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2006 Authors Insider Tips

Beyond the Basics
With Tulsa Brown
The 30-Second Solution
Backstory vs. Flashback
Intimacy Begins With "I"
Hit the Ground Running
Make the Reader Leap
Meaningful Dialogue
Pulling the String
Central Image
Elegant Smut
Better Plots
Bitch Power


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
Predefined Your Goals
Spell Ink Miss Takes
Plotting & Planning
Character Building
Speech Therapy
Talking Sense


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Intro to Lesbian Erotica
3-Dimensional Characters
Submitting for Publication
Five Year Writing Plan
Setting Up Your Plan...
The Power of Naming
Language of Lesbian...
Sexual Description
What Can I say?


Hard Business
From Greg Herren
What Are Your Priorities?
How to Edit an Anthology
Follow the Guidelines...
A Cock is Just a Cock
But is it Still a Story?
Who Am I Fucking?
Potential Material
Rejection ...


The Business End
By Kate Dominic
Effective Cover Letters
How to Lose Contracts
Contracts: Agent Issues
Contracts: Read It!
Double Duty Bios
What's Sex?


Literary Streetwalker
By M. Christian
Ground Rules for Writers
No Muse is Good News
Effective Cover Letters
Location, Location
Say Something!
Dirty Words


The Erotic Book Docter
By Susie Bright
Marketing Your Book
Submission Concerns
Promotion Strategies


2006 Smutters Lounge

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Babes & Hunks of Erotica
Fantasy, Reality & Rape
Selling Ourselves Short
Selling Smut in Motown
The Frankenstein Bride
Frankenstein Revisited
Porn and Perfect Shoes
Porn's Passionate Pull
Instruments of Joy


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
Orwell's Eerie Parallels
Redefining Marriage
The Porn Menace
High-Quality Porn
About Profanity
Dirty Laundry
Big Brother
Sluts


Editorials

Wrong Reasons to do SM
by Midori

Crossing the Line:
SWINGERS by Ashley Lister


Review by Lisabet Sarai



Fantasy is the heart of erotic writing. I like to imagine being sandwiched between two horny men, or boldly seducing an inexperienced young woman, or being tightly bound and used in unspeakably obscene ways by a powerful and implacable Master or Mistress. I read erotica partly to experience what it might be like to fulfill such fantasies. In fantasy we can savor the decadent and possibly dangerous activities we don't dare to attempt in real life, without worrying about conscience or consequences.

What happens, though, when we step over the line and make those fantasies real? In SWINGERS, Ashley Lister's scorching new non-fiction title from Virgin Books, dozens of real people talk about what it's like to make their particular fantasies come true: Ménages à trois, gang bangs, public sex, Roman orgies, lesbian lust, even being ravished by a werewolf. Okay, so the werewolf scenario is still a fantasy, but Walter and Wendy enact this imagined encounter in painstaking detail (on a moonlit night, in a deserted highway rest area, with the help of a rough, hairy stranger solicited via the Internet).

An accomplished erotic novelist, as well as a prolific columnist for ERWA, Ashley has turned underground journalist in order to explore the mostly secretive world of swinging. His stated objective is to share the realities and debunk the myths about people who indulge in recreational sex. Ultimately, though, Ash is a story teller. Instead of a dispassionate examination of the varied activities and conventions of contemporary swingers, he has woven a lusty and entertaining tapestry from the personal stories of their sexual adventures (and occasional misadventures). He mixes direct quotations from his interviewees with his own (presumably imagined!) descriptions of their encounters—explicit sex scenes at least as hot as any you'll find in his novels. Sly Mr. Lister doesn't openly admit that one of his goals is to arouse his readers, but I'm sure that the effects of this book are not accidental.

At the same time, the varied definitions and activities clustered here under the broad heading of "swinging" do fascinate and inform. There's the happy threesome of Andrew, Brenda and Charlie (all names, of course, are fictional), who attend swing parties together but who find that they have the most intense and enjoyable sex together after they get home. Eve and Frank get their kicks "dogging": parking in deserted areas and letting strangers watch or participate in their sexual antics. Sam arranges a very special birthday present for Sandra: a visit, in their hotel room, from two well-hung guys who screw her while Sam watches. Deborah enjoys jacking off her male friends—sometimes several at a time—although she insists that she's not a swinger. Grace and Harry host parties deliberately choreographed to get their guests' blood boiling. Norman's and Olivia's sex life has blossomed since she began seducing other men and then recounting all the juicy details. Successful single career woman Shelly fantasized for years about a gang bang, and finally realized that she had to arrange one for herself.

Most of the voices in this book sound pleased and satisfied with their lifestyles, but Ashley doesn't omit the occasional awkwardness, discomfort, inadequacy and even negativity. One couple he interviews eventually separated, after trying swinging in order to "add honesty" to their relationship. Some couples set strict limits on what activities they're willing to engage in with someone other than their spouses. Some attend parties or sex clubs but never do find what (or who) they really want. Then there's the bizarre but compelling story of Xia, who arrives at a party to be told that she's the evening's "gang bang girl", and who is then fucked so often and so hard that her kidneys are bruised and her sex scraped raw—but who's more turned on by the experience than she's ever been before or since.

My personal favorite anecdote belongs to Sonia and Roger, who turn a night in the pub with some male friends into a public masturbation party. No one touches Sonia as she shows off and turns them all on, but the story hums with sexual tension. I found this particular tale such a turn-on because the scene was largely unpremeditated. Sonia and her husband had talked about exhibitionist and group sex fantasies, but the details, and the reactions of the other participants, were spontaneous. Anything could have happened.

My own experience with swinging has been largely consistent with the world described by Ashley's informants. On the one hand, it's exciting to be in an environment where the atmosphere is reeking with sex; where you're encouraged to view others as potential partners, and to flaunt your own sexual desirability. On the other hand, the scripted quality of sex parties ("protocol ... more rigid than you'd find at a Victorian tea party", according to one of Ashley's contributors), and the emphasis on physical attraction, reduce some of the appeal for me. I'd rather be surprised and overwhelmed by lust than expect it.

But of course, that's just my personal fantasy. Whatever your own favorite imaginings, you're likely to enjoy these accounts of people crossing the line to make their secret desires and obsessions real.

Lisabet Sarai
July 2006


Swingers: True confessions From The Modern Swinging Scene
(Virgin Books; June 27, 2006; ISBN 0753511355)
Available at: Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Amazon CA


_____
© 2006 Lisabet Sarai. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.


About the Author:
Lisabet Sarai has been writing ever since she learned how to hold a pencil. She is the author of three erotic novels, Raw Silk, Incognito, and Ruby's Rules, and the co-editor, with S.F. Mayfair, of the anthology Sacred Exchange  (Blue Moon), which explores the spiritual aspects of BDSM relationships. Read Lisabet Sarai's bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.
Visit her website, Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory for more information and samples of her writing.



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> 2006 Book Reviews

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