Between the Shores: Erotica with Consent

June 19th, 2015

Often, in erotica, consent is implied but not necessarily discussed. In poor erotica, like Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s outright abused through force. But once thing that kinksters actually know is that consent is a must. And in Between the Shores, talented authors show us that consent can be sexy, too.

This collection of erotica is therefore a little different than others. Consent may be incidental in some erotic stories, and often is when it comes to those about BDSM, but it takes front and center in this anthology, by Annabeth Leong, T. C. Mill and Alex Freeman, of twenty stories. It’s one of the offerings from The New Smut Project, a collective of people who want to publish erotica featuring “high-quality writing and nuanced, diverse characterization.” And you can’t really argue with that.

In fact, I would say the quality of Between the Shores if among the best of all the erotica I’ve read, and that says something given how many books I’ve reviewed. I am particularly reminded of Red Velvet and Absinthe, one of my favorite collections from a few years ago, which features supernatural sex and romance. I found it surprising how the theme of consent worked so well with supernatural sexuality. This is the case with “Vine” by Melissa Snowdon, which is as creative as it is sultry. In fact, it reminds me just a bit of something you might read by Neil Gaiman.

“Waiting for the Light to Change” is another story with supernatural origins, something like lycanthropy. I always find this theme extremely hot! And T.C. Mill, one of the editors, has also contributed a story in which a vampire-like alien who has made her way to Earth negotiates a way to sate her literal bloodlust with her chosen human lover. This might be my favorite of all the stories as it combines romance, consent, vampirism and kink.

Obviously, the theme of consent lends itself well to stories involving bondage. “Rolling Deep” is just one of several. But consent also allows characters to explore – and push boundaries – and sometimes not to push those boundaries at all. This means at least one of the stories in this book was a bit anti-climactic for me, even though it absolutely meets the requirements of consent.

For example, “How Can I Meet You” is a thoughtful delving into what two women will do to meet the other’s needs while having their own limits. Those limits are certainly interesting but not necessarily erotically inspiring, so I did occasionally find myself skipping ahead to the sexy parts of stories like that.

The last story I’d like to mention is one of the last in the book. In “Undercover Cops: EXPOSED” we get an interesting mix of suspense, cross-dressing, bisexuality (or perhaps just curiosity) and consent within the confines of a police mystery. Skip ahead a few stories and you’ve got a swashbuckling erotic thriller that ends this book on a high note!

It’s hard not to mention nearly every store in this book because the focus in literature and high-quality writing provides the reader with an experience that provokes the mind as much as it does the clit. If this is what we can expect from this company, it’s definitely one to keep an eye on!

Between The Shores offers such a variety of erotica literature. It’s not heteronormative in the lease.  We see entanglements between strangers, established partners and everything in between. There are threesomes, including the sexy negotiation that happens in “The Art of Improvisation,” written by Alex Freeman. There’s even a story that analyzes the ability to consent while being woken up to sex while also touching on consent and mental illness. It’s wonderfully done in a loving way. Props to Lark Green for that!

Even though not every book in this collection was exactly my book of tea, it was a nice departure from standard erotica. If you buy this as a Kindle version right now, you’ll save 50%. It’s under $4. It’s practically free!

4 Comments to “Between the Shores: Erotica with Consent”

  • Rachael Bhardwaj says:

    Thank you for the reviews, i will have to check them out!

  • Kalliopeia says:

    Oooh, this definitely seems like my kind of thing! A+ for active consent, and not being heteronormative, and high quality, and cheap! Thanks for the tip-off, this looks awesome.

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