cover image Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 5

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 5

Edited by Sinclair Sexsmith. Cleis, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-62778-308-8

Sexsmith (Sweet and Rough) offers a broad interpretation of eroticism in their short introduction to this steamy anthology—and indeed the best pieces on offer explore refreshingly inventive seductions. Giselle Renarde’s “Pure Energy,” for example, imagines a touchless sexual encounter, while “Blood” by Anita Cassidy follows two lovers exploring the sensuality of menstruation. Around half of these 17 stories feature kink, ranging from gentle power play in K.J. Drake’s “Yes Ma’am” to shockingly intense and beautifully written BDSM in “The Supplicant” by Michelle Osgood. Though Tobi Hill-Meyer’s stand-out “The One Penis Policy” manages a sophisticated character arc for its lonely trans heroine, ending on a resonant note of longing, less successful stories—including “On a Hot and Humid Night” by Nillin Lore and “Torrent and Tumult: A Bipolar Romance” by June Amelia Rose—suffer for including too much context in too few pages. Moving from gentle caresses to forceful paddling, this intentionally inclusive anthology has more hits than misses; fans of Sapphic erotica are sure to find something to strike their fancy. (Dec.)