In the first scene of Blind Seduction, a husband and wife are in their car, going on a trip for their tenth anniversary. Is this a sweet, sensual romance? A gentle meditation on the comforts of a marriage that has survived its first few bumps? Not exactly.
Phillip and Leslie have explored BDSM before, but now Phillip is willing to risk their relationship by finding out how far they are both willing to go. Leslie consents to being blindfolded on the way to a BDSM resort, a typical haven for a novel in this genre. She is very observant and notices sounds along the way, but she can't be sure where she is going. She has to trust Phillip as her Master, and he has to trust himself.
When they arrive at their destination and settle into their private room, Leslie realizes that she is meant to be blindfolded all weekend. Her imposed lack of sight intensifies her other senses and forces her to rely on Phillip and other helpers. It also serves as a metaphor for her inability to foresee what will happen next, and her trust in the process. Phillip tells her that he is going to use her well during the next few days, and she shivers with pleasure.
All the characters are described in the third person, but most of the narrative is told from Leslie's viewpoint, so to speak. During Leslie's first mealtime in a communal dining hall, Phillip helps her eat. He also keeps her off-guard by unlocking her chastity belt and spreading ointment on her clit and lower lips to keep her in an unrelieved state of sexual excitement.
Leslie hears something disturbing: It was the sound of someone else's breathing, someone panting in a pace close to her own. A man. Leslie discreetly signals to Phillip, who notices the stranger and lets him know that Leslie is not available without her Master’s permission. Leslie, Phillip and the reader all know that the man will reappear later, and that he is Trouble. Can a woman who is sexually aroused by Dominant men be genuinely afraid of one? Clearly the answer is yes, and Leslie’s instincts are shown to be valid.
Phillip and Leslie meet the first of their new friends when Mistress Blade introduces herself and her male submissive, Peter, and compliments Phillip's control and Leslie's responsiveness. It is easy to guess that the female-dominant couple will become friends of Leslie and Phillip, but their importance in the plot remains to be seen.
As Leslie meets other guests at the resort, they tell her their stories of "coming out" into the world of Dominance and submission, or of their most significant scenes. And while Leslie is learning about the quirks of Dominants, Phillip learns about those of submissives. The stories are instructional, and they have the effect of a chorus formed from diverse voices.
Phillip places Leslie in a "slave holding pen" as a way of stretching her limits as well as his own. There Leslie meets a sister-submissive, Sylvie, who tells her that the sign hanging from Leslie's neck says she is only to be picked up by her Master. Still feeling nervous and alone, Leslie accepts friendly cuddling as Sylvie tells her a story about an elaborate banquet scene in which Sylvie was a human centerpiece, with another submissive assigned to join her in entertaining the assembled guests:
Over me, the slave-boy was a pitiful sight. Dressed in crotch-less panties, an ill-fitted bra, and a sheer marabou that draped to his hips, he was attired in a pink so vivid I knew his humiliation had already exceeded my fear.
Gladly, I opened my mouth and took his sheathed cock between my lips. We were compatriots after all, he in his girlie get-up and me as his repository joined together in a scene not of our own making. Yet as thrilling as our union was for me, his dick sat limp in my mouth.
'Recite,' came the second command.
'Oh, how we love and hug a great Priapus;
He that has such a one shall ne'er escape us.
And after once, if we can make it rise?
Must on again and bravely fight love's price.'
They were the words of John Wilmot, the famous second Earl of Rochester [1647-1680], pilfered from his obscene play, Sodom or the Quintessence of Debauchery.
Sylvie's tribal tale of her experience is in the literary tradition of BDSM as a lifestyle of the rich and cultured, and it reminds Leslie and the reader that “obscenity” has a long history. The stories-within-the-story that are told by various secondary characters also show the author's tendency to put careless, slightly-inaccurate words in the mouths of her storytellers. Sylvie's claim that the slave-boy "pilfered" the Earl of Rochester's words seems melodramatic. (Do actors "pilfer" the words of playwrights?)
