Full disclosure: This post was written as part of a sponsorship agreement between BWEOTY and Smut Slam DC.
I have to say, I was pretty excited when Rachel Kramer Bussel, award-winning editor and author and the editor of the newly-released Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol. 5 anthology approached Smut Slam DC to be a prize sponsor during the book release promotion. Not just because I’ve long enjoyed Rachel’s work– her books, her workshops, her active support for new writers in the erotica scene– but because it’s such a perfect fit.
After all, Smut Slam is about sexy stories, and one of our core values (no matter which of our 15 or so international shows you attend) is to be a safe and inclusive space for voices that aren’t often enough heard. Women’s sexuality is still undervalued and dismissed even today when it can’t be commodified for the male gaze, so a book that not only celebrates the wide spectrum of women’s desire but also elevates and pays women who create that content is so in line with who we are.
So, for our shows in December 2019 and February and March of 2020, it’s my great pleasure to be able to offer copies of BWEOTY Vol. 5 to our lucky prizewinners! Additionally, you’ll get to hear excerpts from the book read from the stage at each show. This month’s will be a special treat– because it’s our birthday cabaret show, that reading will be one of our lineup of fantastic acts, read by none other than the magnificent Cherokee Rose of Naked Girls Reading DC.
Piqued your interest yet? Well, let’s see if we can’t tease you a little more with a peek at what’s inside…
First things first: This collection is diverse. Of course, a collection of 21 stories can’t possibly cover every nuance of what it is to be a sexual woman, but I feel pretty confident that most readers will find something that gives them a flutter. The stories include queer and straight women, nonbinary folks, fat women, older women, women of different races, married and single women. There are loving long-term relationships as well as quick dirty hookups. There are first-times and many-times. There is, notably, more than one sex worker story written from the perspective of the sex worker (sex work is real work!)
On top of that, the stories span centuries and continents, dipping into all kinds of communities and subcultures including the kink world and aerial circus performers. The authors are educators, performers, sex workers, activists, novelists. If you enjoy erotica as a literary art form of its own beyond its ability to get you off, you’ll appreciate the range of voices, perspectives, and approaches to the idea of women’s sex.
Part of what Smut Slam is all about is the chance to hear and understand sexual realities outside our own, and for that reason, I think anyone would be enriched by checking out this book (and the whole series). Men should read erotica by and for women to understand that we aren’t just one way of being sexual, that we’re complex and unique and that our sexualities are shaped by the way the world treats us as women. All genders benefit from reading stories that are written by the people they’re also written for, to appreciate the full range of sexual freedom and health and expression and even the shadow sides of sexuality.
I want to call out a few stories that I think the Slamily will especially love. I think my two personal favorites were “Spin” by Lauren Emily, and “One Last Gang Bang” by Joanna Angel. “Spin” is a queer pas de deux that spontaneously takes place many feet off the ground, in an aerialist’s silk sling during a performance. As a fan of circus arts, I loved seeing what an author who is also an aerialist could bring to a steamy story. “One Last Gang Bang” is a memoir by an adult film actor and producer, about a scene she organized and filmed as a birthday gift to herself. Besides being hot as hell, it’s a glimpse into the world of adult film from someone who lives that life, and I loved both her saucy writing style and the chance to center a sex worker’s voice.
Angora Shade’s “Vintage Treasures” is a sweetly spicy portrait of a couple who are still ready to throw down and get down at any inspiration, in this case the discovery of a chest of vintage sex toys. “Nymph and Satyr” by Justine Elyot follows a woman’s arousal to an empowering conclusion when offered a tryst in an erotic sculpture garden. And Angel Leigh McCoy’s “Outlaws” gets political with a dystopian fantasy (that’s sadly too easy to imagine these days) of skin-on-skin lust in a society where sex has been mechanized and regulated.
Intrigued? Come to our February and March shows where you can hear teasers from the book and maybe even go home with your very own copy. You can also get it from your favorite bookseller– may I recommend our sponsor Lotus Blooms? Share it with your lover(s) or keep it to yourself, but either way you’re getting something to heat up the sheets this winter!