A porn of one's own

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 With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn
These women know what they want, but whether or not you'll enjoy reading about it is hard to say

THERE'S ONE LINE in the 1987 Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears that has far outlasted the movie itself: âeoeWriting is one-tenth perspiration and nine-tenths âe¦ masturbation.âe It's a good line. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for reading, not even when it comes to erotica.

Come to think of it, that goes for looking at pictures and watching films, too. Pornography can be offensive, creepy, laughable and boring, but rarely are depictions of getting it on, well, sexy. There are now more alternatives to the Letters to Penthouse and Debbie Does Dallas version of sex, such as the Herotica series, edited over the years by sexperts Susie Bright, Joani Blank and Marcy Sheiner, and Sugar High Glitter City, a video made by San Francisco couple Jackie Strano and Shar Rednour and their S.I.R. Productions.

And now there's With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn âe" an anthology of queer writing edited by writer, performance artist and activist Amber Dawn and writer and CBC Radio contributor Trish Kelly. The two wanted to put out a collection of women's writing with none of the âeoeunderlying tone of apologyâe in other work, to subvert the norms of mainstream pornography, âeoesuch as desirable, feminine characters and quick and uninhibited sexâe and to reflect real lives and desires.

These stories do that. There are no euphemisms here. The sex scenes are full out and raunchy (sometimes bordering on too much information, as in, âeoeI'm on a new hormone pill for my âe~bacneâe(TM) and my pussy has been swollen all day.âe ) Also, no matter who they are having sex with âe" and the stories feature a cast of butches, femmes, trans folk and boys âe" the women know what makes them hot and aren't shy about getting it.

Published by Vancouver's Arsenal Pulp Press, contributors include On Our Backs editor Diana Cage, Village Voice columnist Rachel Kramer Bussel, and writer/editors Zoe Whittall (Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws) and Anna Camilleri (I Am a Red Dress).

The book is a bawdy buffet. Maybe you'll stuff yourself with goodies. Maybe you'll nibble a few favourites. Maybe nothing will be to your taste. A sampling: in âeoeA Free Ride,âe Miss Cookie LaWhore (a.k.a. author Michael V. Smith) tells a short tale of a drag queen giving a cabbie a blow job âe" and still being asked to pay the fare! âeoeEarly '90s New York Femme Memory #1âe by writer and spoken word artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a smart, moving piece written to a former lover about the night of Stonewall's 25th anniversary. And âeoeEdge Play,âe by poet Daphne Gottlieb, is an imaginative S/M story involving a woman named Lizzie Borden.

Sex is notoriously hard to write, and there's stuff here that's cliché: in a single sentence a vagina is described as a âeoetight little openingâe and âeoethat most vulnerable orifice.âe Or clunky: âeoeAlthough we've only known each other for a few short hours, she has perhaps gleaned something of me in that time.âe Or nonsensical: âeoeJennifer had already experienced one of the strangest days in her entire life. She had been pushed from one emotional extreme to another, been shot with an arrow, wounded and bandaged, and now seduced by her own employer. She decided to go with it. She relaxed her jaw and kissed back with no small amount of flirtation.âe

The book does best with theory âe" Dawn and Kelly's intros where they talk about their experiences with and attitudes toward pornography are fascinating âe" perhaps more so than the practice. With a Rough Tongue may lead to some perspiration, but that's likely to be the extent of it.âe"Jennifer O'Connor

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