Thursday, June 16, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Please, Ma'am edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Release Date: June 1st, 2010
Publisher: Cleis
Page Count: 216
Source: Complimentary copy provided by Naked Reader Book Club in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

Women Who Rule

"I crave the pain she gives me, but it's more than that... I crave the person she becomes." — from "I'll Do It. For Her."

Go ahead, say the words out loud: "Please, Ma'am." If these words make you long for a woman to grab you by the scruff of your neck or control you with one fierce, all-knowing look, then this is the book for you. Whether playing servant, student, or nude model, the submissive men in Please, Ma'am revel in the attention of stern mistresses who know exactly what punishments they need. With stories by Michael Hemmingson, D.L. King, Graydancer, and many more, bestselling erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has gathered together today's best erotic tales of men who crave the cruel intentions of a powerful woman.
What Stephanie Thought: Previously, female dominance was portrayed physically—with the woman literally being on top (remember my review?). Please Ma'am is just as fierce of a ride, but it covers the more psychological and emotional aspects of the divine mistress.

You wouldn't guess that in dominance, there would be tenderness, especially not in sadism and masochism; tenderness is the last thing you'd expect. But it's all a mind's game, you see. Some people see the practice of dominance and submission as unequal power play and gender condescension. Taking a closer look, it's not like that at all. The reason a woman and a man can endure such debauchery is because in them, is the knowledge that only the strongest can put up with the humiliation. Only the strongest can stand to be beaten and tied up, but still have the dignity to be considered an equal. 

Fortunately, there are no whips nor chains in this book; the whipping and blood-drawing of BDSM stories typically makes me queasy. Most of the anthology deals with the type of admiration a submissive male has for his dominant female partner, and the compassion a dominant woman secretly, desirously, has for her surrendering man.

There are many scenes that bring tears to my eyes. It's sublime how much love and passion emerges from both the dominant and submissive parties. It's also perplexing how big of sacrifices lovers are willing to take for each other, to please each other, and that, for me, defines for me what love means. It has nothing to do with physique and societal acceptance; love is a burning connection that has no boundaries, and the controlling hand of Please, Ma'am is what makes it all the more profound.

Stephanie Loves: "I take the pain for her—no matter how much, how hard—but I'm not a young man, and sometimes in the face of it my spirit is thrilling but my flesh is meek." — from Graydancer's "I'll Do It. For Her.", probably one of the most emotionally touching stories I've read, being erotica at that.

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