A new book shares anonymous sex stories from famous writers

Read an erotic extract from 'Anonymous Sex', in which a character reflects on their sex life while being devoured by a shark.

by Jessica White
01 February 2022, 8:00am

Erotica’s history stretches back to the ancient world: excavations of Pompeii have revealed pornographic images on its walls; the earliest known men’s dirty mag was found in Egypt when archaeologists discovered an 8.5 foot papyrus scroll depicting an orgy, dating from around 1150 B.C. We’ll probably never know which horny person was responsible for this artwork -- but that’s not so significant when you consider erotica’s end goal. Similarly, we’ll probably never know who exactly is responsible for each of the 27 erotic stories in the new collection, Anonymous Sex.

Editors Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan had the idea for Anonymous Sex some years ago. Talking over dinner, they discussed how great it is to read well-written sex -- and how anonymity can free us when talking about desire and fantasy. Fast forward to 2022 and their edited collection brings together those two concepts perfectly. We are given the names of the authors in the collection, we are given their stories — but we’re not told who has written what. The writers, from Louise Erdrich to Chigozie Obioma to Catherine Chung, have won awards and written on countless subjects. Here, they’re free to express erotic fantasies — fictional or otherwise — however they please.

The stories span countries, sexualities and even realms of reality — with ghost and holographic sex scenes that will make you question if desire should be bound by physicality. There is sex in Nigeria, Australia, India and France (among other countries); sex in transit and sex very much bound to one spot. Whether it’s the guessing game or the erotica that draws you in, Anonymous Sex has something for everyone.

Below is an excerpt taken from Woman Eaten by Shark Drawn to Her Gold Byzantine Ring: A woman reminisces on her sexuality as she is devoured by a shark.

So I’m out way past the breakers, floating on my back, and it’s a calm day, a very calm day out here with me lifting and falling in the swell of the Atlantic, and my man, bless his ravenous heart, is sunning himself somewhere on the beach and if he’s opening one eye now and then when a shadow passes over his face to see if it’s some bimbolette in a thong, well that’s the way he is, and my sister would roll her eyes if she knew that here I am once more accepting his sometimes actionable impulse just because he pounded me good in our second floor balcony room with the door open to the ocean and the morning sun streaming in and voices outside, he pounded me good, and when he started, he said to me Don’t make a fucking noise and I can’t help a little whimper and he says Put a sock in it and without missing a thump he jams a sock in my mouth, one of his socks from yesterday, still a little damp and gritty from the beach—he had it at hand for this very purpose—but I know he doesn’t even get the joke—my man has no sense of irony at all—but that’s okay too, because he works me over good and all I can do is feel the way I want to feel, the way I deserve to but never know why, just that it must happen, and as I’m floating on the sea my sister is there too, telling me I’m a disgrace to feel the way I want to feel, and she tells me that when I ask for a man simply to put me on my back or on my knees and take away my power and my will and turn it all into an act of violence against me—only enough violence that he can have me again the next time—when she tells me all this I never quite have a sufficient response, which I admit I should, I am an attorney, after all, I am a woman of the mind and of words, after all, and if my sister wants to do it delicate and with her on top and murmuring softly, then I’m not about to try to talk her out of that, but being who I am, I’m never satisfied with the words I find to answer her about what I want, and so I’m floating on the Atlantic ocean and my legs are spread and bent a little at the knees and my arms are straight out and on the ring finger of my right hand is the gold Byzantine ring my father gave my mother long ago, long long ago, just before he ran

off with his therapist, and I wear it always, and the first hit doesn’t quite hurt—because of the shock of it, the abrupt thought of it, like rough sex, like a man who wants you that bad—my hand feels the grip and a letting go and then a sudden emptiness at the edge of me, at the far edge, an old emptiness, a going away, and I turn my face a little in that direction, toward my right hand, and I realize it’s always been this way, I knew from the very first touch that it will mean the end of me, however long it will take I already have begun to die, have long been dying. And I know I am sad for that. Sad for me. And now I am gripped vast and tight around the hips. In the very center of me I am seized and held tight. And I am taken away with him. I am wanted so bad that it hurts. He is there with me and I am with him and we will never part.

Anonymous Sex, ed. Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, is published 3rd February 2022 by HarperCollins, £14.99.