Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged female sexuality

Dreaming in French

On the surface, Dreaming in French sounds like the type of book I would love. It’s about a strong-willed girl named Charlotte growing up in Paris during the 1970s until she and her mother are forced to move to New York. I love anything about Paris, especially during the 1970s with its yé-yé girl singers that ruled the charts, inventive fashion, and sexual freedom.

Orgasm Inc.

The orgasm. Feminists laud it, good lovers work hard to give it, pharmaceutical companies make it a business model. The inability to experience an orgasm is thought to be as devastating as the inability to delight in the joy of wine, sunrise, spring flowers, and other wonderment. But this is hardly an overstatement. Last week in London, I had the sheer privilege of attending a hugely popular talk by a doyenne of second wave feminism, Shere Hite.

Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock

One of the best things about reviewing books is the exposure I get to the fabulous females in feminist history who would otherwise be consigned to the cobwebby corners of academic obscurity had some enterprising writer not plucked them from the depths and held them up for the delight of feminist history nerds. This was what I experienced with Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic, which is part biography and part collected works of Ida Craddock.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2011

As the title indicates, Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 is a compilation of short erotic fiction from a variety of authors, both established and obscure. What the title fails to express is that this is not just yet another compilation of middle-of-the-road lesbian erotica. This edition, unlike others before it, centers on lesbian outsiders, the ones whose radical gender bending and subversive sexuality sometimes makes the rest of us just a little bit squeamish.


XVI is not a feminist novel. I’m opening my review with this caveat because, as someone who owns a dog-eared copy of The Feminine Mystique, whose heroes are Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Guin, and who has, at times, stopped shaving her armpits (sometimes one just can’t be bothered), accounts of feminist content in Julia Kar

Jealousy: The Other Life of Catherine M.

I am at a loss as to how to review Jealousy: The Other Life of Catherine M. I suppose that’s not a very good way to write a review, but it’s the truth. After reading this memoir, I feel as though I know nothing about the author Catherine, her partner Jacques, or any of the nameless lovers that passed through both of their lives. Catherine Millet is an art critic, and, in her words, a libertine.

Girl Crush: Women's Erotic Fantasies

Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting to like Girl Crush. I wasn’t expecting well written girl-on-girl erotica. I wasn’t expecting to have my breath taken away. My first crush was Elizabeth; she was my assigned seventh grade science lab partner. She was so beautiful that I was embarrassed to sit by her. I spent the whole semester in awe, watching her when she wasn’t looking, trying to talk to her, longing to touch her. I was smitten.

Fast Girls: Erotica for Women

Fast. The word itself is a contradiction. By definition, fast can mean unrestrained and held tight; reckless and secure; promiscuous and faithful. A fast girl can be one way and then another or often both at once. A fast girl can be wild, even when caught in the firmest of knots. In Fast Girls, fast means quick thinking and quicker action. Fast girls see what they want and take it, cleverly making the most of circumstances around them.


With the popularization of blogs and personal websites in the past decade, there has been a sharp decline in the zine phenomena. I have longed for the days when the magazine rack at independent bookstores was lined with photocopied feminist zines, daring to say the things mainstream magazines cannot. Thankfully, there are still some zinesters willing to invest the time and money needed to undertake the taxing task of putting out a zine.


French theorist Hélène Cixous first coined the term ècriture feminine in her 1975 essay “Laugh of the Medusa,” in which she wrote “Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies.” Within the essay, Cixous posited that women write their gender into their writing, that gender is embedded in the language women use.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2010

The photo on this anthology’s cover, of two near identical women in rapturous embrace serves to convey the collection’s reoccurring theme: sex with one’s doppelganger. While the majority of stories in this collection do not adhere to this theme, two of the most unusual tales in this collection do. As one would assume, the stories within this collection often veer outside of the clichéd, cookie-cutter lesbian erotica setups.

Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture

Shayne Lee, an Associate Professor of Sociology and African Diaspora Studies at Tulane University, sets out to make feminism more “chic” and release black women from the shackles of respectability in his latest book Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture.

Lesbian Lust: Erotic Stories

The stories featured in Sacchi Green’s edited collection of lesbian erotica are intensely sexual. As the name of the volume, Lesbian Lust, implies, each of the stories focus on the deep sensual and sexual desires of the characters featured in them. The narratives are varied in their settings, characterizations, and kinds of sex offered for the reader’s (and their companions’) interest.

O Fallen Angel

Mommy, Maggie and Malachi may be the first to give Mrs. Dalloway a real run for her money. In O Fallen Angel Kate Zambreno deconstructs stream of consciousness and successfully reworks it for the twenty-first century. The inner most thoughts of Mommy, a homemaker in Juicy pants with more than a feminine mystique; her adult daughter Maggie, the product of nature and nurture with a penchant for penis and depression; and Malachi, a mysterious prophet of sorts, are interwoven into a story less about the inner workings of a family and more about commenting on everything from therapy to grandparenting.

