Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Passion

Because eroticism is missing in our culture, I loved reading the uncensored prose in Passion: Erotic Romance for Women. Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, this anthology features 20 short stories written by veteran erotica authors such as Donna George Storey, Jacqueline Applebee, and Suzanne V. Slate.

When I say the book is more erotic than Fast Girls (also reviewed here), I mean it’s more about love and romance and all that good stuff. Fast Girls was about women living out their fantasies with strangers and lovers and becoming renewed through their sexual adventures. Passion is about women deepening their bonds with lovers and husbands, or with strangers. But in each story, love is paramount. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines eroticism as a state of sexual arousal. Eroticism is love disguised as sex. In my opinion, it's the opposite of porn.

Listen up guys: Passion is the book you should read and give to your woman. You get the Cliff Notes on what women want. And ladies, if Fast Girls was too fast, too hard or too graphic for you, you’ll find Passion a gentler, more romantic read.

What Rachel Kramer Bussel shows through the stories in Passion is how important good sex is for a woman’s well being. What is good sex? In my opinion, good sex is erotic sex, which comes from a place of love and desire, and involves communication and sensitivity to a lover's needs.

One of my favorite stories in Passion is My Dark Knight, written by Jacqueline Applebee. It’s about a “hopeless romantic” in East London who finds her very own black knight in the form of Omar, a cafĂ© worker who sweeps her off her feet. Through this smutty little story, Applebee addresses issues such as race and cynicism, turning modern day assumptions about the end of romance upside down. “I believe that chivalry still exists, I hope to find quiet nobility in the most random of places, and I believe that people who love each other can live happily ever after,” Applebee writes.

Another juicy story that says so much more than the sex it entails is The Silver Belt by Lana Fox. Here we’re introduced to Maya, a 35-year-old woman who has grown apart from her husband. Although the silver belt he has given her has become a symbol of her entrapment, an encounter with a handsome stranger helps her use the belt to set herself free. “Like arousal itself, he explained, the belt was a burden, but when she yielded to true passion, it released her,” writes Fox.

In Passion, sex is women's gateway to personal freedom and happiness. With “true passion,” women break through their own barriers and those between themselves and men. In Paris, Greece, London and America, the women in Passion live out their sexual desires, inspiring readers to follow in the pursuit of love.

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