Sunday, April 15, 2007

He's On Top (just where I like him)

People who know me personally know that I have a pretty big friendcrush on Rachel Kramer Bussel, so when I got the chance to participate in her Kinky Virtual Book Tour (For He's On Top and She's On Top, two kinky anthologies she edited) I jumped at the opportunity. Then again, I'm always eager to please! Which brings be back to the subject at hand...

Sometimes I wonder, when “vanilla” people dream of good sex, what do they dream about?

The obvious answer is that -- well, there isn’t an obvious answer. There are endless permutations of “good sex”, dependent entirely on the people involved and their own kinks, fantasies, and sexual history. If you love being ball-gagged, for example, but the idea of gagging you is a turn-off for your partner, it’s not likely to make for hot sex even if you do manage to talk him into it. I had a woman approach me in the store this summer while her husband stood nervously near the entrance. “Do you have anything that will make me want to have sex?” she asked in a barely audible whisper. I tried to suggest clitoral stimulating gel, but then she explained the real problem: she wanted to be roughed up, and her husband was only interested in slow, sweet, romantic sex. We talked for a bit longer, but I wasn’t able to suggest anything that sounded really viable to her. As she left, I thought dear god, please don’t ever let me end up in that situation!

Kinky or vanilla or anywhere in between, though, trust and vulnerability pervade the good sex fantasies of a great many people. Whether you want to be having slow, passionate, stare-deeply-into-my-eyes-and-tell-me-you-love-me sex, or hard, fast, please-Sir-fuck-me-harder sex, many find that the best sex forces you to bare more than just your naughty bits. The occasional fling with someone you barely know can be really freaking hot, but it doesn’t compare to the cerebral sex that happens between people who trust each other utterly.

Trust becomes especially important when you’re a bottom, when having sex sometimes literally means putting your life in your partner’s hands. When you’re bound, your faith in that other person must go well beyond knowing they’ll hear and listen to your safeword. A good top tries to know at all times what it going on for the bottom. In turn, a Dom must trust his sub to be honest and straightforward about what’s going on for her – and if she doesn’t trust him, she won’t be. That exchange is the kind of sexy that takes your breath away.

That’s what I liked best about He’s On Top. The women in this collection are tied up and held down, spanked and teased and humiliated, all for their own pleasure and by men who, invariably, adore them. There’s no doubt that these stories will get any lover of female submission hot and bothered, but what’s surprising is that this is a book of love stories. Hot sex is shot through with trust and vulnerability, worshipful subs and the men who have agreed to protect them and guide them to the farthest reaches of their boundaries.

The narrator of Lisabet Sarai’s story Incurable Romantic, for example, is clearly smitten with his “perfect slave.” The story leads him through his love for her, his lust for other women, and his knowledge that, whatever else goes on in his life, Ilsa trusts him to be the kind of Dom she needs. He, in turn, must be willing to continually cultivate that trust.

In Yes by Donna George Storey, it’s the she who pushes his boundaries at first. She knows what she wants and asks for it shyly, and it unleashes in him a desire to push her further, as far as she thinks she can go, and then even a little bit beyond that. The story ends with some of the best writing I’ve ever seen in an erotic story, including this little snippet:

“Your chest swells with the possibility of it, because you can do anything together. You can push her over the edge and catch her at the bottom, soft and safe in your arms. You can watch her dance and be inside her all at the same time, because you are the music she’s dancing to now, faster and faster.”

The book arrived, conveniently, on day two of my Beau’s 10 day visit. We read a couple of the stories together, and they got his stamp of approval as well, although that may have had something to do with the fact that I started trying to get into his pants before the first story was even halfway over. But isn’t that what good erotica is for?

This is definitely good erotica, full of steamy stories which emphasize what SM relationships are really about: trust and vulnerability, admiration, a sense of responsibility, and the desire to give and receive, take and be taken. Now if you'll pardon me, I have some more reading to catch up on.

What's next on the Kinky Virtual Book Tour? Click here to find out!


Remittance Girl said...

Really wonderful, intelligently written post.

I've often wondered what a vanilla person's idea of hot sex is.

Ah, live and let live.

I'm glad I found your blog.



Amanda said...

Thanks, RG! I've been sneaking around on your blog this afternoon and I'm really liking what I see. Good stuff.

Back when I thought I was vanilla, my idea of hot sex was being roughed up... yeah, I was pretty misinformed about what it means to be vanilla.

Sassywho said...

i love this post amanada!

vanilla people have sex?

Sarah said...

Speaking as a person who's currently vanilla (well, more accurately, currently celibate but previously vanilla), I put forth that it would be really informative and interesting to hear stories of people's experiences of leaving vanilla-land.