I started reading this e-book anthology because it had two of my favorite erotic authors in its pages — Rachel Kramer Bussel and Alison Tyler. What started as a quick bedtime reading of two stories turned into a late night consumption of every last page.
This book didn’t just bag up a handful of great sex scenes (although the scenes are beyond hot). It tested the boundaries of its heroines, whether that meant being dared to be tied up in Truss Issues by Lux Zakari, or overcoming a fear of blindfolds in Alison Tyler’s The Art of Darkness. I even felt my, the reader’s, boundaries tested in I Breathe Your Name by Tess Danesi. Asphyxia is not anything I’d normal be interested in reading and would normally flip to the next story without giving it the first chance. But the introduction to this kink was done slowly and written so artistically, I both read and enjoyed it, even though I still feel uncomfortable admitting I enjoyed it.
by Rachel Kramer Bussel
I settle into my favorite position: naked, facedown on the bed, arm by my sides, legs slightly spread. I’m not moving, but inside I’m twitching with excitement. I wait, like this, for Damian. He’s in the kitchen but he knows I’m in our bed, eager, hungry. He knows he is the only one who can give me what I need. Now he does, anyway. I’m pretty sure when we first got together all those years ago, he thought it was just my kink or fetish: get on top of me, hold me down, provide that rote set of actions that get me off.
I didn’t know how to tell him for a long time it wasn’t that at all; it was him. He was my fetish, he was my everything, which made it easy to give so much of myself right back to him. It didn’t even feel like a choice. Better for him to think I was just a kinky girl, rather than kinky for him. He already held so much power over me after that first time, another bit of it might set me permanently in the cage he’d placed me in, the one whose invisible bars I met everywhere I turned, with every thought that passed through my mind. He’d invaded me inside and out, to the point where he didn’t need to do or say anything to keep me in place. He had me, every inch of me. I was only twenty-two, but I knew exactly what I wanted and, once he sank his claws into me, what I needed.
“No,” I told him, looking up at him and blushing as I felt the tears rushing to give me away. “Just you. All of you.” He’d looked at me for a long time. I could sense the smile along his lips even though he didn’t dare show it to me. He likes to look stern even though I can read him just as well as he can read me and I know that while it’s not an act, there is a heart as tender as mine beating beneath the layers of menace he slips into when we are together. He manages to make the transitions seamless, though, so I never know which Damian I will get, how rough he will be, how deliciously far he will push me.
That first night was a lot like tonight, but no matter how many times I prepare myself for Damian, I’m never truly prepared. I couldn’t be, even if I could peer into the future with some kind of kinky crystal ball. Some things you have to live through moment by agonizing, dazzling moment. He steamrolls over my anticipation, crushing it like he crushes me, until I am a blank slate. Oh, he likes my dirty mind well enough, the fantasies I cook up and spin for him, but he wants me to know they’ll never come true, not exactly, not the way I conceive of them, anyway. His fantasies will, and do, and he will make them mine whether I like it or not, even though I always wind up liking it, even when I’m literally kicking and screaming.
Sometimes my fantasies morph into his, or maybe it’s that they merge. Maybe it’s that what I think I want is never actually what I really do, or that when the fantasy comes alive, like now, it’s more intense, more scary and far more arousing than I ever could have predicted. Damian takes away my predictability the same way he takes away my mobility, my breath, my agency; they’re there, and in a flash, they’re gone. I could protest, but he knows me too well for that. I like offering those elemental facets of my being to him, only him. I like the way he looks when he knows I’ve stripped away even the flimsiest of barriers between us. Too many of my exes thought stripping was about the skin, about getting naked, and that was all it took to see all of me, to capture me. How little did they know. I’m the queen of the invisible cover-up, but Damian can induce fear and lust and a scarily possessive passion all with a look, even with my clothes on. So now, when I’m bare in every sense of the word, is when the real magic happens, when I truly come alive, and so does he. I can almost see the power shift animate him, light him up like a rocket about to shoot into space, only it’s my space he’s about to barrel through; the spaces inside me, the ones I’m not even aware I’m clinging to, he’s about to invade.
There’s nothing showy about this. If you were watching us, you’d see a large white man lying on top of a smaller white woman, if you could see her at all save for her brown hair splayed across the sheets. There are no pillows beneath me; he is pillow enough for both of us, even above me, his heavy softness cushioning, momentarily, what he is about to do. I’m aware we could be on the floor, we could even be on the sidewalk; he could get me to do that, I’m pretty sure, my cheek pressed to the filthy concrete, drool leaking out of my mouth. So any lack of amenities simply makes me more conscious of what I do have in this moment: him, his body, every last ounce. I don’t know how many there are, ounces or pounds, but I know there are a lot. I know he can easily scoop me up into his arms. I know the guards size him up when we get on a plane. I know he is not just big, but huge, so when he is on top of me, I am small, able to be crushed, flattened, compressed.
It feels like the air whooshes out of my lungs; I’d take a polygraph and tell you it makes a noise, like when you deflate a balloon, though the rational side of me knows it’s a silent motion. It seems to go so fast, even though I know it’s actually escaping me in tiny increments as he settles on top of me, as the full weight of him starts to crush me. I am calm as I savor both the last breaths I have, and their extinguishment. I wish sometimes I were smaller, and he were bigger, that his very presence could smother me entirely, but we manage to come very close, his arms atop mine, his heft making me feel petite, worthy of what he is giving me, whether I truly am or not.
He seems to get heavier as the seconds pass, and it doesn’t take very many of them before my lungs are trying to find purchase, a way out, even as my nipples, smashed into the mattress as they are, tingle with the thrill of the fine edge of sanity we are dancing upon. We are both well aware of that fine line; we are tweaking it, plucking it like a guitar string, watching it teeter back and forth. Wondering where we will land excites us. I can hear it, feel it, when he pushes my arms down tight to my sides and wraps his hands over my head. Damian loves to cover my face with his giant palm, to hold it right over my lips, to cover my eyes, to literally manhandle me. He manages to somehow bear down even more and the panic starts to rise in me until he lets up for a moment.
I don’t gulp in greedy, deep breaths of air; that would be too obvious. I take the smallest breaths I can, savoring them, making do with what I can get, while I can. He raises up just enough to turn me over, settling down again with his knee planted firmly against my pussy, so firmly it hurts a little. He’s not trying to make me wet, or make me like it. I know that much by now. He’s trying to simply tell me that even his knee owns me, that even his knee can make me do anything he demands.