Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
By: Amber Lee
Nexus Enthusiast
ISBN: 0352341408
November 2007

Reviewed By: Steven Hart

The first part of Amber Leigh’s Cuckold is both excruciating and hilarious to read, and that is precisely because she writes as well as she does.  The book is relentless in creating the exquisite suffering that Ms. Leigh’s protagonist, Sally, brings down upon her husband Edwin.  Her infidelity -- real and imagined -- provides the agony that haunts his every moment, crushes him with its revelation, and uplifts him on the cross of his own ignominious, gross penchant for being abused.

By way of contrast, Emma Bovary uses her dullard husband’s bourgeois self-satisfaction as a springboard to betray him.  He responds with the sweetness of a dumb ox.   That sweet dullness is what feeds her will to exploit and torment him. Sally captures and torments Edwin with all the dispassion of Pinhead. Defiling his trust heightens her pleasure.  As perhaps the prime example, she lavishes a deep throat kiss on her husband with her mouth still full of his own brother’s dripping, thick, and reeking come.  Edwin reacts in two ways: he is utterly revolted, and as a result, he has a mind blasting orgasm.

Who are these people anyway?  Edwin talks, thinks and behaves in the manner of a repressed, prim, middle-class compulsive out of D.H. Lawrence.  Strangely though, given the people around him, Edwin’s passions and desires are not off-putting.  They spring from the classic problem of all men in literature who have married women they cannot sexually master.  The difference is, ‘Eddie’ likes it that way even though it takes him a while to realize it.   It slowly dawns on him that he craves Sally’s dalliance more than even she does.  His mania is scarifying in its total obsession  -- not so much with his wife  -- but with the need for her to betray him.  She is a kind of monster Stepford wife. Her perfection is his undoing, but not forever.

Edwin may seem a petit bourgeois bean counter, and he is, but that is not the sum total of him.  He is canny, as the ironic resolution of the book shows.  Nor is Edwin Joseph K. with an erection, forever pursuing his accusers to be forgiven for he knows not what.  He is the perfect post-modern artist who -- having lost all faith in ordinary communication and human contact -- is creating only one work of art.  That is himself, and he slowly emerges from the clutches of his beautiful and unbelievably awful wife to be the master of the situation and all those who have tormented him at her behest.

Who is Sally?  Naturally Ms. Leigh has made her an artist too.  Sally is a painter, who creates very salable works that appeal to the likes of Edwin’s boss, Jake, an old-moneyed, callous, and crudely manipulative boor for whom consumerism is all.  Jake is not so much a henchman to Sally’s devices as he is her tool, and a blunt one at that.  His very loathsomeness makes his conquest of Sally that much more erotically gratifying to Edwin.

Sally herself is everything the artist-as-commodity must become and therefore nothing like an artist at all.  She makes and sells consumer goods for customers who she herself intends to consume.  If her stable of males were American, they would be the familiar, beefy, self-serving frat boys who are still cute as a bug’s ear (and about as bright), but who are doomed to sclerotic decline and disillusionment in their late thirties.  Not to worry, Sally will find replacements.

What is it that makes Cuckold so captivating and haunting?  First, the obsession is never a source of genuine pleasure to Edwin.  His experience of “pleasure” is a bleak, snake pit of sexual denigrations that few if any would willingly descend to share with him.  Even he doesn’t like it in its raw form, despite the fact that he cannot stop himself from pursuing it.  It leaves him pawing through garbage hoping for a clue, any clue, that Sally is unfaithful.  The fact is that she really is fucking a half-dozen men on the side.  That is strangely a relief for the reader.  It affirms some sort of reality because, like Raskolnikov’s pawnbroker, Edwin’s wife is just as vile and deceitful as he imagines her to be.

What makes Sally so grotesque is not that she is cuckolding Edwin.  He truly is a lousy lover and besides she is really doing to him out of “love” what she knows he wants her to do. It is not that she is truly a sadist.  That is part of the deal with Edwin and he cannot have what he wants if she does not give rein that part of herself.

What divides Sally from Edwin is that she is a boor, and he is not.  She stuffs her every opening with cocks (or their equivalent) in the way that Homer Simpson hordes and consumes doughnuts.  Having found herself a license to behave like an insensate numbskull, she revels in it.  She plunges in tits deep with never a moment’s reserve.  Her beauty, which she holds over Edwin as a totem of her absolute power, becomes his talisman of her fleeting substance.   He comes to prefer Sally at a distance so that he can fantasize about her boorish excesses, rather than have them slathered and dripped all over him.  I can see why.  Sally is the ultimate expression of bad taste, and that is the source of the humor in Cuckold.

