Sophia James of “Dominant Female Submissive Male” Is A Fraud

Dominant female submissive male by sophia james reviewer's copy photographed on a white cloth background

As an advice book, this 2014 manual is not good. While there are many ways a book might be bad, this one is a special kind of harmful. That’s the sort of guide where some of the advice isn’t the worst, so you go through a few pages giving them the benefit of the doubt, and then things hop off into its own ridiculous realm.  We have misogyny, sexism, weird pet peeves of the author, dangerous BDSM advice, and of course miles of fap. 

And whoops, it’s built on yet another bit of garden variety scamming. Whee!

The initial tells that something aren’t quite right is the odd perspective Sophia James brings to how she thinks all of this kink business works. I am loathe to call all suspicious femdom accounts “men”, but the misogyny in the way the manual talks about women; their frankly dangerous claims about other, unnamed professional dommes they claim insight on; and their enormous gaps in knowledge all point to significant odds this is dude fap. Fap charging other people money. Yuck.

Follow the author on twitter, and the nature of their fraud becomes immediately more telling- this person doesn’t exist. Not as in Sophia James being just a pen name for a real domme, but it’s clear that the persona exists to masturbate about femdom, while taking the money of naïve men who are just trying to educate themselves as a bonus. For Sophia James, It’s a very careful kind of lying: You find a feed full of stolen pictures of different but just similar enough to seem like the same person if you squint. They don’t explicitly say this is them, but it’s awfully weird how they feel they should do this. Otherwise they’re just peppering their timeline with ogling free porn of women and saying random fantasy for dudes type things, or telling various pro-dommes their ideas are hot. Now it’s *possible* that Sophia James just happens to be a largely lesbian who is incredibly tedious, but… come on.

Here’s their profile on twitter:

Sophia James on twitter, lush with stolen porn and hetero male fap
Sophia James’s Profile – Note the “Media” tab on the right

And, below is where they nicked their profile pic from:

The porn site sophia james nicked her profile picture from
Found via “Tin Eye” reverse image search.

The text of their twitter profile, other than ads for their books, is almost entirely stories they claim to be doing with other women, sometimes where their sub can watch. Otherwise its so, so many comments on random women and whether they are hot or not. We get it dude, you like willowy women with big boobs.

They also comment extensively on stuff other female dominants share, but only the sexy stuff. Unlike the actual social media profiles of professional dommes there is distinct lack of the usual familiarity or aesthetics.

Kink isn’t that big of a world, and even if you confine yourself to a niche, normally the profiles have some modicum of interaction, at least if they aren’t endless book spam or twitter “engagment” groups. Sophia James behaves like a poorly socialized horny man who figured out pretending to be a domme is the only way one will give him the time of day.

Ok, whatever. There’s a million fap accounts, why is this an issue?

If you believe the author, they “[…] sold over 400 copies of this book last year and many thanked me for changing their lives. ” and then claim they sold 10 thousand of this book total. That’s a LOT of people who have been cheated. It’s most likely they are lying here too, but even in best case and I am wrong that they are an actual femdom:

“Dominant Female Submissive Female” is still complete garbage as a guidebook.

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Femdom Review: SVACOM Cathy, Yay or Nae?

svacomSVACOM asked me to review a part of their catalog, the pink silicone skin vibrator titled “Cathy”. There’s only one problem, I generally find 99% of vibes, through no fault of their own, leave my lady parts cold. And numb. But still, here I am with a $ vibrator and wondering how to give it a fair shake.

Enter my friend Mrs. Castle. My neighbour and frequent tea companion, this woman is one of the lovely extra bright points in a life that’s already filled with some pretty sparkly people. She is able to give it a thorough testing, so when Svacom sent me the toy to test I was able to do a quick hand off and, within short order she had news to share.

Let’s see how Mrs. Castle enjoyed her date with Cathy?

Today I spent an hour getting intimate with my new friend Cathy. Cathy is Svakom’s much touted ‘Ultra-Soft Silicone Vibrator’, which comes in pink, or PINK.  The one gifted me by Miss Pearl is decidedly PINK (though on their site, Svakom calls it ‘Plum Red’). Cathy is a generous 180mm long, and 90mm wide, and so if you are not comfortable with a decent girth, you might consider being very liberal with your lube before playing with her. She is also waterproof, and made of eco-safe materials. She functions on polymer lithium rechargeable battery, and has a continuous working time of roughly 2 hours.

