Elevate Difference

Best Bondage Erotica 2011

As the title would imply, this erotica anthology contains solely stories that involve bondage, the use of restraints for the purpose of sexual pleasure. Along with the use of bondage in sexual encounters comes the play of submissive and dominant roles. As one might expect, nearly half of stories in this book stick to standard dominate/submissive heterosexual roles, with men tying up women in various scenarios and then sexually dominating them. As a feminist with a lifelong interest in challenging gender roles, I found these stories to be a bit lackluster and predictable, though surely they might appeal to some readers. (To be clear, I'm not suggesting feminist beliefs necessarily negate interests or arousals derived from women in submissive sexual roles.) That said, the stories that I found to be the anthology’s gems did not pigeonhole men and women into clearly defined submissive and dominate roles.

Among the stories within the collection that I found to be most scintillating was “The Rainmaker” by Elizabeth Daniels, in which a married couple whose sex life is marred by the wife’s frigidity finds renewed fire with some BDSM play involving a gag and rope. Similarly, in Lux Zakari’s story “Truss Issues,” a heterosexual couple experiments with the use of restraint for the first time, and although the female is restrained it is her sexual needs that are fulfilled, rather than that of the male, as is the case with some of the other heterosexual stories in the collection.

I also liked “Reasoning” by Tenille Brown, in which a woman restrains and sexually dominates her male lover in an attempt to make amends over past transgressions. For less heteronormative narratives, I recommend “Bound Helen,” in which a lesbian couple’s use of corset by day is a precursor to their bondage play by night, and during which neither partner has complete control of the other. In “Daddy,” a lesbian couple takes the submissive and dominate roles to the extreme, with the plot’s apex centering around a trip to a party in which the submissive is blindfolded and restrained for the exploration of others.

While bondage as well as domination and submission are not sexual scenarios that will appeal to all readers, most fans of erotica will most likely find at least a few stories arousing. Those who find the subject matter more to be their cup of tea will surely find the anthology to be a gem. The most valuable attribute of this anthology is the high quality of writing in every story, scenes that are set well, and characters that are fully developed despite the short stories in which they appear. Those who enjoy books with more literary merit will surely value editor Rachel Kramer Bussel’s pattern of selecting well-written stories that sometimes trigger the intellect as well as the sex drive.

Written by: Adrienne Urbanski, February 15th 2011

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