Edwin, you see, always was a man of reserve, unflinching dedication (and how!), and good taste.  He has the Englishman’s decorous sense of social restraint.  Those around him lose all control in their pursuit of eroto-consumerism, and so Edwin becomes the ultimate master of the situation.  Why? 

The answer is delicious.  Edwin’s obsession has put him forever at a distance from others, a fact that has given him a degree of consciousness and self-awareness that no one else around him possesses.  Unlike anyone else in Ms. Leigh’s novel, he knows not only who he is, but also what he is, and that, ironically, is the tool Sally has given him to take control of her. 

Much credit is due Ms. Leigh because she can actually write in fluid, deft and complex English, something which is rarely present these days and on the decline in erotica.  It allows her shades of meaning and deliberate ambivalence that few eroticists are able to achieve.  She is truly witty.  I will leave you with an example that demonstrates how wonderfully this author has captured the dreary horror of obsession:

“Crazy,” he muttered.  The word echoed hollowly from the kitchen tiles.   It was slurred by the remainder of the third scotch.  Forcing himself not to talk out loud, sure the verdict of craziness could only be confirmed if he compounded his present problems with a solitary conversation, he  sighed and decided it was now long past the time to put the obsession behind him.

Of course he does not because he cannot, but Edwin learns to use his obsession to control others.  Ms. Leigh demonstrates that, once again, there will always be an England, however anally retentive.

Erotika: Bedtime Stories Erotika: Bedtime Stories
Edited By: Marcus Shockley
Sensorotika Press
ISBN: 0977769437
May 2007

Reviewed By: Jean Roberta

At first glance, the title of this book (Erotika: Bedtime Stories) and the name of the publisher looked vaguely sinister to me, like "Amerika" as used by the counterculture of the 1960s. In its context, this term seemed to suggest that the current United States was a version of Nazi Germany, with KKK-flavored racism. However, none of the stories in this anthology include BDSM scenes representing organized persecution.

So perhaps the alternate spelling of "erotica" and the term "sensorotika" (Sensual erotica? Is there another kind?) were meant to suggest a witty, sophisticated European sensuality, as distinct from the gauche American prudery that springs from fundamentalist Protestantism. However, none of the stories in this collection resemble Les Liaisons Dangereuses or the song "Lili Marlene" or any other cherished expression of European retro-sex.

The title of this book is especially misleading if it is meant to suggest that these stories are excitingly different from ordinary erotica. They are also not excitingly varied. One contributor, P.T. Cielo, has five stories in the book, Gwen Masters has four, Escarlata Cisneros and Ralph Greco Jr. each have two. Altogether, there are only twelve contributors.

This book is notably short on bells and whistles. No information is provided about contributors, and there is no introduction. No editor is named, so the reader is left to guess that every submission got into the book, exactly as written. Not all the page numbers in the table of contents are accurate. Twenty-one brief stories about sex are displayed like peaches in a makeshift fruit stand because there's a market for the stuff.     

The better stories in the anthology make good use of a limited word-count. "Love Rain on Me," by the prolific P.T. Cielo, describes a woman's erotic reaction to a storm at night:

"The air was electric. I drove to the freeway and floored it. I felt alive and beautiful. I reached up, pulling the band from my hair. Immediately my hair flew around my face, neck, shoulders and back. I laughed, feeling so good and happy."

After returning home, soaked to the skin, the narrator masturbates in front of a mirror as lightning lights up the room and thunder rumbles overhead. She watches the storm "roll away," then goes to her bed, "knowing that I had been touched, that I had been loved."

Gwen Masters also has a memorable female masturbation story in the collection. In this story, "Passing the Time," Amber consoles herself for the pain of waiting for a promised telephone call from a boyfriend who seems to be losing interest. She happens to notice her little red box, which contains "a variety of adult toys, from vibrators and dildos to pearls to clamps." Her mood changes quickly:

"First she got sad.
Then she got angry.
Then she got busy."

In general, Masters' stories are believable and centered on likeable women who overcome disappointment and get what they want without harming others. The happy endings are a little too predictable for my taste, but the stories are fun to read.

Cielo's "Control" and T.S. Knight's "The Airport" both deal competently with arrogant men who are outwitted by dominating women. "The Airport" is more detailed, complex, and carefully thought-out. It also has a much more drastic outcome for the male narrator who originally steps into a trap by arranging a Dominant/submissive trick while traveling without his fiancee. 

