Reviews tagging 'Acephobia/Arophobia'

Kink: Stories by Garth Greenwell, R.O. Kwon

3 reviews

twistykris's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


Full transparency: I was not familiar with any of these authors before reading, and I am also not very well-versed in the kink world.

This anthology felt like a mixed-bag for me; I enjoyed some stories and others made me uncomfortable, which is part of the point. As mentioned in the introduction, "The emotional dynamics of kink are as varied as those of any other human experience, and the stories here explore the whole gamut of human feeling, from exuberance to anguish." There are stories that contain incest, abuse, crossing boundaries, non-consensual acts, sexual assault, and rape.

There are some stories that had excellent T4T representation (primarily Canada by Callum Angus and The Voyeurs by Zeyn Joukhadar), with relationships that really made me feel safe and comfortable. There are other relationships where more communication is needed, but again, this anthology is addressing how kink has similar emotional dynamics as non-kink relationships.

My rating and thoughts of each story (spoilers below):
 -The Cure by Melissa Febos: 3/5 stars
Interesting and sexy, but not really my thing. A lesbian engages in a power dynamic with a male acquaintance to break an unsuccessful dating streak. I did find the discussion of why lesbians have more orgasms to be interesting (hint: it's because women are conditioned to "take care of" their partners).

-Best Friendster Date Ever by Alexander Chee: 4/5 stars
Very spicy and also sweet, M/M bondage, loved the writing style

-Trust by Larissa Pham: 2/5 stars
I enjoyed the writing, but I could NOT get into this couple's dynamic. The MMC honestly bothered me a lot (who the fuck tells their partner to turn on the sink when they pee??)

-Safeword by R.O. Kwon: 5/5 stars
This was one of my favorites. A wife and husband get professional BDSM counseling from a dominatrix; wife is very into it, husband is not. Having only one party really into the BDSM was a little uncomfy, but it seemed to me to be more of a story about a man needing to understand his wife and what turns her on. There's a moment when he doesn't realize how wet she can get and he thinks that only happens in porn. Like.. maybe try making an effort to turn your wife on?? And he also thinks about HIS needs as he watches his wife be pleasured.. maybe it's not always about you, sir.

-Canada by Callum Angus: 4/5 stars
Not very kinky but a BEAUTIFUL story that made me tear up. Excellent T4T rep.

-Oh, Youth by Brandon Taylor: 3.5/5 stars
I honestly don't know how to feel about this one. Poly dynamic with a much older couple. I did find it to be an interesting story of how sexual relationships can turn into love.

-Impact Play by Peter Mountford: 2/5 stars
Conflicted about this one as well. Mentions of infidelity and incest. I really didn't care for the MMC, but to be honest, his girlfriend Pilar fascinated me? A "middle-aged single mom- a goth, at that- who sells gravestones." I was okay with this story right up until he talks about his sexual experiences with his cousin. That made me super uncomfy.

-Mirror, Mirror by Vanessa Clark: 4/5 stars
Visceral, sexy, sweet story in a seedy drag bar atmosphere. Loved it.

-Reach by Roxane Gay: 3/5 stars
Kinky for sure, but has moments that made me uncomfortable (primarily doing sexual acts that the other one "hates" but "she never uses her safeword to stop me".. eh..)

-Gospodar by Garth Greenwell: 3/5 stars
**TW: rape** The writing is great, and features power dynamic between two men, but this goes very dark towards the end as the MMC is raped. There is a lot of emotion afterwards, when the MMC feels like he brought this upon himself because of his desires, and how he very well may end up in a similar situation, as he continues to seek punishment and degredation.

-Scissors by Kim Fu: 5/5 stars
LOVE LOVE LOVE. This was my absolutely favorite in the whole anthology. The writing is stunningly dreamlike, and SO erotic- this story had me *feeling all the things* 🥵 Wonderful W/W rep.

-The Lost Performance of the High Priestess of the Temple of Horror by Carmen Maria Machado: 5/5 stars
This story was like an erotic, horror fever dream in the best way. SO weird and so sensual and also features fascinating and sometimes disturbing sexual relationships that change you for the rest of your life. The scene with The Star's debut- in which audience members insisted that Maxa be hit, slapped, subdued, rather than worshipped and pleasured- reminded me of Marina Abramović's Rhythm 0 performance.

-The Voyeurs by Zeyn Joukhadar: 5/5 stars
Not heavy on kink, but the story and the T4T rep is so beautiful. I loved the honest discussion of sex life post-surgery and incorporates trans joy- the characters do experience transphobia (and racism) as well, and it hurt to read how ostracized they felt.

-Retouch/Switch by Cara Hoffman: 1/5 stars
To be honest, I sort of skimmed this one. The writing is beautiful, but not my jam- I felt a little too dumb for it, to be honest.

-Emotional Technologies by Chris Kraus: 2/5 stars
I also kinda skimmed this one. It was honestly sort of disappointing reading the fantastic stories of Scissors, Temple of Horror, and The Voyeurs, and then these last two just felt so.. meh? It's fine, I just personally didn't love it. 

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mxbenjaminrose's review against another edition

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


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readwithasherreid's review against another edition

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CONTENT WARNING FOR REVIEW: Discussions of rape.

The introduction of this novel states that this collection was created to get rid of the stigma that surrounds kink. It talks about people into kink being painted as horrible abusive people in movies and shows. However, there is a story in this collection that does just that. There is a horrible and very triggering story by Garth Greenwell that makes people into kink seem like we are all rapisits who have no idea how to listen to our sexual partners. Breaking the trust of your readers was not necessary at all. This trainwreck of a story aside, the rest of the collection is okay. The stories by R.O. Kwan, Roxanne Gay, and Carmen Maria Machado were my absolute favorites!! The rest of the stories were alright. Although, many of them had problematic themes such as biphobia, acephobia, fatphobia, etc. I recommend reading R.O. Kwan, Roxanne Gay, and Carmen Maria Machado’s stories and then skipping the rest of the collection. 

CW: Cutting someone, all other CWs are listed below.

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