One thing that sets Cathy apart from other vibes is the ‘Svakom Intelligent Mode’. I admit, I was skeptical when I read that in the user guide, but it was actually fairly pleasant. It has a nice slow teasing build, which I did like, though I found the ‘climax’ period of the cycle to be far too short for my personal taste. Still, it is a far better cycle of vibration than I’ve tried with other similar toys in the past, and I mostly did like it. Happily, you can press the arrows to shift modes at any time to make your experience more or less intense.

Another feature I was very impressed by was how SILENT Cathy was. Svakom promises their toys are ‘whisper quiet’, and they really delivered on that front. I could only hear the faintest thrum of the motor, but only just. It was nice, and as such did not distract me from my self-pleasuring mission. I am sure that if others were home, they would have had no idea what I was up to.

I also want to highlight how wide Cathy is, and that she is a shapely toy. Many vibrators out there are pretty dull, and slim, and honestly do little for me. Cathy was wide, enough that I was surprised by it, and it made for a much more pleasant experience. She is also tapered, so you can insert to the girth you like best, though I found it to be the most comfortable when I had the vibrator in as fully as was possible without losing the control buttons.

My main critique would be that the design leads to some small frustration because the control buttons do end up very close to buried within you. Some sort of remote to control the settings would have been nice, and could lend itself well to more partner-play too.

Did Cathy do the job? I would say that she’s certainly a fun ride, if not a thorough one. I am one of those who requires far more clitoral stimulation than just vaginal, but I did enjoy the internal stimulation a fair amount. Cathy is a long girl, and I do really like being deeply penetrated, which was also agreeable. I also liked the feel of the ‘ultra-soft silicone’ as opposed to regular silicone or other materials I’ve seen used. I found that the sensations were well delivered, as well as thoughtfully-timed when I was playing with the ‘Intelligent Mode’.

7.5/10 will diddle with again.

What do I think of the SVACOM Cathy?

I like that it’s a rechargeable cordless vibe, although lurid pink is not my favourite, aesthetically. The promotional material hilariously promotes everywhere you could use it other than intimate purposes- a not unfamiliar quirk in a world where sex toys fall on the cusp of legal in some region and the framing is everything. I can’t see myself using it as a massage wand for my shoulder the way I will use a rumbley work horse like the good old Magic Wand.

On the other hand, the Svacom Cathy seems just as solid as her other, well more known cousins from established brands. Her price is not low budget ($95 US), but the build quality in comparable to similarly priced toys in other lines. She doesn’t horrify based on materials. Whisper quiet without sacrificing power is pretty key to self diddling, whether you are college aged and living with the ‘rents or living with kids who’ll ask why mommy is buzzing at night.

Okay, but why should I care?

A diversity of sex toys encourages exploring new designs (all the better for a diversity of bodies!) and well as driving the overall price. Although this is a first time with Svacom it will be interesting to see where the brand takes their output next.

Review disclosure: I got the SVACOM Cathy for free and shared it with my friend, who I allowed to keep it because A) used sex toy and B) she evidently enjoyed it enough it’ll keep being used.

(They offered a coupon code, if such a thing is applicable to you: specialdisc20 a $20 discount.)

Unbound by Cara McKenna: Femdom Romance That Gets It

femdom romanceWanna know how you can take the tropes and rules of the genre of romance and make a well realized self discovery setting with flawed but pleasant characters, and write a femdom story that is believable? Tired of erotica aimed at sub men and looking for something written to please a female dominant?

Unbound, by Cara McKenna is one of my more pleasant surprises for 2016. Holy shit, is it a tightly little packaged example of a good, realistic femdom romance. You know how you really want something to exist, and you bemoan that you can’t seem to find it, and BAM, there it is, better than anything you could write?