Despite some well-written surprises, most of the stories in this book need polishing. In "The Charade" by Sebastian Wallace, a sexy young woman tries to seduce wealthy men by pretending to be in their league. When she meets a suave, handsome stranger, his glance sends her into a fit of purple prose:

"She almost gasped, but somehow prevented losing her composure--at least externally. Deep within her body, a burst of heat ruptured, ignited by his stare of possession. He did not look at her, but within her. And her intense desire for him suddenly overwhelmed her."

"The Professor" by Cullen Dorn is based on a promising although well-worn premise: beautiful, seductive coed awakens the senses of a middle-aged male professor, as she has already done for his married colleague. However, the current professor's epiphany is described in a way that seems guaranteed to kill the reader's interest:     

"He did not go out to lunch as was expected that day. Instead he sat at his desk pondering his future. Ironic, how he should now look to a piece of time that had been nonexistent for him. All his life he dwelt in a past that gave him succor. Now he was compelled to realize his permanence in the reality of now, and of the world with all its dynamics and beauty that he must embrace." 

Two snappy "lesbian" stories are simply unconvincing because they lack a realistic social background. "The Proposal" by Peter Rosier is essentially a one-line joke in which a female narrator describes her romantic date with "Alex," who proposes marriage. The narrator responds: "My darling Alexandra, of course I'll say yes." Before this point, there is no indication that both characters are women or that they live in a place where same-sex marriage is both legal and socially acceptable.

In "The Fruits of Mark's Confession" by Ralph Greco Jr., a self-described "gay woman" joins her best friend Mark, a submissive heterosexual man, for a masturbation session as he recounts his latest scene with his dominant Mistress. The narrator claims: "It was many a time I fantasized Dorothy getting off on the fact that I succumbed to my lusts, in front of a man, for Christ's sakes!" So why has the narrator never contacted Dorothy directly, or proposed a threesome? If this story is set in an era when the term "gay woman" was current, where is the social climate of intolerance, fear and secrecy in which all "perverts" once had to live? If the narrator is really "gay," where is her social life with other lesbians? This story is certainly imaginative, but even a fantasy needs to work on its own terms.     

Other stories in this collection seem more like mood-pieces than actual stories, and the style isn't always adequate to establish a mood. Luckily, this slim book would be easy to slip into all sorts of carrying-bags. It could provide light entertainment on the beach or in a tent far from any well-stocked bookstore or library.   

By: Debra Hyde
Carnal Desires Publishing
ISBN: 1554045509
March 2008

Reviewed By: Ashley Lister

If you’re not already familiar with Debra Hyde’s name then you should go away now and return to the cave where you’ve been living since the start of this century. Clearly you’ve not being paying attention to erotic literature over the last decade and this is obviously no place for you.

However, if you are familiar with Debra’s name, you’ll probably be aware that she has written and published more short stories than most people have read. Aside from being a prolific author of short fiction, she’s also enviably good at what she does and highly respected throughout the industry.

To illustrate this point: I once made the mistake of privately ascribing one of Debra’s stories to a friend (another established author of erotic fiction). This happens more often to me than to competent authors/reviewers. I have the memory span of a goldfish with Alzheimer’s and I’m one of those people who should have my family member’s names tattooed on my forearm so I can remember what to write on birthday cards. It’s become so embarrassing that, during moments of sexual climax, I’ve started shouting out my own name, just so I’m sure I’m mentioning one of the people involved.

I’m perpetually making mistakes of this ilk, so when I made the mistake of ascribing Debra’s story to the output of my friend, she understood that I am “challenged in the memory department” and corrected me immediately.

“No!” she said, “I didn’t write “Tic Sex,” although I wish I had. Debra’s a phenomenal author of short fiction.”

Now, with the release of Inequities, it’s fair to amend that comment and say that Debra is also a phenomenal author of full-length fiction.

So, sit back and relax, and allow me to introduce you to Cynthia Barnett: widowed, wanton and wonderfully wild. Cynthia narrates her own story and it begins as she tries to ends her period of mourning for a husband, Paul, whom she loved dearly.

Despite the motif of bereavement, there is no melancholy or self-pity in this narration. Cynthia pragmatically accepts love and loss as an inescapable fact of life and death. Now she’s ready to move past grieving for the loss of her belated beloved, she can begin looking for something to fill the emptiness in her life.

