Book Reviews (3)
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This month's selection included a variety of fiction -
along with an art/photo volume from last month's
wet-look dvd supplier, an anthology of Victorian
erotic writing and a ground-breaking erotic memoir.
Like the man says, 'You pays your money and you
takes your choc-ice...'
The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker
Author: Suzanne Portnoy, Published by Virgin Books, 218 pages
This erotic memoir charts the progress of the authoress, Suzanne Portnoy, from bored,
early-forties, overweight wife with no sex-life to, one might say, 'raving nympho' in quick
and easy steps. As a memoir it's assumedly true, with just some names changed to
protect the participants - and, given the often rather unflattering light in which it shows
our heroine, I suspect it's not just true, but rather represents the tip of an iceberg...
Since you're reading this magazine, you'll need no reminding how the internet has
revolutionised swinging, and the memoir is a monument to internet accessibility. Anyone
could sympathise with Suzanne's home life - husband so uninterested as to make her
doubt her ability to attract anyone else -
and she dips her toe in the water with a
harmless 'pen-pal' relationship with a
man in America. Months later, she
is tempted across The Pond
to meet 'Frank', to embark on a carefully concealed transatlantic
liaison. Distance - and other reasons I won't
go into here - doom the relationship to
disaster, along with her marriage thereafter...
but Suzanne had discovered the internet.
Certainly, for a North-London dweller,
the places where Suzanne meets her dates
are resoundingly familiar - including her
West End haunts, where, she confesses, she
regularly turned up 'on spec', dressed to get
laid. Footloose and divorced, she works on
her image and figure, and uses her freedom
as a company director to arrange lunchtime
meets, visits to the Rio club, in-car trysts and
encounters anywhere that's handy.
The prose is disarmingly frank. Having
done the 'relationship thing', she's not after a
boyfriend, but simply sex - and to her, size
definitely matters - as does convenience.
Determined not to waste her limited leisure
time when her children were not with her,
she advertises (on the Swinging Heaven
website, actually) for 'Big Cock, London'.
Among the numerous one-offs, a failed 'livein',
and a couple of near relationships, she
eventually finds her ideal swinging partner
for parties, clubs and sex to order.
However, it's not all plain sailing. There's
a down-side to all this sexual variety,
including a visit to an STD clinic, where her
frank confession as to recent numbers and
frequency prompts the doctor to ask if she's
'working' ... then there's the concern of
friends and the possible loss of respect
among her staid Jewish circle. One girlfriend
asks incredulously, 'How do you keep track of
them all? I barely have time for one guy, let
alone four.' To which our girl replies, 'Four
guys is nothing, I have a diary. I slot them in.'
And to all intents, she's dispensed with all
the irritating nauls, hang-ups and anxieties of
boyfriends - and has gratification to order.
And the order was... 'Cock came first. Face
and body were next, followed by brains and
personality.' She found a pleasing honesty
when first venturing on to the SH website:
'The focus was on sex. No pretence about
wanting to find a lifelong partner, fall in love,
live happily ever after.'
Unlike erotic fiction, where the author
cranks up the sexual tension for all it's worth,
Portnoy is explicit, gritty and unashamedly
frank - no frills. One can be turned on by her
encounters, and perhaps also feel 'I told you
so', when she comes a cropper (yes, pun
intended), but she sets out her journey and
tells it straight.
The book's back-cover blurb says her
tale is 'shocking and heart-warming in equal
measure', but I'm not sure about either. Yes,
it's a bit startling (one can only admire her
bare-faced cheek), but 'heart-warming'... I
don't think so. If she'd been any ordinary
'spare-time' swinger, the memoir would
probably not have been worth writing - so
we're invited to marvel at her single-minded
pursuit of sex to gratify her voracious
appetite. I don't think I warmed to her - but
you decide for yourself.
One gets the picture of a self-seeking,
greedy girl when, during one meeting with
her regular 'big-cock London' partner he goes
uncharacteristically limp on her. He owned to
being tired, as she was his second meet of
the day. Accepting that he serviced other
women, she'd never for a moment thought
that she wasn't his number one. She was
deflated: 'Sure we were fuck-buddies, but I
wanted to feel at least a little special. I didn't
want to be Friday's number two.' This despite
the fact that she herself could pack 'em in,
back to back, so to speak.
No, I didn't warm to her, but I have to
take my hat off to her...
I'd give it 7 out of 10 -
it IS very readable...
