When my partner transitioned, I was with him all the way, learning with him, listening to him, and supporting him as he faced the binaries that keep so many of us feeling small. In a way, I underwent my own transition with him. I still refer to myself as a cisgender woman, because I feel that’s as close as I can get to a truth that others will immediately understand, though actually the term “gender non-conforming” feels more comfortable for me.
Put it this way: gender often feels like a bottle that I was forced into, when really I’m part of an unending sea.
So where do I find erotica that speaks to my identity? Not always in the places I’d expect.
This week, I’ve been reading a copy of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year 2017, Volume 2, sent to me by editorial genius Rachel Kramer Bussel, and I had to pause my most enjoyable read to share one story that speaks to me in spades. In “On Some Maps, But Not On Others” by Annabeth Leong, the narrator’s opening line is, “My girlfriend likes to tie men up and torture their cocks.” She goes on to say that when they first started dating this wasn’t something she thought much about. It was just stuff her girlfriend “did with partners who weren’t me, using equipment I didn’t have.”
Immediately, I was grasped hard.
But I’m not going to ruin it for you. Let’s just say that the narrator decides to sit in on one of the cock-torture sessions, and in watching the tremendously hot pain play that emerges, finds a deep set of needs in herself that she can’t but explore — needs that relate to her gender and sexuality.
She buys herself a packer cock of her own. Her identity starts to shift.
“Gender still scares me,” explains the protagonist as she allows her own needs to transform her, “but now I think about it all the time. I don’t know what to call myself, don’t know what I am. The boundaries of my body shift and change. My cock is an island charted by sailors before Google Earth came along, appearing on some maps but not on others. My cunt is sometimes a depth, but sometimes a height.” She goes on to say, “Sometimes my cunt feels tough and masculine, ready to take any sort of abuse. Sometimes I put on my soft-pack and watch it tremble, so delicate in shape and color, and it feels like nothing could be girlier.”
It is rare that I feel so included in a story these days. (I will just mention Xan West’s extraordinarily beautiful and hot “The Tender Sweet Young Thing,” which makes me feel like I finally belong. I was honored to help publish it along with all the other amazing stories in West’s Show Yourself to Me at Go Deeper.) What I feel Leong does for us, her readers, is generous, kind, and powerfully erotic, especially when the protagonist wears her own cock. Genitals are not gendered in this story. Leong reminds us that boners and soft-ons are not of gender.
Gender is a construct. That construct does not own my flesh.
I am grateful to the talented author Annabeth Leong and the collection‘s thoughtful editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. Through Leong’s infinitely brave protagonist and her empowered, loving girlfriend, this author lets us come as we are. As I sit with the story, aroused and embraced, my identity comfortably shifts with the sands.
Those who love queer erotica that shatters the gender binary might be interested to know that The Swallowing Mansion is free right now on B&N and is also available at Amazon. Plus at Go Deeper, books 1 and 2 are on special.
Queers save the world. And so does the Mansion that swallows them.
I was fortunate enough to read Anaïs Nin’s Auletris before its release, and let me tell you, it’s a delectable Bacchic feast. In Auletris, Nin has written deliciously forbidden, relentlessly hot stories that break boundaries and are truly courageous in the face of taboos. The heat in this collection does not let up and the language is so sublime that you’ll want to stuff whole paragraphs into your mouth. If you thought Delta of Venus and Little Birds were erotically inventive, you’ll be amazed by what Auletris has to offer. This is erotica filled with lush sensations, complex feelings, and cerebral genius. The work is so sensually alive that it’s hard to believe its superbly talented author is no longer with us.
Conversely, it’s proof that she still is.
I’m honored to discuss Auletris along with Paul Herron (the book’s editor and publisher, and leading specialist in all things Nin), Anain Bjorquist, Rose Caraway, and Jessica Gilbey. We had an absolutely wonderful and enticing discussion. Why not join us by listening to the podcast here (it’s the Auletris podcast with the “panel of experts.”)
If you love Anais Nin, check out my fan erotica collection:
If the answer is yes, go check out Malin’s amazing posts on Maddie Aflame! They’re beautifully perceptive about the series and I’m really honored by them. Some tasters:
What I especially love about Maddie Aflame!, is that it features something that’s been largely lacking in erotic literature—queer-centered, empowering, inclusive portrayals of characters in their late teens and early twenties. Young adulthood is a challenge, even more so for people who may not conform to societal norms. The fact that Lana Fox tackles those issues here, and did it without sacrificing the book’s compulsive readable-ness is, quite frankly, fucking impressive. Like I said, I’m a fan.