In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (8/29/2010)

“Please turn off anything that beeps, buzzes, or vibrates.” And with that comic admonishment to the audience, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer Sarah Ruhl’s play about the advent of vibrators began. The setting is Dr. Givings home, where his living room is located next to, and within earshot of, the “surgical theater.” Here, Dr. Givings (played by Eric Hissom) treats hysteria, a “medical ailment” dating back to about 300 BC, when Hippocrates thought women’s madness stemmed from their womb.

Quest for Honor

Should the fate of our lives be put in the hands of another human being merely because we are women? The right to feel secure in one’s own body is a basic and fundamental human right that should be employed by all human beings, despite their race, sex, gender, religion, age, and class. Unfortunately, many individuals run the risk of being physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically abused merely for being women.

Hide Your Face(book) in Shame: Facebook and The Censorship of Female Sexuality

A lot can happen in ten minutes. You can make your morning commute to work. You can do twenty sit-ups. You can have an orgasm. If you are business owners Molly Adler and Matie Fricker of Albuquerque's Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center, ten minutes can be all the time you need to inform people about the hazards of labiaplasty.

Theology of the Body

In Theology of the Body, Donora Hillard employs a variety of styles and structures to present a complicated picture of the body, desire, and heterosexual relationships. She makes use of the language of theology and an unrelenting physicality in order to create a sense of faith not beyond the body, but through it of a human divinity that is also at once diabolic.

The Pregnant Widow

I’m so upset that I’m not at Hay Festival right now. Because the lineup looks phenomenal. Not only is Stephen Fry doing a talk, but Zadie Smith and Martin Amis are both on the lineup.


Sometimes you stumble upon really small, obscure films that leave such an impact that you just want as many people to see it as possible. Desigirls by Ishita Srivastava is one such film. Filmed as a graduate thesis project at New York University, this twenty-minute documentary explores a refreshingly new topic—the South Asian lesbian community in New York City. I had the opportunity to watch the film and speak to the director afterward.

Sex and the City 2

Allow me to save you $8.


If Salt ‘N Peppa had written lyrics with the phrase, “Let’s talk about sexuality, baby,” instead of, “Let’s talk about sex, baby,” I wonder if it would still have its legendary pop status. After all, it is easier to talk about sex than it is to talk, or rap, about sexuality. It’s much easier to talk about sex acts than the decision to express one’s sexual development or process of maturity. If talking about sex is socially taboo, save a handful of pop culture, then talking, or rapping, about sexuality is unthinkable.

Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African Middle Class

In Beyond the Black Lady, Lisa B. Thompson analyzes representations of black middle class female sexuality in literature, theater, film, and popular culture. Her discussions highlight the need to go beyond the “overly determined racial and sexual script” to which middle class black women are expected to conform, which includes a sense of propriety and restraint as a counter to stereotypes of promiscuity that proliferate in the media.

4:Play: A Contemporary Cocktail of Erotic Short Stories

4:Play: A Contemporary Cocktail of Erotic Short Stories, is a compilation of short erotic stories designed to whip its readers into an erotic frenzy. This goal is only mildly achieved. Jess C.

Live Nude Elf: The Sexperiments of Reverend Jen

Reverend Jen Miller—artist, troll museum proprietor, elf-ear wearer, and reverend in the Universal Life Church—reprints and adapts the essays she wrote during her two-year stint as the writer for Nerve.com’s "I Did it for Science" column in Live Nude Elf: The Sexperiments of Reverend Jen. As the name suggests, the essays feature Miller performing experiments related to sex on herself and her friends.

Making Marriage Modern: Women’s Sexuality from the Progressive Era to World War II

Making Marriage Modern by Christina Simmons explores the many changes to marriage, courtship, and women’s role in society that took place following the Victorian era until World War II.

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

They say that life doesn’t come with a handbook, but the authors of The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures would disagree. Their new and improved text on how to manage your relationships is an excellent guide to running your sex life. The authors, Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy, released this updated text a decade after the first edition came out, and the reader is very aware of this passage of time.

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women

Let me begin this review by professing my support for Jessica Valenti's overarching purpose in The Purity Myth: to expose the trope of sexual purity as deeply entrenched in American culture and to demonstrate the harmfulness of this trope on young American women.

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape

The Apostate: My initial reaction when I heard about the Yes Means Yes! anthology was mixed. It seemed that the problem of rape was being used for a catchy slogan's sake (the catchy slogan being a play on the anti-rape "no means no" rule), and not because it made any real sense.