Beginning at a party with her late husband’s colleagues, and swiftly moving to a deliciously seedy fetish bar, Cynthia’s story sets off at a swift pace.

However, it’s worth mentioning here that Cynthia’s participation at the fetish bar is not the usual fare of erotic fiction. Cynthia is still finding her feet (which is probably why she ends up in the company of a foot fetishist) and things don’t go as either of the characters anticipated. This is one of the (many) features that made this book come across as deliciously realistic.

Kinky sex is great when it works but – in the real world – the initial demands and expectations of kinksters come together as rarely as pre-orgasmic couples. Debra’s acknowledgement that things don’t always go smoothly makes this story throb with the pulsing vibration of realism.

Overcoming her confusion, with the help of an old family friend and the assistance of her faithful strap-on, Cynthia recovers her composure and re-emerges from the experience with the confidence of a natural dominatrix.

Only to be faced by further challenges.

Meet David. Meet Miles. Watch as Cynthia tries to make a decision between these two potentially submissive partners. And then the plot thickens as Cynthia becomes intrigued by the charms of boorish and dominant Spencer.

I won’t give anything more away about the story. It’s a fun read, well told and powerfully satisfying. I will say that one of the most engaging things about this novel is the strength of the characters. Cynthia’s voice is distinctive and likeable as she narrates the action. And, in Inequities, there is lots of action that needs to be narrated. The sex scenes are explicit, well-crafted and stimulating. Debra Hyde writes erotica that is arousing without being gratuitously explicit.

Yet, as I’ve said before, strong, credible characters, and memorable character interaction, are where Debra Hyde’s storytelling excels. In her short fiction Debra creates characters who are living, breathing and three-dimensional. In Inequities, because she has the length of story to build more layers, Debra’s characters are even more fully rounded. By the time I was ten pages into Inequities, I was hooked and unwilling to leave Cynthia and her world.

If you like erotic fiction to be intelligent and believable, then Inequities has to be on your summer reading list. It’s hot and horny and fresh from the wonderful Debra Hyde: what more could you ask for?

Love RunesLove Runes
By: Jay Lygon
Torquere Press
ISBN: 1603703683
June 2008

Reviewed By: Lisabet Sarai

True love is supposed to involve mutual understanding. Real lovers are on the same wavelength. They instinctively comprehend each other’s desires. They thrill to the notion that perhaps, as predestined soul mates, they can read each other’s minds. There might be some conflicts that arise from differences in experience or goals, but these are superficial, insignificant compared to the lovers’ communion when they are together.

It ain’t necessarily so.

In Love Runes , Jay Lygon gives us a relationship which, without a doubt, involves true love. The protagonists, Master Hector and his boy Sam, care deeply about one another. Each is miserable when separated, emotionally or physically, from the other. They also share mutually complementary sexual kinks. In the dungeon, Hector knows how to give Sam what he needs; Sam delights in suffering the way Hector wants. At a deeper level, though, the two are not in touch. Sam lies to his Master and hides behaviors that he knows Hector would criticize. Hector is jealous and moody. When he’s feeling hurt, he rejects and isolates Sam. Love Runes is the story (continued from Lygon’s first novel, Chaos Magic) of Hector’s and Sam’s quest for a relationship based in trust rather than suspicion and fear.

This might sound like a rather tedious soap opera, but in Lygon’s hands, the premise is emotionally involving and impressively believable. This is despite the fact that Hector and Sam live in a world of specialist deities who are intimately involved with the lives of ordinary mortals: Aggie, the God of Agriculture; Crash, the God of Computers; Deal, the Goddess of Negotiation; Angelena, the Goddess of Traffic. In fact, Hector and Sam discover at the end of Chaos Magic that they are themselves the God of Love and the God of Sex, respectively. Alas, supernatural power doesn’t guarantee emotional success. Hector and Sam have to work out their problems like any other pair of benighted humans.

As befits the God of Sex, Sam is irresistible. He’s the ultimate Boy Toy, with a pretty face, a gorgeous body, and a butt to die for. He believes that his boyish appearance is the primary reason for  Hector’s attraction and so he surreptitiously trades some of his power to the Goddess of Eternal Youth, in order to keep himself looking nineteen. Meanwhile, Hector is waiting for Sam to grow up, to release some of his childish insecurities and habits and become a man who can meet him halfway emotionally. Hector discovers Sam’s subterfuge, and the revelation comes close to severing their fragile connection. But of course, since this is a romance (albeit an unconventional one), the two men reconcile and move forward to greater trust, before it is too late.

