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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: A Book Recommendation

Posted by on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 4:55 PM

My girlfriend just wondered out loud if she should read Fifty Shades of Grey because it "sounds hot." She's never tried BDSM, so yay! However I've heard that is thoroughly disappointing from both a writing and a kink perspective. Can you recommend some hot straight BDSM fiction that might be a good alternative to Fifty Shades?

This Is Meaningful

I'm not really up on the latest and greatest hetero BDSM litporn, TIM, so I can't offer any recommendations. But superstar sex blogger and pro-porn feminist Violet Blue posted a long list of hot alternates to Fifty Shades over at her blog Tiny Nibbles. Enjoy!


Comments (44) RSS

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My wife is a big fan of an author named Lora Leigh, but she says the BDSM aspect is a little tame. Diane Hunter is her recommendation for BDSM.
Posted by jzimbert on July 11, 2012 at 5:11 PM · Report this
(sigh) I have read amateur fiction that was BDSM themed, but it wasn't the one that Fifty Shades was based on. The one I read had believable characters who had jobs, families and problems in addition to kinky sex lives.
Posted by DRF on July 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this
Alicia 3
I just finished The Siren by Tiffany Reisz -- beautifully written, and really intense. It's got the kind of BDSM that is loving, consensual, and occasionally requires a trip to the hospital. I'd also second @1's recommendations above, and add Portia da Costa as well.
Posted by Alicia on July 11, 2012 at 5:35 PM · Report this
The Marketplace series by Laura Antoniou is vastly better than 50 Shades.…
Posted by Smartypants on July 11, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Try some Maya Banks too. There's lots True "romantica" that flirts with or pursues BDSM. Lora Leigh has some okay poly. Just remember these are mainstream romance authors writing about kink. So its pretty tame.
Posted by 12hazel90 on July 11, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Didn't mean to say True.... stupid autocowrecked on my phone!
Posted by 12hazel90 on July 11, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 7
I bought Mrs. Horton the 50 Shades series hoping to ignite the erotic imagination (plus, I would love to get more into domination - unfortunately she doesn't seem to like being submissive). She devoured the series, despite complaining they were poorly written from a literary standpoint.

Keep the suggestions coming! Even if they are just great, exciting and sexy books without BDSM.
Posted by Tim Horton on July 11, 2012 at 6:15 PM · Report this
typewriters were not made to make phone calls, so why the reverse?
Posted by Tor on July 11, 2012 at 6:16 PM · Report this
Has Danny reported the DEATH THREATS Brad Pitt's mother is receiving for expressing her disapproval of homosexual "marriage"?

Is it only a hate crime when the victim agrees with Danny?
Posted by HomoHatred is A-OK by Danny..... on July 11, 2012 at 6:37 PM · Report this
I am a big fan of Emma Holly. Ménage is my favorite but she has a lot of great erotica titles.
Posted by nannerb88 on July 11, 2012 at 7:17 PM · Report this
I'm just glad Mr Savage gets to outsource this one.
Posted by vennominon on July 11, 2012 at 8:33 PM · Report this
This one isn't BDSM, but this mini book by Ticky Sowdenham has a great, sex positive female protagonist who goes on a mission to lose her virginity:…
Posted by nokidsandthreemoney on July 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
While they are in no way based in reality, I found the Sleeping Beauty books by Anne Rice, (written under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure) to be very instructive when I was young and in the process of figuring out my sexual appetites.
Posted by Kitchenwitch on July 11, 2012 at 9:21 PM · Report this
Kapow 14
Is there anal in 50 shades? There better be anal.
Posted by Kapow on July 11, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
I don't think it particularly important that litporn/ romantica/erotica describe life accurately.
It's escapism and a nice help for wanking- just like porn movies.
Posted by migrationist on July 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 16
The Kushiel's Dart series, though it's fantasy fiction, is surprisingly hot fun. Brain candy, don't get me wrong, but a dandy beach book. I only really liked the 1st one; #2 & #3 were okay, & couldn't get into the other ones.

