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The Erotic Edge


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About the Author

Dr. Lonnie Barbach received her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical social psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. She is now on the clinical faculty of the University of California Medical School in San Francisco and also has a private practice. Among her several bestselling books on sex and relationships are For Yourself, Pleasures, Going the Distance, The Pause, Seductions, The Erotic Edge, and Erotic Interludes, her book with her partner, David Geisinger, Ph.D. They live in Mill Valley, California, with their daughter, Tess.


Barbach, editor of two previous compilations of erotica written by women, here assembles a collection of 22 stories authored by both sexes. While this volume certainly does not contain something for everyone (only one entry--pseudonymous Anna Nymus's ``The Wager''--even touches on a gay relationship; domination/submission is dealt with once in the oddly moving ``The Language of Desire,'' written by a couple identified only as Khafre and Patrice), it does offer up a veritable smorgasbord of spicy fantasies. Barbach has divided the tales according to theme--Very Male and Very Female; Common Themes; The Perfect Match --each prefaced by an introduction. She observes the differences between male and female erotic writing: ``stories written by men concentrate on the details of the lovemaking scenes'' while ``women's stories emphasize seduction, desire and the mental foreplay that builds up to the sexual encounter.'' The more successful tales include Kim Chernin's ``The Sacred Harlot,'' an account of ancient erotic forces called up at an academic conference; Marsha Power's graphic depiction of a female-initiated one-night stand in ``11:30 P.M.--Saturday Night''; Clark Sevill Demorest's flip wish-fulfillment fantasy, ``A Matter of Attitude''; and B. J. Simmons's ``Unconditional Positive Regard,'' in which a couple make a first effort at ``swinging.'' The level of prose is uneven in the collection as a whole, however; many of the stories are rather amateurishly written and feature cliched, wooden dialogue. Author tour. (May)

This collection of 22 short stories has been compiled as a tool for heterosexual couples to explore men's and women's perspectives on sex and to act as a catalyst for dialog about the subject. Barbach ( Going the Distance: Secrets of Lifelong Love, LJ 9/1/91) has selected erotic short fiction from both male and female writers that illustrates what each gender finds appealing about the sexual union. The collection subtly amplifies the general notion that men's erotic images are more visual and visceral and that women tend to find erotic content in the emotional development of the relationship. Although many of the stories have very explicit descriptions of copulation, the editor has not included stories featuring rape or anything more potentially objectionable than adultery and ``swinging'' fantasies. All the characters are willing participants, and even profanity is kept to a minimum. Recommended for larger public library collections.-- A. Arro Smith, San Marcos P.L., Tex.

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