A light-skinned person with dark hair, red lips, and tits kneels with their legs spread. They're leaning forward on their hands, and wearing a black corset and fingerless gloves.I’ve been waiting to read this book since the call for submissions was posted in fall 2010, and it did not disappoint. It made me me think, it made me laugh, it made me fistpump and say “oh yeah” out loud, it made me cry, and, uh, it obviously made me come.

Given Mr. Sexsmith’s taste, I knew there would be femmes, but I was particularly looking forward to hot, kinky stories written from the perspective of femme bottoms–though I wouldn’t have predicted the complete lack of stories narrated by butch/boi/boy bottoms! Sometimes it seems like tops run the porn show, which reflects and reinforces ideas that bottoms are passive, that we simply don’t do as much when we take it as tops do when they dish it out.

I asked “Why write erotica narrated by femmes? By bottoms?” when I interviewed Shawna Elizabeth, who wrote “Spoiled,” one of my femme-bottom-narrated favorites. She remarked that

…there are still a lot of people who think that being a bottom is not empowering or feminist, and that being submissive and surrendering control is weak or degrading…Just because you take the “feminine” or “submissive” role doesn’t mean you are being passive about your desire…Sometimes it is the strongest most assertive women who feel like they must be overcome and taken by force. It takes a lot of strength to be vulnerable.

Of the 23 stories in Say Please, I counted 9 narrated by femme bottoms. Among these, my top picks are “Taking Direction,” which pretty much nailed my fantasy of being humiliated and double-teamed by a pair of butches; “Spoiled,” which is an incredibly sweet, possessive, Daddy/girl homecoming; “All of Me,” about a pro-domme getting fucked (and mindfucked) in her own dungeon; and “Unworthy As I Am,” a femme-on-femme heavy BDSM love story that closes out the book with a romantic collaring. Incidentally, these are all stories to which I jerked off the first time I read them. “The Keys” was the one that made me fist pump and smirk, “oh yes!”–page 136, if you’re curious.

My other favorites were narrated by tops. “Not Without Permission” would have been one of the ones that made me come under normal circumstances, except that it made me cry before I had a chance. I hadn’t had to think in a visceral sense about what it feels like to be topped by the butch you love in a long time, definitely not since Nic and I broke up two months ago. I hadn’t had to think about what it feels like when you haven’t had that cock in a long time, how you gasp, “fuck, fuck” because it’s so overwhelmingly good, how you dig your nails in because you need to hold on deeper and harder. I hadn’t had to think about those tops who notice everything about the way your body changes and moves. Considering that after reading this I was suddenly riding a whole new wave of breakup grief, I’d say Sinclair Sexsmith did a pretty stunning and evocative job of capturing the intangible.

Finally, “Strong.” I cannot even. This piece is nothing short of perfect. There’s the fact that it’s intense BDSM that pushes most of my buttons: public humiliation, blowjobs, knives, orgasm control, being (someone’s) (good) little girl, being pushed to take more. There’s the fact that this is a tribute to bottoms, to what we give to our tops, to what it takes to do what we do. That’s not even the half of it. Xan West, more than anyone I’ve ever read, intrinsically gets what I do at my core, as a femme and as a bottom. Reading this piece crystallized my thoughts: What I do is build gender. More specifically, I build gender through relationships–the way I talk to people, the way I touch them, the way I fuck them. This story is a precise, graceful, crushingly hot portrait of how that happens.

Overall, Say Please was a collection that was cohesive while managing to cover a lot of ground. I haven’t talked about the hot motorcycle story, or the Sir/boy story that dealt with police brutality and queerbashing, or the story that had a grin-inducingly cute poly set-up and involved a webcam, or the story that brought up fond memories of the first time I got slapped across the face, or…you get the idea.

This review is part of the Dirty Queer Sex Book Tour–check out what others had to say about Say Please, too!

April 1 Say Please release party in SF
April 1 Viviane http://www.thesexcarnival.com
April 3 Rachel Kramer Bussel http://lustylady.blogspot.com

April 4 Giselle Renard http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com
April 5 Evoe Throw http://www.wholesexlife.com
April 6 Liz http://AlphaHarlot.com
April 9 Roma Mafia http://www.romamafia.com
April 9 Daniela http://www.thecsph.org

April 10 Official release date! Sinclair http://www.sugarbutch.net
April 11 Dede / deviantdyke http://deviantdyke.blogspot.com/
April 12 Helena Swann http://www.cuntext.com

April 13 Kim Herbel http://www.butchlesque.com
April 13 Say Please release party in NYC
April 14 Lily Lloyd http://theblackleatherbelt.com
April 15 Kelli Dunham http://www.kellidunham.com

April 16 Lyzanne http://sexpositive.tumblr.com/
April 17 Lula Lisbon http://www.lulalisbon.com
April 18 Ali Oh http://www.madeofwords.com
April 19 Jameson http://www.ftmbutchdude.com

April 21 Charlie Ninja http://charlieninja.tumblr.com/
April 22 Say Please release party in Boston
April 22 Meredith Guy http://meridithguy.tumblr.com
April 23 Wendi Kali http://astrangerinthisplace.blogspot.com

April 24 Lolita Wolf http://leatheryenta.com
April 25 Audrey at Babeland http://babeland.com/blog
April 26 Seth B http://smokebellyscorner.wordpress.com

April 27 Danika http://www.lesbrary.com
April 28 DL King http://www.dlkingerotica.com
April 29 Kiki http://kikidelovely.wordpress.com
April 30 Dilo Keith http://dilokeith.wordpress.com/blog-2/
April 30 Xan West http://tgstonebutch.livejournal.com/
May 2 Say Please release party in Seattle

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4 Responses to Reading in Cuntext: Yes Please, Say Please

  1. Xan West says:

    Thank you for such a lovely review of my story, “Strong”. It made my day.

    If you are interested, I wrote a blog post about the story a while back: http://tgstonebutch.livejournal.com/1162452.html

  2. […] to talk about gender than arguing about it, which is what our community seems to love most” Helena Swann on Cuntext: “Finally, ‘Strong.’ I cannot even. This piece is nothing short of perfect. […]

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