When I first received Sinclair Sexsmith’s newest erotica anthology, “Say Please,” in the mail, I squealed with delight. In today’s technology age, despite my longtime lust for the comfortable snap-crack of a book spine, you literally have to shove the pages into my hands with a strict order to “Read!” before I’ll submit. I’ve always worked best under pressure, even if I’m doing something I’m passionate about, and to be honest, I probably would have cast the anthology aside for the time being if it not for two things: 1. A looming April 9th review deadline, and 2. The fact that, HELLO, it was erotica. Delaying the absorption of a Biology chapter on cell division was one thing, but prolonging the litany of XXX-rated imagery that would result from reading a quality batch of erotica? Punishment. As I stood in my foyer cradling the paperback, ignoring my dog’s anxious cries for attention, I started daydreaming about the delicious torture I could inflict on my partner with these words. How I could ask hir to be a “good boi” and listen intently as I read choice tales aloud. Make them sit on their hands, binding them if I have to, so they can’t experience (or inflict) too much pleasure. Once I tire of it, rewarding them for a job well done by allowing them to act out their favorite scene. I’m not often so dominant in my play, but I got hot just thinking about it. I was still grinning to myself when they bounded down the staircase, impatiently commanding my presence in the bedroom, and peered over my shoulder at my gift.
“Ooh, that looks like a fun book,” they purred.
“It’s Sinclair’s newest erotica anthology,” I responded, somewhat despondently. I’d wanted to surprise them. “I have to read and review it….”
“Don’t suppose you want any help with that?” Ze interrupted, shimmying side-to-side ever so slightly, eyes widening with an effort to maintain a serious expression. I love that look. Before I could answer, they once again squinted at the book’s cover. Their eyes narrowed, facial muscles relaxed. Suddenly dismissive, they snorted, “Oh, it’s lesbian erotica. Nevermind. You know me – I need some dick to turn me on.”
I don’t identify as a lesbian, and neither do the majority of my lovers. I neither read nor write a great deal of lesbian literature. Therefore, I can’t explain why I had a flash of anger at that moment. Why I thought, You bastard. Just you wait. I’m going to pick the BEST passages of this book, the ones I know you’ll get absolutely sopping-fucking-wet over, and I’m going to read them to you. Slowly. Enunciating EVERY word. And in the end, you’ll be begging me to let you come.
So now that you know what I’ll be doing tonight, let’s get on to the book, shall we?
First, the details:
5 1/2 x 8, 232 pages
Say the magic word and fulfill your deepest desires for discipline and surrender, domination and submission, and the heightened sensations of BDSM play. One request opens up a fantasy world of classic dungeon scenes, bondage and restraint, floggers and spankings, sadism and masochism, very hot sex and so much more. True to form, Sexsmith queers classic gender dynamics, with a femme daddy in Alysia Angel’s “Feathers Have Weight,” and genderqueer bois who earn their right to flag black in Sassafras Lowrey’s “Black Hanky.” In “The Cruelest Kind,” Kiki DeLovely’s naughty narrator gets her just desserts from her butch in a back alley. D.L. King’s top makes her submissive strip before an unseen audience in “A Public Spectacle.” Face slapping can be a hard limit or the most delicious craving, as Rachel Kramer Bussel’s protagonist finds out in “A Slap in the Face.” Whether you dream of surrendering to a lover or of weilding your power, Say Please to the erotic inspiration within.
With contributed stories by Miriam Zoila Pérez, Wendi Kali, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Gigi Frost, BB Rydell, Amelia Thornton, Vie La Guerre, Sassafras Lowrey, Dusty Horn, Kiki DeLovely, Elaine Miller, Shawna Elizabeth, Sossity Chiricuzio, Meridith Guy, August InFlux, Maria See, D.L. King, Anna Watson, Dilo Keith, Sinclair Sexsmith, Alysia Angel, Xan West, and Elizabeth Thorne.
Contributing bloggers on this month’s blog tour (hint, that’s what I’m doing!):
Contrary to my partner’s belief, there’s plenty of dick in this book. There are femmes packing cock and butches packing cock. There are dolphin trainers whipping it out in public bathrooms, and victims of police brutality riding it cathartically on the floor. Despite the impressive amount of silicone being used to tease, tantalize, and teach lessons in this collection, it remains exceptionally diverse. Though the authors had to conform to the theme of “lesbian BDSM”, both of those labels were interpreted in a variety of ways, loosely and enthusiastically. For instance, when one thinks of “BDSM,” the tangible tools of the trade often leap to mind: floggers, clamps, crops, gags. In Vie La Guerre’s “Taking Direction,” a third party’s hands are the only means of taking a woman to the desperate edge of climax before leaving her hanging there. Likewise, in Sassafras Lowry’s “Black Hanky,” I’d bet my savings that neither one of the mischievous bois reveling in each other’s masculine power identify as a “lesbian.” But the beauty of it is, if they did, well, that’d be just fine. In “Say Please,” there are no baselines, no stereotypes, and certainly no “scissoring.” As the coquettish narrator of August InFlux’s “Counting Love” assures us when telling us to leave the candy hearts at home, the best acts of love are not universal. To me, “Say Please” is a beautifully structured vessel carrying creative, courageous, highly individualized demonstrations of respect and admiration.
I felt personal connections with many of the characters in the anthology. When Gigi Frost’s roleplaying housewife struggles internally with her desire to be objectified versus her shame for the desire itself, I felt a pang of comaraderie in my gut. I smirked sympathetically while watching the protagonist of “Call Me Sir: A Smutty Pulp Fiction Tale” feign interest while being picked up by loose-lipped, cocksure Jake Six. But my favorite tale of all had to be D.L. King’s “A Public Spectacle.”
In it, we join an audience of “watchers” as a nondescript, indeterminantely-aged wallflower transforms into a startlingly beautiful object of desire, one beating at a time. What struck me about this metamorphosis wasn’t just that King led us so eloquently from one extreme to another; it’s that they were able to perfectly capture what I have been struggling to articulate for the past year. When you meet new faces in the kink community, you meet people, not the parts they play. You aren’t introduced to doctors, real estate agents, office assistants, or stay-at-home moms; rather, you learn to identify others by their particular brand of rapture. When you witness a scene, you’re witnessing the purest forms of those involved. Somehow, what they “look” like is irrelevant. I have yet to find someone in the throes of passion “unattractive” – their complete surrender to their own pleasure is enough to awe me and erase any preconceived notions of sexiness. When “A Public Spectacle” opens, I was almost ashamed of the disinterest I felt as the narrator described the unremarkable “Janice”. As the story closed, however, I found my heart racing. I’d been unmistakably turned on by this “nondescript” woman’s submission. She was the very first character in the anthology that my vivid imagination hadn’t tried to conjure up. Truly, it did not matter what she looked like, and in my opinion, that is the mark of an excellent piece of erotica.
Cherry Popping Alert! For those of you who are unaware, this is the very first time I’ve had the privilege of reviewing erotica, and I want to thank Sinclair Sexsmith for allowing me to do so. Perhaps, if I’m fortunate, I’ll even get to thank them