Author: Edited by Richard Labonte
Publisher: Cleis Press
Cover Artist: Scott Idleman/Blink with photo by gilaxia/Getty Images
Rating: 0 of 5 Stars
What You See is What You Get
Rough and ready, smooth and sultry, or quick and raw—however you like it, you’ll find it in Studs, a collection of the hottest and best-written man-to-man sex stories to ever hit print. Wayne Courtois provides a behind-the-scenes peek into into a Downton Abbey-like world as a gardener sets out to seduce the estate manager in “Capturing the King.” Truth drips off the page in Shane Allison’s shockingly sexy “Confession Angel.” In Andrew McCarthy’s “Underground Operator,” a sweaty subway platform is the stage for rough, anonymous sex. With his new stable of Studs, editor Richard Labonté stuns us with exhilaratingly explicit gay erotica.
This collection included an introduction by Emanuel Xavier where he described his process for selecting the stories included in this anthology. He explained what he looked for in erotica. His criteria put into words exactly what I have been struggling to explain about my feeling towards erotica, things I have always been unable to express well.
“Erotica should excite the reader with its imagination, besides providing pleasure.”
“…it can be said that at the root of all good erotica is love. Even the most provocative erotics, if read carefully, reveals the need to connect on a deeper level.”
He expressed my desire for erotic stories that are more than just thrilling, shocking, or taboo. Stories that are about more than just pushing the edge of respectability. Stories that have a layer of emotion or connection that brings out hidden desires and fantasies in the reader. I was so excited to read this anthology because after that intro, I just knew I was going to enjoy myself.
Well, I was wrong. This was a collection of 17 short stories that Mr. Xavier says he chose because they “made me close my eyes and jerk off until I stained them.” I have to admit, I do not understand Mr. Xavier’s preferences because some of these stories left me far from lustful. In fact, a few of them just plain left me creeped out or confused.
I enjoyed “My Boy Tuesday” By Arden Hill as it was a slow burn that gave the reader insight into Tristan’s kinks. This was a really good start to this collection. But then things just got weird with tickle torture and desires for “victims to be tickled to death.” Next, things got depressing with a story of a man who turns to drugs, alcoholism, and possibly prostitution in his quest for love. Finally things just got confusing and bordered on creepy with a story that seemingly ended with an involuntary drug overdose and then a story that I believe was rape between best friends. I have to qualify that I am not certain I am correct on my assumptions. The last two stories were very confusing for me as most of the actions were implied instead of outright described.
When I went to read the next story and the title ended up being “Funeral Clothes,” I decided to DNF. I am actually afraid to continue reading for fear of having nightmares. What twisted kink will turn up next? What new depressing or non consensual act did this Mr. Xavier think was erotic?
This collection was not for me. I have to say that the writing and the editing was superb, but the content was too much for me to handle. Maybe I am a prude or maybe I am just too close minded to understand the kink involved to make these stories erotic. I guess I am more vanilla than I thought. You may enjoy this one, if your kinks border on the darker aspects of sexuality. But for me, I was left feeling dirty and I cannot make myself finish this anthology.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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