Elevate Difference

Best Lesbian Erotica 2010

The photo on this anthology’s cover, of two near identical women in rapturous embrace serves to convey the collection’s reoccurring theme: sex with one’s doppelganger. While the majority of stories in this collection do not adhere to this theme, two of the most unusual tales in this collection do. As one would assume, the stories within this collection often veer outside of the clichéd, cookie-cutter lesbian erotica setups. While many of the traditional ingredients are here, this anthology manages to put them together in new ways, offering a bit of variance for those familiar with the typical erotica set up who are perhaps looking for some new spins. We can thank the selectors of the stories, the musical group Betty (most recently of The L Word fame), for choosing works that stray off of the usual path.

While there are many tales that adhere to the butch/femme setup, the outcome differs in many of the tales with femmes being the dominant party (oddly, the butch/femme tales are also almost exclusively told from the butch’s point of view.) Among the most stimulating and heartfelt of the stories including the butch/femme dynamic, is “Bloodties,” by Alex Tucci in which a young butch finds relief from her grief at a funeral by having a steamy sex session with her second cousin in a church bathroom. Tucci delivers stimulating sexual description while combining genuine plot and character development—attributes not always found in steamy erotica. In “Shameless,” writers Kymberlyn Reed and Anais Morten surprisingly include heterosexual men in their tale. However the two lesbian characters do not engage in heterosexual sex with the two men. Instead, they are allowed to drool over the two while they engage in sex. Later on, the lesbian couple uses their strap-ons on the two men, convincing them into such a position by offering it as their only means of sexual release. This creative setup offers an interesting spin on the heterosexual male fetishization of lesbian sex.

Among the collection’s most unique tales are the two that adhere to the cover’s theme, tales that I did not find to be sexually arousing, but instead intellectually stimulating. In “Self-Reflection,” by Tobi Hill-Meyer, a female to male pre-op transsexual runs into her time traveling post-op self and gives new meaning to the phrase “having sex with yourself.” My favorite, and the most literary tale in the collection, is “Uppercasing,” by Charlie Anders. It tells the story of a near identity-less girl who travels to San Francisco to find herself. Instead, she finds an arrogant artist, with the same name who proceeds to transform her into her double. The strange sexual situations that unfold between the two are undercut with such statements as: “I’ve always wanted to see the look in my own face when someone fists me…And now I can.”

While the sex that occurs between the two serves to only be the stuff of humiliation and rampant narcissism, the tale offers an interesting lament on the concepts of identity and ego. I was unsure as to why this story was in an erotica collection, but I found its strange theme to be one that stayed with me weeks after I finished reading the collection, and finding well crafted writing amidst a book of erotica was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, this collection succeeds in offering up unusual and eclectic tales that are a nice diversion from the standard erotica that gets dull much too quickly. While the unusual tales may be too far out to be stimulating for some, there is most likely at least one story to get your motor racing.

Written by: Adrienne Urbanski, November 23rd 2010

A very thorough and fair review! Thanks.

Thanks for the write up. One correction, the trans person in my story is a trans woman, I'm guessing it's just a slip that you got that backwards. Also, she is non-op rather than pre-op, at least as the story begins. As you might imagine, it's a little less clear by the end.

How interesting to include transsexuals and heterosexual men within a lesbian anthology, even at the risk of alienating readers. Glad the reviewer gave props to them for trying something new.

Thank you for the clarification, Tobi!!

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