The Best American Erotica 2004

( 5 )


Book Magazine called her "America's ranking connoisseur of sex, porn, and freedom of physical expression." Tristan Taormino exalted, "The absolute bomb" in The Village Voice. More discerning than any judge and far ahead of the curve, Susie Bright plucks the best ...

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Book Magazine called her "America's ranking connoisseur of sex, porn, and freedom of physical expression." Tristan Taormino exalted, "The absolute bomb" in The Village Voice. More discerning than any judge and far ahead of the curve, Susie Bright plucks the best stories from every genre to create her much-anticipated annual collection.
In The Best American Erotica 2004, Broadway superstar Alan Cumming tells of the deep knowing offered by one stranger to another after casual sex; in science fiction hotshot Geoffrey Landis's bawdy fairy tale, we learn about the very first penis; Touré's breathless prose poem sets us up with an evening's worth of erotic visitors; and in Jerry Stahl's story, a man recalls his boyhood fascination with his mother's friends and their elaborate undergarments.
Always taking her readers to undiscovered places, Bright never disappoints in giving them an uninhibited, something-for-everyone collection of the year's most divine erotica.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
In Touch With stories that portray every kind of sexual encounter imaginable, there is always something to stimulate the mind and more. Sit back, take a bite, and enjoy.
Publishers Weekly
Variations on the standard hook-up fantasy alternate with stories based on more elaborate, imaginative conceits in this year's edition of Bright's annual collection. One of the most amusing offerings is David R. Enoch's "Sex in Space: The Video," in which an astronaut seeks public revenge when his libidinous space lover cheats on him with another astronaut. John Yohe offers a more earthbound erotic turn in "They're for My Husband" when a woman takes her cross-dressing spouse shopping for lingerie, only to team up with the female sales clerk for an unexpected exercise in humiliation. More cutting humor is on display in James Strouse's "Joanie," in which a chubby 16-year-old girl finds a novel way to rebel against her parents when she is sent to feed the tropical fish of her father's out-of-town coworker. Magazine writer Tour chips in with a snappy piece of sex talk poetry titled "The Guest," and Broadway star Alan Cumming tells the story of a coke-fueled romp that ends in tears; other contributors include Geoffrey Landis, Jerry Stahl and Maggie Estep. Some entries disappoint with by-the-numbers plotting, but the quality of the writing is generally high, and Bright's quick-hit format offers plenty of instant gratification. (Feb. 3) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743222624
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 2/3/2004
  • Series: Best American Erotica Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Susie Bright is the editor of The Best American Erotica series and host of the weekly audio show In Bed with Susie Bright on She has been a columnist for Playboy and Salon, and has been profiled in USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and Vanity Fair, among other publications. An international lecturer on sexuality and feminism, she won the 2004 Writer of the Year Award at the Erotic Awards in London. Ms. Bright lives in Santa Cruz, California.

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Read an Excerpt


Sometimes the most interesting part of a story is the part that's not mentioned at all. After a decade's worth of Best American Erotica prefaces, where I've laid bare the details of my erotic anthologies, I'm finally ready to tell you about the work you've never seen in print. The rejects — the incomplete, the almost-rans.

They each have their own story that is just as intriguing as any erotic tidbit in this volume.

Each year, I adjust myself to the new erotic zeitgeist. I imagine what would happen if I stuffed all the manuscripts I receive in a time capsule, and buried them for our descendants to unearth in the next century. What would they say about the things that turned us on? As much as we enjoy certain fundamentals of sex — the flesh, the suspense — there are minitrends that flow in and out of our erotic history, and they make a distinct impression on me.

Let me give you a graphic example in the not-so-distant past. During the height of AIDS hysteria, I received an uncommon number of stories that dealt with the spilling of blood: vampire tales, blood-brother retellings, and dozens of cutting episodes. I am positive that these blood-sharing tales, whether supernatural or realistic, were a reaction to the sudden fear of HIV transmission — blood became the ultimate symbol of trust, and of abandon.

Sometimes sexual trends are more shallow, the hula hoops of erotic pastimes. We've certainly seen a vibrator phase come and go, and there was a moment when hardly a writer alive could resist some comment on White House affairs.

Readers don't see the sex trends in BAE with the same statistical parity as they appear across my desk. I didn't want to publish ten vampire stories in one shot — I refused. I am quite a stickler for variety in the series, and I hate to imagine any reader throwing the book down in exasperation, crying, "Every single one has a dyke with a dildo!" I get complaints from people who don't like this or that, but I contend that we would suffer raw boredom if I followed any particular party line.

When I spot a trend, I try, in my editor's hat, to pick a couple of examples I think are the best literature. But in my unpaid role as a sexual anthropologist, I'm drawn to explore the undercover meaning of a sexual blip on the charts. After all, these various writers who all settle on the same erotic subject don't know each other; they have no idea that scores of others are writing and fantasizing about the same obsession. I wonder if they'd like to be introduced to each other, or whether they'd resent the implication that they aren't entirely unique.

