Review: The Big Book of Submission

Released this summer from Cleis Press and edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, one of my favorites, it admittedly took me a while to read and review The Big Book of Submission. Why? Well, it’s not really a book made for reading all in one sitting. With a mishmash of genders, D/s dynamics, and points of view, these 69 stories are perhaps best for grabbing on the go one at a time, skipping those that hit your triggers and flipping through for the stories that hit your own submissive buttons.

I was happy to see a pretty even balance of pairings and groups in the book, though there are certainly plenty of the more common male Dom, female sub erotica pieces. Some of the stories felt a little light on the consent, but this is fantasy territory–just proceed with caution if that’s a trigger for you. There’s a lot of sex with the kink, including stories of humiliation, orgasm control, and forced sexual scenarios. My favorite stories mix things up a little–Salome Wilde’s “Butch Unbound,” for example, tells the story of a butch Daddy submitting to his girl, while Giselle Renarde’s “Crush” starts with a male partner in his girlfriend’s panties, the female character voicing her desire to “fuck [him] with [her] clit.”

Though a lot of these stories linger in a submissive fantasy territory where desires are fairly quickly established and understood, there are some refreshing nods to dominant vulnerability and submissive communication needs within the volume. I also love that two male dom/female sub stories throw out a nerdy reference along with their discipline–one features reading a “Fifty Shades of Grey”-type story aloud while masturbating as punishment, while another starts with a girl reluctant to come to bed on time because someone is being wrong on the Internet. Who can blame her?


One comment

  1. I write vanilla m/f . I waded though this tome looking for a better understanding of the foundations of BDSM. In the wake of Fifty Shades it’s a topic that gives rise to more heat than light. I agree it was one at a time, but I read them all, even the ones that made me squicky. I’m pretty dense so I was a long way into it before I realized how much trust is at the center of these relationships and in that sense they are like all sexual relationships. My favorite story was “Control Tower” by Olivia Summersweet. It was closer to the kind of sex I know.

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