I have a moderate romance novel habit, usually enjoying the so-bad-its-good and the occasional just plain good read as I do my daily commute to and from work. I’m usually a big fan of historicals, but Amazon gave this to me as a suggested read. Judging a book by its cover, it’s another shirtless headless dude with a vaguely kink hinting title, and I admit I was all prepared to hate read my way through a hideous M/f train wreck someone dashed off to pay the internet bill. I admit I am a snarky, mean reader. Then by a few pages in the author managed to make me go from predatory reviewer to tentatively intrigued:

There’s nothing in summary to make you expect something different. Our heroine, Merry, is off to do a hiking adventure in the Scottish Highlands. She’s recently lost her mother and a significant amount of weight, and is dealing with the ramifications of that. This is the first sign that we’re in for an actual treat- while most books handle weight loss like a Cinderella transformation, Merry is dealing with all the realities- loose skin, changed relationship with people that’s a mixed blessing, and trying to bend her mind around a healthy relationship with herself and her body. Rather than glamour, she’s feeling alienated from her identity as the fun fat girl- her long term FWB dumped her and she’s having to re-examine both her friendships and her relationships with herself. Then her swimming in a Scottish lake gives her dysentery.

In a writing genre where beleaguered heroines get dainty fevers and miraculously limited concussions, I’ll give the story props for going there. The narrative about as coy as the POV would give about the symptoms, but weak and fainty, she ends up on the doorstep of a local hermit, a guy with a Dark Past (TM). Our hero, Rob, is an alcoholic who deals with his problem by getting away from society. Oh, and he’s a pervert.

The book teases you, taking a slow burn approach to all things sexual, and I was all prepped to pout a little when it was revealed that he was a Secret Dominant who was going to Teach Her To Love Her Body Through Submission, when once again the book surprised me. Rob is a sub with a thing for scratchy rope. And Merry, who hails from the west coast fashion industry is fully aware of kink things and doesn’t miss a beat. Repressed and British bloke meets a woman whose backstory is a baby born of a gay man and a single-by-choice hippy mother. She’s not only cool with it, it doesn’t occur to her that he’s odd.

You know how rare it is to find writing that really gets it? That recognizes the pure joy that’s in the dominant side for women? Or that clues in how desirable a sub guy can make you feel?  I won’t get too spoiler heavy, but these characters manage to connect on multiple levels, both zingy chemistry, and no sense that the demons they battle are pure dramatic padding. And my goodness, it’s good to have a sub guy be written as a delicious piece of fuck meat, and a dominant heroine not have to use the proxy of Mistress AngryWhip to express herself.

One does not read romance to break free of comfortable formats- like watching baseball you go into it with expectations of the rules everyone is operating under. Consider this a perfect play, from someone who knows her genre well and knows how to speak through it to make a very modern, approachable story that delivers the obligatory warm and fuzzies while managing depth of character.



Femdom Review: Roar of Thunder

redmaskRoar of Thunder by Gia Dawn

Roar of Thunder is what I’d describe as a Switch Romance- a story where both characters are competing to dominate the other. From my personal perspective I like a little competition in my dynamic and I don’t mind the idea of mutual thwacking. Switches are also extremely under-served.

And goodness, is this couple fighty and switchy. I emphasize this is a romance novel because the couple, Grace and Ty, do stuff that only makes sense in the weird rules of the genre- for example in the book, shoving someone and shouting “get out!” sans context of consent being simply high drama, not reason to call everything all off and see therapists. Grace and Ty roll around together on the pages like a pair of razor clawed roosters in a cock fighting ring, each trying to take big bloody slashes out of the other. That is, when you don’t have heavy dose of romance novel derp- where the hero inevitably has to talk to his best guy buddy because he doesn’t know how to talk to women, while his sister in playing cupid with the female lead.

But if you’re like me, and you like things turgid and non-con, as well as liking a comforting HEA, the formulaic structure works well with the contents, providing reassuring grounding to something that otherwise shoots my eyebrows up to my hairline as far as unsafe behaviour, while the foofy aspect is balanced by the nasty to avoid being unreadable. This is not a SSC book, indeed its barely RACK, even if it does use the setting of a BDSM club, with all the vocabulary and expectations that go with it. If you don’t like inappropriately pushy people, this is not for you. If, like me, negotiating the boundaries of it being acceptable for your sub to take a swing at you seems like it could lead to sexy results, you might actually have fun.

