Anaïs Nin once told Erica Jong that "women who write about sex are never taken seriously as writers." Jong (Fear of Flying) insists that this is precisely why women must write about sex: to "brave the literary double standard" and put women back in control of how their experiences are portrayed. In Sugar in My Bowl, Jong presents a carefully curated collection of essays and short fiction about sex by more than two dozen contemporary female writers.
The pieces in this anthology run the spectrum from prudish--Julie Klam half-ashamedly admits that until recently, her six-year-old daughter believed women's private parts were simply called "the front"--to downright erotic--Susan Cheever's "Sex with Strangers" explores the pleasures and perks of doing just that--and everything in between. Anne Roiphe and J.A.K. Andres examine children's curiosity about sex, while Elisa Albert and Margot Magowan consider the impact of children on a couple's sexual relationship. Jennifer Weiner and Karen Abbott create characters who persist in seeking sexual connection despite very real challenges of age and health.
But fantasy and play also figure large in Sugar in My Bowl, as Rosemary Daniell and gossip columnist Liz Smith remember former lovers whose touches linger for decades, and Rebecca Walker contends that, thanks to fantasy, the best sex she ever had was sex she never had.
Sugar in My Bowl is proof positive that women can write seriously about sex and live to tell. It represents a remarkable smorgasbord of experience and perspective, and there's a dish here for everyone. --Rebecca Joines Schinsky, The Book Lady's Blog