Archive for February, 2008

Best Sex Writing 2009 call for submissions

February 22, 2008

What great news – my publisher Cleis Press has asked me to edit Best Sex Writing 2009. If you’re reading this site, you have an idea of the kind of work I’m looking for; I’d also love any tips or recommendations.

Call for submissions: Best Sex Writing 2009
To be edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Publication date: November 2008
Deadline for submissions: May 1, 2008

Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for personal essays and reportage for inclusion in the 2009 edition of the Cleis Press series Best Sex Writing, which will hit stores in November 2008. Seeking articles from across the sexual spectrum, covering alternative sexuality, reproductive rights and sexuality, sex education, sex and technology, sex work, sex and aging, sex and parenting, sex and religion, sex and race, sex and disability, BDSM, polyamory, gender roles, etc. These topics are just starting points; any writings covering the topic of sex will be considered. Personal essays will also be considered. I like work that looks at sex in new and unusual ways, that challenges us to think about sex and our own sexuality, is thought-provoking and possibly disturbing. I want sex journalism that’s found in the most unexpected places.

Previous editions of the annual series have featured authors such as Susannah Breslin, Susie Bright, Stephen Elliott, Tristan Taormino, Virginia Vitzhum, Gael Greene, Michael Musto, and others. See Best Sex Writing 2008 for examples of the types of writing being sought (introduction and more information at I’m especially looking for reported pieces that are political, timely, intelligent, surprising, and insightful about sex in American culture (and its many subcultures).

About the editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is a prolific author and editor. She hosts In The Flesh Reading Series and has edited or co-edited over a dozen erotica books, most recently Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am, Best Sex Writing 2008, and Crossdressing.

Requirements: Story must have been published (or slated to be published) between June 1, 2007 and October 31, 2008, online and/or in print (book, magazine, zine or newspaper) in the United States.

Instructions: Please send your double-spaced submission (up to 6,000 words) as a Word document or RTF attachment to bestsexwriting2009 at – you may submit a maximum of TWO pieces for consideration. You MUST include your full contact information, a bio, and previous publication details as per below.

If for some reason you are unable to send a Word document or RTF, send your submission in the body of an email. Put BSW09 in the subject line. Include your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and exact publication details (title of publication, date of publication, and any other relevant information). ONLY SEND WORK YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REPRINT.

Editors may submit up to three submissions from their publication, following the guidelines above. Please make it clear that you are the editor submitting work for consideration from your publication, and have the author’s contact information available upon request.

Email address (for queries and submissions): bestsexwriting2009 at
Payment: $100
Deadline: May 1, 2008
Expect to hear back from me by October 2008 at the latest.

Sex Workers Art Show

February 21, 2008

The Sex Workers Art Show, founded by Annie Oakley, which is consistently creative, thought-provoking, and powerful, has been in the news a lot this year. Oakley went on The O’Reilly Factor to talk about the show:

Oakley is also the editor of the recent Seal Press book Working Sex: Sex Workers Write About a Changing Industry, which I blurbed:

Working Sex is a radical, powerful, vitally important book. Presenting takes on various kinds of sex work from men and women, it will open your eyes and dispel the umpteen stereotypes about whores that, sadly, still seem to flourish. The best part? It’s also an entertaining read that’ll have you tearing through its pages not just for the politics, but for the extremely well-written, soul-baring prose.

From The Weekly Dig

Some of the show is more demonstrative. In New York, pro-domme Keva Lee dominated a female volunteer, someone who would not be considered a sex object according to conventional beauty standards. The piece left audience members a bit awed, not by the demonstration, but by a woman who manifested such believable desire for a stranger and by the way that desire transformed someone she didn’t know.

Sex workers are repositories for our most secret, most frustrated or even most mundane desires. We put so much of ourselves onto sex workers that we often forget to ask who they are. Or rather, who else they are.

Maybe we just expect them to be complicit in our own shame. The penitent whore is a better-known character than the escort who is not a drug addict and can criticize her job without condemning her peers and her work. Chris Kraus’ reading is a good example of this—acknowledging that strip clubs are, behind the scenes, often dystopian and unhealthy … just like so many other American workplaces.

Maybe we are just afraid of what sex workers would say if they started talking. “They line up for me like children lining up for Santa Claus at the mall. They want to tell me what they want,” recounts Lorelei Lee of her experiences with fans at sex industry trade shows. A pretty blonde porn star, Lee reads anecdotes about her sex work as well as those on more commonplace aspects of her life, like watching television with a sick roommate or picking out frozen food. These pedestrian vignettes serve as healthy inoculations—for her and the audience—against pure fantasy.

