She's On Top

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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"She's on Top" is good reading for someone who isn't ashamed to be on a bus or airplane with their nose in a BDSM fiction anthology. It didn't personally work for me as a one handed read, but I found the stories compelling enough to enjoy reading them even if it wasn't masturbation fodder.
Published:
Pros:
-erotica, not smut
-diverse selection of scenes/fantasies
Cons:
-erotica, not smut
-diversity of themes, but not body types/ethnicities/genders
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review

About author

This book is edited by the prolific Rachel Kramer Bussel, who has rather a lot of experience editing collections of kink or fetish related erotica. Additionally, she is the Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations. She's also written a book called "The Lesbian Sex Book: A Guide for Women who Love Women" with Wendy Caster- particularly nice because you get the impression that she has a balanced idea of what might be erotic. I've found her collections to be pretty varied and exciting, with a diversity of kinks that means that this can appeal to anyone. Bussel has a story of her own in here, and there's also a story by Alison Tyler (herself a prolific editor of erotic anthologies), though most of the authors I didn't recognize.
    • Engaging
    • Multiple contributing authors

Content / Style / Audience

Well, it's an almost entirely heterosexual female dominant/male submissive anthology, and the 18 stories within take a few different spins on that power dynamic. There's some of the usual kinks- offices, sissy maids, pro dommes and "forced" bisexuality- but those aren't the stories that did it for me. No, I preferred stories like Kate Dominic's "The Queening Chair", in which a dominant woman in a relationship with a dominant man gets to enjoy being serviced by three submissive men, or Lisette Ashton's "Victoria's Hand", set in 1890 with an interesting proposal. I also quite liked "Why Can't I be You?" by Alison Tyler, which has a genderfuckery bent to it- she takes on her boyfriend's style of dress, mannerisms, and gender, something I find incredibly hot.

I also liked the nod to some more unusual fetishes, like human furniture in Noelle Keely's "The Ottoman Express", feeders in Adelaide Clark's aptly named "Feeder", and ageplay/puppyplay in Stan Kent's "Penelope the Punisher".

There's a few stories in here that involve some form of adultery and a couple stories involving professional dommes, including Lisabet Sarai's "Shades of Red", which talks about a woman trying her hand at professional domination in an Amsterdam window. If you don't enjoy reading about these things in fiction, it might not be the anthology for you.

In general the writing style is pretty typical of erotica written for women- a lot of dialogue and scene setting, not a lot of swearing and dirty words. For me, it was less one-handed reading (even the really hot stories didn't get me off) and more of a way to explore new fantasies and scenarios I might want to introduce my boy to.
    • Bdsm
    • Erotica

Design

The cover of this book is slightly different than most BDSM erotica books in that it features (amazing!) a man and not a woman, even if you don't see his face. As someone who gets annoyed that BDSM anthologies always seem to feature half naked women on the cover, whether FemDom or femsub, I appreciated that gesture.

There are 18 stories in the 195 page anthology, an intro section, and an about the author section at the end. It's a relatively sturdy paperback book, easy to slip into a purse (like I did for reading on the plane). The stories vary from a couple of pages to more than 5, so a nice variety.

The cover is not at all discreet, however. People will know you're reading a kinky book by looking at it.
    • Not very discreet cover
    • Soft cover

Personal comments

The only thing I kind of regret is that "She's on Top" is pretty hetero femdom/malesub specific. It'd be nice to have had a little bit more of queer/ethnic/body type representation, like a story involving trans people or people of colour, never mind different body types.

Experience

"Penelope the Punisher" was the only story in this anthology written by a man, and it definitely showed- it was my least favourite story, making me laugh instead of squirm. I think it was partially because of how it was written (an over-the-top style that came across as more suitable for the kinds of poorly written smut you'd find in a seedy sex shop), and partially the characters, who were very much personifications of ridiculous tropes- "the school mistress", "the evil schoolgirl", etc. It was so camp it was silly.
Follow-up commentary
I wish there was a thing to say "I still like it, but somewhat less" as that's really how I feel about it. I don't hate it, but I wouldn't necessarily reach for it when I want to hear an erotic story, either. It's a good compilation with some great stories, but I think I'm happy to pass it along to another kinky smut lover and let them savor it themselves.
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Comments
  • leatherlover
    leatherlover  
    Great review, thanks.
  • Solar Ray
    Solar Ray  
    Excellent review.
  • SexyStuff
    SexyStuff  
    Thanks!
  • nicholebinz
    nicholebinz  
    ty
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