The Best Erotica I’ve Ever Read: A Review of With a Rough Tongue: Femme Writes Porn, Edited by Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly

with a rough tongueCan I just start this review by saying that With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn (edited by Vancouver writers Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly) is by far THE BEST EROTICA I HAVE EVER READ.  It’s like really good sex—when it’s over you’re just like, that was awesome, I want more!!  This book has really re-instilled my faith in queer women’s erotica, which I have to say was decidedly eroded by the time I read itYou know the lesbian erotica you’re reading is bad when you find yourself bored while reading a ‘best of the best’ anthology.  Or when an anthology of supposedly erotic stories is all about romance and not sex.  There were times when I questioned whether I even liked girls while I reading some of the vapid totally not sexy stuff I picked up! So, I am seriously happy that With a Rough Tongue is out there.  And it’s chock full of Canadian writers to boot (Anna Camilleri, rp chow, Kristyn Dunnion, Sara Graefe, Suki Lee, and Sherece Taffe, to name a few in addition to the ones I talk about below).  And it’s all written by femmes! What’s not to love?

The anthology certainly lives up to its promise of “no-holds barred queer sex tales that reinvent lesbian erotica in ways that are transgressive and empowering.”  Although the classification of the writing as lesbian is odd to me, since there are multiple stories featuring trans men, one featuring a drag queen and a cis man, one featuring a cis woman and man, and at least a few of the authors identify as bi/queer and not lesbian.  While I’m on this topic, I’d like to say that it would’ve been nice if some trans women could’ve been included.  That’s my one and only criticism of this fantastic anthology.  In any case, there are seriously talented writers in here.  In particular, I enjoyed stories by: May Lui, Nalo Hopkinson, Amber Dawn, and Ducky Doolittle.

Lui’s story is quite short and there’s nothing actually extraordinary about it: a woman is sitting in her apartment alone and her lover comes in, interrupts her, and takes her.  Maybe I liked this one a lot because it charts familiar territory where my mind goes when it’s so inclined.  I also like that it’s written in an address to ‘you,’ the lover.  For example:

Suddenly you stop, drag me to my feet, and, holding me tightly, you walk me backward to the nearest wall, where you slam me hard against it, and continue your attack on my senses, your rough seduction.  You grab both my wrists, one in each hand, and hold them down by my hips against the wall, as you bite and nibble at my breasts through my bra, swirling your tongue around my nipples.

nalo hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson, via nalohopkinson.com

Nalo Hopkinson’s story is the strongest in the anthology, no question.  “Fisherman” opens with a reluctant, awkward customer sitting in the lobby of a whore house—the exact place isn’t clear, but it’s definitely somewhere in the Caribbean.  This adorable client, K.C., is especially nervous because they’re not a cis man and are only passing for a regular fisherman like the others in this town.  The sex worker Mary Anne, a smart and sexy woman, reassures the fisherman she would never turn away such an ideal customer and then casually asks “You ever fuck before?”  No, of course, is the fisherman’s answer.  Her response?  “Well doux-doux, is your lucky night tonight; you going to learn from the mistress of the house!”  This is first-time sex erotica really at its finest: it’s hot and really sexy but cute and a bit awkward at the same time.  I’ll just give you a taste of what the fisherman is in for:

She hips bucking like anything.  A strong woman this.  I had to brace myself, wrap one arm around she thigh and hold on tight.  So close in there, I close my hand up in a fist.  I pull back my hand partway, and push it in again.  Pull back, push in.  Pull back, push in.  She start to bawl ’bout don’t stop, fuck she, don’t stop.  I could do that.  I hold on to she bucking body and I fuck she.  Me, K.C.

AmberDawn_2012

Amber Dawn, via sadmag.ca

Amber Dawn’s story also features a sex worker, whose boyfriend is trans; never of them having dated someone like the other before, they’ve both been educating themselves, about trans and sex work issues respectively.   I really liked how this story was a combination of an interesting, realistic look at a relationship and some really hot sex scenes, including one at the woman’s place of work.  Kay and Owen join forces with one of Kay’s co-workers and pretend they don’t know each other:

Only Kay knows just how much she has hungered for this moment.  She opens her mouth and takes him in.  The taste of salt hits the back of her throat.  She gulps it down and take him in a bit more, his soft flesh presses against her tongue.  Her whole body begins to move as she sucks, her ass lifting a little from the floor with each thrust.  The sensation of him sliding from her mouth, then her gently sucking him in again, his wetness dribbling down her chin: all of this makes her dizzy with pleasure.

ducky doolittle

Ducky Doolittle, via yelp.com

My last favourite, “Clean Panties” by Ducky Doolittle, is just such an awesome femme twist revenge story on a panty-stealing laundromat pervert.  I almost don’t want to spoil this one by giving anything away, but I just need to share this part:

As I watched him jerking himself off, I could feel my panties getting sopping wet.  I stepped over him so that I was straddling his body.  I lifted my skirt and started to touch my clit.  My panties were dripping and I just had to cum.  But I was going to be damned if he got to cum before me, so I knelt down with a knee on either side of his head and forced my pelvis down hard on his face.  After all, he was the one who had something to lose here, he was the one who should suffer, so I felt like I didn’t need to hold back.  He should pay me for those panties, and pay me in orgasms.

So far I’ve only discussed the particular stories that turned me on.  Obviously, what turns you on is a highly subjective thing.  With a Rough Tongue also includes a clever BDSM vampire story by Elaine Miller, a dominant femme boss seducing her secretary (or being seduced??) after accidentally shooting her in the shoulder with an arrow, a knife play story, and a cunnilingus-while-driving-in-a-snowstorm piece.  Seriously, your life is not complete without this book in your collection, and probably your nightstand.

PS: am I the only one who is reminded of cats with the tongue reference in the title?  That makes me feel a bit awkward.

About caseythecanadianlesbrarian

I’m a writer from Canada’s west coast currently based in Vancouver. I have an honours BA in English and German from the University of Victoria and an MA in English from Dalhousie University in Halifax (yes, living near the ocean is a necessity for me). My love of literature is pretty inclusive, but I am especially partial to that which is queer, feminist, Canadian and/or written by women. Some of my favourite authors are: Alison Bechdel, Dionne Brand, Ivan E. Coyote, Anne Fleming, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Shani Mootoo, Eden Robinson, Sarah Waters, Zoe Whittall, Jeanette Winterson, and Virginia Woolf. When I’m not reading, I enjoy experimenting with creative vegetarian(ish) cooking, doing ashtanga yoga, running, cruising around on my bike named Harriet the Spy, and going to see live music.
This entry was posted in Amber Dawn, Anthology, BDSM, Bisexual, Butch, Canadian, Caribbean, Erotica, Fiction, Kristyn Dunnion, Lesbian, Nalo Hopkinson, Non-Canadian, Postcolonial, Queer, Sex Work, Short Stories, Trans Feminine, Trans Masculine, Vancouver, Zoe Whittall. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Best Erotica I’ve Ever Read: A Review of With a Rough Tongue: Femme Writes Porn, Edited by Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly

  1. Okay, I have to buy this book – like sooner rather than later. Great review.

  2. Pingback: Link Round Up: May 22 – 28 | The Lesbrary

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