Now, about the story: Ty, the hero, is your bog standard ex soldier with a troubled mind waiting around to be soothed. Our heroine, Grace, had started as a sub, had a horrifically abusive relationship and couldn’t handle subbing, but her internal monologue makes it unclear if, indeed she’s suffering from “haven’t met the right man yet” syndrome. Grace, and all the various people in Ty’s life, get the idea that what Ty really needs is a dominant to cure his erectile dysfunction and deep seated PTSD problems. I was bracing myself for Grace doing the tumble into submission that so many romance novel heroines do, but I was pleasantly rewarded that all her dominance was most definitely not just for show. Its part of a “Red Mask” series, but you really don’t need the other books to know what’s going on.

You probably aren’t reading this for the plot though, so regarding the sex: When Gia Dawn found out I was doing a review, claimed to lack experience with the real thing (maybe she meant as a dom?). Honestly, it doesn’t show. She likes her butt stuff on the side of chaff-y and painful, but the beating and bondage are erotically constructed into something fun and ouchy. Grace is a caretaker, and her scene control is fun to observe. One thing I wish the author had explored more- Grace was an abuse survivor and decided that subbing didn’t make her feel safe. Ty in no way acted safe, leaping in with full bore jealous/controlling tantrums- I wasn’t sure if enough weight was put into her transition to acknowledge why Ty made her feel comfortable.

Still, about the only critical point I might make is a few “WTF” moments- the characters are supposed to be French, and Ty is mentioned as being ex French Foreign Legion. I think the author meant to place him in the Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (French Special Forces), the Legion not being for wealthy natives of France, but exclusively for non-natives. As a person living in French speaking Canada the French injections into both character’s dialogue felt a bit forced- but honestly, its not her fault her fetish sultry French stereotype fell flat with me- us quasi bilingual readers are not heavy on the ground.

All in all, a solid bit of erotica, whose best quality is the sex. And, if something fairly mainstream friendly makes femdom look hot as she managed, I only hope Gia Dawn writes more.

Category: Erotic romance
Rating: o~o~o~o (4/5)
How I got it: Bought it!
TL;DR: Switches Ty and Grace try to get over their issues by her dominating him.

Femdom Review: Penthouse Variations On Oral

coverartsPenthouse Variations On Oral (erotic stories of going down) by Various Authors.

My first trade paperback blog swag!

Penthouse and I go pretty far back- pubescent me got introduced to the subject of erotica thanks to vintage “Forums” kicking around the house, with all the expected consequences of getting your sex ed from fiction pretending to be true confessions of every day people. There’s some fun stuff under the umbrella of their publishing house (Wildcard is particularly fond of a story in which a cheating husband got a sound naked thrashing with his prize fishing pole), so given the opportunity I took a chance on this.

Now this is a femdom blog, and all the sex here is vanilla, but I’m always gungho about trying new things. You would think that given my unadulterated love of blow jobs, however, I’d be lapping it up regardless. Unfortunately… nope.

This was chockablock with stories, bursting at the seams with confessions about how mouth met moist bits. I was hoping for a tongue tingling ride, but unfortunately this was very much a quantity over quality deal that suffered from a bit too much repetition for something promising to be “Variations”. One too many times using “sexy” as a primary adjective and half the authours seem to have decided oral sex is a perfect time to make food service a plot point, giving us an inside look into the sex lives of coffee shop baristas getting naughty after the afternoon rush and restaurateurs eating out each other.

To its credit, there were a couple that got a warm and buzzy feeling going between my legs. Specifically I’m going to look for more stuff by Maria King after reading her An Erotic Feast. You should consider this a sampler- you’re not going to like the taste of everything between its covers, but you will get blasted with a lot of writers which my google searching tells me, may be a first time for many of them.

Get it from the publisher at Cleis Press, or the inevitable Amazon/B&N online retailers or ask your local book shop for ISBN 978-1-62778-093-3.

What’s my final verdict?
Category: Erotic Anthology
Rating: o~o (2/5)
How I got it: Review copy, through post
TL;DR: Lots and lots of oral sex stories. Not very inspiring of masturbation.

Review: Little Submissions Collected Short Stories Pt. 1

Go buy this please.There are few writers more influential on my own femdom stories than Vague (Jerry Jones), of Little Submissions. Imaginative, violent and loving, he manages to capture both all the playfulness and the creative cruelty you can find in D/s done right. And, I had the good fortune of a long term fan of his stuff to be gifted with a review copy of his first release of collected short stories. Woop!

