Elevate Difference

Girl Crazy: Coming Out Erotica

Stories of self-discovery and coming out comprise the overwhelming majority of lesbian imagery in literature, television, and film internationally. Many of us lesbian types truly wish we could get a bit more exploration beyond those murky borders, but I know of few people who actively dislike the coming out story. After all, if it is done well, it can be quite romantic and caters to the notorious lesbian love for nostalgia. As an avid consumer of coming out stories in more languages than I care to count, I decided that Girl Crazy: Coming out Erotica would be perfect summer reading.

Some of the stories balanced nostalgia, romance, and eroticism very well. (However, I wouldn’t advise anyone as prone to blushing as I am to read them on the bus or any other form of public transportation.) Although they were standard for the genre, their explicit honesty separated them from the romantic but “safe” stories generally available in the mainstream. Sommer Marsden’s “Spitting Seeds,” which captured the emergence of lust and love from youthful friendship, was probably the best of the lot.

Others were more problematic. In reviewing erotica, it’s often difficult to draw the line between what I don’t find sexy and what isn’t sexy—period. The language, the situation, or the characters might be a turnoff for me, but perfect for someone else. For instance, in Lux Zakari’s “Sabra,” we read of a lustful encounter between a wealthy divorcée and her driver in the back of the limo. When the two finally kiss, the main character says she’s “reminded of smoky bonfires, wild blooming orchids, and pristine white beaches at night.” That’s a bit too Danielle Steel for my taste, but perhaps other readers might find such things erotic.

Others still were just downright wrong. They left me wondering whether the author had ever had a lesbian encounter (in one case, he obviously hadn’t) or in one or two instances, whether the author had ever met a lesbian. Seemingly inspired by “lesbian” porn made by and for heterosexual males, they included character descriptions, language or events that would be highly unlikely if not impossible between two sane, adult women in a sexual relationship. Whether it’s a discussion of memories of forced sodomy in the midst of what is supposed to be an erotic moment or a character described as having claw-like nails despite being a lesbian or language so crass that it seemed like it was written and spoken by a teenage boy, these “inaccuracies” would be jarring to anyone remotely familiar with lesbian sensibilities.

In the end, I’m not certain if the good are worth the trouble of the bad. I’ll let you decide.

Written by: Melinda Barton, October 28th 2009