In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Kayla

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I Don't Want a Sleepover

In Sleeping Beauty's Bed isn't your conventional erotica. It's a collection of fairy tales that were given an adult twist - and given that twist well. As an erotica book it does poorly, but as a book understood in its own genre, it's a fun read.
Published:
Pros:
Fun to read, learned new fairy tales, good variance in plots.
Cons:
Not erotica, sexual ignorance was annoying.
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review
In Sleeping Beauty's Bed is an erotic novel published by Cleis Press. The book is a collection of 15 different stories loosely based upon common fairy tales written by Mitzi Szereto. The book has a softcover and has black and white pages on the inside. The book has a total of 316 pages which is a lot of pages compared to the average Cleis Press erotica.

The format for this book is different than most Cleis Press erotica collections. This one, in front of every story, includes an introduction about the history of the fairy tale as well as how the fairy tale went from sexual to non-sexual throughout its lifetime. All of that text is in pretty tiny print and usually lasts one to two pages. After that, the text gets about twice as big (like a size 8 compared to a size 12) and gives you the actual story itself. The stories are pretty long too. When you think about it, 316 pages divided between 15 stories leaves about 21 pages per story.

You know what I didn't expect? When I picked this up, I thought this entire book was going to focus on Fairy Tales that were common and that I knew about. I was surprised to see that, while some of the fairy tales were ones I could relate to, a good chunk of the stories were also ones that had origins in other countries and weren't as famous. Of course, you have the basics like Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood, but for the most part, the rest of the stories are fairy tales that aren't as well known in the United States - if they are known at all. 11 of these 15 stories were based upon fairy tales I'd honestly never heard of.

Here's the biggest warning I'll give you: THIS IS NOT REALLY AROUSING AT ALL. Just so you know so you don't delve in expecting the wrong thing like I did. It seriously isn't arousing at all. I wouldn't even call in erotica - not by a long shot. I think it's more accurately described as an adult twist to regular fairytales - not intended so much to arouse but instead to relate these fairytales to common adult themes.

These stories really are just tales that happened to include the sex. Basically, think of it as the regular story that you'd expect to read, but instead of ignoring sexuality completely, it includes it like it would be realistically. On that means, you're looking at maybe one page of a twenty-five page story being dedicated to a sexual nature. As a note, all of the stories are not written in modern-use language. I wouldn't call it medieval, but it's written to somewhat resemble the original format that the stories were written in. It makes it a bit hard to get into, but the stories are well-written, and once you get into them, they're fun to read. I will say that this is a book you don't want to be distracted around because it's easy to get distracted.

The biggest annoyance for me was probably the language that described the sexual scenes. All of the scenes, despite them taking place between adults (for the most part. Not always.), the adults always seemed downright clueless about sex. For example, a married woman becomes a servant to another woman and has to give a bath to her owner. She doesn't understand why she spends an hour cleaning the private area of her owner - at all. In another story, a woman looks to touch another woman's private area and instead compares it to a monster that's going to bite her hand off, so she avoids touching it. In another story, a guy meets a traveler who "heals" the sick by applying a cream to his fingers then rubbing at the top of the woman's thighs. The guy has no idea what is going on.

The action in this book really varies. I'm a bit "meh" on the action. None of it is arousing in the slightest, and sometimes, it isn't action that the character wants to be partaking in. Most of the sexual action in this book is manual manipulation of the female and male genitals or oral sex to a female. There are only a very few mentions of intercourse.
Experience
A good story is "The Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces". A king's 12 daughters, despite being locked into their room at night, keep coming back in the morning with their shoes torn to pieces and their underwear damp and shoved in their shoes. The king tells his kingdom that whoever can solve this mystery will have his choice of a daughter in marriage. This leads to a knight coming to the castle and following the girls out. The twelve girls walk a long ways then meet up with 12 boys, and it becomes a sexual "line". Each girl receives while the guys move from person to person. It was really odd because the knight thought they were "dancing".

Another good story is the basic story of Cinderella. However, it turns out that the lovely Prince is a foot fetishist, and it puts a whole new spin about the entire tale.

My final opinion? This book is a neat book that provides an interesting read about your favorite fairy tales, but you should NOT expect erotica. It is not arousing. In fact, at times, I wanted to take a magic market to the pages and scribble out of anger at the character's ridiculous sexual ignorance. However, all of the stories are well-written and provide an interesting, everyday read. Just like a regular novel. If you are interested in fairy tales, the history of literature (which you could easily skip over if you want), or just reading an interesting take on erotica, this could be the book for you.
Follow-up commentary
It was such a unique book that, while I haven't re-read it, it still is one of the most interesting "erotica" books I've ever read. I will never touch this book again for erotica purposes, but if I'm curious about the history of a fairy tale or want to read an "adult" version of a fairy tale, I will be pulling out this book again.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Comments
  • ToyGeek
    I've seen this book discussed among fairy tale enthusiasts who found the sex "distracting" so I'm especially amused to read how little sex it contains.
  • KnK
    nice review
  • Selective Sensualist
    Excellent job on this review! I'm curious about this book and may eventually get it.
  • Illusional
    I may get it also, but thanks for the heads up about the lack of erotica. lol
  • Pixel
    Hrm, I'm probably going to take this off my wishlist after having read your review. I really had high hopes for this book too! Blast.
  • Mihoshi4301
    Thanks for the review.
  • geliebt
    Great review, thanks!
  • pinkzombie
    Very nice review!
  • SexyStuff
    thanks
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