This novel seems to have been written quickly to meet a deadline. If it was, the cumulative effect of the scenes and stories in the overall plot is especially impressive. While every scene (including recounted scenes) can stand alone, all of them together give a general picture of a largely-heterosexual BDSM community. Phillip and Leslie, two innocent newcomers despite their previous experience, mature in parallel ways as they find their places in the tribe.
Storytelling as an act of love and as the transmission of knowledge leads to a climactic scene after the villain puts his plan into action. The irresponsible behavior of one person shows up the basic human decency of all the rest, and the value of community spirit becomes clear to all.
By the end of the novel, Leslie has made Phillip prouder of her than ever before, and she has helped her would-be protectors to recognize their own collective strength and overcome their sense of guilt. Phillip and Leslie, who left the routines of everyday life and the safety of home to seek their fortune, have been tested and found worthy, and they now have a circle of reliable mentors and friends.
In the last, private scene, Leslie takes off her blindfold and sees with new eyes:
Remembering the blindfold and all it had robbed from her, Leslie watched Phillip's every move. She stared into his face as he penetrated and took her, as he fucked her and used her, as he came. . . Then, with the gentle rhythm of his breath upon her neck, his warmth surrounding her, Leslie would close her own eyes. Finally, she would rest, safe and sure of her place in his arms.
Some have said that romance and BDSM don't combine well, but they are very compatible in this novel. Even after the wild weekend is over, married love is shown to be a greater adventure than the most extreme scenes of sex with strangers.
The difference between porn and erotica is all in your head, and mine. But since I’m the one writing this review, I’m going to go with my definition. Don’t think for a second that I sniff disdainfully at porn. Writing good porn is an art. Yes, porn often lacks character development. Yes, it often lacks plot. No one ever praises its strength though. Well-written porn can grab your libido in a couple sentences, have its way with you, and leave you panting. So where do I draw the line between the two? At telling everything instead of showing it and most important, a scene rather than a story.
We review literary erotica - erotica written in the style of literary fiction – at Erotica Revealed. Freedom is Slavery doesn’t meet that criteria. It is, by my definition, porn. However, I believe in looking at a book for what it is, not what it isn’t, which leaves me in a bit of a quandary.
This book is self-published, but generally well edited. I like the idea of including photographs with each entry, but the photos did nothing for me and the quality was probably hurt by the printing process. If the scenes get you off, you’re going to have a difficult time balancing the over-sized tome with one hand while you use the other.The scenes in this book explore many sexual fantasies from breast feeding to pegging to forced feminization. Many of the stories are femme dome. Some are polysexual. Honestly, these scenes didn’t do anything for me. I wasn’t drawn into any of the fantasies and found the book easy to set down with little incentive to pick it up again. That’s too bad as the writer touches on several of my kinks. I kept wanting a story, but never got one. My deepest criticism is that my libido was never engaged by any of the scenes, which makes this okay porn, but not great. However, I could see where some readers might enjoy it, and the writing is competent, so I’ll give it a sideways rating.
Satisfy Me Tonight is a collection of three novella length erotic romances bundled into one, single tome. From Kengsington’s Aphrodisia imprint, the collection starts with Fiona Zedde’s Sexual Attraction, followed by Sydney Molare’s Driving My Man Wild and concluding with Kimberly Kaye Terry’s Captive.
This is the third title under Kensington’s ‘Satisfy Me…’ label which started with Satisfy Me, continued with Satisfy Me Again and has now progressed to Satisfy Me Tonight. The titles seem popular with readers and the intention is to blend romance with erotica in the genre of erotic romance.
Sad to say, I have to admit I wasn’t satisfied.