This release is a cleaned up and edited version of his earlier works (now with fewer typos!). If you’re cheap, you can head on over to his blog to read them, but if you want to support one of the hottest creators of free femdom erotica, I really urge you to shell out for the ebook.

It’s available in digital format, and from what I understand, he’s hashing out a deal with Lulu for a dead tree version. Maybe that’ll be ready in time for Christmas- if so i’ll update the links.

One of the main things that I like about all his stories is that the doms aren’t just into it, but sloppy wet and masturbating all over the furniture. You’re not going to get any sneering “Need a real man!” types here, rather that he writes his women as having a fierce love or the men who take the full brunt of their attentions. And, in turn, the subs are into it, but gratifyingly capable of a full range of reactions. One of his strongest suits in his writing is hints of the dynamics of a healthy couple with a lot more going on then their sex lives, and generally his characters feel like people with hobbies and needs and wants outside the margins of the text.

Here are some of the stories that Vague cooked up, because there’s a lot of stories in this anthology:

In “The Explanation” She tells him why she hates classical music but would love making a spectacle of him at the symphony, to the detriment of his tux. In “New Rule” she denies him the bed until he provides an erection and fucks her, then callously sends him back to the floor until he begs to be locked up. “Pennies” makes orgasm denial romantic, a rare achievement. “Telling Stories” didn’t make me come, but it made me laugh, and many of his other tales mix brutality, imagination and an absurd but true to life thread of humour that makes him, bar none, one of my favourite writers.

Category: Anthology of Short Femdom Stories
Rating: o~o~o~o~o (5/5)
How I Got It: Free copy from author!
TL;DR: D/s, between F/m couples (possibly the same couple)  or imaginative F+/m and F/m scenarios that are often rough, heavy and hard, but universally consenting.

Review: Femme Fatale: Slave To My Nature Series by Robert India

This is one of those ebooks being heavily pushed on Twitter as #femdom. To be precise Femme Fatale: Slave to My Nature has some femdom scenes in it. There are not, however, any Femme Fatales and this is a book. I didn’t like it but not because it was badly written, but because it did nada for me and my kinks.  Robert India put together something that is just dandy, if any of these things are your idea of fun:

Switching, being snarky about other people’s sexuality, high heels, M/m and mmf threesomes. And being super happy hot people living the sweet poly lux life.

As far as femdoms, though (or femme fatales), there’s Houseguest, his poly girlfriend, who he switches with, and a the female half of a couple the protagonist (also called Robert) has a threesome with and then berates for being too kinky for him. Every woman wears expensive high heels, much to the the delight of our hero. Robert does play up the “slave to my nature” bit, but precisely speaking that’s a desire to worship shoes and fuck pretty women. This is a story about a guy who thinks with his little head almost exclusively.

I think the protagonist spends as much time dom-ing men as he does submitting. One of the reasons why this book didn’t work for me on a personal level is that while Houseguest was cast as a distinct character with a will of her own, the finale scene was him topping her plus their bonus lover. If if could describe this any way I think it would be “the story of how a poly switch couple became a triad”. Clearly these people are very happy- score one for Robert India on that front.

But generally the femdom was put in a very controlled context- the protagonist puts himself in voluntary orgasm denial and Houseguest lightly teases him. The protagonist gets a demonstration that he’s not into masochism from Houseguest. He goes through with a threesome with a more S&M oriented couple, and rather than doing a pre-scene negotiation, storms off when he doesn’t like the direction their kinks went. I don’t really ever get the sense that Robert respects anyone in this story, except grudgingly, Houseguest.

This is another place where I was left scratching my head in puzzlement- basically we have femdom scenarios where the guy is at best ambiguously intrigued about them unless it’s things he very much wants. since there’s nothing inherently submissive about a shoe fetish or having your girlfriend have a will of her own, I was disinterested. Being on the receiving end of this a lot, via my inbox, it wasn’t something that pushed my buttons.

I’ve got a couple of take always here about the marketing too. I don’t think #switch sells as well, despite the absurdity that I know more people with switchy tendencies than people who would never even dabble in that direction. This is not fair to Robert India.

