Queer Kink Erotic author Xan West’s has invited me to join in on a month long virtual book tour. Before I get into my thoughts on this book a little about the author and the book:
A little about our author:
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.
A little about the Book:
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.
I like to read porn, smut, and erotica. Call it what you will, but I like things dark, dirty, taboo and Show Yourself To Me is filled with it all. There are some things that stood out to me instantaneously about this book in context to styling and wordsmithing. There is a layout here in content that I am familiar with that still somehow pleasantly and most unexpectedly managed to surprise me to find it in a book. What I refer to as wordsmithing starts on the cover with the title. From the cover to each of the following pages this book was constantly bringing forward unexpected feelings, emotions, and thoughts for me. This book, at the same time, is and isn’t made to make us feel comfortable.
The first thing I should notice is the cover and book title and I do, but it happens in more of a passing glance and it’s lost on me until later. I am too greedy wanting to dig into the meaty pieces inside and I missed something that would come to me later about this title. Instead of being the first thing I absorbed, the title is the last and final thoughts I have before I sit to write today. Since last night I have been pondering the words Show Yourself To Me. I have been thinking of how loaded these words are. What is it we do when we allow ourselves to be seen? There is so much risk and so much possibility of reward. We allow ourselves the possibility to be and to feel, vulnerability, fear, excitement, dread, pain, longing and more. What a litany of feelings and emotions we open ourselves up to. When I first read the title I assume the author is looking for us to open ourselves up and I believe Xan West does want us to do that, but even more I believe what is done here is we are being shown our author. There is a strong metallic taste pouring into these pages from tears. We are reminded life is not neat, things get messy, and Xan turns the wet messy and often ugly pain here into something beautiful. When you read through the stories in this book you get to see raw reconstruction of self, along with a proclivity for knives, tears, rough trade, and leather. This wasn’t the erotica I was expecting and I am glad. It’s the first time in years I have had erotica make me pause and think about what I show of myself to others.
What I noticed right away was the contents page and the warnings listings. Between each Story and its page is a detail of warning content. I read stories on alt.sex repository and I am accustomed to lingo for content warning in online porn, but for some reason I never expected it here. I feel compelled to talk about the warnings ad content listing. It’s so great and I wonder why it’s not more standard. Not only does it do the obvious of helping people divert themselves from stories that have content they need to turn away from, but it helps you steer to content that makes us hot! Seriously, at each of our Smut Club meeting here in NYC our little group always seems to have one or more women (it’s a women’s group) who will say they had to stop reading and couldn’t finish because of certain content they were triggered by. This book’s erotica touches on real and very sensitive areas of our lives and sexualities. Content information, so simple, but so brilliant. I’m excited to go talk about this book with my friends at our local Smut Club.
One last thing I wanted to comment on is something I read on Heather Elizabeth’s blog Kinkopedia. During her tour stop of this book wrote about a reaction she had to Xan West commenting that…
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… No one tells those stories.
I think of all the virtual book stops on the tour this one observation stopped me in my tracks, because its part of my story. She is right that people probably don’t speak this type of truth often, but I believe people are hungry for this queer erotic and are ready to hear these stories.
Show Yourself To Me can be purchased at:
Go Deeper Press and Amazon