I had this great introduction for this post worked out. But when I sit down to write it, it completely escaped me. Go figure, eh?
I wanted to explain why this review has taken me so long, which seems to be how most of my posts on this blog start these days. I suppose it all comes down to the fact that I was simply uninspired, not because of me but because this collection is simply uninspiring for me. Perhaps I need more of a D/s angle instead of simply bondage, though there was some of that within these pages. Maybe I prefer specific roles. She’s On Top is the next book in my review queue, and thus far it’s doing a much better job of getting the juices flowing.
And perhaps this was just a slow year for erotic fiction. Maybe I’m too harsh. Perhaps there was too much variety, and Best Bondage Erotica just missed my niche. I’m not sure. I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m reluctant to call this the “best” the world has to offer. Plenty of other people disagree, as is their right, however. Best Bondage Erotica 2015 has a 4.65 rating on Good Reads.
It’s a fair question to wonder whether I am just burned out on erotic short stories. I’ve reviewed many of these anthologies and have read even more! But as soon as I finished Best Bondage Erotica, I opened up She’s on Top, another anthology edited by Ms. Bussel. Almost immediately, I was pulled in. From the very first, I was curious, aroused and craving more.
It’s been a much quicker read because of how rapt I am, and I find myself reaching for the book even when I do not want to be aroused. I simply want to read the stories. Aside from deliciousness, I love how the overarching theme of female dominance isn’t necessarily done in the most cliche or redundant way. That’s hard to do, and many BDSM manuals and guides would have you believe there are only so many femdom archetypes from which you can pick. She’s on Top absolutely defies that “truth,” and I am glad for it!
But what about Best Bondage Erotica, which will soon be replaced by a new volume? The stories run the gamut from playing with strangers to voyeurism/exhibition to spy games — all with a bondage element, of course. Sometimes the bondage takes center stage es elaborate setups are discussed. At other times, however, it’s more incidental than instrumental. I think that’s one of my critiques. Sure, there is bondage, but I’d rather it be all about bondage with less curiosity about how this story is going to get there. If you like erotica that warms you up first, you might prefer this collection of stories more than I did, however.
Very few of the stories just stuck with me, and as I page through the book to write this review, I don’t remember reading most of them. I do recall and enjoy “Housewarming the Craftsman,” a story in which a man and woman break in their new home in a less-than-traditional-way, and “Tying the Knot,” a tale about a (homosexual!) couple who use bondage to get over those cold feet. “You Shall Not Come” is a solid piece written from the point of view of a visitor of a weekend sex camp. At camp, she participates in a game where she and a stranger try to make the other come first. “Stuck On You” evokes classic wet T-shirt imagery through the use of a soapy, wet sponge; adding bondage brings something new to the old concept.
With so much variety, the reader is bound not to love everything. But bondage is a less cohesive theme than I’d like, which means there are fewer themes that do it for me. Your mileage may vary.
Now, why did I love She’s On Top so much? Certainly, it had to do with when I was reading it. I was in the middle of steamy sext sessions with a guy who would eventually break my heart but who was also comparably kinky. Perfect background! And the stories were perfect to read while my sex drive was in such a heightened state. Thus, reading was frequently broken up but only because there was so much masturbation happening!
It starts off strong with “Suit and Tie,” a story about workplace oral. Stories about housework, crossdressing/cosplay, professional dominatrices and even Victorian England, which turns out to be sexier than I ever would have thought. That particular story, “Victoria’s Hands,” is one that I would recommend. But it’s not the only one. Teresa Roberts writes a haunting-yet-sexy story in which the main character is using BDSM as closure to a relationship.
If there’s a story that I don’t particularly like, there’s only one, “Feeder.” The name points at exactly what you’d expect, and that sort of fetish just isn’t my thing. But it’s quickly followed by “Penelope the Punisher,” a story that takes place in a fabled domination house, and the cooperation between the women is fantastic. Cooperation is also a sexy theme in “The Queening Chair,” a story that ends the book on a note as high as it begins.
There are a few stories in She’s On Top that pull on my heartstrings while simultaneously making me aroused. They resonate with me in multiple ways. Some of the characters/relationships are well versed in domination. Others fall into it by accident, through experimentation. The types of bondage and kink vary, as do the characters in their race, sexualities, and personalities.
Not only is She’s On Top worth a read; it’s one of the rare collections that I want to read again and perhaps again and again!
You can get both of these books on Amazon, but if you’re looking for more erotica, I highly recommend checking out the erotica section at Good Vibrations, which was kind enough to provide me with these books for review.