Author: David Wilkey
Published by Artscene Publications, 64 pages
In this issue of SHM we've reviewed a couple
of latex-driven films from Artscene that
include elements of wet-look and messy,
although the emphasis is on latex. In Issue 2
of SHM we ran an article on wet-look. The
pictures that accompanied that piece were
supplied courtesy of David Wilkey. And after
studying this title, first published seventeen
years ago, we realised that we really didn't
do the man justice.
There is no doubt about David's passion
for the wet and messy look as a sexually
stimulating and arousing vision. It's a context
in which water becomes the carrier of desire
- embracing, enveloping, holding and
complimenting the beauty of the woman
beneath the clothes.
What Moving Pictures offers is pure
eroticism. This is not modern porn but more
akin to the images of Victoriana - you know
what's going on beneath, and you don't have
to have it thrust in your face.
This book is not simply about
photographs of attractive young women
getting wet - although there are plenty of
those and very stimulating they are, indeed.
It is about David's artistic talent.
There are reproductions of seven paintings -
oil on canvas 4 x 3 feet - painted from the
original photographs that he shot. To some
people's minds, this might not be 'great art',
as the paintings too closely mirror the
original images - but if you look closely, you
will see how the artist has captured that
little something special that was missing in a
mere photo. I draw your attention, especially,
to page 50 - 'Liz and Maree at Bournemouth'.
Certainly this is a book about sex, but it is
also a book about eroticism and the artistic
beauty of the wet female form. I venture
that it could become a collector's item one
day in the distant future.
I give it 7 out of 10 -
in a hundred years time
someone will give it 9+!
Still available from
Author: Amber Leigh
Published by Nexus Enthusiast, 239 pages
The subtitle of this novel is 'An Epic Journey
through the Swinging Scene' - and if by 'epic'
one means packed with 'adventure' and with
a cast of thousands (well, quite a lot of
people), it may indeed be appropriate.
It's certainly a journey - an initiation for
a couple of would-be swingers, Anne and
Mark, who meet their next-door neighbours,
and are caringly 'broken in'. Their sponsors,
Lisa and Johnny, are old hands on the
swinging scene - parties, dates, clubs - and
after their first tentative forays, Anne and
Mark get their sea-legs, so to speak. The four
cautiously establish an unusual relationship
that's more than a frank and exciting sexual
dalliance - it's more a perfect foursome
based on friendship.
That's one thread to the story, but the plot -
for there is one - involves some other
interesting cameos. There's Johnny's frankly
nympho secretary to whom he poses the
'convert to pussy' challenge; the dastardly
and jealous party hostess, Becky, with her
self-effacing submissive acolyte, Tara, and her
even less consequential husband (whose
name escapes me!) - along with venue rental
man who wants in on the party.
Our 'goodies' (Lisa, Johnny, Anne and
Mark) present an unconventional quartet -
but as the author is at pains to point out,
their relationships are rock solid, and there's
always the reassurance that no-one does
anything they're not comfortable with.
(Believe me, there's very little semblance of
hesitancy once things get going - it's pretty
much no-holds-barred.) They're responsible
swingers - devoted to each other while
finding their relationships enhanced by the
variety and excitement - and when they all
unite to rescue the major swingers' party
that Lisa is to host, there's a sense of jolly
team spirit. I could imagine an Enid Blyton
classic, 'Four Go Swinging in the Suburbs'...
'The Famous Four Rescue the Party'. The
baddies had better watch out...
Seriously, though, there's plenty of
action with some imaginative and titillating
scenarios, described in detail but without
resort to using coarser vocabulary. It's good,
horny fun for our friendly foursome - they're
sensitive, clever, loyal, resourceful, and they
look after each other... I wouldn't be
surprised if a sequel came out - 'Four Go
Swinging in Florida'... a holiday foray with a
new cast of American extras. The possibilities
I'd give it 6 out of 10
With thanks to LoveHoney -
Edited by: Cathryn Cooper
Published by Accent Press Ltd, (Xcite Books),
Like the previously reviewed Five Minute
Fantasies volume, this 20-story collection
covers a wide range of different 'encounters',
but as its title suggests, there is an
underlying theme of discipline and
punishment. Having said that, though, the
situations and time-settings vary widely,
giving a pleasing sense of contrast. So if,
rather than open at random for a spot of
spicy entertainment, you choose to read
straight through, there's plenty of distinction
between the stories.
