Peep Show: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists is edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com) and will be published by Cleis Press in November 2009.
“Peep Show takes you through the looking glass and into an erotic world of wonder where looking and being looked at creates hot encounters of the highest order.”
— Audacia Ray, author of Naked on the Internet
“”Rachel Kramer Bussel has, once again, assembled a top-flight collection. This naughty gem will appeal to both the connoisseur and the curious reader who just wants a peek.”
— Lily Burana, author of Strip City: A Stripper’s Farewell Journey Across America
Introduction: Hungry Eyes and Sensual Show-Offs (see below)
Showtime by Susan St. Aubin
Clean and Pretty by Donna George Storey
Superior by Monica Shores
People in Glass Hotels by Jennifer Peters
Indecent by Lolita Lopez
Ownership by Craig J. Sorensen
Audience Participation by Elizabeth Coldwell
Now You See Her by Andrea Dale
Watcher in the Shadows by Cheyenne Blue
Glass by Nobilis Reed
Sleeping Beauty by Malcolm Ross
The Theory of Orchids by L. A. Mistral
Missing Michael by M. March
Busted by Kissa Starling
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Sommer Marsden
Rosse Buurt by Geneva King
I’ve Only Got Eyes for You by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Calendar Girl by Angela Caperton
Introduction: Hungry Eyes and Sensual Show-Offs
When the stories started rolling in for Peep Show, I was surprised to see that so many were about sex work: strippers, burlesque babes, and other professional show-offs and their customers. I had intended the title to be a sexy suggestion of the complementary fetishes of exhibitionism and voyeurism, not necessarily the main setting for the bulk of the stories. As I kept reading, though, I realized that peep shows and other forms of commercialized sexual displays are a major way we as a culture sanction the act of watching.
There’s a sense of the forbidden in many of the stories you’ll read here, whether money changes hands or not. There is the thrill of baring your body in exactly the place you’re not supposed to, which Lolita Lopez zeroes in on with her nude campus performance art protagonist in “Indecent.” As Lopez writes, “Trini couldn’t stop herself. The risk heightened the allure.” In Malcolm Ross’s “Sleeping Beauty,” the main character catches his gorgeous wife in repose in the middle of the night, and is compelled to keep on watching. M. March gives us a poignant, moving story of being watched over from above.
As for those peep shows, there’s plenty of very sexy jiggling to be seen here. Donna George Storey beautifully and, as always, utterly erotically captures a different kind of peep show in “Clean and Pretty,” in which an American woman in Japan soaps up in the shower, getting paid handsomely, while exulting in the one viewer who can look for free. Geneva King takes us deep inside Amsterdam’s famous red-light district, or “Rosse Buurt,” A woman is drawn to a woman she sees there, a woman who “stands in her window on the second story, not banging on the glass like the other girls, just standing, surveying the crowd, like she picks the customer and not the other way around, like she’s deciding who is lucky enough to experience any bit of her.” This is the kind of woman who sells her body in this book; one who’s knowing, aware, yet can allow herself to get swept away by passion, even when she’s on the clock.
Modern technology also plays a role here in the webcam-themed “Audience Participation” and “I’ve Only Got Eyes for You,” where private citizens become amateur porn stars. When you think of voyeurs, you probably picture the iconic image of the Peeping Tom, and he’s to be found in these pages as well, once, even wearing a trench coat. But rather than being the town creep, here the various peeping Toms (and Thomasinas) are more than just stereotypes. They see and hear things they aren’t supposed to, and sometimes, as with Sommer Marsden’s Jared in “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” they even get caught.
Neighbors, coworkers, spouses, and hotel guests all experience the power of looking, and being looked at. Even the most intimate relationships can get closer when one person opens himself up to being studied, caressed not with the hands but with the eyes. These stories honor the art of the striptease, the daring of the nudist, the boldness of the person who’ll go out of her way to get more than an eyeful. I hope the sensual visions these stories create stay in your mind’s eye for a long time to come.
Rachel Kramer Bussel