I reviewed this book which was provided for free by the publisher. However, I do not receive any compensation for reviews. All book reviews are My personal and subjective opinion.
One of the things I love about Cleis Press is their drive to be inclusive in their work, and Best Bondage Erotica of the Year, Vol 1 was no exception. Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has included a range of gender identities and sexual identities as well as bondage types and styles in this volume. Enclosed within these pages are stories encircling the topic of bondage, varying in their methods the likes of which I haven't seen since The Ultimate Guide to Bondage by Mistress Couple. Occasionally I was bogged down by my analytical mind attempting to follow along envisioning a tie, but the characters and scenarios always brought me back. Best Bondage Erotica of the Year, Vol 1 was a delight to read and aroused more than scene inspiration.
Tales I particularly enjoyed:
"Boundless" by Sammy Rei Schwarz.
"Impropriety" by Winter Blair
"Pretty Tied Up" by Zak Jane Keir
"The Deepest Part of the Forest" by Deborah Castellano
"Connection" by Lazuli Jones
"Delicate Matters" by Leandra Vane, a romance author and blogger of Needle & Bow and The Unlaced Librarian
"Safe Sex" by Violet R. Jones
It's unfortunate we're not able to keep up with the Joneses, but definitely follow the other authors.
"The Beguiling of Merlin" by Tiffany Reisz was by far one of my favorite stories. I was delighted to learn that the story is an unpublished chapter from a larger work, The Red: An Erotic Fantasy. Reisz, a USA Today best selling author, lured me in with promises of art, myth, magic, & mystery....and she did not disappoint! I may be making a visit to The Red to explore further.
Reviewing short stories poses the difficulty of giving praise without spoilers! Overall, I enjoyed the authors using bondage as a starting point without it being the only element to the scene. Some bondage was subtle and left room for other kinks as well, such as: mindfucks, humiliation, forced orgasm, and mental bondage. I also appreciate the inclusion and normalization of sex & disability, nonbinary & transgender people, and self-tying; it's important to have representation in porn. If you enjoy bondage, if you're interested in BDSM, and if you like to "play" during sex, you should check out Best Bondage Erotica of the Year, Vol 1 here.
About the Editor
Rachel Kramer Bussel is a writer, editor, event organizer and erotica writing instructor. She's edited over 60 anthologies, including The Big Book of Orgasms, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Dirty Dates, On Fire, Spanked, Please Sir, Please Ma'am, and is Best Women's Erotica of the Year series editor. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Elle.com, Salon, Slate, Time.com, The Village Voice and numerous other publications. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and learn more about her writing workshops and consulting at EroticaWriting101.com.