Tasting Him - erotic fiction by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Jenny Swallows

Tasting Him

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Hot Head and How To Write It

When it's hot it's hot; and when it's cold it's mechanical. Not the last word in literary fellatio, but an engaging collection regardless.
A fast read, well paced story length and not too many distractions
Occasionally wanders into the realms of predictability
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
It’s interesting just how many acres of print have been devoted to oral sex, and in a week when Pat Robertson declared that it’s “fine (so long as you’re married),” no doubt there will be many more appearing in the near future. More than any other act, oral sex haunts the written word, just as it haunts the porn movie industry - a blowjob, after all, is probably the most visual act of them all, after all, and let’s be crude and admit, nothing says “uhhhhhh, I’m cumming” like a facial.

On paper, the relationship is more subtle. Here it’s words that paint the pictures, and the writer (and the reader)’s imagination that provide the details, which means that the action should be very well painted in order for everything to go as planned. And truthfully, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Tasting Him is a case in point. The companion, of course, to Tasting Her, what we have here are twenty-three stories extolling the virtues of fellatio, and the first thing that slaps you around the face is the realization that women write a lot more convincingly about giving head than men write about receiving it. Maybe because women are more interested in hunger and control, whereas guys are simply running through the cliches that they learned from watching porno films? I don’t know, but when Thomas S Roche serves up the appallingly titled “Sketch of a Suck Off,” it’s telling that the action takes place around the making of a dirty movie. And taking everything so seriously.

Whereas Tish Anderson finds the funny side of things, and continues tickling them all the way through “Quite A Mouthful,” and Amanda Earl gets almost toe-curlingly confessional in “How I Learned To Give Good Head.” And that’s toe-curling in the best possible way. Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of this collection, highlights the most lustful mechanics of the act, until you can feel the cold floor against your bare knees, and the smear of your lipgloss against solid flesh; and Alison Tyler (the initially mystifyingly titled “Prego”) uncorks an entire new world of fantasy when she walks into the kitchen at the height of a dinner party, and discovers her husband fucking the spaghetti sauce. Still in its jar! “Sauce and sucking. Fellatio and food,” she says, and you can’t wait to start cooking dinner. I’m eating Italian tonight.

Then there’s a wonderful first time story, Scarlett French’s “Fellatio: A Love Story” - and you remember your own first time, torn between the most intense longing you’d ever experienced, and fear of all the nasty things you’d ever heard about the deed. Including, as French points out, the “suck it bitch” machismo bull that spirals out of the movie world, to splash onto these pages in sundry subtle ways, then spit out or swallowed according to your whim.

French swallows (or tries to), because the book she read recommended it; but she will learn, as we all do, that there are better reasons than that. “When I swallow his cock,” Marina Saint writes, “I’m not just giving him a blow job. I’m telling him I love him, every inch.” And maybe that’s what the difference is between the male and female approach, at least in the world of erotic literature; and certainly within these pages. With the exception of a few stories which really do try too hard to be sexy, the best of this book is flavored by the instinctive knowledge that sucking cock is more than an act of passion, lust and greed. It’s an act of the deepest love as well.

Unless, of course, you’ve only just met the guy and you’re down on your knees in an alley some place, and you won’t even remember his name in the morning. But that, I’m afraid, is another story.
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Do you like this review?
  • Petite Valentine
    Love your writing voice! Great review.
  • PeaceToTheMiddleEast
    Good review thanks for sharing!
  • faust
    nice review
  • unfulfilled
    Fantastic review I loved reading it while I was editing.
  • Sinfully
    Great review. Thanks.
  • Hallmar82
    Beautifully written review, one the best I've read.
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