“People think you’re supposed to be continuously sexually available and excited and really enraptured with whomever you’re having sex or giving a lap dance to, and therefore that you’re this constant nymphomaniac,” says Oakley—who is also selling on tour her anthology of writings by sex workers—the first ever to be edited by a fellow sex worker. “People don’t grasp that it’s a job.”

Big old overdue sex in the news roundup

February 5, 2008

I’ve been holding onto some of these for way too long, my apologies. A belated sex in the news roundup…

The Principles of Pleasure has a great Flickr set from Love L.A., this one featuring Midori doing bondage:

Sex is big in the Ivy League (which you already knew if you read former Columbia Spectator columnist Miriam Datskovsky’s “Absolut Nude” piece in Best Sex Writing 2008).

Sex Week at Yale kicks off February 10th.

Sex Week is an interdisciplinary sex education program designed to pique students’ interest through creative, interactive, and exciting programming. In February 2008, renowned professionals from a wide variety of industries, from models and television stars to professors and relationship specialists, will convene at Yale University to challenge students’ conceptions of sex and sexuality and question the way sex is presented in our society.

Next year I’d love to go and cover this; they’ve got everyone from Dr. Ruth to Dawn Eden! (The latter on Sex and Spirituality.) With everything from Ron Jeremy to the CEO of porn company Vivid to speed dating and a lingerie and fashion show, this almost makes me wish I were back in college. Kudos to Yale for bringing such high-quailty programming around sex to their campus. Here’s the schedule.

“Nude rag to spread pages soon?” Harvard Crimson

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but if Matthew M. Di Pasquale ’08 gets his way, they’ll soon be a frustrated Harvard boy’s best friend too.

The Dunster House senior plans to publish nude photographs of Harvard co-eds in a new campus magazine, to be called “Diamond.” The plans for the magazine haven’t been fully fleshed out, but Di Pasquale said he hopes to discharge his first issue this spring.

Di Pasquale has created a Web site for the magazine, and he has solicited prospective Harvard models through the Dunster House e-mail list. He has also sent information to friends at the University of Pennsylvania. So far he has recruited one model.

As for how he’ll make money off the student body, Di Pasquale said he has financial backing, but he declined to reveal the source.

Di Pasquale said he conceived the idea of Diamond about two weeks ago. His inspiration was simple: “I love women,” he said.

If published, Diamond would not be the campus’s sole sex magazine. H Bomb, which is officially recognized by the College, was founded in 2004 and has been published periodically since then.

Jennifer Baumgardner, author of Look Both Ways, looks at bisexual women for The Advocate and quotes Best Sex Writing 2008 contributor Amy André.

Well, first of all, most bisexual women are partnered with women, according to Amy André, an expert on bisexual women’s health. Second, such a justification for hating bisexuals relies on increasingly outdated notions of men being more able to “take care of” a woman financially. These days I doubt that many women—of any orientation—choose a mate based on earning power, and most people nowadays, regardless of gender, expect to take care of a partner as much as they are cared for. I grant that same-sex partnerships are often stigmatized while opposite-sex couplings are generally viewed as normative. However, it is one thing to acknowledge that it is difficult on a personal level to compete with the social approbation male-female couples still receive, and it’s quite another to actively contribute to the disparagement of an entire social group.

There’s evidence that bisexual women are suffering—in quantifiable terms that will be of interest to anyone who cares about human rights. André, who is herself bisexual and has a master’s degree in sexuality studies from San Francisco State University, reports that bi women experience more oppression and stigma than women of any other sexual orientation. She cowrote the book Bisexual Health—published in March 2007 by a coalition of organizations including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute—which analyzed more than 100 studies that, taken together, demonstrate “that bisexual people have worse physical and mental health than people of any other orientation,” says André. “There is a lot of evidence that bisexual women in relationships with monosexual partners have notably higher rates of domestic violence than women in any other demographic,” says André, who is in a relationship with a nonhostile, phobia-free monosexual woman. “If it were not a reflection of biphobia,” André concludes, “there’d be no statistical difference between the safety in relationships of bi women and women of other sexualities.”

At Tango, Regina Lynn asks, “Are Sex Parties the New Vibrator?”

Cinekink is a fabulous kinky/sex-related film festival that happens every year. Check out their latest:

CineKink @ Pioneer presents…

Tuesday, February 12 – 7 pm

In a teaser event leading up to their fifth annual festival taking place later in the month (February 26-March 2), CineKink presents a Valentine’s ode to the sweet miracles of the orgasm.

