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Sexy Books: 'Pleasure Bound: True Bondage Stories' (Cleis Press)

Alison Tyler's newest erotica anthology hits a bit harder than the rest: Pleasure Bound: True Bondage Stories collects deeply personal non-fiction essays about love, bondage, domination, and surrender from some of the sexiest writers of our time, including entries from Stephen Elliott, Shanna Germain, and Tess Danesi.

Did I mention? Non-fiction. These aren't the fictive fantasies erotica readers may be used to, and, as Tyler points out in her forward, the fantasies are all the more consuming because of the smack of reality each story carries.

Yes, some names have been changed, and characteristics have been added or deleted for legal reasons. But trust me, there are no innocents here to protect.

Nikki Magennis kicks off the collection with "Handfast," a half-page reminder that bondage doesn't necessarily have to involve whips and chains – and also that it can be utterly romantic.

Of all the ties, ropes, tape, cuffs, ribbons and restraints that have held me down, up, and spread-eagled, here's one kind of bond that will never come loose. Your hands, and the sweet insistence in your fingertips, my dear. The certainty of how you arrange things. The way you know me–which way I turn and how far...

Of course, there are some whips and chains in Tyler's anthology too, and much more, and there are stories collected here that don't do much for me – any fantasies of female degradation and women being called sluts, or bitches, or worse, or treated as such, turn me right off every time – but elsewhere the stories are sexy and insistent reminders of the allure of shifting power dynamics and role playing in our relationships, of romantic surrender and domination, and of the vastly broad scope of what turns different people on and sends them over the edge.

The writers in Pleasure Bound explore various kinks while camping, watching movies in public, playing card games in a high school art classroom, and while visiting – or working as – dominatrixes. In each case, the writer learns something new about themselves and the extent of their boundaries. The sex, all of it, is consensual, and through varying degrees of experimentation and exploration and just plain letting go, each illustrates that our limits can be... flexible.

In her own entry, Alison Tyler sets out as a journalist reporting on BDSM and quickly finds the tables turned: The "Stickler for Details" that is to be the subject of her reporting insists on her subservience even to the point of refusing to reply to her correspondence until she shifts from referring to herself as "i" instead of "I" – by the end of the story she's writing "..that lowercase I begged. And I realized that the lowercase I had always been there. Somewhere. Hidden."

I found the most of the stories in Pleasure Bound compelling, and i loved some of the rest of them, too.

 

Check out Sarah Estrella's previous Sexy Books features and follow @Sexaminer on Twitter for the latest Sex & Relationships news

Comments

  • JB 4 years ago

    Sounds fascinating! I've loved some of Stephen Elliott's other writing, and looking forward to checking this out. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Emily 4 years ago

    Good to see you writing about some BDSM for the first time, Sarah! Would love to see some more, and I'm loving your voice, on this and throughout your column's archives

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