The Best American Erotica 2000

The Best American Erotica 2000

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by Susie Bright
     
 

For this special millennium edition, Susie Bright, our nation's trustworthy and tantalizing guide into the world of sexual fantasy and freedom, has gathered the best erotic writing of the year to produce a new, sizzling volume. In this collection we find human sexuality in all its diversity; pleasure and desire in all its forms. This doublelength, year 2000 edition

Overview

For this special millennium edition, Susie Bright, our nation's trustworthy and tantalizing guide into the world of sexual fantasy and freedom, has gathered the best erotic writing of the year to produce a new, sizzling volume. In this collection we find human sexuality in all its diversity; pleasure and desire in all its forms. This doublelength, year 2000 edition offers a glimpse of what sex in the new millennium might be, a time when voices from the sexual underground will be heard and our ideas of perfection will be redefined. This most recent installment in the annual bestselling series includes the year's most provocative literature, guaranteed to have something for everyone.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Edward Rothstein The New York Times Susie Bright has become the avatar of American erotica.

Suzanne Kammlott The Boston Phoenix The Fantastic? The Orgasmic? Whatever you're looking to satisfy, there's a story here for you. Susie Bright's impeccable credentials in the field of sexual social studies and literature make The Best American Erotica a learned and lusty read.

Suzanne Kammlot
The Fantastic? The Orgasmic? Whatever you're looking to satisfy, there's a story here ofr you. Susie Bright's impeccable credentials in the field of sexual social studies and literature make The Best American Erotica a learned and lusty read.
Boston Phoenix
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her chatty introductory essay to the seventh volume in this series, editor and sexual Renaissance woman Bright theorizes that "an outstanding erotic story is one that makes you forget that you know the formula backward and forward." Indeed, the formula exists in these stories, but is often twisted or flipped in unusual contexts and surprising scenarios. Classic themes such as the ravishment of the trembling virgin, alien/human couplings and variations on the erotics of power (the boss and her new, eager assistant) are represented here, some dangerously close to cliche. Bright points out that there is a "beautiful-people backlash" in millennial erotic literature, meaning that readers of contemporary literary smut are becoming more comfortable with the eroticization of nonstandard beauty. Nevertheless, she includes an excerpt from Bret Easton Ellis's model-fest novel Glamorama alongside more substantial and evocative tales like "ReBecca" by Vicki Hendricks, which explores the logistical and psychological problems when one Siamese twin finds love and the other doesn't. William Harrison's "Two Cars in a Cornfield" poignantly captures the adolescent hunger for experience and experimentation, describing one summer in the lives of eight teenage friends who embark on an idyllic, polysexual group relationship. "The Queen of Exit 17" by Ernie Conrick portrays the dark (literally) desires of a married man who cruises highway rest stops for other men. Some of the 30 stories are not as well-developed, and offer only a glimpse of a sexy situation with little characterization. But even so, Bright, the reigning expert of American erotica, presents an extraordinarily wide range of sexual perspectives and salacious styles. Agents, Joanie Shoemaker, Jo-Lynne Worley. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684843964
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
02/17/2000
Series:
Best American Erotica Series
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
0.67(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Here I am, holding the year 2000 edition of The Best American Erotica in my hands, and it feels like an extraordinary climax is called for.

"Why don't you announce that there will be no sex in the new millennium?" one of my friends wisecracked as I approached my deadline. "That would be new, that would set a tone."

Of course, my catastrophe-minded pal made this suggestion in 1999, months before the clock had actually hit 21st-century proportions. To his dismay, I had already rejected most of the Y2K doomsday predictions about the end of life as we know it. If the power fails, the banking stops, and the material world grinds to a halt — the fact of the matter is that more people than ever will be having sex in the year 2000. I remember that phenomenon during the last "earthquake baby boom" we had in California in 1989, the year my daughter was conceived. People just love to huddle together under the covers when calamity strikes.

But what about our erotic lives? What is the next century holding in store for us, for our sexual imaginations? I have already seen many new trends come and go in erotic literature since I started editing this series in the early nineties.

One of the events that's emerged over the last year is what I call the beautiful-people backlash. In so many stories I've read, the plot turns on a character who — for either supernatural or quite pedestrian reasons — is physically grotesque. Ugly people seem to be calling the shots, ranging from the disabled to the strange to the terribly plain.

In contrast with the sentimental message of a Beauty and the Beast fable, these anti-cutie characters do not change as a result of a magic kiss; they don't transform in any way in the end. They offer neither apologies nor pleas for understanding. It's the people and lovers around them who change as a result of meeting them, without necessarily getting a pat on the head for it. Some of the conventional-looking characters even end up yearning to be distorted in some way themselves: Their sexual hunger has gone beyond a pretty face and latched on to a new kind of passion.

This sort of literature is the dead opposite of everything that one would think is attractive from looking at the mainstream media. The skin of our magazine-cover models is still dewy, their chest-to-waist proportions are ever Barbie-like. Like glowworms, the beautiful people shine on and on and on, as epitomized by airbrushed celebrity myths. They are the icons of the consumer culture. Some observers point out correctly that advertising is not quite so blond anymore, that the glossy media have even glamorized the plump and the aging. But I suspect that this craving for "diversity" is motivated by market-niche scouring rather than genuine appreciation of what's different.

Meanwhile, back in eroticaland, not everyone is taking a daily bath, not everyone's teeth are straight, not everyone's nipples line up in perfect symmetry. It is this very dirtiness and waywardness in their physical features that often makes these characters so irresistible.

