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.