Sex Scene Anthology is exactly that: a collection of stories, each featuring a single sex scene.
This description of Sex Scene, the brainchild of Robert James Russell, though accurate, does not do it justice. The stories in the anthology are amongst some of the most exciting examples of the short story genre that I have read in a long while. The concept works, I think, because sex is central to our lives (whether or not we are actively partaking in it). So when we write about sex, we are writing about the very nuts and bolts, blood and gristle of our existence. It was almost as if the events were unfolding in real time, the same time it took me to read the words. So there was a perfect balance between form and content.
When I say balance, I mean of course total chaotic crazy violent scary horny beautiful moving mundane mind-blowingly orgasmic insane shit. Because these writers have no respect for the boundaries of the single sex scene or the short story format. They only have respect for the truths of the characters they depict. And the truth about sex is it is fucking messy.
My favourite stories were Islamic Orgasm by Sabina England and Tight by Dan Holloway. These stood out because although in some ways they were the furthest from my own experience in terms of sex or anything at all, they rang the most ‘true’ to me. These two writers took the task seriously, and treated the ‘sex scene’ as a window into their own psyches, and a window onto some of the most uncomfortable and perverse aspects of sex and sexuality. They took me to some places I did not want to go. But on such a roller coaster of haunting, lurching, visceral language that I had no choice but to sit back and enjoy the ride.
I don’t respect the distinctions made in our culture between ‘pornography’ and ‘art’ or ‘erotica’ and ‘literature’ or even ‘sex’ and ‘violence’ or ‘sex’ and anything else. I think they are repressive. Sex Scene Anthology blurs the boundaries between all these things, and in doing that, it does what the best writing can do. It helps us imagine how things could be different and our lives, including our sex lives, more free.
P.s. I said I wasn’t sure about the cover image when I first saw it, but now it works for me. The cover gives nothing away, except for a hint that what you will find inside will leave you like the figure depicted: breathless, sweating, shocked and vulnerable.
To get your sticky hands on a copy of Sex Scene go here: http://www.robertjamesrussell.com/