New York Premiere!
(Directed by Sheila Malone & Annie Sprinkle, 2005, USA, 53 minutes.)
Annie Sprinkle reflects upon the incredibly diverse aspects of the orgasmic experience and introduces twenty-six “orgasm experts” who have, over the years, taught her some key piece of knowledge about the fascinating topic. Inter-cut and layered with a lively collage of archival film clips and sexual imagery, interviewees include Stuart Block, Juliet Carr, Barbara Carrellas, Cleo Dubois, Cleopatra, Betty Dodson, Dominique, Fakir, Eleanor Hamilton, Scarlot Harlot, Jwala, Karen, Joseph Kramer, Kutira, Laraji, Robert Lawrence, Frank Moore, Ray Noonan, Michael Perry, Kembra Pfahler, Carol Queen, Andrew Ramer, Carolee Schneemann, Ray Stubbs, Norma Wilcox and Wonshe.

Plus, the climactic shorts!

(Directed by Kirby Ferguson, 2007, Canada, 3 minutes)
At long last, attention is paid to the plight of the world’s sextoy-less.

(Directed by Matt Davis, 2006, USA, 4 minutes)
The lovely Jessica Delfino sings it on home!

New York Premiere!
(Directed by Susan M. Block, 2007, USA, 9 minutes)
Dr. Suzy presents an erotic look at the nature of sex and the folly of war, exploding into pop star Orgasmical’s performance of “Funk Me.”


(Directed by Maria Beatty & Annie Sprinkle, 1992, USA, 6 minutes)
This excerpt from the feminist sex film classic, SLUTS AND GODDESSES, documents Annie’s experience of a historic and mind-bending orgasm.

An afterparty follows the screenings at China 1 (50 Avenue B).

Boinkology and Violet Blue lament the lack of sex blogs in the 2008 Bloggies.

Chocolate vulvas at Early to Bed

Black Porn: It Ain’t Just Sex on Screen,” Black Voices

Even in the porn industry, Black folks get the short end of the stick. Okay, that was corny. But author and journalist Lawrence Ross decided to explore the reality of black folks working in the adult entertainment world in his new book MONEY SHOT: WILD DAYS AND LONELY NIGHTS INSIDE THE BLACK PORN INDUSTRY…

Ross also conducted hundreds of interviews with college professors, industry insiders, and other porn stars to provide a first-hand look at a world that many of us don’t know much about. MONEY SHOT uncovers sexual and racial politics–including racism, and the hypersexual portrayal of Black women, discusses how AIDS plays a role, and looks at the close ties between the porn industry and the corporate hip-hop world (think Snoop Doggy Dogg’s film).

Interview with Gael Greene

February 4, 2008

Here’s the latest in my interview series of Best Sex Writing 2008 contributors.

Gael Greene wrote “The Insatiable Critic” column for New York magazine for more than thirty years and remains on the staff, writing a weekly “Ask Gael” column. The author of Blue Skies, No Candy, Doctor Love, and other books, she is also cofounder (with James Beard) and board chair of Citymeals-on-Wheels, an organization that delivers 2.2 million meals a year to elderly housebound New Yorkers. She lives in New York City. Visit her at

What prompted you to write your memoir, Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess, and who would you say is your intended audience?

I wanted to tell the story of how New York City and America fell in love with food from my early days as a foodie-ahead-of-the-times, before I forgot it and before people who weren’t there rewrote it. Feeling that the sexual revolution had prepared Americans for the food revolution by seeding sensualism, I wanted to tell that story too. In each decade what was happening culturally, on the streets and in the stock market, affected what we ate.

What has the reaction to the memoir been like? Did you get any flak from people who primarily think of you as a food critic for writing about your personal life?

There were some passionate food lovers who were offended by the erotic memoir. Some of the men in my life were pleased to be left out of the book and a few I neglected to mention were hurt. One wrote asking if we could meet for lunch so he could audition for the second volume.

The excerpt in Best Sex Writing 2008 (“The Prince of Porn and the Junk-Food Queen”) is about your dalliance with porn star Jamie Gillis. Looking back on that time of your life, is there anything you’d do differently? How did it feel to relive that era while writing Insatiable?

It was emotionally draining to remember all the sad times and mad times in the book but what fun to relive the great moments. I could almost taste the astonishment of dinner at Fredy Girardet and memories of incredible times in bed were so vivid.

Since you cover both of them extensively in your memoir, what do you see as the connection between food and sex?

