We wrote a post a few weeks back about research into men’s and women’s fantasy lives — and in particular, how often this sort of research is willfully misinterpreted. That got us wondering what other new fantasy research might be out there… and we came across a fascinating study about why women have rape fantasies — or ravishment fantasies, as we prefer to call them (more on that issue below).
The web is littered with Fifty Shades of Grey parodies, but we think that “Fanny Merkin” (a.k.a. Andrea Shaffer, author of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love) is the first one to get out a book-length parody. Yes, he wrote an entire novel that’s pretty much a line-by-line parody of Fifty Shades — it digs fun at the sex scenes, at the brand-name dropping, at the writing, at the murmuring, at the meandering inner monologues and most especially at Anastasia’s various inner voices. It’s called Fifty Shames of Earl Grey and, yes, there’s a grey tie on the cover.
In my senior year of high school, I (Lo) read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, the first in a three-book series by vampire-genre goddess Anne Rice (who was a fave of mine at the time), writing under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure. Except instead of vampires, she was playing around with fairytale characters in a crazy BDSM world with bondage, whips, suspension, sticky-itchy honey-glazes on genitals, you name it! Her Beauty trilogy from more than 25 years ago was the original “Fifty Shades of Grey” series, filled with kinky sex on almost every page — except Rice’s was actually well written and, if memory serves me correctly, a lot more hardcore.
To quote Woody Allen, “Pizza is a lot like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” Writer John Banville (who won the Booker Prize for his awesomely beautiful and lyrical novel The Sea back in 2005) would agree. And he goes one step further, saying that because of this, it’s impossible to write well about sex. Meaning that because men, at least, tend to enjoy most sex, no matter how bad it is, there is this inherent disconnect: They can’t write about it because they have no idea what just happened. Was it good, was it bad, was it the same old thing, was it earth-shattering? All they know is that they had an orgasm and it felt pretty cool. And as Tolstoy didn’t really say, good sex is all alike; all bad sex is bad in its own way. The latter is worth reading about; the former is just bad erotica.
Model Anja Rubik’s new editorial endeavor just launched: 25 Magazine is a high-end fashion magazine, out biannually, that’s dedicated to the erotic perspective of women. In an interview with New York magazine, Rubik explained the sex concept:
This may be sacrilege to say, but we can’t seem to muster any interest in reading the new, best-selling erotica novel that everyone’s talking about, Fifty Shades of Grey. After all, as you’ll see below, even the author admits that it’s not that good! For SM erotica, we’d rather stick with a classic like Story of O. Yeah, yeah, we get that Fifty Shades is “mommy porn” for grown women who wished that the Twilight novels were just a little dirtier (hi, we’re your target audience) but maybe we don’t want to read something that has garnered a reputation as mommy porn. That all said, what we are fascinated by are the kind of conversations that this new novel is inspiring:
A few weeks back we jumped on the Twitter hashtag #lessambitiousbooks bandwagon, with a list of our Top 10 Less Ambitious Sex Books (The Joy of Dry Humping, Slight Hangup About Flying, etc.). This time around we figured we’d create our own damn hashtag — #dirtierbooks — so that nobody could accuse us of being late to the game. The trick with #dirtierbooks is to be clever without sounding like a cheesy porno (The Da Vinci Load, A Tale of Two Titties, et al). Below are our top 10 best attempts. So, er, anyone want to jump on our bandwagon? (That came out dirtier than we meant it.)
