Armed with a cascade of data provided by Lovehoney.co.uk, (relating to 1 million sales over a five month period in 2013) Ideas Detective Jon Millward ventured some time ago down the Jessica rabbit-hole (only the one pun intended) of erotic play. This week, he returns a king of sex-gadget-related sagacity. If some of what he has ‘discovered’ is fodder for the University of the Bleeding Obvious, we turn a blind eye because a lot of Millward’s findings are genuinely surprising. Single straight women buy butt plugs from Lovehoney at only half the rate of single straight men. Female customers of all sexual orientations buy fewer feminine hygiene products than their male counterparts. Men tend to buy more of the largest dildos (8 inches plus). And, most baffling of all, almost ten percent of those who buy sex dolls through condoms into the same order. Preoccupation with cleanliness; an unwavering insistence on birth control; and the fetishisation of the big D. Women readily admit these days to the little (or big) bit of man in them: could Millward’s analysis suggest that there is just as much woman in men?
The image of a train pulling into a tunnel. A long-standing symbol for the act of love (see Hitchcock’s final scene in North by Northwest) and for one couple using Berlin’s U-Bahn this week, a bit of a turn on. To the surprise of fellow commuters, probably unaccustomed to watching live sex at 6.30 am on a Tuesday morning, they were having it off quite happily on the Schönleinstraße platform. Seemingly intent on making the most of their time together, they were undeterred by the knowledge that this subterranean quickie was being recorded, acknowledging the fact with nothing more than a middle-fingered wave to the cameraman. The incident is apparently a first for Berlin but the city’s frisky pair are only following in the tracks of a Viennese couple snapped at it on a subway platform in July. For all we know, right now there’s an underground movement gathering pace.
The government of Bihar – the third largest state in India by population – has this week taken the decision to recognise eunuchs and transgender people as a ‘third gender’. This move will mean that these groups will now fall under the category of ‘backward class’. Even though this sounds like a mixed blessing at best, the recognition will make transgender individuals eligible for benefits including reserved government jobs. According to reports on zeenews.india.com, this move comes after pressure from within the transgender community in the region and from civil rights groups.
Irony abounds: Whitney Wolfe, co-founder of the speed-dating app Tinder, has had a bust up with fellow co-founder Justin Mateen, who dated her, off and on, for a year. Fuelled by rejection and jealousy, he allegedly called her a slut and a liar. And much worse. It was also alleged in her lawsuit she brought against the firm that both Justin and Sean Rad had sexually harassed her for most of the time she worked at Tinder. Then they demoted her ‘co-founder’ status. Neither seemed to be aware of the fact she worked for A Firm of Lawyers, but then again, perhaps they were. Ms Wolfe has settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Let’s hope it was an eye-wateringly large one, for such untrammelled stupidity on so many levels deserves a suitably painful chastisement. But we all know that rejection is hard to take. Some of us are paralysed into a state of frozen inactivity because of the fear it induces. Not so Drunken Woman On A Plane. Flying Delta from Baltimore-Washington to Salt Lake City earlier this year, she took an extraordinary shine to the man sitting next to her. She made several ‘advances of a sexual nature’ but he politely refused. The burly, tattooed and crop-haired woman then went mental and had to be restrained and put in handcuffs. The captain of the Delta plane diverted to Minneapolis-St.Paul where she was escorted off by a team of equally burly policemen. It was said at the time that ‘she may face federal charges’. Amor vincit not quite omnia.
Men plagued with lower back pain can rest easier (and more satisfied) tonight. New research from Canada’s University of Waterloo reveals that there are positions in which the afflicted can enjoy sex, even if there’s no one-size-fits-all fix. The flexion-intolerant - those would-be Casanovas whose back pain is most keenly felt when they’re touching their toes, are best off with doggy style. For the extension-intolerant, the good old missionary position should provide all the gain without unplanned pain and spooning, too, receives the all-clear. A verdict on the reverse cowgirl is not forthcoming, however, and little mention is made of the Indian headstand. Could it be that some of the team’s experiments have proven inconclusive?
