Review: Best Women’s Erotica 2014

BWE'14 Best Women’s Erotica 2014, edited by Violet Blue. Cleis Press. (December 2013). ISBN: 1627780033

For those unfamiliar with the Best Women’s Erotica annual series, it has become a benchmark in excellence as far as women’s erotica is concerned. While the standards are always high at Cleis Press, each installment of Best Women’s is, arguably, the cream of the cream, so when I say that Best Women’s Erotica 2014 is one of the strongest in recent years, this is no small thing.

Before I go on, I’d like to share an excerpt with you, so you can see what I mean. This is from one of my favorite stories in the collection, “Monsoon Season” by Valerie Alexander.

Excerpt:

He came over the next night like a proper date. Clean T-shirt on and a bottle of wine in his hands, which I accepted before saying, “I don’t want to open it right now, though.”

Colton looked disappointed. I couldn’t explain that I needed him sober, needed to know how willing and ready he really was for all the dark magic spells I wanted to unleash on him. Bossing him around, pulling him over my knee and spanking him, slap- ping his beautiful mouth just before he came. I had no logical reason for thinking he was sexually submissive, or that he’d done anything like that before, but then again, our animal hearts know what they know.

“Where would you like to go to dinner?” He was formal and polite.

I leaned back on my enormous black couch. “We can go out later. If we’re hungry.”

He looked at me with suspicion and uncertainty. I remembered that he was over a decade younger than me and probably nervous. So I patted the sofa and ordered him to sit with enough authority that he instantly obeyed.

His lean, rangy body felt like my property already. Like it was a time-lapse error that I hadn’t officially fucked him yet. I looked over his dark hair and sun-bronzed cheekbones, his hard tattooed forearms. My hormones careened like drunken fireflies.

“I’m going to have my way with you now, and you’re going to obey and do everything I say,” I told him. “Understand? If you have any objections, say them now.”

His body was so stiff. His voice the whisper of an echo as he said, “No objections.”

I unwrapped him like a present, pants off first, followed by his navy boxer-briefs. His thigh muscles were almost as rigid as his cock. I could guess at the kind of sex he was used to having, the masterful young seducer, suave in his technique and just a little more detached than the girls wanted him to be. Which was why his poker face was so tight with control now as I pulled the front of his T-shirt up and behind his head and then down his back to bind his arms at his sides.

Now he was porn: the naked and half-bound boy with a hard, scarlet cock. I wanted to take his picture, but we weren’t there yet. Instead I climbed onto his lap and pulled up my dress.

“Consider this an audition,” was an arrogant thing to say as I pushed my pussy into his face. But his mouth ransacked me with feverish thirst, confirming that just maybe he did like to be bossed around by dominant women. I spread my knees open as his tongue pushed inside me with such energetic desperation that I suspected it would ache later. His arms struggled against the shirt until I rapped his ear in admonition. “None of that,” I said. “Mouth only.”

His hands clenched helplessly at his sides. I pushed his head back against the sofa and pulled my hood back from my clit. I leaned back just enough to make him work for it, a test of the agility and control of his tongue, and then gripped his hair and rode his face, a dreamy euphoria melting through my cunt. Brief, searing waves broke through me, blotting out the world for a few seconds.

I fell back on the cushions and caught my breath. His eyes searched my face for a sign of approval. His cock was so hard it looked painful.

Review:

What makes this collection such a stand-out is that it mixes sex and literature seamlessly. While the stories are all, undeniably, sexy, there is a deeper, emotional resonance to them, as well.

Because the collection is so consistent, there are literally no weak links – every story deserves to be there. As such, it’s impossible to choose the best of the bunch, so instead, I’m going to give you an overview a few of my personal favorites. In addition to “Monsoon Season,” which really is a stunner, “I Hate Sex” by Tamsin Flowers stood out, not just because it involves a daring, sex-in-public scenario, but because it really is about a woman’s relationship to sex and how it changes. I liked Oleander Plume‘s “Out in the Open” for a similar reason. In it, the painfully shy protagonist exercises her sexuality online before engaging in an impromptu, RL interaction. “Toys” by Jade A. Waters is a charmer of a story about a woman with a boxful of sex toys in her closet and the man she finally gets to use them with, while “The Cake” by Ingrid Luna absolutely surprised me. At first it seems like a story about a woman playacting the role of a 50’s housewife, but it quickly flips the reader’s expectations about power, dominance and control. And yes, it prominently features a perfect, beautifully iced cake.

I could go on and on – they really all deserve a mention – but I’ll leave you with just one more, the unexpectedly beautiful and affecting “Chrysalis” by Nikki Adams. It’s about a high-powered attorney who never allows her female lovers to spend the night, until she enjoys a heated encounter with a beautiful trans woman named Zhanna. The story is both incredibly hot and sweetly tender, all while gently subverting standard gender norms.

As with the rest of the stories in the collection, “Chrysalis” displays a depth, sensitivity and prescience that prove, irrefutably, that erotica can be beautiful and powerful reflective of real experiences in real life. Based on that alone, I recommend Best Women’s Erotica 2014 – the title really says it all.

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