The book is at its strongest when it’s doing the gay stuff, and with one real quasi-cuckolding exception (during Robert’s self instigated experiment with chastity), if you like a bossy dude fucking dudes, that might be worth spending the $1 Canadian that the edition costs.
Category:  Ebook
Rating: o~o (2/5)
How I got it: Bought it
TL;DR: Perfectly fine writing, missed my kinks and hit a few personal bête noires as far as its treatment of femdom. This really should be filed under “M/m” and “switch” to do it justice.

Review: Taste by Beth Taylor

It’s actually hard to give a good effort a bad review. I think Beth Taylor didn’t excactly rob me for $3.01, and I wouldn’t be gauche enough to demand a refund. However, I just couldn’t get into Taste: An Aristocratic Femdom Love Story by Beth Taylor,  mostly because of the writing style.

I tried, and I thought about not reviewing it at all. Maybe I simply didn’t give the characters a chance? It focuses on the love lives of a bunch of upper class British people with titles. It’s supposed to be about duty, but the duty element doesn’t really leap out while people are having impassioned email spats about their sexual desires and are supposed to be over educated and leading jet set lives.

Taste probably got off to a bad start by using the format of an email discussion, at least for me, I feel like I’m reading a chat log of someone’s RPG and I’m not really feeling it. I couldn’t make myself care about any of the characters or take their problems seriously. Here’s an excerpt of what I mean:

As he continues to lightly rub each of her feet, he glances over to see that smile of hers as she Skypes with her eldest brother – then smiles automatically in response, almost against his will, given his mood.

[Steph]: He’s watching The Masters wrap up.

[James]: Ask him if he’s finally gaining some sporting affection for Australia. If not, he should do!

[Steph, still smiling]: He’s in a quiet mood, Jamesy; not a great time for a piss-take, but when he finally tells me what’s on his mind, I’ll surely tease him afterwards for you.

[James]: Goodgood. Must dash, can’t wait to see you next week, it’s been too long.

Taylor, Beth (2013-05-05). Taste: An Aristocratic Femdom Love Story (Kindle Locations 455-464). . Kindle Edition.

Maybe some of the challenge was also that people were written as reacting to Steph’s random dominance, but I had no reason to find her as entrancing as the rest of the characters seemed to. Purely as a study of inter personal relationships and maudlin concepts, it’s not *that* bad. But while I wouldn’t burn this book, I wouldn’t advise you to buy it either. This is not “Twilight” bad, this is in the realm of being bad enough to be ignored but not bad enough to be fair or kind to pick on it.

Category: Short Ebook
Rating: o (1/5)
How I got it: Bought it
TL;DR: Overly creative formatting and characters I couldn’t get into. Scenarios had hints of being hot, but it needs more than a few sexy ideas to be worth it.

Review: Control by Charlotte Stein

The new cover of Control, by Charlotte Stein, is a rare example of a femdom book designed to appeal to a woman and which also does not get hung up on the idea of making her into a pro or head mistress or some such. It’s fun, it’s light and it even has a wee little bit of romance. And a very mundane setting down to the fixtures and baked pasta dish (surprisingly memorable in the way that you remember those little details when you fall in love) and a submissive male lead I could actually see myself wanting to fuck. That, in a world of pornography that goes out of its way to sell male subs as walking creep farms or eunuchs, is a very rewarding achievement in its own right.

The protagonist, an owner/operator of a naughty book store “Wicked Words”, has her choice between Submissive Gabe and Dominant Andy. Meeting both men as potential workers in her shop, she sets about shagging Andy seven ways to Sunday while sexually teasing Gabe non-stop.

Suspend practicalities- Madison, our heroine, lives in a world where this much fucking is normal. It’s porn, so it can be excused with the jerky start when she falls into bed with Andy at first meeting- I imagine if anyone in this universe ordered a pizza it would come with extra sausage.

I will say that Dominant Andy did nothing for me. I generally like my subs with an aggressive, self assured streak, but i he had been the only sales point of the book I would have put it down. As it stands, I got thorough the scenes he was in by skimming or irritably muttering under my breath: “Go away, Andy!” I can’t tell if the writing was not as strong or if it just wasn’t my fetish.