Obviously, two of the greatest sensuous pleasures consenting adults can share. It seems so obvious…we use the same senses in both eating and making love — the eyes, the nose, the ears, the sense of taste. The more in touch one is with one’s sensuality, the more pleasure, and the greatest pleasure is in the moment. The ability to enjoy the moment is a gift.

Has he been in touch with you since Insatiable was published or have you seen him recently?

Jamie Gillis is living with Zarela Martinez, the restaurateur — she met him a few years ago at my birthday. They seem quite together and happy. The four of us had dinner two weeks ago.

What does the word “insatiable” mean to you?

Literally, “insatiable” means not being able to be satisfied. I have never found satisfaction elusive. New York magazine’s creator Clay Felker thought Insatiable Critic was amusing and my then husband did too, so it’s on my New York magazine column and my web site.

For me, too much of a good thing is just barely enough.

You are now writing for your own website,, in addition to your New York magazine column and other food writing. What’s different about writing on the web vs. print? Has being able to update the site whenever you want changed how quickly you write your reviews?

The big difference is I decide what I want to cover and how long to write. Alas, another difference is I have no determined fact checker on the site as I do at New York, although I do have two editors who read for typos, grammar, spelling. Everything is faster now than it was in 1968 when New York magazine was born and I came on as the critic; nobody waits for a restaurant to settle in. The competition is huge, beyond imagining. Most of my blog postings are about first visits to new restaurants, although some of the stronger pieces are rediscoveries of places and chefs I have admired.

Do you get more feedback from readers from the website vs. your New York magazine column?

The instant feedback of an email to the site is apparently very tempting.

What’s your favorite recent restaurant find?

I loved the food at Dovetail on the Upper West Side. Bar Boulud is a great gift to the Lincoln Center area. Chop Suey in the Renaissance Hotel will be good if it stays consistent. The Smith is better than it needs to be for the NYU students it draws and the amazing low prices.

You did a roundup of 2007’s Best Dishes on your site. In general, do you prefer to revisit old favorites or try new places?

After three or four new places that aren’t wonderful, I desperately need to go back to a restaurant I love.

What can visitors to look forward to in the near future?

I’ll keep up with what’s new. I hope my readers will feed me more good food world gossip. Every week, we post more vintage articles from the earliest days of New York magazine, not available anywhere else on the web. I think they are fun to read for those of us who were there, and newly obsessed foodies who want to know what it was like.

Interview about Best Sex Writing 2008 at Cleis site

February 1, 2008

My fantabulous, awesome, amazing (she really is all those things and more!) Cleis Press publicist Kara Wuest interviewed me about Best Sex Writing 2008 and sex journalism generally. Read the whole interview – here’s a snippet:

KW: The intersection of sex and the law was a recurring topic in many of these pieces. Is it impossible to talk about modern sexuality without acknowledging how much trouble you can get into?

RKB: Well, I think sex and the law will always be intricately tied together. We tend not to think about the ways our sexuality is shaped by the law until it’s infringed upon. I love that Ariel Levy’s excellent article “Dirty Old Women” is also included in Best Crime Writing 2007, and in many ways she looks at why and whether and how statutory rape works when it’s female on male, and some of the assumptions, legal and cultural, around it. Trixie Fontaine’s look at not just the legal implications of menstruation porn, but the financial ones, was fascinating, and showed that money doesn’t trump all. It’s hard to say who the villain(s) are in Ashlea Halpern’s piece and she does a great job showing that this doctor who acted outside the law by performing sex change surgery may have seen himself as doing something positive (or else just didn’t care and wanted to make money). I found Kelly Kyrik’s piece about those who go after child sex predators fascinating as well, because those working on the side of the law have to try to get into the heads of pedophiles. And all of these are in stark contrast to “Sex in Iran,” where there’s a huge discrepancy between the letter of the law and what’s actually happening.

KW: Which contributions were the most surprising to you?

JL: Jill Eisenstadt’s “To Have of Have Not: Sex on the Wedding Night” surprised me because I wasn’t looking for it. It wasn’t a formal submission to the book or something I’d bookmarked along the way. I happened to be reading an anthology called Altared, about women’s takes on modern weddings, and found her insightful essay questioning whether anyone gets busy on their wedding night anymore. And Ashlea Halpern’s “Battle of the Sexless” gave me chills. I’d never really thought about eunuchs before, and her piece is both heartbreaking and fascinating and touches on the law, medicine, gender identity, and so much more. I know many people won’t be able to get through it, and it’s a very visceral, tough piece, but all the more provocative and powerful for it.