I don’t read a lot of erotica. It’s not that I like to be tucked up with a cocoa by 10pm, but too much of the gusset-moistening stuff I’ve encountered simply fails to hit the spot. If the themes of lust-tickling were universal, it would be simple work to turn anybody on and my husband, for one, would be a much happier man.
But it’s a complicated old thing, the language of desire. Sometimes it’s just too damn scientific and leaves you scratching your head, trying to work out who’s got what, where, like some elaborate human instruction manual; a thesaurus for genitals and the act of insertion. Sometimes, (though by no means always) in order to tap into pleasure, you need to connect with emotions too. Paradoxically, there can sometimes be far too many flowers and hearts pitter-pattering. Finding the key to arousal can be like sending a 20-year-old virgin on a search for the clitoris.
The problem of navigating myriad roads to sexual excitement is solved by Alison Tyler’s little compendiums of naughty goodness. She has compiled a series of items of delicious filth, bound them loosely into themes and delivered them as an Erotic Alphabet for your delight, delectation and fumbling. The tasteful cover art of a 50s pin-up will spare your blushes if you like to fantasise on your daily commute, though reading “That Monday Morning Feeling” by Lisette Ashton in I is for Indecent may make it quite a bit more fun.
Each book has umpteen pleasure-tweaking tales and the diversity of writer and subject means that you will be sure to find something to get your engine running. So, you’re not fired up by pretending you’re a little abandoned pussy cat, perhaps “Good Kitty” by Shanna Germain isn’t for you – you prefer something a little more squelchy and sweaty. No matter, flip on a few pages to the next. Perhaps you’re feeling bittersweet, or just plain bitter? J is for Jealousy takes a whole book to explore the messed up juxtaposition of love, lust and the fierce green eyed monster. Maybe you’re tussling with the dilemmas and conflicts which sometimes wrap their legs around desire? There are plenty of stories which explore the emotions of the mating dance and the pleasure-pain principle, sometimes from an unexpected point of view. Consider “Not Tonight” by Mathilde Madden, a bizarre erotic examination of a power struggle and a clear case of how topping from the bottom can sometimes work – to a point.
The richness of fantasy might even encourage you abandon your battery-operated friend in order to orchestrate a brand new real life experience with your loved one. I find myself persuaded to purchase a pair of white pants and a thick tipped biro – not sure? Try searching out “Sign Your Name” by Saskia Walker in K is for Kinky and you might find yourself doing the same.
Sometimes it goes too far, but that is not meant as a criticism at all. I mean, “Sit And Spin” by N.T. Morley just ain’t ever gonna happen. And it seems fantasy women don’t need lube, sometimes they get so wet they need tampons. Damn, maybe I’m just jealous. But that’s part of the whole delightful nature of fantasy, outlandish orgasms without judgement, embarrassment or police involvement. But with that in mind, I feel obliged to offer a warning; Sir James Dewar said that "Minds are like parachutes, they only function when they are open". If your chute is tangled up with ropes of repression, I recommend that you don’t jump into this erotica; you may not enjoy the feelings they unleash.
Thus far there is a little book for each of the letters A-L. I had the personal, private pleasure of reviewing I-J. Moreover, I have had delicious bedtime conversations about which subjects I’d like to see covered for the rest of the alphabet. I must confess that I haven’t read L is for Leather yet, I was saving it. On the strength of the other books I feel reassured that it will make wonderful bedtime reading, cocoa or not.