This is probably a fault on my part. Reading the reader reviews on Amazon its clear that these authors have a huge following and the books are extremely popular. I’ve previously read and enjoyed Fiona Zedde’s Bliss and have long regarded her as a competent author. I’m unfamiliar with the previous works of Ms Molare and Ms Terry. However, my research tells me that both these authors are popular with a loyal and enthusiastic readership.
In Sexual Attraction Fiona Zedde introduces us to Kenna and Ben. Their relationship begins as love at first sight. They meet in Belgium. They consummate their passion. And they hump like filthy-minded bunnies that have been force-fed Viagra. However, they both know they will never see each other ever again. This is Belgium. Kenna is due to return to her home in Atlanta, Georgia. And yet, three months later, whilst Kenna is still licking her metaphorical wounds and, savouring the taste of what might have been, she recognises a pair of honey-coloured eyes…
Then there’s Sydney Molare’s Driving My Man Wild. Six years into her marriage Berze is sitting alone in the hot tub, surrounded with romantic candles, and wondering where the spark has gone. The romance for Berze and her beloved Jare is rekindled by the purchase of a second-hand wedding dress which comes with a chest of saucy nineteenth century love-letters. The smouldering heat of these belles-lettres inspires Berze and Jare to rediscover those important parts of their relationship that they’d almost forgotten.
And, finally, there’s the story of Tessa’s kidnap in Captive. Tessa is vociferously protesting against a wicked conglomerate. Others who have protested have been threatened. And then Tessa finds herself in the custody of a gorgeous kidnapper. Rather than revisiting the territory of Stockholm Syndrome, there is a more complex rationale behind Tessa’s response to being abducted. However, the results are similar.
If I have to be honest, I think the reason these three stories failed to satisfy me was because they gave an impression of being hurried. I don’t know if it’s the novella length format and its subsequent restrictions and limitations of space, but the shortness of each story left me unsated and wishing there had been more substance to these tales.
If I’m being picky, I’d also say that there were several issues in each narrative that could have been addressed by either a little more time and patience from the author or some circumspect attention from the editor. Again – this gave the impression that things had been rushed.
This is from Sydney Molare’s Driving My Man Wild:
Of course, I’m a typical man, and probably not the target readership for these stories. Those who are more familiar with the genre of erotic romance might respond differently to these literary vignettes and find that they work perfectly for different reader expectations. Each of these three novella length stories does contain some exciting scenes of erotic romance. However, speaking solely for myself, none of them properly managed to satisfy me tonight.
“The dick was so good, I couldn’t do shit but fuck him back. I turned all the sexual frustration I held into pussy-clenching strokes. My back hurt, my lungs were bursting, my heart was thumping against the wall, but still I fucked. Even when I felt him stiffening up, making mewling sounds, I fucked. Even when I turned my head and saw his fuck face, I fucked. I fucked, Fucked, Fucked, and FUCKED until his legs gave way and he collapsed on the floor.
Then I stopped fucking.”
Swing! has a fabulous cover and, as promised by the sub-title, an impressive roster of contributors. I have been eagerly awaiting this collection, my interest stimulated by the impressive pre-release publicity campaign orchestrated by its dedicated and energetic editor, Jolie du Pré. Still, I felt some trepidation when I opened the book to discover that it was 437 pages long. Despite Ashley Lister’s introduction hailing the diversity of the tales in this anthology, I wondered whether a subject like swinging might not be too narrow to support a book of this length.
My concerns, it appears, were not completely ill-founded. In my personal opinion, Swing! would have been a far better book had it been cut to half its present length. The collection includes some exceptional tales, including Ms du Pré’s own contribution, “Before the Move,” a clever commentary on hypocrisy that manages to arouse despite its ironic bite. However, other stories struck me as uninspired in the extreme, shallow and predictable, and a few are just plain badly written.
Let me talk about the stories that shine. “Dez Moines,” by Alicia Night Orchid, appears on the surface to be the standard swinger tale. Young man marries innocent college sweetheart, only to discover that she has perverted desires he would never have imagined, which lead them into an escalating series of sexual encounters with their friends. It is the characters in this story that make it vivid and memorable. They feel like flesh and blood, with voices that remain with the reader after the story is done.
