I’ve so far talked about various types of sex toys, lube, and informational adult books, but until now I haven’t reviewed any erotica. Recently GoodVibes.com offered Playing With Fire up for review, which is a collection of 23 short stories that all have heat as a common theme. I hadn’t read any new erotica in a while, so I decided to request it.
Published by Cleis Press and edited by Alison Tyler, the scenes and content in Playing With Fire go beyond what you’ll find in an everyday romance novel. The sex acts in these short stories are full of passion and desire, with a ample fantasy and just enough touch of taboo. All of the couples featured are heterosexual, with threesomes happening in some of the stories.
A variety of writers contributed to this collection, and brief author bios are included in the back of the book. The writing styles vary from direct narration to symbolic imagery that’s almost surreal, but the standard themes are covered: bondage, wife swapping, cuckolding, spanking, fantasy fulfillment, anonymous hook-up sex, sheer animalistic lust, etc.
I actually enjoyed reading all of the stories, with the exception of “Burned” which I found to be totally confusing. It’s one of those story-within-a-story type pieces about threesomes gone wrong and parallel love triangles, or something. But I’d like to point out a few of my favorites.
- “One Hundred Degrees in the Shade” is a titillating story of a couple trying to beat the heat of summer with a broken air conditioning. The sexual tension builds as they wait for rainstorms to cool them down.
- “One Hot Slut” is a first-person monologue of a wife preparing to seduce her husband when he gets home. She goes into detail about what she’s scheming and her expectations for the night, which ultimately doesn’t go as planned.
- “Where There’s Smoke” is about a married couple, and the wife is having an affair. Her husband starts asking about her secret lover during sex, and in the process of answering his questions, they have the hottest sex ever.
- In “Just Add Water” a couple realize their voyeuristic and exhibitionist tendencies thanks to the installation of a new shower curtain.
Most of the stories are really short, so this is a perfect book to pick and read even when you don’t have a big block of time. While nothing in Playing With Fire is too extreme, some of the stories explore a few boundaries. Page turning while having sex or enjoying some solo play time isn’t really practical, but I often read erotica to help me get in the mood, and many stories are useful inspiration.