The question of whether lesbians have sex, how they have sex, and when they began having sex has long obsessively preoccupied the heterosexual imagination. Today, discussions of lesbian sex abound with such terms as romantic friendships, stealth lesbians, and genitally sexual. As we approach the end of the twentieth century, lesbian sexuality remains hotly contested ground. What exactly qualifies as lesbian sex? What is the relationship, if any, between lesbian erotica and heterosexual pornography? How did the issue of sex in lesbian communities come to be such a fiercely debated subject?
Lesbian Erotics is the first anthology to investigate the cultural production of sexually charged images of lesbians in film, law, literature, and popular culture in general. The contributors address an enormous range of sexualities and fora in which these sexualities flourish. In her chapter, Not Tonight, Dear, I'm Deconstructing a Headache: Confessions of a Lesbian Sex Therapist, Marny Hall illustrates how difficult some women find it to maintain erotic tension in lesbian relationships. Elizabeth Meese grapples with increasingly complex sexual identities in cyperspace. Kitty Tsui, cover model for On Our Backs, relays how she developed her own body into an art form in order to combat stereotypes of passive and invisible Asian women.
This work, as Karla Jay writes in the introduction, invites readers to consider the implications, variations, and complexities of lesbian erotics. In the end, it is our sexual lives that mark us as outlaws. Therefore, we need to investigate and engage representations of our sexuality to define for ourselves, if we so choose, the scope, shape, and permutations of lesbian erotics.
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Karla Jay has written, edited, and translated nine books, the most recent of which are Dyke Life and Lesbian Erotics. Dyke Life won the 1996 Lambda Literary Award in the category of Lesbian Studies. She is editor of NYU Press's series, "The Cutting Edge: Lesbian Life and Literature." This is the only lesbian studies series in the world from a university press. In existence since 1992, the series now spans some 20 books of original criticism, reprints, translations and recovered archival letters and manuscripts. Dr. Jay has written for many publications, including Ms. Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, and Lambda Book Report. She is Professor of English and Director of Women's Studies at Pace University in New York City. She is currently at work on two books, Ten Decades of Struggle: Gay and Lesbian Life in the United States (Oxford UP) and Tales of the lavender Menace (Basic).Review:
"A very great gift: compelling, complex, courageous, and stunning. Everyone interested in love and lust, passion and power, history and literature, will want to read Karla Jay's timely, arousing, important anthology."-Blanche Wiesen Cook,author of Eleanor Roosevelt, vol. I
"Karla Jay is one of the authentic pioneers of lesbian studies. Here she brings together 16 essays on the once-taboo, now gloriously `speakable' subject of lesbian sexuality. Illuminating, often funny, full of thought and emotion and a continuous, speculative intellectual energy, the essays tell a fascinating collective story about lesbian desires, past and present, and the controversial places of female homosexuality in modern society."-Terry Castle,author of The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture
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