Lust. It’s one of those four-letter words that trips off the tongue. When I say it out loud, it makes my lips want to curve into a smile. Lust is more than simple arousal; it is the force that makes us not just turned on, but craving a certain person (or people).
I used to write a sex column called “Lusty Lady,” named after the famed strip club, but somehow lusty, rhyming as it does with busty, sounds a bit like a joke, an added bit of humor, which is how our culture often treats sex. Lust, though, is different; it’s intense, overpowering. While in real life we may not always act every time lust calls to us, in fiction, we can abandon the safety of propriety and seek out lust and sex wherever we find them.
The characters in Women in Lust may vary in the objects of their lust, and how they go about acting on their urge, but what connects them is that pure impulse for a lover. Sometimes he is someone she knows well, is married to or dating; in other stories, he is a stranger, and is sexy precisely because he represents the unknown. Women also lust after other women here, as in Kayar Silkenvoice’s Japanese happy ending massage story, “Cherry Blossom,” and while we only hear one side of the story, I’d like to think the working woman is doing more than just her job. In addition to the culture clash, there’s the joy of throwing caution to the wind while on vacation, using travel to broaden one’s sexual horizons. Whether watching a lover playing guitar, using a webcam, going out for a smoke or simply embracing a chance encounter, these women seize the opportunities presented to them, and savor the lovers who teach them about themselves and help them open up to new sensual possibilities. Sometimes that means looking at the man they live with in a new light, and other times that means something much naughtier. Either way, their lust is a valued part of their lives, not a pesky afterthought or to-do list item on “date night.”
The objects of their lust are not always the “right” person. In “Rain,” a woman falls for her best friend’s boyfriend, one of the ultimate dating taboos, but she goes for it. Sometimes the desire itself, the way it can be used to tease and taunt, as in Charlotte Stein’s “Guess,” is maddening, but we embrace our lusts even when they are maddening, even when they make us do things we might otherwise consider reckless.
For every woman here who can locate her lust on the map of her body, who zeros in on her target and goes for it, there is another who is opened up to her lust by a lover, whether it’s Jen Cross’s narrator pondering what it was, exactly, her orally generous long-ago lover got out of being between her legs. The first words of Shanna Germain’s powerfully kinky “Beneath My Skin” are “I’m afraid,” to which her lover, Kade, responds, “You should be.” Fear can be a powerful motivator and, crossed with lust, can lead to explosive results.
Whether discovering the joy of a younger man, not to mention some delicious pudding, in “Comfort Food,” by Donna George Storey, or taking sex and bondage into the great outdoors in “Something to Ruin” by Amelia Thornton, these women indulge in new ways of getting off and pushing the limits of their lust. Thornton writes: “Despite my longing, there was still part of me that wanted to protest, to tell him to cut me loose, to run wildly through the forest back to the safety of our picnic blanket, but to me that is the beauty of rope: to desire escape but to willingly be imprisoned, to feel the pressure of something that prevents my movement, yet to know there is no place that I feel safer than when trapped like this.” She captures the excitement of giving in to a dominant lover, even when there is a small part of the narrator that is unsure, for that is precisely the part that fuels her desire. This story captures the true power that lies in submission and the many joys it can bring. In “Her, Him and Them,” by Aimee Pearl, the narrator submits to various lovers who question her and push her not only to be the best sub she can be, but to figure out why, exactly, she likes the thrill of submission and service.
I hope these stories inspire some lusty days and nights for you, as they’ have for me.
Rachel Kramer Bussel New York City
Here’s a list of the talented authors featured in this anthology:
Naughty Thoughts Portia Da Costa Guess Charlotte Stein Her, Him, and Them Aimee Pearl Bayou Clancy Nacht Smoke Elizabeth Coldwell Bite Me Lucy Hughes Ride a Cowboy Del Carmen Queen of Sheba Jen Cross Hot for Teacher Rachel Kramer Bussel Unbidden Brandy Fox Something to Ruin Amelia Thornton Guitar Hero Kin Fallon Ode to a Masturbator Aimee Herman Orchid Jacqueline Applebee Cherry Blossom Kayar Silkenvoice Rain Olivia Archer The Hard Way Justine Elyot Strapped K D Grace Beneath My Skin Shanna Germain Comfort Food Donna George Storey