On July 31st we got a press release about “29 Days of August,” a “digital novella of appetites” meant to be read throughout the month on “the social networks you already use.” Here’s the scoop:
Last week, we wrote about how the ChatRoulette improv piano guy almost makes you forget about all the purple throbbing genitals you were forced to weed through on your first and only foray into that weird world. (We’re still trying to decide which was more disturbing: Seeing a guy jerking off the first time we logged…
photo via Foxtongue
Did you know that fairy tales used to be pretty X-rated? But then the Brothers Grimm et al deleted all the dirty parts — the party poopers! — to make them more family-friendly. Not unlike Anne Rice’s late ’80′s Sleeping Beauty trilogy, the new book In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales retells 15 stories with all the missing naughty bits filled in by author Mitzi Szereto’s imagination (and yes, Cinderella is about foot fetishism, natch). Each of the tales is prefaced with an introduction detailing its history and the sexual culture in which it was first written. (Now we just want to know which scholar is going to take it upon him- or herself to dig up the dirty originals…) It’s the perfect holiday gift for someone who’s been naughty and nice this year. Here’s an excerpt from Szereto’s retelling of “The Turnip” tale — we guarantee you’ll never look at this root vegetable in the same way again…
Depending on whom you ask, the lack of sex in the Twilight saga is either the essence of its appeal or its greatest flaw. If you’re squarely in the latter category, then you might want to turn to the new book The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica, edited by D.K. King, to satisfy your blood lust. It contains all the naughty stuff that the Twilight vampires would probably be getting up to if Stephanie Meyer wasn’t so, you know, Mormon. Here’s a taster (sorry…) from one of the stories in the collection, “Red by Any Other Name” by Kathleen Bradean, which combines S&M and power play with vampire lovin’:
Turns out we were wrong in our Roth prediction — this year’s Bad Sex Award ended up going to Jonathan Littell for his novel The Kindly Ones. Other fancy-pants runners up included Paul Theroux, Nick Cave, Amos Oz, and John Banville. The judges said very nice things about Littell’s novel — which was originally published in French — calling it “in part a work of genius.” However, lines such as “I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg” clinched the award for The Kindly Ones. Perhaps it came off better in the original French? The award was presented at the — chortle chortle — In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in St James’s Square, London, where 400 guests congratulated themselves on being both highbrow and hilarious on the topic of sex.
In the winning passage (below), Littell is inspired by ancient mythology, to somewhat disastrous results.
photo via the Los Angeles Times
If there’s one thing the Brits are good at, it’s laughing about sex, whether it’s lowbrow, bum-pinching humor — paging Benny Hill — or the highbrow upper echelons of London’s literary society. The cool kids in the latter category are definitely at the Literary Review magazine, with their annual Bad Sex Awards. The announcement of the selections each year leads to a flurry of bad-pun headlines in the British press — “stiff competition” being a favorite phrase (Benny Hill would be proud!). Past nominees have included such heavy hitters as Gabriel García Márquez, Norman Mailer and Salman Rushdie. This year’s shortlist is no different, including John Banville, Paul Theroux, singer-turned-writer Nick Cave, and Philip Roth. The only surprise with Roth is that it took him this long to make the cut.
BeautifulAgony.com launched in 2004 as a response to what the founders saw as a vacuum of real erotica on the Internet. It features videos of contributors’ o-faces, i.e. orgasms from the neck up. Hundreds and hundreds of videos later — they update each weekday — the site is still going strong. It’s heavy-breathing sexy without being obscene in the slightest — quite an accomplishment. You have to pay to join ($14.95 a month) but there are plenty of free samples in case your sex life is on a recession-induced budget. We chatted with c0-founder Lauren Olney about the site:
Do you post every video you receive?
Unfortunately not all the videos we receive make the cut. Mostly it’s technical problems that prevent us from using a contribution: poor lighting, framing, or flashing a little too much flesh. Anything that’s obviously faked or exaggerated will also get politely declined we’re looking for authenticity, genuine emotion — and believe me, after five years, we know how to spot a fake! We also require a Confessions interview with each Beautiful Agony submission, so if a contributor is not willing to speak openly and honestly about themselves and/or their experiences on camera, then we can’t really use their “o-face” video, no matter how sensational it might be.
image: Aladdin from the “Disney Hereos” series by David Kawena Wow. Have you seen these? Especially all you people out there who are into dudes? They’re David Kawena’s digital art series “Disney’s Heroes” — the once-G-rated male leads of the Magic Kingdom re-imagined with a lot fewer clothes. So naughty, yet still kinda sweet. He’s done…
Above, the covers for two erotica anthologies. When MILF Fantasies was released as an ebook by Ravenous Romance earlier this year, it barely sold. Young Studs was made available shortly after, and shot into Ravenous Romance’s top ten. This would be nothing more than a curiosity of sales data, were it not for one essential…