Show Yourself To Me, by Xan West
A Queer Kink Erotica Collection
Release Date: September 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.
Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.
Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.
Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.
This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.
Please see the Content Notes (available in
the Amazon preview) for full list of kinks.
This is erotica, yes, but not the sultry, lace-wrapped variety that you’ll find tucked discreetly in the back of the Romance section. Xan has brought together two dozen unflinching tales of queer sex, of BDSM, of kink and lust and, yes, love. I’m not even sure that I want to call it erotica; rather, it’s a gorgeous collection of introspective stories focusing on the thoughts, fears, and desires of queers of all shapes and backgrounds. And yeah, sex. A lot of sex. Every type of sex you can imagine, and more, and almost all of it kinky.
There are several commonalities between most of the stories. Most show Daddy-boy/girl relationships. Many feature trans characters, fat characters, characters who are proud fags and dykes. But even with those things in common, not a single story felt repetitive.
A few stories stand out to me more than others:
In “Missing Daddy”, a man reflects on his transition from being an owned boy to being a Daddy himself, and the memories and desires that drove him to that. It was a fascinating and beautiful parallel of past and present, of understanding oneself and the events that change one’s life.
The secret truth of it is this: many of us that moved to the other side of the whip did it to approximate what we had longed for and rarely received. We did it not because we grew up slowly, nurtured by Daddy, but because we decided to grow up on our own and stop yearning for that kind of Daddy. To instead get our pleasure from being that Daddy to some lucky boy.
In “My Will”, a submissive-turned-Dominant returns to the other side of the whip for one night, and is overwhelmed by the emotions that come with that decision. In “Ready”, a submissive is able to let go of painful memories with the help of a trusted Dominant, and the story is absolutely heartbreaking and vividly real.
“You are ready, boy. And I’m right here with you. Daddy’s right here. He’s not going anywhere. You can do this.”
I took a deep breath, staring into his eyes. They were resolute. He was not going to let me get out of this without safe-wording.
“Yes, Sir,” I whispered.
And oh, how human the characters are! This isn’t beautiful people with no physical flaws; these characters are fat, are hairy, and are proud of that. They are all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds. They are old and young. They are gloriously realistic.
There are a few stories that I didn’t connect with, but that’s the joy of a short story collection like this one. There are so many stories to choose from, and each one is incredibly different from the one before it– in tone, in characters, in kink, and in the message the story is conveying.
Xan is a truly talented writer, able to convincingly portray dozens of fully-realized characters who each have their own unique voice.
This anthology is not for everyone. The two pages of content notes at the beginning will attest to the intensity of the kink and relationship dynamics. But this collection stands apart because of the realism and frank portrayals of queer kinky relationships. It humanizes kink, shows the emotions and thoughts behind the whips and ropes, and that made it something truly enjoyable for me.
Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, a recent transplant to Oakland from Brooklyn, who has been doing community kink education for over ten years. Xan has been published in over 35 erotica anthologies, including the Best S/M Erotica series, the Best Gay Erotica series, and the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Xan’s story “First Time Since,” won honorable mention for the 2008 National Leather Association John Preston Short Fiction Award. Xan’s work has been described by reviewers as “offering the erotica equivalent of happy ever after” and as “some of the best transgressive erotic fiction to come along in recent years.”
Xan refuses pronouns, twists barbed wire together with yearning, and tilts pain in many directions to catch the light. Xan adores vulnerable tops; strong, supportive bottoms; red meat; long winding conversations about power, privilege, and community; showtunes; and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds. Find Xan’s thoughts about the praxis of sex, kink, queerness, power, and writing at xanwest.wordpress.com.
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I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.