Some of the adult comics trade paperbacks published by Eros Comics, the smut arm of Seattle-local comics publisher Fantagraphics, is plenty kinky & has dirty pictures to boot.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on July 11, 2012 at 10:32 PM · Report this
@16 said exactly what I wanted to. Consider this another vote for the first book in the series!
Posted by Namae nante iranai! on July 11, 2012 at 10:37 PM · Report this
The hottest selling items in e-fiction right now are erotic short stories (and plenty of them have BDSM elements). One short story is 99 cents. Try going to amazon and typing in erotic short fiction - BDSM and see what happens.
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on July 11, 2012 at 11:25 PM · Report this
I second the vote for Laura Antoniou's Marketplace series. They are vastly more realistic than most BDSM erotica.
Posted by daphne24 on July 12, 2012 at 6:23 AM · Report this
MUST reads for fans of BDSM fiction:

The Marketplace Series by Laura Antoniou

Safeword (and its sequel, Carrie's Story) by Molly Weatherfield

Leather Daddy and the Femme by Carol Queen

A Taste of Amber* by Penny Birch

*Ignore the cover art. It has nothing to do with the story.
Posted by lellemnop on July 12, 2012 at 6:28 AM · Report this
Shayla Black for contemporary erotica. Kate Pearce for historical erotica. Jacqueline Carey ("Kushiel's Dart", etc.) for sci fi/fantasy erotica. All very hot and written by professional writers as opposed to "Fifty Shades..."
Posted by Bugnroolet on July 12, 2012 at 6:44 AM · Report this
Probably the only good thing about 50 shades, is the detailed discussion, initiated by the Dom, of what acts are permissible and what aren't initiated. The Dom also requires routine health checks for both and uses condoms. If Dan could bring himself to read those pages of the book, I think he would be impressed.
Posted by knitpicker on July 12, 2012 at 6:51 AM · Report this
I don't think it's a good idea to make another book suggestion until his girlfriend has had a chance to explore on her own. If "50 shades" sounds hot to her, then let her have some fun. Don't rain on her parade if you want to get laid ;) Taking over her attempt to explore will only ruin it for her.

I didn't get around to exploring my kinky side till my 30's, b/c every single time I said I was the least bit curious about anything at all, an over-eager, horny, jerk bf jumped the gun and ruined everything by attempting to push me into things I wasn't ready for. One guy recommended an Anne Rice series that was way too intense for my tastes at the time, but I read the entire thing (while cringing through every single chapter) just to please him. Another guy "surprised" me by taking me to a bdsm club where I saw things I wasn't ready to see. Those experiences just made me shut down completely, b/c things were going too fast and it was overwhelming.

She's probably not looking for book suggestions, she's most likely looking for approval b/c she's somewhat embarassed or confused. This SLOTD is such a great example of how men and women think so very differently. It's Mars vs. Venus: She goes to him looking for a bit of encouragement, just wanting him to listen for a few min. and tell her how sexy it is that she's into it. But what he hears is that it's his job to go into fix-it mode and make it all happen for her. She wasn't presenting it as a problem that needed fixing- all she wanted to hear was that she's sexy and you approve.

Guys: a little encouragement goes a long way in the bedroom. Don't complain that she's boring or has bad taste in erotica if you never compliment her, make her feel sexy or give her positive feedback when she does explore new things. Maybe someday she'll look back and say "I can't believe I actually liked that", but trashing her taste and stomping all over her feelings isn't going to get you anywhere in bed.

Posted by don't fix what ain't broke on July 12, 2012 at 7:08 AM · Report this
BEG 24
I'm just going to say, IME gay male BDSM porn is more plentiful, and usually better written than most het equivalents. Most of them are written for women by women -- if LW's girlfriend seems interested, I'd check out online erotica ebook sites for some of this.
Posted by BEG!/browneyedgirl65 on July 12, 2012 at 7:16 AM · Report this
AFinch 25
heh...I just got a copy of 50 shades for my missus who, unlike me, was a late bloomer and relatively vanilla (my brain got corrupted first by some BDSM porn comix discovered in a neighbor's garage at the tender age of 11, and later again at 15 by O). While my dom fantasies and desires have abated (I just want good sex, vanilla is fine, the kink is icing), I figured I'd tickle the imagination - esp. after she came home from work one day saying that "everyone is talking about 50 shades". Honestly, this book has made having the "kink cards" talk a cakewalk for me this time.