The antagonists go to great lengths, including kidnapping, murder, and torture, to impose a rigidly traditional social structure on the populace. And yet, beneath that structure, individual people reject conformity in favor of boundless self-acceptance and love. It’s that sense fluidity (in gender and emotional / sexual relationships) that ultimately helps our heroes counter the rigid traditions that threaten them.
And then there’s the sentient mansion. While I don’t want to give too much away, it’s a metaphorical masterstroke that deserves a mention. The mansion, which, for all intents and purposes should be just a normal house, is a feeling, sensing thing, more creature than building, cognitively speaking, as it responds to the emotional state of its occupants. Like magic, tech and ghosts, the mansion bridges a gap and blurs the line between expectation and form to defy its own weaponization, making it not only a compelling character in its own right, but a powerful metaphor for the breaking of traditional worldviews in favor of wider possibility.
She has Combustion Syndrome, a disease that, when triggered, causes her body to combust from the inside out. While the ability to heal is part of the Syndrome, episodes leave her burned and weak, and are, quite honestly, a little terrifying … As Maddie progresses through the book, she learns to stop fearing the disease and draw strength from it. Sex plays a large role in this.
Thanks a million, Malin! And folks, please go and check out Malin’s own work. She is a huge talent! She posts stunning erotica and beautiful commentary on her blog and she also publishes widely with a variety of presses.
What’s not to love?
One thing I adore about J.K. Rowling, who wrote the quote that is pictured on the left, is her understanding of love. She understands that if love was magic it would protect a parent’s child from being killed by a curse. And she understands that true love is the choice to act on the light, rather than the darkness. I think she also understands the importance of the shadow. We only have to look at Severus Snape to see how deeply Rowling cherishes his darkness and how he channels it for the good of the world. That is love indeed.
If I’d have understood earlier in my life that love, like magic, can flow in all directions, including towards the self, I’d have been happier far sooner. Thinking of love as magic helps me. Why would you deprive your own life of spells? Why would you only shower others with the gift? Surely performing magic in your own life means you’ll be more capable and able to help others. Love, like magic, isn’t something that should only flow in one direction. Neither does it change one life then fail to touch another. But when you first learn that you can love yourself, it can be scary to do so, especially if you’ve been taught that self-love is selfish.
Fear, however, is the anti-magic. It has a habit of blocking our light.
In Maddie Aflame! (the erotic fantasy series is launching in September), which is humbly conceived as a Harry Potter for readers of erotica — humbly is the word — I really wanted magic to be fueled by love. Maddie’s mother, who visits her as a spirit, teaches her the true nature of magic, while Maddie and her polyamorous friends are trapped in a magical mansion that is being used to experiment on queers. Maddie’s mother tells her:
“Fear is the anti-magic. Fear only creates itself. Love and peace, on the other hand, make magic faster and bigger.”
What Maddie’s mother has truly been trying to teach her, however, is that Maddie is magical. But as a sufferer of Combustion Syndrome, a condition in which she explodes into flames, Maddie can’t see the magic in herself — the magic in her fire.
“Love is magic,” says her mother. “And so my dear are you.”
When Maddie finds out what that truly means, she becomes more powerful than she’d ever imagined.
And, by loving ourselves, my friends, so can we.
Lana’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies. Below, you’ll find a selection. View more anthologies and collections on her Amazon Author Page.
The Latest! Read Lana’s essay “Love Will Come” in the forthcoming A Cafe in Space: The Anais Nin Literary Journal.
A marriage and husband behind her, Deb’s journey of sensual discovery begins in earnest. Confessing her escapades to her fur-covered diary, “Kitten,” Deb dates and experiments with both women and men, and takes her love of shoes to a whole new level.
Bethany can’t help it. Risk turns her on. But when, thanks to a crazy dare, she sneaks into a stranger’s apartment, the last thing she expects is to be sprung by a gorgeous intruder and seduced into a super-hot scene.
It turns out this gatecrasher is Leo, an ex-lawyer billionaire who housebreaks for kicks and is also a sexual dominant. He’s the hottest man Bethany’s ever met. When he suggests she be his paid partner, breaking in with him for sex and thrills, Bethany couldn’t be more tempted.
This collection of super-short erotic stories features steamy work by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Kristina Lloyd, Tamsin Flowers, and dozens of talented others. From the romance of sex in taffeta as the sea whispers beside us, to the power of a birthday menage-a-trois and an attraction as compelling as Nabakov’s Lolita, these tales strip off fast and pop like champagne.
These erotic stories don’t hold back. Why? Because we are proud of sex. From a woman who self-harms and goes by the name “Cutter,” to a doctor whose gender is a deeply held secret, the characters in Shameless Behavior are having such powerful sex that it helps them overcome shame.