It’s absolutely my pleasure to have the wonderful Emmanuelle de Maupassant back on A Hopeful Romantic today, and this time she’s talking about a fantastic new anthology called For the Men (and the Women Who Love Them) edited by the fabulous Rose Caraway What a holiday treat this anthology is, and Emmanuelle is here to give you the details.
We take for granted that erotic fiction is the realm of women, as writers and readers, but there’s no reason why men shouldn’t enjoy creating and consuming sex on the page (or via audio). In fact, it’s in our interest to encourage them to do so!
Rose emphasizes, “We want men included in this creative, erotic space because they’ve been too long told that they shouldn’t. We want/need men writing and reading, thinking about and expressing their erotic selves. It’s how we, as couples and individuals can better understand and support one another. Erotica is for men and women both.”
‘For the Men’ features tales written by men, alongside women. They are intentionally diverse in style and theme, as well as in content, reflecting a range of sexual tastes. The collection brings us perspectives male and female, and explores universal preoccupations: those relevant to us all.
A prominent theme through the anthology is that of exhibiting our sexual selves, of revealing what is usually concealed, for the delectation of other eyes. There are tales not only of being watched, but of watching, illicitly, or through invitation. Of course, we might say that the very act of reading is voyeuristic (magnified many-fold when we’re reading erotic fiction).
Adrea Kore, in Dance for Me, explores seduction through performance, showing a woman’s elation and liberation through ownership of her sexuality. Her character reveals herself through dance, and is ‘fully seen’. In this way, she demonstrates both vulnerability and power. Adrea tells us, “I love dancing, and have often noticed how much men love being ‘danced to’. The first half of Dance for Me is only a slight fictionalization of a night out I shall always remember. Gorgeously corseted for my date, it was a spontaneous flow of events – but I got to be ‘the girl in the cage’ that night. The spontaneity of it all meant there was very little time for me to be nervous!” Adrea stresses the transformational potential of our sexual fantasies. She tells us, “If readers feel inspired by this story to own and explore their fantasies, I’ll feel my work as ‘sexual provocateur’ is done.”
Interestingly, the collection features two ‘handyman stories’: one written by Jade A. Waters and the other by Spencer Dryden, giving a male and female perspective. Jade’ recalls her crush on the stranger who came to work on her satellite dish, admitting that she considered trying to get him back for ‘more repairs’. Her tale is sassy and humorous. “It came together like a lust letter in my head!” she admits, adding, “While I think ‘no strings attached sex’ often appeals to men, I don’t think that’s lost on women, either.’
Rachel de Vine’s Hitchhiker gives us a female protagonist with an uninhibited attitude to sex. She recalls her own youthful days of hitch-hiking around Europe, feeling that ‘anything was possible’. Rachel underlines her intention of presenting hiker Jezebel ‘without her being judged and found morally lacking’. She tells us, “I wanted my female character to be bold and fearless, and honest about her intentions and needs.”
When we enter the realm of fantasy, there are no limits, so it’s no surprise that two of the tales in ‘For the Men’ have sci-fi settings. One is T.J. Christian’s Enhanced, which evokes the stylishly sexy 1982 film Bladerunner. It probes the pitfalls of technology, in a society where upgrades to our limitations are the norm. In such a world, the author speculates, wouldn’t we lose sight of what’s real, and what it means to be human, where ‘the lines between human and artificial become blurred’?
Sonni de Soto’s Odd Man explores the psychology of jealousy, and the vulnerability of our relationships, drawing on her own experience of polyamory. Sonni speculates on the pressures men face, in a world where many traditions are being dismantled.
Meanwhile, Charlie Powell’s tale explores lost love and our desire to be unfaithful, set during a hen celebration, with the temptation of an old flame. Marc Angel also delves the theme of infidelity, when his protagonist discovers his wife unexpectedly in the arms of another. He examines the anger and pain of betrayal, as well as feelings of arousal and shame.
Labyrinth, my own story, tackles our compulsion to hurt those we love (whether physically or emotionally). We are shaped by all that has gone before, and the promise of what is yet to come, wandering our personal maze, ever seeking, though for what, we may be unsure. Within, are our unspoken desires, and our fears, our ‘monsters’, which must be slayed.
Erotic fiction offers an amazing space in which to taste the unexpected, and the uninhibited. In ‘For the Men’, twenty-five authors have pooled their talent to bring you tales of temptation and seduction.
Sample them alone, or with your lover…
An audio version is also available to complement the e-book (narrated by huskily voiced Rose Caraway).
The collection features works by Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Adrea Kore, Tamsin Flowers, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Allen Dusk, Terrance Aldon Shaw, Rachel de Vine, Jade A Waters, Dorothy Freed, D.L. King, Chase Morgan, Marc Angel, Charlie Powell, Landon Dixon, Sonni de Soto, D. Lovejoy, Erin Pim, J.T. Seate, Spencer Dryden, Winter Blair, Simon Drax, Lynn Lake, Josie Jordan, Daily Hollow, and T.J. Christian.
Read more from Emmanuelle on her site: