Michael Luongo’s "Sensual Travels," Gay Erotica From Around the World
Traveling and sex are as intertwined as the positions you and your foreign date discover together. And for good reason: The mystery of the destination, the solitude that yearns for the company of another body, and the thrill of meeting men from different backgrounds and languages and cultures, all combine to create a sensuous mix.
Michael Luongo has been covering the world of gay travel for well over a decade, and his latest book,
"If you were to remove the sex you would still have a very good story," says Luongo, on what makes his book different from other gay erotica. He uses the term "Literotica" to describe the style of writing in the collection, emphasizing the need to have a great story underneath.
"I look for stories where there's a sense of longing," says Luongo. "That's something I always want authors to convey. Sense of place is an over-used term now, but you do want the place to come alive, you want the emotion behind the place, why you're writing about the place, so the reader gets the sense of why that connection, which may have been through the man you met, and why it stays with you decades after."
"Sensual Travels" trots around the sensual globe, covering everywhere from London to Budapest to Japan, and finding sexuality in the unexpected backgrounds, like in Dominic Ambrose’s story "Croatian Heat."
"Dominic writes about the Croatian war, and what it’s like to be there from a sexual perspective." The story is surprisingly amusing, with the narrator discovering the hottest Croatian ever in his hotel, getting in bed with no foreplay whatsoever, and then getting a taste for just how hungry some of our travel strangers are.
In "The Cervantino Baby," Trebor Healy pens a tale about Mexico and male intimacy. "Everyone’s having a baby because of all the sex they are having at this Mexican festival," says Luongo, "and in the middle of it he meets two men, one who’s coming out." It’s one of the longer stories in the book, and manages to throw in sex, religion, the author coming out to a local, and two sexy twins.
Luongo, who wrote the last piece in the volume, "Black Gold," lists Argentina as the sexiest place he’s visited in his travels. "My first trip was in 2000 and I got lucky twice a day," he says. "I made sure to be in great shape for that trip, and South America is the most sexually liberated place in the world."
Not surprisingly "Black Gold" is set in the Brazilian mountains, and it is that kind of sexual-ache story that both titillates and upsets.
"My story was about mixed connections, language; neither one of us had cellphones. It was essentially about making out in a church graveyard, and never being able to connect again." Luongo’s story is likely to resonate the most with anyone who’s traveled and discovered passion with a man who, for whatever reason, is a one-time fling that stays in your heart forever. It is both the thrill, and bittersweet, magic of gay travel.
Italy rates high on Luongo’s list of sexual places to hit. "Italy is a great place to go if you have a thing for men with big noses who are sexy. Any place that has been French-Kissed [colonized], because France is a very sexual destination. Montreal is a far more sexual place than Toronto," he adds, admitting that some might disagree. He then smartly says, "Wherever you get lucky is a sexual destination."
For guys looking for that perfect summer romance, Luongo suggests a couple of spots for 2014. "Anything in the Mediterranean," he says. "Also, any of the Pride festivals that are going on in Europe - Marseilles, Nice - and Canada is having Toronto World Pride."
As for Luongo, all roads do lead back to South America. "Brazil will be in the middle of the World Cup in a couple of months," he says. "In Argentina, some of the men there, they really are just good. There are one-night stands that become lifetime friends. That is something that I have found very wonderful about that country."
"Sensual Travels" can be purchased on Amazon. $15
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