This year's furor was the most sobering of all, in part because I didn't catch it the first time. At the cusp of 2002-2003, I got a giant pile of stories that all focused on men who didn't want to be M-E-N — they wanted to be divested of their masculine assertion and authority. These were men who wanted to be thrown down and ravished, spanked in hot pink rhumba panties, and made to cry like a baby. Not all of them were cross-dressers, not all of them were S/M in nature — but to a fault, they all wanted to be told to shut up and bend over.

Hmm, I thought, is this the reaction to that popular video Bend Over Boyfriend? Or is it the general craze of anal sex as equal opportunity for all? Maybe when gay men faced the peril of unprotected anal sex as a high-risk indicator for HIV, straight people just went mad for it. I mused on that notion and went to bed.

In the middle of the night, I went to the bathroom and found myself in a pool of deja-vu, stumbling back to my bed and wondering why all my speculations seemed so secondhand. It was as if I'd considered them all before, in exactly the same way.

When dawn came, I turned on the TV at the foot of my bed, where Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appeared in an interview about military might and right. I sneezed at the sight of him, and it was apparently the perfect combination of blowing my brains out, because I finally realized why I'd been in this same exact place before.

I had indeed encountered a rash of submissive male fantasies in the past, and it was during the original Desert Storm, when President Bush Senior made the first play against Saddam, his former protégé turned enemy — the first time a half million troops went to the Gulf.

Good grief! These pouty boys who wanted to be taken down and stuffed like flimsy lingerie were apparently the erotic response to a ferocious buildup of wartime tension.

I didn't spot it the first time around — it never occurred to me. It was only with the second invasion that the coincidence seemed too much to bear.

Now that I had a new theory, my psychoanalytic antennae were all atingle. Sexual repression is like a jack-in-the-box that you can never entirely stuff back in its hiding place. Whatever we are not supposed to think about in a time of masculine aggression — fear, weakness, vulnerability — is exactly the sort of secret fantasies that are going to flourish. No one likes to be alone in the dark, wondering whether they'll be torn apart or survive, but that's exactly the situation you face in a foxhole. The notion of killing a lot of people to make your point may be a source of pride, ambivalence, and nausea, but it has a sexual effect on everyone's psyche. Our erotic instincts are at the core of our emotions and some of our most human, sensitive feeling. Veterans/survivors have had a lot to say on this issue, and so have their families, our whole community. It's one of the bigger ripples in the pond.

The men who wrote all the "bottoming" stories I read this past year didn't provide me with a snapshot of their life history. I don't know if they're soldiers or vets, draft dodgers or pacifists — submissive hawks or antiwar butt boys. I'm sure most of them didn't give one conscious thought to politics as they wrote their story about being taken from behind. Our sexual fantasies always sneak up on us, and refuse to give their names.

Other trends appeared this year that caught my attention, and I expect I'll see even more of them next year. Sexual relationships between black and white lovers — which in the past have been politically correct to the point of flinching, or colossal Mandingo knee-slappers — are finally coming to a place of honest delivery. I look forward to a great deal more American erotica that deciphers individual perceptions of race and sex.

On the authorship trail, male and female authors are continuing to speak in voices that are not identified with their own gender or personal autobiography. I have never had so many stories in one BAE volume where women wrote as men, and vice versa. This is common in mainstream literature, but erotica has traditionally had a touch of memoir to it, as if we could count each one in a census.

Now any prospective census taker will have to dig a little deeper, because the gay street-sex fantasy you just finished reading could very easily have been penned by a fifty-year-old mom who made pickles after she turned in her final draft. I offer her, and the other imaginative writers, my highest regards. I'm thankful to taste for myself that tart piece of the puzzle I was always missing.

Susie Bright

February 2004

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Table of Contents



susie bright

Confessions of a Japanese Salary Man

claire tristram

The Cool Cat

steve almond

The Pitcher

sharon wachsler

Two Guys, a Girl, and a Porno Movie

rachel kramer bussel

The Disabled Loo

alan cumming

Sex in Space: The Video

david r. enoch

Dicks, Digits, Dildos

dawn o'hara

Recent Reports on Progress Toward Fusion

bill noble

They're for My Husband

john yohe

The Conductor

a. w. hill

A Red Dress Tale: La Jodida Guarra

susannah indigo

The Devil in Her Eye

maggie estep


jameson currier

A Cool Dry Place

r. gay

Man and Woman: A Study in Black and White

rachel resnick

The Boy Who Read Bataille

simon sheppard

Old Tingo's Penis

geoffrey a. landis


joy vannuys

A Guest!


The Audit

dominic santi

Girdle Boy

jerry stahl


i. k. velasco

Vegan Lesbian Boarding School Hookers in Bondage

lisa montanarelli


james strouse



Reader Survey

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2005

    Not Impressed

    I did not care for this book at all. I LOVE erotica stories but several in this book left me hanging, if you know what i mean, and you might as well skip the first few pages of each story because they are pointless to the experience. I mean why do you read erotica? For the erotica, duh. I like stories with a little more class that dont make me feel like such trash after I read them, e.i. I dont need all the pathetic details about doing cocaine, does'nt turn me on at all!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2004


    This book is excellent modern day erotica. I've just discovered this author, now I have to back track and purchase all her books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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