The different authors explore widely varying
relationships: servant-master, landladytenant,
married couple, teacher-pupil,
shopper-client... and more - with some biaction,
voyeurism and exhibitionism mingled
in among the expected dominant-submissive
interaction. These collections appear to be
targeted predominantly at female readers -
which may account for there being no gay
contribution - but otherwise I'd say there
was something for everyone here.
I noted with interest that one of the
stories was written by the editor - and she
demonstrates her appreciation of the genre
with a skilfully-unfolded and thoughtprovoking
tale - but I'll go no further at the
risk of spoiling the story...
Spank Me is accompanied by two other
titles - Whip Me and Tie Me Up, and if you
enjoy these collections, Xcite Books offer a
subscription deal whereby a new twentystory
volume will land on your doormat
every month - check out the deal (which
includes three free titles over the course of a
year) on the website - details below.
A really good and varied
selection - 8 out of 10
With thanks to:
The Collector's Edition of Victorian Erotica
Compiled by: Dr Major LaCaritilie
Published in the US by Magic Carpet Books,
Distributed in the UK by Turnaround Books,
As the introduction explains, this collection
embraces not just fiction and poetry, but also
'dramas, sex guides and books of perversion'.
This, according to the compiler, only claims
to scrape the surface of the underground
culture of Victorian erotica. In keeping with
the convention, all thirty-four contributions
are anonymous. This is probably appropriate
- some of what passed for erotic in Victorian
times would make PC pundits of the 21st
century very hot under the collar ... and that
in a distinctly non-sexual way.
However, back to the 19th century. On
the surface was the veneer of the straightlaced,
bourgeois mores of Victorian society -
and beneath there bubbled an erotic
subculture which both titillated and shocked
the Victorians themselves. (Let's remember
that these were people who, out of deference
for their bereaved monarch, embraced a
convention of draping the legs of their grand
pianos in fabric - to dress these overtly
suggestive wooden limbs in some sort of
modesty befitting a nation in mourning. One
can only speculate as to what erotic stirrings
piano legs might provoke...)
Flouting this starchy moral convention,
sadomasochism and flagellation are recurring
themes, but if this collection is
representative of the ethos, there were
unusual standards of feminine attraction at
work.Voluptuousness and well-rounded
curves one can readily understand - but
excessive hairiness tends to be a quality
most of us go to some lengths to avoid. The
'tribadic' pairings (and threesomes,
foursomes, etc) are not represented as
lesbianism, but rather as enthusiastic
appreciation of and indulgence in other
women's bodies. Groups of girls, with or
without a single man, are common scenarios
- even mother/daughter pairings, often with
one 'procuring' or luring the uninitiated into
the delights of their own bi-sexuality.
Master/servant themes also recur, with a
robust smattering of voyeurism, spanking,
restraint, humiliation and deflowering of
virgins - however, it's notable in the latter
case that even the most religious and
modest of ex-virgins emerge pink-cheeked
and grateful, no matter how reluctant their
original submission. In one tale, the principal
of a ladies' college supplies a virgin student
as a 'secretary', who is instructed by her
master in 'obedience', and eventually
unburdened of her maidenhood - as she, as
procuress, and several paying spectators
watch the spectacle concealed behind a twoway
In modern erotic/pornographic literature
there's an accustomed vocabulary to portray
sex graphically in all its forms - and these
Victorian writings are the same - but the
glossary is quite different.Words long out of
fashion - 'coynte', 'cunny', 'bubbies', 'quim',
'tribadic', and, most spectacularly, the
unwieldy 'gamahuche' (not in the current
Chambers, but obvious in meaning through
context) appear throughout. To one
accustomed to the modern erotic
terminology, these can seem rather quaint,
but are an essential element of the Victorian
erotic ethos, which also extends to include
the ribald, satiric and even the comedic, as
the protagonists cavort and copulate. Sex
outside the conventional bounds of marriage
wasn't so much furtive and illicit as essential
recreation ... and why not, eh?
There are widely ranging settings - Paris,
Ancient Rome, girls' schools/convents - and
there are dominating women, rampant and
rapacious men exercising their droit de
seigneur over their servants, girls in groups -
and the one impression left by all this
enthusiastic rumpy-pumpy is that the
leisured Victorians spent one hell of a lot
more time that we can spare today in
indulging their lusts and peccadillos and
acting out their fantasies.
A fascinating insight into the
underground culture of a bygone age with
some unusual (and some quite unpleasant!)
tales - an interesting 'dip-in-and-out' read.
I'd give 6 out of 10 -
quite a specialist read!