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Kink. It’s an interesting word, in terms of its etymology.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, defines it quite thoroughly:

1a short tight twist or curl caused by a doubling or winding of something upon itself
2a a mental or physical peculiarity eccentricity, quirk
b whim
3a clever or unusual way of doing something
4a cramp in some part of the body
5an imperfection likely to cause difficulties in the operation of something
6unconventional sexual taste or behavior


I’m thrilled and honoured to have my story “Roped In” selected to feature in The Big Book of Submission: Volume 2, published by Cleis Press and edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

The overarching kink explored in this anthology is, as the title suggests, the act of submission. Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel asserts in the Introduction that there are “so many ways to be submissive” and these stories artfully reveal that the spectrum of submissive scenarios, desires, and behaviours are as broad, creative and as varied as human sexuality itself.

The anthology boasts an array of stories that delve not just into the heat and eroticism of the physical sex, but, just as importantly, the psyche, emotions and sensations of the submissive state, and the dynamics of the relationship(s) that make these experiences possible. These more complex layers, in many of the stories I’ve read so far, are executed with startling insight, imagery and intelligence.

To quote from a glowing 4.5 star review for The Big Book of Submission: Volume 2 by blogger Bitches n Prose:

“… some of the things you can expect in the way of kink: BDSM (obviously), bondage, rope, training, power struggles, pet play, spanking, a host of different toys, affairs, pegging, role play, blades, gender play, tickling, different time periods, accents/language, food, and strangers. There’s bound (pun intended) to be something on this list that sets off your fires.”

As I’ve just begun reading the stories in my glossy, newly received author copy, I’ve been reflecting on these various meanings of the word “kink”, and how they can all apply to the concept of sexual kink: in physical, psychological, emotional and cultural terms. For example, there are depictions of the mental state of submissive desire akin to (1) “a short tight twist or curl caused by a … winding of something upon itself” in stories such as Sommer Marsden’s “Lightning Strike” and Anna Sky’s “Imago”; a twist that is only released when the desire is indulged or allowed.

Many stories expound on the emotional and psychological aspects of submission as (2) “a mental or physical peculiarity : eccentricity or quirk”, such as the eroticizing of shame in Jo Henny Wolf’s “Words” and the exhilaration that is felt when it is witnessed and accepted (or punished) by their Dominant partner. These quirks and peculiarities become portals to the submissive’s pleasure. As for “whims”, these are indulged aplenty; by following an erotic whim, many a story is born.

“A clever or unusual way of doing something”(3): If that “something” is sex, foreplay, the art of arousing another … then this definition is well and truly covered by the anthology as a whole.

Many of the characters experience their submissive needs for pain, humiliation, or domination, when unfulfilled, as physical pain, akin to “a cramp in some part of the body.” The story often unfolds around easing that cramp, releasing that tension.

For some people, knowing you have certain “kinks” can make them feel like they have a secret they have to hide, or that they themselves are (5) “an imperfection likely to cause difficulties in the operation of something”. By “something”, read conventional society. Many workplace cultures. Conservative families. Anthologies like The Big Book of Submission create vital, permissive spaces for the exploration of alternative pleasures. And kinks.

As a sexual being, I’ve known I was into restraint for a long time. If I could pinpoint the first moment, it would be when I was 20 and my first serious boyfriend, a blacksmith and blues singer, tied me up in the four-poster iron bed he’d designed and made himself. Two decades my senior, he made very effective use of those four bedposts. The foreplay and the sex was electrifying, and I suppose (however unconsciously) it was then I discovered that a little restraint in the sex-play magnified both the intensity of my orgasms and the number of them.

One could say it was natural progression that I went on to blindfolding my next boyfriend, stripping him and tying him, limbs splayed, to my big kitchen table, before having my way with him. Ahem. Enough self-revelation.

These two experiences are way back in my past, before I’d ever heard of the terms “kinky” or BDSM. I was just exploratory and creative and enjoyed finding ways to enhance sensations or sensory experience – for myself and others. I say this to simply point out that even if you don’t identify as “kinky” or of alternate sexuality, you’re likely to find plenty to enjoy in this anthology.

So maybe my own brand of kink is version (3): “a clever or unusual way of doing something.”

I’ve written before that I don’t really relate to the terms “Dominant” or “submissive”, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t explored and embodied both states, in my life and on the page. Nor does it mean I can’t engage with stories employing this framework.

What I’m enjoying in these stories is that each author is defining what it means to be submissive for themselves, and through their characters. And I think this is one of the strengths of this anthology – all the more apparent because of the intent and vision of the editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel. Assembled together, the stories truly showcase the diversity of submissive experiences. And in reading them, it’s like wandering through a kink club, and being able to magically slip into the skin and sensations of many different bodies /genders in different scenes throughout the various spaces.

More recently, I’ve had a few experiences with the intricate and erotic art of Shibari (erotic rope bondage). I’ve been a rope model, as well as exploring using rope in a sexuality workshop. As a writer, I wanted to explore elements of the practice of Shibari and some of the seemingly indescribable kinesthetic reactions I’ve had to being bound. As my character Yasmin says, it felt “beyond words”: the writer in me wanted to find the words.

Much of the action of “Roped In” takes place in a sexuality workshop. For several years, a lot of my sexual growth and exploration took place in these kinds of workshops, as I was studying to be a Tantric sex practitioner. In fact, some of my peak orgasmic and sexual experiences happened in these groups. I wanted to “demystify” some elements of the sex-positive lifestyle by setting the story in a similar kind of workshop space. These spaces are where I learnt and experienced so much about my sexuality and sexual relating; I hoped to show my characters learning skills they could use to enrich their own relationship.

Below is a little preview to “Roped In” – from the opening:

I thought I knew what rope felt like. Hard, salt-roughed rope that rigged a sail. The chafe of hessian rope against thigh on a make-shift swing. And knots? Practical things. Functional elements that kept your shoes on.

But this; this seductive slither of an embrace, trailing around my neck, snaking over and around both arms, encircling my waist like a possessive lover, this, I am not prepared for.

He hasn’t even tied a knot yet.

You wanted me here. Wanted to experience more (how did you put it?) elaborate possibilities than tying my wrists to the headboard.


*  *  *

So, discerning reader, whether your “kinkiness” is something you explore solely on the page, or whether you dip your toes in occasionally to kinky waters, or whether you’re the 24/7 kind of kinkster, you’re sure to find stories that intrigue, arouse, and galvanize you between these pages.

A huge “Congratulations” to all 69 authors! And thanks to publisher Cleis Press and to editor Rachel Kramer Bussel for making this anthology possible.

UPDATE: I’m so excited by the news that New York’s Publisher’s Weekly has reviewed the anthology very favourably, and that my story merited a mention, alongside authors Zodian Gray, Angela R. Sargenti, Dr J, Anna Sky and Giselle Renarde. You can read the review below.

The Big Book of Submission: Volume 2 – 69 Kinky Tales

So Many Ways to be Submissive …

(Available in E-Book or Paperback – Click on the Image to go straight to Amazon, or other buy-links below)



Google Play

Audio Book available soon via Audible

Read the Reviews

Chrissi Sepe

Bitches n Prose

Publisher’s Weekly


Read More by the Editor