Donna George Storey’s contribution, “John Updike Made Me Do It,” once again explores the scenario of close friends brought together on a vacation and swapping partners. As she often does, Ms Storey brings her literate fantasies into the mix. The real world swinging is colored by her fascination with the fictional couples in John Updike’s world, whose indiscretions loom large in her personal sexual mythology.
“The Best of Friends” by M. Millswan is refreshingly different in both its distanced third person narration (“let me tell you about something that happened to a friend of mine”) and its bittersweet tone. The protagonist finds himself making love to the woman he has desired since high school while her husband watches, yet he understands that the encounter, satisfying as it is, means much less to his partner.
Tawanna Sullivan’s “Just Desserts” is a tasty tale of two lesbian couples stranded in the airport by bad weather. It’s a swinging story in the sense that the two couples swap, but says more about the erotic potential of chance than about any kind of “lifestyle.” The initial scenes where the women eye each other and then share dinner in a typical, tacky chain restaurant are close to perfect, capturing the awkwardness of strangers and the intimacy of flirtation.
M. Christian’s contribution to the volume is entitled “Bob & Carol & Ted (But Not Alice).” What sets this story apart, aside from its cleverly allusive title, is the way Mr. Christian explores Bob’s barely articulated desire for other men. In too many erotic stories, the characters blatantly announce what they want and then go after it. Here, the character is realistically confused and unsure, even as he is aroused.
“One Weekend in Toronto” by Claudia Moss is an extravagantly decadent, gender-bending pan-sexual romp that will make you hot and bothered whatever your orientation. Amanda Earl’s “Ghost Swinger” succeeds in bringing to life the lost sexual spontaneity of the hippie years, the golden era after the Pill and before AIDS. “The Twenty-Minute Rule,” by Ashley Lister, proves that there are exceptions to every rule, especially in the domain of sex. In “Be Careful What You Wish For,” D. L. King conveys the reader to her fantasy world of strict but scrupulously careful Dommes and the male slaves who gladly serve them. I should also mention the arousing and disturbing “Initiation,” by Rick R. Reed, in which a gay man undergoes a series of creative and increasingly extreme tests in order to gain admission to a mysterious sex club. I really did not see what this story had to do with swinging, and I found the shock ending a bit difficult to deal with, but I must admit that the rest of the story pushed my buttons.
Many of the stories that I have not mentioned above could have been excised from the manuscript without doing any damage. Most are not bad stories – I just found them rather uninteresting. As would be expected from an anthology about swinging, most feature sexual encounters with friends or else visits to swing clubs or parties. Several focus on a woman’s initial sexual experiences with another woman in the context of swinging. Typically, a couple explores their desires for sex outside their relationship and then draw closer to each other as a result. This is fine, but hardly surprising or exciting. I mean, certainly, the sex might be feel great, but after all, it’s just sex, usually with someone who is almost a stranger. There’s little depth there, little complexity, none of the emotional nuances that drive the best erotica. It’s an old story, and it takes some special twist or a particularly gifted writer to give it new life.
I wanted to give Swing! an unabashedly positive review. When I realized that I could not honestly do so, I wondered whether my own experiences swinging were influencing my perceptions. My husband and I have visited swing parties and clubs. We’ve posted and answered personal ads for sexual partners. We’ve experienced ménages a trois with close friends of both genders. Only the last adventures were truly satisfying, from my perspective at least. I love the sexualized atmosphere at a club or party, but I find that it’s difficult for me to really enjoy sex with a stranger, unless there’s a rare, special spark. Was this why so many of the stories in Swing! seemed to fall flat?
