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And even when her libidinous heroines get themselves into a jam (or, more aptly, some sort of exotic bondage device), she says, “they are always the ones in control.” Superficially, it may not look that way.“But,” Storey explains, “there can be great power in supposedly giving up your power.“Then I started writing, and everything’s in color. When I’d eat something, I’d think, how would I describe this taste?

“I’m going to do it just like a man,” Storey recalls thinking in that age of innocence. Men are on top, and I want to have that male privilege, too.

That must be how you get it.” But though she did her bit in bed for the feminist cause, egalitarian utopia failed to ensue.

You could almost take grandma shopping at the local sex toy emporium Good Vibrations, with its quasi-educational, nice-girls-do gestalt.

And remember the Kensington Ladies Home Erotica Society that flourished in the 1980s (and whose whimsically-masked, well-coiffed members even made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show)—well, wasn’t that cute?

After all, the submissive person gets all the attention of the dominant person.” There’s nothing like dipping into a little BDSM literature (an erotica sub-genre focusing on the psycho-sexual practices of bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism), she says, to make you realize that much of the allure of sex springs from the mind, not the genitals.

As for her own predilections, Storey admits to a strong streak of voyeurism—though not necessarily in the boudoir.

“Sex doesn’t have to be stupid,” Donna Storey says. Storey to you: a nationally acclaimed erotica writer with some 80 published stories and essays to her credit, the Berkeley author also holds a Ph. And so, on a bright Sunday afternoon in June, Storey (a petite, mid-40ish blond, attired today in an ankle-length silk sheath that sets off her observant blue eyes) has convoked a gathering of like-minded Japanophiles, advanced degree collectors, writers and mom buddies to discuss Amorous Woman, her just published, distinctly dirty first novel.

“Erotic literature shouldn’t be something you have to hide away; it should make people talk about sex,” she proclaims.

In a friend’s sun-drenched living room high in the Berkeley hills, the ladies chat about love and literature over sushi and mimosas while three very quiet husbands hole up in the kitchen.

Copies of Amorous Woman are artfully arranged on a glass coffee table next to a dish of Japanese rice candy. Loosely modeled on The Life of an Amorous Woman, a classic erotic novel by the 17th-century writer Ihara Saikaku, Storey’s book depicts the picaresque adventures of Lydia Yoshikawa (née Evans), a young American with a passion for all things (and most persons) Japanese.

Today, Storey is still riding the current, with sizzling new stories appearing regularly in prestigious sex anthologies, including Best American Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, and The Mammoth Book of Best Erotica.


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