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Editor Karin Schimke Opens Up on Open

OpenIs it smut? Is it art? If it’s erotica it makes you blush; if it’s porn it makes you squirm…

Karin Schimke, who collated and edited Open, a collection of South African women’s erotic writing that created a stir when it was released by Oshun back in April, reflects on the lexicographic dilemmas she contemplated as she compiled the anthology.

In an absorbing article, she says, “The sexual revolution supposedly lightened us up about sex, but it remains – publicly at least – a mostly grim matter.”

The idea for a collection of erotic stories by some of South Africa’s best women writers sprung from my desire to present women’s intimate relationships with sexuality, as they really are, not as they are supposed to be, by some outside — often patriarchally driven – model.

Susan Maushart, in What Women Want Next, wrote that in the early days of feminism sex was not just a thing women did for babies or fun or to make a point.

“Sleeping around for the sisterhood was nice work if you could get it,” she says, “but it was hardly standard practice for any but the most politicised female. For most women, even I daresay for most feminists, sex remained a defiantly personal act.”

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