The Influences Project: Rachel Kramer Bussel

What book/writer/publisher has most influenced your own writing and publishing efforts?

Writer and Naughty Spanking Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel: It probably won’t come as a surprise when I say Tristan Taormino, who’s been my boss, mentor, editor and friend. Her writing has opened my mind in so many ways; her turns of phrase and ideas have stayed with me,
and I’ve learned so much from her example of how to write and talk about sex in an honest, open, fun, ethical and feminist way. I highly recommend that everyone read her book True Lust: Adventures in Sex, Porn and Perversion. She also published my very first erotica story “Monica and Me” in Best Lesbian Erotica 2001 and it’s such an honor to be a fellow Village Voice columnist alongside her, I can’t even tell you. She’s been incredibly supportive of me and my writing, and really has changed the way so many people think about sex and opened up people’s minds in countless ways. She’s a pioneer and an inspiration and a truly wonderful person and really is my favorite writer.

Also Susie Bright, whose influence I can’t even begin to quantify. I started reading her work at a time when I certainly didn’t agree with most of it, but her spirit and energy and political passion helped me think
about sex and porn in many new ways and she continues to educate and influence me. As for a specific book, my friend and mentor Lisa Palac’s The Edge of the Bed: How Dirty Pictures Changed My Life showed me that you can go from being an ardently anti-porn feminist to a “do me” feminist (if we need silly labels like that, which I don’t necessarily think we do), and opened up a lot of doors in my mind about the possibilities for empowered, political, educated women in the porn field. All of them and so many more I see as part of a movement that’s helped foster so much growth
and potential when it comes to women writing about sex. They helped set the stage for the popularity of a Carrie Bradshaw, and while I’m a Sex and the City fan, the idea that the biggest problems and issues a sex writer tackles are what pair of Manolos to wear is ludicrous.