I appreciate the other reccy's very much; I've not yet read 50 - she will pass along the copy when done - but there is enough intrigue to read more.
Posted by AFinch on July 12, 2012 at 7:22 AM · Report this
AFinch 26
@23 - thanks for the good (and timely!) reminder!
Posted by AFinch on July 12, 2012 at 7:24 AM · Report this
I read the "Best Bondage Erotica 2012" collection edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, and I would highly recommend it to anybody toying with the idea of bondage and power play. If you read a book with a single story as your entrance into BDSM, you may well not click with certain aspects of the story and then get turned off by the whole thing. A collection of short erotic stories is great because you can read a lot of different scenes and figure out what pushes your buttons from there. Girl or guy in charge? Spanking or no? What words do you like hearing during a scene and which ones turn you off? How would additional partners contribute to your enjoyment of a scene? It's a great way to explore what you might like to try and what you definitely don't.

If this woman wants an erotic literary taste of the BDSM world and her boyfriend is hoping that she likes what she reads, I'd highly recommend this book. It's a super hot collection, and if she doesn't like it, the boyfriend can always borrow it!
Posted by oohlookasquirrel on July 12, 2012 at 7:33 AM · Report this
nocutename 28
If you're not reading unregistered comments, you might have overlooked post # 23, which makes some very good points.

Also was going to add my voice to those like #27 (oohlookasquirrel), recommend short story anthologies as opposed to longer form. Inevitably when I read a book-length piece of erotica there are too many details that get in the way of my turn-on, or too much plot, or something that shuts the whole thing down for me, but that rarely happens as intensely in a short story, and if one isn't tripping my trigger, I can just flip to another.
I wouldn't suggest going to sites like Literotica, which I find are too mixed a bag of badly-written and good things. Start with publications edited by Rachel Kramer Bussell, Allison Tyler, Violet Blue, Marcy Sheiner. Look into books published by Cleis Press or Pretty Things Press. Some anthologies are more generic and include BDSM stories in the mix; some collections are more topical, and you can expect every story will feature BDSM (or oral, or be set in a hotel/motel, or heat, or danger, or fruit--I kid you not--or whatever.) As someone else has suggested, don't limit yourself to straight erotica; I'm a straight woman, but I like my erotica pansexual: straight, lesbian, gay, bi. If it's well-written and has the appropriate components (for me), it works just fine!
Posted by nocutename on July 12, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 29
@13 Seconded. The Beauty books were amazing.

@23 Agreed. But, if exploratory erotica doesn't turn your crank because you just can't get past the really REALLY shitty writing, how is his gf supposed to know if its the writing or the subject matter turning her off? And, what if she gives up on kink books altogether assuming they're all written so poorly because this is the most popular of the bunch and the most popular is obviously the hottest?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on July 12, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
nocutename 30
I think you should get your hands on a copy of 50 Shades, and say, as you give it to her, "Here you go. But I've heard that this is really not a very well-written book, so if doesn't do anything for you, let's find some others."

On one hand, you don't want to pull a comment #23 on her (I will no longer play miniature golf with a man because they insist on trying to get me to correct my stance, stroke, etc. when I just wanted to have a fun hour and then go for a mojito), but on the other hand, there is a real concern that the awfulness of the writing (I haven't read it myself, but if enough people are complaining and more importantly, if it started as fan fic based on "Twilight" . . . ) may turn her off to BDSM, because after all, this book is supposed to be THE hottest.

What about the classic Story of O?

Posted by nocutename on July 12, 2012 at 8:24 AM · Report this
RTam 31
@24 I agree. M/M BDSM erotica is WAY better than M/F. "Nowhere Ranch" by Heidi Cullinan is pretty steamy and kind of extreme if that's what you're looking for.
Posted by RTam on July 12, 2012 at 9:21 AM · Report this
smajor82 32
@23 - When you read an entire series you don't enjoy just to make someone else happy, you aren't a victim. Sounds like you could spend less time blaming your jerk bf and more time learning how to take responsibility for times when you put other people's happiness before your own.

This mars/venus nonsense isn't helping much, either. If you aren't capable of being assertive, don't make it about your gender - that's a cop out. There are plenty of doormat guys out there who timidly say one thing hoping their partner will infer something entirely different. And there are plenty of women who think that every time someone mentions a problem, it's their job to try and fix it. It's just 2 different forms of mental unhealthiness and none of it has anything to do with some innate mindset stemming from what's between your legs.

