Lori Bryant-Woolridge is an Emmy award winning writer with erotic short stories in anthologies Best Black Women’s Erotica and Brown Sugar Three: Opposites Attract. Her novels include Weapons of Mass Seduction. Lori is also founder of Stiletto U, a virtual university advocating healthy, sensuous lifestyles and she conducts sensuality classes and workshops throughout the US.
And, perhaps it’s because of this balance between the editor’s interests in writing and sex education that Cant Help The Way That I Feel comes across as a combination of erotic fiction and a sexual self-help manual. This is not meant as a criticism.
The first story in the collection, ‘What Would Quincy Do?’ by Elle, is a sizzling story of life-affirming arousal in the hands of a protagonist who has gone through reconstructive surgery following a double mastectomy to eliminate cancerous tissue. The characterisation is strong and credible. The eroticism is constant, consistent, and considered given the protagonist’s condition. And the story seems to advocate the benefits of a healthy interest in sex as an antidote to personal trauma.
Then there’s ‘Bubble Music’ by Toi James. This is the story of a protagonist who has come out of an abusive relationship but still harbours residual sexual guilt that manifests itself as religious fervour. The eroticism is cleverly crafted, consistent and considered given the protagonist’s condition. And the story seems to advocate the benefits of a healthy interest in sex as an antidote to personal trauma.
There’s no denying that can’t help the way that i feel is erotic. The stories are written with passion and attention to character. The sex scenes sizzle. But the whole collection comes across as a self-help guide to show how the reader could potentially experience the healthy benefits of sex, regardless of your current situation. This idea of therapy through fiction is compounded by the final segment of the book, ‘Lead Me Into Temptation’, where Lori introduces three unfinished vignettes (followed by blank pages) encouraging the revved up reader to complete the to-be-continued stories. As Lori herself explains:
‘As a sensuality coach, I often give this exercise to my clients as an exercise to help free their sensual muse and build intimacy and sexual communication with their partners. My single clients find it to be a real confidence booster as well. I think you will too.’
So, if you feel in need of sexual healing, or simply enjoy the soulful scintillation of African American erotica, you won’t go far wrong with can’t help the way that i feel.
© 2010 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.