Review: Penthouse: Between the Sheets

Penthouse: Between the Sheets Penthouse: Between the Sheets by Penthouse Magazine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is of both the book and the audiobook. The first mistake one can make when listening to “Penthouse: Between the Sheets” is to try to listen to large portions of it. This audio collection was not made for super-sized consumption, but rather a series of scrumptious and titillating snacks over the course of a week or more. In this selection of thirty-six stories from the pages of Penthouse, sex is rampant, and more importantly, sex is fun. The stories include couples, threesomes, public sex, casual encounters, and many other stimulating scenarios. They follow one after the other with only their title and author serving as introduction.

“Wet Panties Everywhere” might have been a more appropriate title for this collection. Not in every story, but a majority of the stories make constant reference to women and their wet panties. I never knew this was a real issue. Could this be why women have lingerie departments and men have about 2 racks for all their underwear needs? It’s interesting to speculate how men’s perceptions influenced writers’ words. After all, these stories were written for a magazine that has a predominantly male heterosexual population. Many stories had male on female, female on female, and two females on one male scenarios, but none crossed the line to really show any male homosexual traits. Instead, we constantly have scenes where women are so horny and sexually excited, their panties are slipping right down their legs. So can one deduce that horny women is what men really want?

The choices of stories and their alignment into the anthology seemed was not given much consideration. Often, it was hard to deduce just what the collection was thematically aiming for: a panorama of erotic stories, delicious stories to listen to at bedtime, or a subtle social commentary. For instance, the first two stories launch right into the sex while the third story lingers on about a spouse dealing with a cheating husband. While erotic could have a broad meaning, this collection seemed to be directly aimed at heterosexual males. The cheating spouse story just didn’t fit the theme that well. Other stories varied on their quality and reliability to stimulate the listener. If these are to be erotic bedtime stories, a guilt trip about marriage vows followed by a quick lesbian scene, didn’t quite fit the bill.

The narrators were a bit inconsistent. Sometimes, they read simply, without excessive inflection and dramatization, but then there were times when the narrator came across as a bad phone sex operator, trying to sway the listener with the tone of her voice, rather than letting the story do the arousal. While the text does need some interpretation, many of the stories were over-dramatized by the readers. Straight reads with minimum inflection would probably have done better because then the listener had the freedom to decide what was erotic about the story, rather than have it decided by the narrator. The counter-argument to that would be that these are erotic stories and part of the eroticism is sensuality. This line of thought lends weight to the idea that the soft and husky female voice only added to the story. However, like video pornography, bad acting wins laughs not erections.

If you’re looking for an anthology of erotica to help attune your taste buds, then “Between the Sheets” is not the book for you. However, if you’re looking for strictly heterosexual-oriented erotica, then get ready for a feast, because this audiobook was made for you. Not every story will keep you excited and entertained, but there is bound to be plenty that you’ll want to listen to again and again.

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