For an early Christmas present, my hubby responded to Ms. Blue's request for reviewers of her latest Erotica collection. It was a delightful present! Violet Blue is among my favorite erotica anthology editors. She brings her vision about sexuality into each story. The authors of Best Women's 2014 Erotica have all voiced some core belief that Violet Blue holds about women's desires. Much of what she divines from these stories is based on countless women who also voice their desires. Her introduction addresses the idea of what women want both directly and indirectly. Ms. Blue states that women shouldn't be underestimated when they voice their wants. She is right. They want a myriad of things, complexities held by no single person that can encompass the entirety of womanhood. That through exploration in the imagination, a woman can not (and should not) be judged by her baser wants. It is through these wants that she becomes a complete, erotic being (something often denied to her by societal norms and pressures).
Each of these stories is about strong, intelligent women discovering some new aspect of their sexual desires. From the beginning where a woman learns to love sex when she thought she hated it to the end where a woman pursues the man she sees every day and wants from afar, each story is a lesson in sexual empowerment which so strongly mirrors Violet Blue's own life and philosophy. These aren't princess stories. No powerful Dom comes along and shows the innocent, clueless girl how to behave. But there are power exchanges and consensual domination by both men and women and no one is without a voice, such as in the story Marylou by Lucy DeBussy where the young shipmate finds her disguise blown and the crew emboldened by the heat of the island where they have taken a brief respite. While it may seem like she is in danger at first, she takes control of the situation and her own pleasure, using the crew.
Each story is better than the next and I was disappointed when the anthology ended. Looking back on the contents now, I see that it was a complete 200 pages but it didn't feel like it and I sped through the stories. When I first examined the contents, I was excited to see my favorite authors, Sommer Marsden and Alison Tyler included as well as Laura Antoniou who I have not read but have waiting in my collection. Her story, Blame Spartacus was incredibly powerful and amusing. What woman doesn't want gladiators fighting for her attentions? The other authors didn't disappoint. I even went to Craigslist after reading Sommer Marsden's Gentleman's Valet just to see if I could convince my husband to get this devious piece of furniture re-imagined as a sex chair! There wasn't one available on Craigslist though. Someone must have read that story before I did! Authors who were new to me emerged from the collection too. I loved the story by Jade A. Waters, Toys, where Jennifer has a fascination with sex toys but can't find a man who isn't intimidated by her vast collection. This story came to mind when I was drooling over the new iroha toys by Tenga and I had the wild thought that I wanted ALL of them.
I don't doubt Violet Blue when she wrote in the introduction that she reads quite a few stories to cull out these gems. I truly could not decide which of the stories I liked the best. They all spoke to me in some way which means that Violet Blue has accomplished her goal in bringing to women the makings of their deepest desires. There was a never a main character who left me disassociated with her needs. There was never a storyline that made me cringe or want to hide in shame. It speaks to the incredible power of Violet Blue that she's able to tap into the depth of story to bring women power.