Posted by smajor82 on July 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
I highly recommend Cowboy Casanova by Lorelei James (the other books in the series have some kink, but this one is explicitly a Dom/sub relationship). It's a really great read and has ton of hot scenes!!
Posted by tilda_sf on July 12, 2012 at 9:52 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 34
@9 - I know I shouldn't engage in trolls, but the alleged death threats are a complete fabrication. Mrs. Pitt has not claimed to have received such threats. A right wing organization that loves to wallow in perceived victimization made the allegations without any substantiation. AND THERE ARE NO POLICE REPORTS FILED.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on July 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
ShifterCat 35
Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series (book 1: Kushiel's Dart) is a favourite of both my husband and me. It's got adventure, intrigue, interesting world-building, and lovable characters.

Sex-positivity-wise, it's good because not only does it show things like consent and safewords, but it also has some discussion of how different people have different tastes and limits. Some sex writers have the annoying attitude that anyone who's not constantly trying to push the envelope is totally missing out -- there's none of that here. Some characters are only a little bit kinky; others aren't kinky at all, but they're handled with the same respect.
Posted by ShifterCat on July 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM · Report this
Seconding (or is that thirding or fourthing by now?) the Marketplace series by Laura Antoniou. It's the Gone with the Wind of BDSM fiction.

Also recommend Power Play: Resistance & Power Play: Awakening by Cat Grant & Rachel Haimowitz. Pretty hardcore m/m BDSM written by a pair BDSM of lifestylers.
Posted by Just Dropping By on July 12, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Michael Manning graphic novels? Deep, deep in the realm of fantasy and things that do not happen on this plane of existence, but, pretty.
Posted by ChrissyinMA on July 12, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
Annabel Joseph! I especially recommend Comfort Object. She is my number one favorite BDSM author. Her books are romances, but really steamy and not too tame... I read a ton of BDSM erotica, so I love this topic :-)

If she is looking to start with something romantic and a bit tamer, Maya Banks and Shayla Black are suggestions. I find them both a bit snooze-y, but there are a lot of women who love them. Cherise Sinclair is a pretty popular BDSM romance author. Her books mostly take place in sex clubs, for those who like the public aspect. Claire Thompson is also pretty great. She writes everything from romance to hardcore non-consensual kidnap erotica, sooooo check out the book description first. Anneke Jacob is a fantastic author who has two BDSM books out, which are much more hardcore than the aforementioned romances. Hot and compelling, but maybe not the place for a beginner to start and definitely not a how-to!

If you want something that is more erotica than romance, I totally recommend checking out Black Lace or Nexus titles. A lot of them are out of print now, but you can find most of them pretty cheap on Amazon. Nexus especially can get pretty perverse :-) My absolute favorite Black Lace book is Cassandra's Conflict by Frederica Alleyn. The Sleeping Beauty books, as previously mentioned, are pretty hot.

If you want erotic short stories, there are some great anthologies edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. I like Yes Sir and He's On Top. She has femdom versions too, but I don't read that stuff :-P
Posted by Lma56 on July 12, 2012 at 4:58 PM · Report this
She should read Fluffy Bunny Domination:
Posted by blah on July 13, 2012 at 6:24 AM · Report this
Rachel kramer bussel is great - first kink book I ever read and enjoyed the collections.
Also I tried 50 shades and it's so poorly written it made me angry!
Posted by Maryln on July 13, 2012 at 6:56 AM · Report this
41 reviews BDSM romance (reviews by SarahF are especially useful since she's in the lifestyle) -

Here are a couple more "if you liked 50 Shades" lists -……

Other authors to try - Joey Hill, Delphine Dreyden, Cherise Sinclair. For m/m bdsm, try K A Mitchell, Heidi Cullinan. And I second the Rachel Kramer Bussel recommendation - she's edited a lot of great kinky anthologies
Posted by chicago-girl on July 13, 2012 at 9:53 AM · Report this
I read the Story of O at 13 and was mightily turned on (and a little creeped out). In college I read the story "Telepaths Don't Need Safewords" by Cecilia Tan, and loved it. It's available for $2.99 through Circlet Press.

@39 thanks for the tip!
Posted by EricaP on July 15, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
This isn't a book, but a movie: The Secretary.
It stars Maggie Gylenhaal, and it's probably one of the most approachable BDSM love stories available to the mass audience. Very good introduction to "why this stuff is appealing."
Posted by kaevas on July 16, 2012 at 6:11 AM · Report this
katekinsey 44
Allow me to suggest a book coming out Sept. 6, "Red" by Kate Kinsey. It's a BDSM crime thriller.
Posted by katekinsey on August 17, 2012 at 10:03 PM · Report this

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