VENUS is the antidote to the subversive and edgy nude photography that dominates the art bookshelves. These photographs of nude female models set in grand English houses taken by Grace Vane Percy are worthy of the great goddess herself in their beauty and purity. The classical nature of her subjects is enhanced by photographing them in black and white on film, the most organic of a modern artists’ arsenal of technological techniques. Most of the poses are derived from traditional poses attributed to Venus from classical Greek and Roman sculpture. Text accompanies the images detailing the iconography, poses and importance of the ancient deity. This book emphasises the sheer beauty of line and moulding of the female form.
The step-mother figure's a handy little plot device and Leaving Things Unsaid, Karen Barratt's first novel, makes gripping use of it. Beth's married to Ralph - happily, it seems - and works as a teacher. She's inherited his history and his two children, but it's his home - where he once lived with late wife Caroline - that's unsettled her from the moment she carried herself over its threshold.
There are more vampires, ghouls, secret agents, mafiosi, devils, freaks, bad guys, cops, monsters and maniacs in Emanuele Taglietti's Sex and Horror: the art of Emanuele Taglietti than you could shake a zombie's severed arm at. There's a fair bit of gratuitous, not say salacious, nudity as well. Sex and violence don't mix, we're all pretty much agreed upon that, but sex and horror? Well, evidently, in Italy at least, that was another aesthetic entirely. Ever since Johann Heinrich Fuseli's The Nightmare caused a popular sensation in London in 1781, lifting sex to the astral plain of pure and fantastic horror seems to legitimise the violence implicit in the imagery. Taglietti's comic cover art stays just about within the boundaries of sex/horror as opposed to sex/violence, which is more than can be said for the contents of the comics whose covers he so powerfully illustrated.
If your favourite thing about the stories handed down to us from the past is a bit of bestiality and inter-species romance, you’re likely to enjoy the witty and erotic Myrtle, a collection of poetry by East London writer Ruth Wiggins.
There’s an innate fear that technology will, at some point, take over our lives completely. Some think this is imminent. Well, Mankind, the appliance of science is now seducing your Womankind, insinuating itself into your bedroom and even getting involved in you performance. But panic not: it’s not so much a threat as a gimmicky detour. And what’s more, the new We-Vibe 4 plus promises orgasms for your (female) partner, even if you’re on another continent. And all this without third-party involvement! (Just don’t forget to charge your phone).
Fans of Bridget Jones and Girls, rejoice: there's a new kid on the block. Melissa Pimentel's Age, Sex, Location is a wonderfully fresh romp through the modern dating scene, where one wrong left swipe could throw all chances of happiness down the pan. Lauren is 28 and is emphatically not looking for love. Recently divorced from her college sweetheart, she's moved from Portland to the Big Smoke and into a dingy room in Old Street.
We need to decide how the 50 Shades drinking game will work… As one of many women who went to see the new 50 Shades of Grey film in its first few days of screening, I think there’s an important conversation we all need to have. No, not about the merits of bringing erotica to a mass market, not even about the sexual politics highlighted by Anastasia and Christian’s relationship, or whether the flagrantly capitalist fantasy holds up a mirror to something dark in our society. No, we need to decide what the 50 Shades drinking game will be. How will it work?
This is a film to be savoured in the communal atmosphere of a darkened cinema. The solidarity of those eager, giggling bodies around you, some women dragging along sheepish male partners, most tripping in with a shoal of girlie mates, all bearing glasses or even bottles of wine and/or champagne, made the experience enjoyable from the off.
What good is sitting alone in your room, I’m wondering, as I pull on some tights to go out. On a Sunday. When Poirot is on, there’s leftover spagbol in the fridge and my enormous old sofa (courtesy of Erotic Towers, no less) has developed a pleasing groove from where I’ve been lying on it all day. Life is indeed a cabaret, I think, as I walk to Elephant and Castle station and stumble on a rolling can of Special Brew. We’re off to Balham for Suburbaret, a new smorgasbord of singing, dancing and lip-syncing talent in the beating heart of Zone Three. Things are already looking up as it’s being held in the dark underbelly of an old favourite pub, The Bedford, and within minutes of arriving we’ve got pineapple and Red Leicester on sticks, “to get you into that Abigail’s Party, late 70s mood”.