Jay Lygon writes deftly, with confidence and style. He is particularly skilled at evoking the physical and social environment of southern California, where Hector, Sam and their fellow Gods reside. At times, he skirts the edge of parody, but never tumbles over. Consider his brilliant picture of the predatory Goddess of Eternal Youth:

“Sammy!” The Goddess of Eternal Youth stood in front of one of the many bookcases lining the walls of the living room as if she were searching for something to read. Her perfume preceded her across the room. As she advanced on me, she held out both hands, grasped mine, and squeezed until her rings cut into my fingers. Even though it was the middle of the night, she wore a tailored suit, ecru blouse, and a strand of pearls like drops of pale honey. I had no idea if she had a day job, but if she did, I bet she sold multi-million dollar mansions in parts of Los Angeles so exclusive that I’d never heard of them. ...

She started to sit in Hector’s big poppa chair, but I glared at her, so she perched on the arm of the couch and carefully avoided the old crocheted blanket draped across it as if it might infect her. She crossed one svelte leg over the other. The skirt of her suit clung above her knees with the kind of modesty only a very expensive suit could provide, showing just enough skin and shadow but not a hair’s-breadth more.

Equally sharp and amusing is the scene in which Deal, Goddess of Negotiation, accompanies Sam to a job interview in a hip LA restaurant.

Deal sniffed the air. “Do you smell that, Sam? Power. Raw money power. I love this place.”

Then there are the sex scenes, primarily BDSM, invariably intense – occasionally heavy enough to make me uncomfortable. (Even if I don’t have balls, I can imagine the pain of having them abused.) If the participants were strangers, one might really worry. However, it is clear from the very first that Hector and Sam are truly soul mates from a sexual perspective, at least. The goal (usually achieved) is mutual satisfaction, and the aftermath always involves some tenderness.

Hector plunged his tongue in my ass. To show him how much I loved being rimmed by a stiff tongue, I set my lips in a tight circle and slowly pushed them down over his cockhead. That got us both moaning. I was so damned hard. He loved to torture me with a long rimming session while I squirmed and begged to be fucked. I was trying to concentrate on his body, though, so no matter how much I wanted his cock inside me, I didn’t plead. Hector lapped at the outer ring of my hole. I swore I was going to shoot if he didn’t stop.

He sank his teeth into the cheek of my ass. The pressure of his bite intensified. Just when I thought he’d break my skin, he lapped my hole again, and then bit my other ass cheek. His hand gripped where I’d been bit.

It was too much. “Sir, please.”

He mercilessly tongue-fucked me for a while and then asked, “What, Boy?”

I could barely speak. “I’m going to come.”

Hector shoved me off him, pushed my face down into the tangled sheets, and smacked my ass until it burned. “You don’t tell me when you’re going to come. I tell you.”

“Yes, Sir.” My ass got smacked harder. “Yes, Sir! I’m sorry, Sir!”

If you enjoy this sort of rough action, you will find plenty of it in Love Runes.  Floggers and gags, clamps and torture racks, handcuffs and rope, leather and chains, this book is a cornucopia of kinky gay sex. (There’s no group sex, though; Hector and Sam are emphatically monogamous.) The gusto with which Sam and Hector engage each other in the bedroom (and the dungeon, and the car, and the street) pushes this novel over the line from romance (which it is, thematically) to erotica (which I believe is how the author would prefer to see it categorized.) The scenes are narrated from Sam’s point of view, but they’re arousing from the perspective of a bottom or a top.

I enjoyed Chaos Magic when I read it a few years ago, but I thought it had a few rough edges. Love Runes is smoother and more consistent. It is always a pleasure to watch an author developing a distinctive voice.

In summary, Love Runes is lively and engaging, sharply observed and carefully crafted to arouse both empathy and lust. I recommend it to anyone looking for an original piece of gay erotica.

Rubber SexRubber Sex
Edited By: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Cleis Press
ISBN: 1573443131
May 2008

Reviewed By: Kathleen Bradean

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Rachel Kramer Bussel at the opening night of the In The Flesh reading series here in Los Angeles last month. (The New York series has been running for several years. I read at it last May) Among the things we talked about was her latest anthology, Rubber Sex. We agreed that the cover looked much better on the book than it did online. If I would have read it by then, I would have told her what I will tell you – that this anthology has appeal beyond the rubber and latex aficionados. So even if this isn’t your thing, don’t be so quick to pass up this book.

