Elevate Difference

Making the Hook-up: Edgy Sex with Soul

What business does a White woman like me have reviewing a collection of erotica by African American authors? I figure when it comes to erotica, it's matter of whether the story turns you on or doesn’t, and I can’t see that race has much to do with that.

As you’d expect, most of the characters in this eighteen-story collection are Black, and it's wonderful to see a full range of sexual expression within them. Making the Hook-up contains threesomes, lesbians, BDSM, a spanking fetish, and anonymous (and near-anonymous) encounters in movie theaters, public restrooms, and hotel rooms. There's something for everyone, and several damn good stories.

Reginald Harris’ “Keeping Up with the Joneses” is the amusing account of long-married couple Roy and Lynn, who are inspired to rekindle their sex life when they hear the nighttime romps of their new next door neighbors, a gay couple, through the wall of their townhouse. (Notably, the overheard sexual escapades of the neighbors are the only depiction of sex between two men in the book.) “Pharaoh’s Phallic” by Deepbronze is good for chuckles and some seriously erotic images when the protagonist learns the truth about his girlfriend’s secret lover. Zaji’s “Lights on a Cave Wall” combines Caribbean spirituality and mysticism with pulsing, sensual descriptions, while “Lonnie’s Licks” by Tenille Brown and “All Day” by Asha French are probably the best bets for turning on the ladies.

Erotica is an wildly unbalanced genre; some writers think describing a sexual act is enough to qualify while others devote attention to the story. I’m happy to say this collection favors the latter, and it’s clear these storytellers have bright futures as writers. “Strangers in the Water,” by R. Gay, details a Haitian immigrant’s complicated relationship with her homeland and her husband, and Fiona Zedde’s “Velvet” recounts a college freshman’s first sexual experience with another woman. Both are particular standouts for the complexity of the characters' feelings.

Making the Hook-up provides a varied menu of sexual titillation and compelling stories, so go ahead and take a bite.

Written by: Karen Duda, October 19th 2010