value that appeal to a variety of sexual palates. Women in Lust is similar to the prior releases as most of the stories are well written, showing writers that certainly know their craft. However, there is less character development and variety in this anthology. As many of the stories were written from the perspective of submissive heterosexual women I didn't find many of the stories to be arousing. "Strapped" (the story of a woman who has sex with a man while pretending to be man and then later, after revealing her true identity, has a sort of unusual three some) was my favorite, not because it was arousing so much as because it was unusual and different from the rest of the mix. (There is also one sapphic story in the collection, centering on a Japanese geisha). If you're a woman who has very submissive heterosexual fantasies you will most likely enjoy this anthology. If however that isn't your cup of tea, or if you prefer a variety of sexual roles and tales then perhaps a different Bussel edited, Cleis Press released anthology would be more suited for you. For me personally, this collection didn't quite rev my engine, but past collections from these collaborators have.
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