I think erotica authors who explore the imperfect side of the human body are reflecting a sexual truth: We may know what perfect beauty is, we may stand in awe of it — but what arouses us comprehends every shadow, every image. We get wet dreaming of the unknown; we get hard contemplating risk. Yes, we wouldn't kick Supermodel Baby out of bed, but we might want to invite her Evil Twisted Twin for an even more intriguing ménage.

No one ever said our intentions and actions aren't contradictory. I often wonder: with the popularity of plastic surgery, will the critical mass of pert noses, Hostess Snow Ball titties, and curveless thighs finally fold in on itself? Will we end up creating an appetite where everything that is desirable is dark or crooked or pendulous? I remember when blond hair coloring became available to every woman, and the advertised message was that now, at last, anyone could be platinum, anyone could score. Of course, the specialness of the fair elite was diluted. Now, if we have one life to live, as the slogan goes, many will choose to live it as a raven-, plum-, or even a magenta-colored hair diva.

There is also a dramatic quality at work here. Erotic writers are often drawn to the spectacle of the awkward and deformed, simply because that element adds a twist to the genre "Person A meets Person B and they must get it on." An outstanding erotic story is one that makes you forget that you know that formula backward and forward. By adding a physically unsympathetic character to the mix, writers test the boundaries of a reader's expectations.

Interestingly, what is coveted and rhapsodized today, more than any other quality of beauty, is youth — pure, childish sensuality and teenage bloom. Certainly young people are beautiful in their new skin and wild vitality, but as the twentieth century closes, it seems that we have fetishized their "innocence" beyond all reasonable recognition.

My friend David Steinberg is an author who has spent a lot of time thinking about the various sex panics of our age. He notes that in our American culture we treat sex as something chaotic that must be constantly guarded and suppressed. over time we've developed the concept of an "idealized class of innocent, supposedly nonsexual individuals onto which society can project its yearning to escape the conflicts generated by overly repressed sexual desire." This virginal category used to include both women and children, but in modern times, since liberated women have thoroughly ruined the feminine ideal of unblemished virtue, we have come to mythologize our children, as David puts it, as the "designated innocents."

Of course, the problem with being a designated anything is that the targeted individuals may feel their true selves do not coincide with their designated label. Our young people naturally go through puberty, begin their adult lives, and feel all of the powerful sexual feelings that come with such maturity. Unfortunately, American politics has reacted by giving young people a big abstinence program to stuff all those nasty feelings back in their pants. How about a nice cold shower to go along with that, my little darlings?

Meanwhile, the people who reject the Just Say No propaganda — who give in to chaotic feelings instead of stifling them — these are the folks who get called perverts, who arouse the public's suspicions. It's clear that many, if not all, erotic writers have been targeted as perverts simply because they have crossed the very first line of sexual repression: They have written down something that turns them on. They have articulated an erotic feeling that can't be denied. They have taunted the thought police.

Nowadays, the irrational hysteria surrounding youthful sexuality has spurred many erotic writers to reminisce about their sexual awakenings. Many publishers won't print those stories anymore, but that hasn't stopped the stories from coming. In them, we hear about the experiences of young people feeling the first spin of lust, of wanting to connect with someone else intimately — not knowing the rules, but wanting to touch. Time was, this would not be considered an unusual topic for erotic reverie — in fact, for any aficionado of erotic literature, it's a classic coming-of-age tale. Yet in the era of designated innocents, this topic is a sin.

We face the year 2000 with a national education and health-care establishment that warns the public that sex will have an apocalyptic effect on their lives. Shame and fear are their operative tools. The mystery of AIDS has linked sexual risk with death in most people's minds. Parents have focused their efforts on making their children more and more infantile in an effort to protect them from what will inevitably be their experiences of real life. For all these reasons, we have now produced a millennial generation of neopuritans. The kids think of the older generation as "sluts," and they swear that they won't let it happen to them.

Erotic artists have realized that, in this climate, speaking of their early sexuality produces the most shocking story of all. If we say that the teenyboppers can't feel that way, then why did we feel that way once upon a time? Why could we entertain risk and imagination, but they can't? Why are the stakes now so high that we have to lie about the most natural facts of life? When do today's young people get to learn about sex and death — in grad school?

Erotic storytellers are frequently truth tellers as much as they are fantasy writers. They perform the function of pointing out what is real under surreal conditions. There will always be fashionable notions in the body politic of what ought to be — but the truth about sex will belie every institutional myth, every consumer-crazed folly, every bright shining bit of nonsense. I don't think that I'll understand the spirit of erotica in the year 2000 until I'm at its tail end; but I do know that, throughout, I will hear voices from the sexual underground, and they will carry the weight of a new century's most blatant fears and desires.

Susie Bright

February 2000

Copyright © 2000 by Susie Bright

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 Audible.com. 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.

Susie Bright is the editor of The Best American Erotica series and host of the weekly audio show In Bed with Susie Bright on Audible.com. 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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The Best American Erotica 2000 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Terrific!!! I bought this book earlier in the year and I loved it!! I love it for my 'bedtime reading' so to speak! ;) The content of the stories speaks volumes on how far erotica has come, and its not just pornography....erotica is luscious, sensual material to be savored like a fine red wine...nice and slowly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has done wonders for my lovelife. I would typically have problems getting in the mood, but one or two stories later, I'm rearing to go.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bought this at the airport bookstore and couldn't stop reading -- shortest flight to London I've ever had. This book is sexy, serious, unusual, and funny all at the same time. There are some writers in here I'm not familiar with who have great style and voice, including Michelle Tea, Eva Morris and Susannah Indigo. Five stars.