I’m not a visual person. While I enjoy the sight of a dangerous looking woman in vinyl, leather, latex or rubber, it isn’t one of those short-cut cues to erotic arousal for me. Last autumn, D.L. King (Our fearless leader here at Erotica Revealed.) came out for a visit and brought her brand new rubber skirt to show to me. The moment I felt it, I understood part of the attraction of wearing it. The thin material immediately warmed in my hands. It felt like petting a dolphin. (She wasn’t in it at the time. Sorry to ruin that little fantasy for you.)  As soon as she saw how fascinated I was, D.L. said, “By the way, one of the books we have in the queue is a rubber sex book. Interested?” Of course I jumped at the chance.

A good editor knows to close an anthology with a strong story, and Rachel Kramer Bussel has edited enough anthologies to know what she’s doing. Tenille Brown’s “Breathing” was a great choice for the final selection. Last definitely doesn’t mean least. This story is so funny, sexy, and sweet that it’s impossible to not like it. Humor in erotica can be an iffy thing, but Brown delivers in style. From the opening words I was hooked, and it just kept getting better. Since I hate it when people tell me all the good lines before I have a chance to see them, I won’t even tell you the plot. Just trust me on this one. First your eyes will widen, and then you’ll giggle, and before you know it, you’ll be enchanted.

I read “The Balloonatics” by Gregory Norris a couple times as I tried to understand what he was aiming for. Then I realized it didn’t matter. Do Helmut and Vanessa get into role-play that deep? Are they a little bonkers? Or are they serious industrial agents in an alternate universe? Norris never winks and tells. Surreal, campy, or madcap? You decide, or don’t. “Balloonatics” is a glorious balls-to-the-wall, over the top, rubber clad, non-stop fuckfest of a caper. Like any fetish, don’t try to apply logic. Just dive in and enjoy it.

The opposite end of the caper spectrum is noir. Thomas Roche may have supplied a “spacey New Age shit,” soundtrack to his story “Butterfly’s Kiss,” but I heard a lone wailing sax and a voiceover right out of a gumshoe flick. The narrator heads into a special room in the rubber club he seems resigned, though unhappy, to be at. The scene he walks into is a Domme playing with her sub on a little slice of S&M hell called a vac bed. Completely encased in latex, the submissive breathes through a tube while the air is vacuumed out of the bed. Sealed in, unable to see, the submissive is completely at the mercy of her Domme. As the latex binds the submissive to the point where she can’t move, her sweat turns the latex translucent, and the narrator realizes he knows the sub. Fascinated, he doesn’t stand far enough out of the scene and is ordered by the Domme to use a dildo on the sub. While the bit about the tattoos wasn’t exactly clear to me, I gather the narrator and the sub ended their relationship when he didn’t give the sub the intense scene she craved, but with the controls of the vac bed in his hands, he finally does. Roche has the skill to write a story that will leave you gulping for air even while it turns you on. If you can endure being uncomfortable, enjoy the challenge this edgy story provides.

If you’re into the visual aspect of vinyl, “Lick of Pain” by Crystal Barela is the story for you. I hate to rob you of the pleasure of discovery by quoting from it, but it’s tempting because Barela provides so many wonderful lines. It’s a simple premise. A submissive is trying to peel off her Domme’s red vinyl dress without using her hands. But it’s not really all that simple, and you’ll relish the way this story is told.  It’s a very oral story, which leads me to this thought:  I should read this aloud to a special someone in bed, because I’ll bet those words sound just as luscious rolling off the tongue as they are in my head.

With stories by Shanna Germain, Alison Tyler, Radclyffe, Jean Roberta (one of our reviewers here at ER), Teresa Noelle Roberts, Rakelle Valencia, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Tenille Brown, and Thomas Roche, this anthology features many well-known erotica writers. The names I recognized weren’t the only strong contributors though. I look forward to seeing more stories in the future from some of these new names (new to me).

Rubber isn’t just about the visual aspect. It’s about taste, scent, and feel. Engaging that many senses, and sometimes overwhelming them, is it any wonder there are so many fans? It’s also versatile. The stories in this anthology use everything from rubber bands to balloons to rubber underwear to a swimming cap to latex tape. People wear it, worship it, sniff it, shine it, lick it, and taste it. People feel sexy wearing it, or enjoy seeing others in rubber. Sometimes the wearer feels powerful, sometimes submissive, but always turned on.  Give this anthology a chance, and you might be too.