But Gabe was a fun male submissive lead with zingy chemistry. At times it touched on the idea that he was submissive because he was broken, which is not an idea I encourage, but on the balance it also made him a pleasant mix of fragile and tough, in a way that made my overly maternal dominant heart go pitter-pat. I had no trouble believing this half of the triad was bound for steamy fun.

It’s also a good example of femdom outside of femdom tropes- Madison is nobody’s leather wearing Mistress, nobody cracks a whip and the focus here is on D/s in a relatively normal (for porn land!) setting. If only Andy was given a smaller part, no matter how much he’d been assigned to be a sexual catalyst.

Category: Erotic romance
Rating: o~o~o~o (4/5)
How I got it: Bought it!
TL;DR: Bookseller Madison gets a choice between buttoned up sub Gabe and bad boy bossy type Andy. Logically, she  screws both of them until book’s end.

Review: Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee

The Silver Metal Lover is what I’d describe as stealth D/s. Tanith Lee was one of those writers that spoke to me when I didn’t quite have the vocabulary to describe what I wanted in a relationship. Her lyrical, often purple prose can border on hysterical at times, with everything having an impossible loveliness and an emotional weight of a ton of bricks. That was perfect fodder for a teenage girl weaned on fantasy and sci-fi, the kind who wants to have adventures and see beautiful things.

I got so wrapped up in this book I wept. I admit it can be sentimental and overwrought to the ponit of silly, but it’s one of my favourites.

And it’s a literal owner/property relationship story about an android programmed to be perfect for his owner, and a sixteen year old rich girl, Jane. Like many of her ilk, she needs to find herself and her sense of self worth, but this incarnation of the trope is relatively well done, with just the right note of cynical self awareness to tie it together.

When we meet our heroine she’s a trembly mess living in her mother’s shadow, on a future earth where technological progress has put much of the human race out of work and left everything poisonous. Jane’s got abominable idle rich friend, and lives in a cloud castle trying to do what she’s supposed to do according to her mother’s careful plans that even change the physical shape of her body, and wanting none of it.

But, seeing Silver, for the first time in her life she wants something. Initially repulsed and unable to explain where she’s terrified by the man machine that looks like a metal troubadour, in short order she conspires to acquire Silver and run away from home.

Silver is incapable of being anything other than perfect, an amazing lover, an artist, but also naturally pleasing in whatever capacity he’s needed. He is about as inherently submissive as you can get in that regard, not embodying the doormat ideal, but the compliance and service aspect.  his makes a good foil for Jane’s development- because he is compelled to be perfect for her, they embark on just the sort of relationship Jane needs to develop as the best possible person she can be, before they have to face the challenge of Silver’s existence as an artificial being.

I do think it did an interesting version of the standard plot of self-discovery-via-love. While waiting for a man to change your life is not necessarily the most healthy approach to life, the relationship depicted is an interesting use of the trope because Silver is not written like Aladdin-with-carpet showing her the world, but rather that the need to make a nest with Silver creates a place for her to do some developing and changing- and he manages to do something a lot of F/m fiction doesn’t seem to, which is make the need for each other feel mutual. and that’s part of the romance- although Silver gives everyone what they need, Jane finds a way to reach him as a person. The story, by presenting her with a perfect submissive, drives Jane to make the changes she needs to make in herself.

That’s actually something I don’t see much of- male doms can need to be “tamed”, but by and large the only taming that seems to happen to fictional female doms is death or dis-empowerment. Case in point, what keeps happening to Irene Adler.

I think the one criticism I might make is that initially it’s hard to spend long periods of time with Jane as a person because she’s so fragile and sad, but I think it’s part of what makes it a better example of dominant love- doms are not, for the most part, captains of industry or nobility. They have sad days and worry about things. This is very much a candi-floss book for the emotional. On the other hand it’s also what I’d describe of as the Twilight for the anti-Twilight but overly romantic girl.

So expect a heroine who waxes lyrical about how amazing her love is, expect that she will be derpy and feel alienated from her friends, but for once be relieved that the romance demands she learn to rule herself and her love and the ending cares about her being self actualized as a person.

Category: Sci-fi YA novel
Rating: o~o~o~o~o (5/5)
How I got it: Library
TL;DR: D/s without the fetish or the sadism, sweet and appropriate for a sensitive reader who doesn’t want to be submissive while they’re overcome with love.