I don’t think so. For one thing, some of the outstanding tales in this anthology offer the same basic scenario, yet managed to excite and impress me. I can be pulled easily into the fantasy of the perfect swap, if the storyteller is sufficiently skilled.In the final analysis, I think that Ms du Pré should have said “No” more often. With her enthusiasm for revealing the world of swinging to her readers, she accepted stories that diminished rather than enhanced the power of her message.
Where the Girls Are is a smooth and delightful entertainment that is as slick and slippery as a three-card Monte pitch on 42nd St in the heyday of the real Times Square. This book is an anthology of urban legends created from the authors’ lesbian fantasies (or perhaps memories?) -- both lipstick and butch -- of far-flung cities. I should point out here that D. L. King, founder and publisher of Erotica Revealed, edited Where the Girls Are. Much as it pains me to suck up to authority, I am bound to say that it is very ably put together and presents us with an engaging mix of settings and tastes.
While the issue of which city is the more felicitous for Sapphic adventures may remain moot, Where the Girls Are presents us with a seemingly endless array of possibilities from the most romantic to hard-edged BDSM. Indeed there is something for every taste as long as you don’t want a dick, or at least that you will allow that a fine, fat dildo will do in its stead.
There is a seamless flow to this book as one story elides nicely – with exotic variations – to the next. It makes the experience of reading the book rather dreamy in a one-handed sort of way. I will grant that I have some particular favorites beginning with the very first story, “The Critic,” by Charlotte Dare. “The Critic” is a truly wonderful example of erotic irony: you may get everything you wished for, but it may not be what you wanted. I am loath to spoil the plot by saying more, but it is worth noting that her style of writing is deliciously bemused and graced with subtle humor.
Top honors here go to Jacqueline Applebee’s “Old London Town” for her ability to create the voice of a real lifelong city dweller who finds fresh eyes for her surroundings by sharing them with a girl from out of town. San Francisco not surprisingly gets a lot of play in these stories among the best of which is Rachel Kramer Bussel’s “My First Play Party” where she is long and thoroughly spanked and otherwise ravished by a group of playfully stern erotic disciplinarians.
Further spankings and a dose of Gallic humiliation is administered in Andrea Dales’ “Come to my Window,” a sort of coming of age story filled with revelations and humiliations while having one’s bottom pleasantly blistered. In fact these stories contain an unusually high number of forcibly reddened rear cheeks not to mention anuses spread to the limit by dildos and sundry forms of restraint. It is a juicy array of possibilities.
The best use of the urban environment must go to Sommer Marsden in “Hot Child in the City.” She takes full advantage of Baltimore’s soggy, suffocating summer heat to set up a hot encounter between two equally hot denizens of that city’s sweltering streets. This story is especially pleasing because it is one of the few in the book where the urban environment and climate really do effect the characters’ choices and behavior as indeed they do in real life. The genuine grit of the narrative contrasts with the lust that allows a measure of escape. It is a form of self-preservation.
Best of all though is an absolutely steamy and utterly hilarious encounter between a cowgirl from Alberta and a wanna-be horse (girl) from Toronto. Though they meet in the sophisticate’s home city, it is clearly the country girl who has the upper hand in the outstanding story, “The City Pony” by Roxy Katt. Not the least of this story’s many virtues is the dialogue. It is genuinely witty, delightfully absurd and absolutely authentic in the way it captures the curious non-sequiturs of human discourse especially in the jittery throes of sexual arousal.
At times the ‘pony’ seems a bit unsure if she is not actually a cow of some sort. The cowgirl often has to race to keep up with the innuendo the ‘pony’ is tossing to her as the would-be equine tries to maintain the illusion of a subordinate position. After all, she is the pony, right? When at last she is brought to tether, the experience is really a good deal more humiliating and exciting than she had expected.
Where the Girls Are offers something for everyone including an aging hetero male like myself although the street wisdom is that we compose a large part of the audience for lesbian erotica. At any rate anyone can have a good time finding out where the girls are, and indeed, what they are up to between the sheets.