Book Review: Heat Wave

Heat Wave

Alison Tyler (Editor)

Alison Tyler, acclaimed editor of Afternoon DelightFrenzy andSlave to Love, gathers an irresistible, explicit collection of erotica guaranteed to spark fire in any relationship. Heat Wave is summer sex, bursting with swimsuits, sprinklers and ripe strawberries. Raise your temperature with Matthew I. Jackson’s “Spectators,” in which a couple dining on their veranda is serenaded by an unknown woman’s cries of passion. Get steamy with Tom Piccirilli’s “Double-Click to Enter,” the story of a work-at-home writer who confirms his suspicions about what his blonde neighbor does with her web cam. And Simone Harlowe’s “Bikini” will bring a flush to your face when a buisnesswoman nervously shops for swimwear and finds a tall, insistent stranger at her dressing room door. The very definition of hot erotica, Heat Wave calls for an icy drink, fresh towels and a fan in an open window.

Admittedly, being a gay man who writes gay erotic romance, reading a heterosexual erotica book might not have been the best idea.

Here’s the scoop: at a conference I’m attending in August, I’ll be leading a workshop on how to write a dirty scene.  My hope is to reach the sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and other genre writers in attendance who are looking to add a steamy scene to their work.  (There’s a strong romance presence at this convention, but I figure they already know how to write smut.)  However, given my experience in writing (and life) involves two dudes and no chicks, I thought it’d be wise to read up on some straight and lesbian sex to add to my gay experience.

This the first of my research (tonight I start reading a lesbian anthology).  It was… interesting.

Vaginas mystify me.  I thought I knew them, but clearly, I do not.

Some of these stories were quite hot, particularly “Double-Click to Enter,” which is described in the blurb above.  A handful were, I felt anyway, rather average.  There was one that had a truly bizarre scene involving food sex with seafood (and the man, when licking out his woman, enjoyed discerning the taste of seafood from the taste of his wife).

I find it interesting how sex was portrayed in a straight anthology versus a gay anthology.  I think it has to do with who’s writing it and who the target demographic is.  Straight erotica is aimed at both genders but is very likely read mostly by women.  Gay erotica is aimed at men and I think very likely read mostly by men (though I know women read it too).  (I think gay erotic romance is read largely by women, but I think gay erotica is less so.)

Straight erotica seems to really graphically and erotically describe the foreplay, but when the sex happens, the narrative seems to often shift to emotions, connection, and heat.  Not much is described about the physicality of it — the movements, the friction, the rush of orgasm.  Whereas in gay erotica, the foreplay is less important — it often dives right to sex and is explicit and graphic throughout the whole thing, describing stretching, friction, (sometimes) pain, and the rush of orgasm.  Both approaches have their merits.  I wonder if it truly speaks to what the target demographic wants.  Does the male readership want porn-like erotica that is heavy on the explicitness of sex?  And does the female readership want erotic fiction that is based largely on the instant connection and the heat of foreplay, but glosses over the actual act of sex?

I will continue to read and research.

This anthology, though, was a rather interesting introduction to the world of heterosexual sex.  As an anthology, it is a solid collection full of steamy stories.


Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

5 responses to “Book Review: Heat Wave

  1. Thank you for the thoughtful review. I really enjoyed your take on the book and on the differences between straight/gay erotica. I think you raised some seriously good questions. I’m curious as to what your next “straight” read will be.


  2. Pingback: Book Review: Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 | Cameron D James

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Best Gay Erotica 2013 | Cameron D James

  4. Pingback: What I Read in 2013 | Cameron D James

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