Category Archives: Romance

Heart Beat #1: Swinging and Labioplasty

This weekend, The Age provided a couple of interesting articles about love and sex in The Good Weekend and Sunday Life.

Reclaiming the Vagina by Melissa Jacob explores attitudes to the vagina and labioplasty, and what could be a backlash against ‘designer vagina’ surgery. Women’s attitudes to this part of their body have fascinated me since seeing the Greg Taylor exhibition, C*nts and Other Conversations some years ago. Because of its position on the body, women rarely see their own genitalia, let alone other women’s, except as ‘tidied up’ and altered (either surgically or through photoshopping) versions in pornography.

Taylor’s plain white porcelain sculptures of around 150 vulva were oddly liberating to view, and even empowering. The nature of the sculptures, which were mounted at eye-level on the gallery wall, became conceptually separate from sexual titillation (well, for me) and could be viewed instead in aesthetic terms. The lines and folds reminded me of trees and rivers, each unique and perfectly normal, sometimes even beautiful. Seeing such a variety of shapes and sizes of the vulva, divorced from sexual function, was a strong reminder that our bodies are fine, that there is a wide range of ‘normal’ and society generally should stop being so squeamish and judgemental about so many aspects of the human body, and women’s bodies in particular.

The Sleepless Nights blog also talks about the Taylor exhibition (which had moved to MONA in Tasmania by then) and has some images of the sculptures in question, if you’re interested.

In other news, more of a relationship nature, Ian Rose wrote Adult Games, about his thoughts on a ‘friendly proposition’ he and his wife received. I generally figure that games of this nature need to be approached with complete openness and scrupulous honesty, because without very clear and honest communication it could all go very pear shaped, very quickly.  If truly informed consent between adults can’t be achieved, maybe it’s best to stick to erotic fiction after all.

Do you have links to articles about relationships, sex, romance and related books? Send ’em here!

Review: A Brighter Spark by Mary Borsellino (AWW Challenge 2013 #4)

brighter sparkReaders of this blog will know how much I adore Mary Borsellino’s horror fiction. The Wolf House and The Devil’s Mixtape remain two of my very favourite works.

Have I mentioned how versatile that writer is, though? Have I? Because she is. Not only does she write amazing horror, she also writes fun and sexy erotica with wit and intelligence.

While her latest, A Brighter Spark, hasn’t the complexity of her longer genre work, the deceptively simple story addresses a very modern human issue: how do you know when you’re a proper, fully functioning adult? And why would you want that, instead of the freewheeling excitement of being young?

Suzy is a single mum of kids in their awkward teens, and feels like life is slipping away from her. She doesn’t feel like a proper grown up, but the mad joys of her youth are obviously well behind her. Feeling at a dead end, Suzy meets the gorgeous and possibly perfect Daniel, and a one night stand blooms into the potential for something more. But Suzy fears she can’t possibly live up to him, just as she fears that being a proper adult means leaving behind all the fun stuff forever.

Suzy is likeable and you can readily identify with her as she stumbles through the difficulties of learning what responsible adulthood really means. Daniel is indeed a picture of perfection, but with just enough charm and a little geekiness to make him very appealing. As always, Borsellino does a pitch-perfect job of creating the teenaged characters and their relationships with the respective parents.

A Brighter Spark is a light, fun read, populated with appealing characters, good humour and some distractingly passionate scenes.