The wave of romantic erotica remains undiminished with Fifty Shades of Grey still triumphantly leading the way followed closely by Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. One of the many advantages of the digital revolution is the anonymity that accompanies it. We can download all manner of dodgy commercial claptrap and no one is any the wiser. And it is the women’s romantic erotic market that benefits from this trend. Whilst it is still difficult to know exactly what sort of numbers are selling digitally what is clear is that there is an appetite for it. Last year The Bookseller noted: ‘Erotica is also more attractive to e-book buyers. Just one of the top 50 bestselling printed books in the month of August was an erotic novel. Seven earn places in the E-book Ranking. It certainly appears that there is still a taboo about being caught reading such material, despite the mainstream success of the Fifty Shades series’ But one of the downsides of this explosion of women's erotica is that this genre has become swamped by an unconscionable load of tosh. It's a hard slog to work your way through this, and there is no reliable filter. So here at Erotic Review (which, as you are no doubt aware, is all about good sex) we have diligently ploughed our way through a vast number of publications that are currently on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestselling Erotica list. We think the following books tick the box of well-written sex and provide the escapism necessary for a perfect summer holiday read: 1. Tiffany Reisz – The Saint - Holy perversions, a priest, a Ducati and a spirited young heroine 2. Louise Black – The Tattooist - three women, one Man: This isn't 50 shades of grey - it's 1000 realms of black 3. Zoe Pilger – Eat My Heart Out - A biting look at contemporary feminism, sexuality and romance and a heroine you'll love to hate (and I mean that). 4. Helen Walsh - The Lemon Grove - Sun. Desire. Obsession. An explosive, intelligent novel from the prize-winning author of Brass. 5. Primula Bond – The Silver Chain - photographer, Serena and gallery owner, Gustav, a silver chain instead of a collar; a seductive and well-executed novel. 6. Jodie Ellen Malpas – One Night Promised - just published and an eagerly awaited novel. M wants one night to worship Livy. No feelings, no commitment - nothing but pleasure (so what’s not to like?). 7. Samantha Young – On Dublin Street – Hoots mon! Scotland's answer to yon E.L. James. Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he's determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. If only it were that simple. 8. CC Gibbs – Knight’s Mistress - Katherine Hart is a talented, sassy young hacker; Dominic Knight is a sexy, dominant, billionaire: sound familiar? Well worth a read 9. Beth Kery – Because You Are Mine: The New York Times bestselling e-book serialisation complete and in print for the first time. The mistress of well written sex. 10. Laurelin Paige – Fixed On You – “Read it in an air-conditioned room or turn on the fan – it… is… HOT." Writes Melanie Harlow, author of Speak Easy. Well, we couldn't put it better ourselves.
Our news story on 2nd July about poor Leena McCall’s painting being chucked out of the Society of Women Artists’ exhibition by their host gallery, the Mall Galleries, was followed by a little flurry of excitement in the meedja, culminating (or perhaps not) with Dan Damon’s World Update on the World Service yesterday. Among these, our sainted former editor Rowan Pelling penned a lovely piece for the Guardian on the 8th July and a former ER columnist, Dr Brooke Magnanti, aka Belle de Jour, likewise wrote a convincing argument in the Telegraph against the sanitisation of the world for the sake of children and vulnerable adults. Meanwhile the painting has been relocated by its inclusion in a show opening tomorrow, entitled Summer Salon, at a new London art venue, The Leyden Gallery, 9 Leyden St, London E1 7LE (a very smart move by the gallery owners). We’re expecting crush barriers will be erected any moment now, so visit early to avoid the scrum… However there remains a mystery: who was it that actually called Leena’s painting ‘too pornographic and disgusting’? Was it a member of the Mall Galleries’ executive committee? Or was it uttered by a visitor (or visitors) to the gallery? Did one exclaim “This is simply too pornographic!” while another, nodding his head wisely and voicing his agreement, propounded “And too disgusting, too!” We await an answer from Leena’s press officer, Rosanna Head.
"Slowly but surely I want to strip her of every kind of happiness so as to make a saint of her" - Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers. In a couple of weeks' time, Joseph Mercier and his company PanicLab present their latest work Of Saints And Go-Go Boys in London for three nights at Toynbee Studios. Commissioned for Homotopia’s tenth anniversary and premiered at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre last November, Of Saints And Go-Go Boys is an uncompromising and erotically-charged descent into a world of misfits and sinners. CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE INFO AND DATES
An update about the painting that Leena McCall has had removed from the SWA exhibition (see below): a full statement has now been issued by the Mall Galleries: MALL GALLERIES STATEMENT RE: PAINTING BY LEENA MCCALL * The painting by Leena McCall was hung in an exhibition organised, selected and funded by the Society of Women Artists, who have hired the Mall Galleries (run by the Federation of British Artists) for their annual exhibition. * The Mall Galleries played no part in its selection or hanging. * As an educational arts charity, the Federation has a responsibility to its Trustees and to the children and vulnerable adults who use its Galleries and Learning Centre. After a number of complaints regarding the depiction of the subject and taking account of its location en route for children to our Learning Centre, we requested the painting was removed. The Society of Women Artists made no objection and replaced it with another painting, also depicting a female nude. Mall Galleries / Federation of British Artists This has prompted the artist to ask the following questions: 1. Why did the Mall Galleries not simply have the painting moved to a less prominent spot in the gallery? 2. Why is it ok to replace "Portrait of Ms Ruby May, standing" with a nude by another artist? 3. What is it about the painting that is seen as a threat to children/vulnerable adults? 4. Would the Society for Women Artists like to respond to this press release? The SWA continue to be unavailable for comment…
Surprising news has just reached ER, news of censorship and prudishness on an altogether Victorian scale. The Society For Women Artists’s 153rd annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries – home of the Federation of British Artists – has had one of its exhibits summarily removed. This is the rather fetching, life-size Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing, by prize-winning artist, Leena McCall, whose work “deals with female sexual and erotic identity”. Apparently the work was deemed to be ‘too pornographic and disgusting’ to meet the public’s gaze, although we’re not quite sure who is being quoted here. ER is waiting to hear both from The Mall Galleries and the SWA who are both – so far – unavailable for comment. Watch this space. In the meantime, judge for yourselves: