Review: Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 Edited by Sinclair Sexsmith

Testing the boundaries of pleasure and pain . . . To be so full of longing you ache for release . . . Coming to climax without a single touch

Cover Design: Allyson Fields


The fifth volume of the Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year anthology series explores and expands on the very definition of eroticism with a diverse mix of queer, non-binary, trans, and polyamorous #ownvoices that will have you quivering with delight and wondering what more you can explore—no matter how you identify. More than just steamy sex stories, this volume offers the quiet sexuality of emotional security, the overwhelming thrill of discovering something new, and a tale for every taste— from vanilla to kink, to strap-ons and sodomy. 

Now more than ever, it is crucial to see unique, underrepresented viewpoints across the literary spectrum. Award-winning author and editor Sinclair Sexsmith delivers in an anthology that is both tender and tantalizing, emotional and evocative.13 

My thoughts

This is my second year reviewing Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year published by Cleis Press. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to review, play, read again, play…you get my point and call it “reviewing” (laugh). 

Let me get the important stuff out of the way. We have 18 different stories written by: Mary P. Burns, Amy Butcher, Anita Cassidy, Rain DeGrey, Kiki DeLovely, K.J. Drake, Nicole Field, Heart, Kathleeen P. Lamothe, G.B. Lindsey,  Mx. Nillian Lore, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Amanda N., Michelle Osgood, Giselle Renarde, June Amelia Rose, and Sinclair Sexsmith. 

What makes this year different from last year’s Volume is the language. The language is different in a way that I actually don’t have words for (mark this down rainbows…me with no words). The best example I can give are the quotes I am going to include here. Some just struck my funny bone and others hit me in the gut. 

“Acrobatic cock”

Owning A Cock, Amy Butcher, p.156.

I actually started this anthology differently than I have ever started one. I looked at the Table of Contents at the titles of the stories. (gasp!) I slowly scrolled down and the last title jumped out at me so hard it was like a dildo smacking me in the face. (laugh)

Photo by Anna Shvets on

I love the title of Amy Butcher’s story: Owning A Cock. I quickly went to the last story of the book and Butcher starts the story dreaming in verse. I have never been that cool. This story is all about the glory of cock. Yes, I said cock in a lesbian erotica book. Butcher’s story is funny and an ode to every woman who wants to please their partner or be pleased by them. The lamenting of the different types of strap-ons, dildos, toys, and just basically cock is comical. I kept chuckling over the different types of cock labels that Butcher uses, but I think the “acrobatic cock” is the funniest one and it would not leave my head for days. I have never read someone describe a cock so beautifully that I actually debated taking my strap-on out and walking around while reading Butcher’s piece and telling my cock that I love it. (laugh)

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I then went back to my usual randomly selecting a story and I hit on the most beautiful language in Torrent and Tumult: A Bipolar Romance. June Amelia Rose writes so…and here is where I lose my words. Rose is descriptive and eloquent. There is poetry to the writing and it is about such tough subjects as addiction, mental health, ostracism, loneliness, and submission. Rose shares the pain, but the words are so beautiful that the pictures drawn seem at odds with the suffering. I don’t know if any of that made sense, but Rose’s story hit me in the gut it is so beautiful.

“It was a sunlight of dread burning behind my eyes.”

Torrent and Tumult, June Amelia Rose, p. 72
Photo by Pixabay on

Color me illuminated because I did not know that an asexual story could make me damp when no sex happens (laugh). Nicole Field brings asexuality into a new light for me in Three Options. The sensuality of a kiss is vivid. The importance of a kiss and kissing is lost nowadays (my personal opinion), but Field makes me want to go out and grab someone and kiss them for hours. Field actually makes me ache. Then the limitations of foreplay is such a powerful tool. It enforces the parties to focus and is a great Domme/sub tactic. I don’t see it that often and Field utilizes it brilliantly. I love seeing an orientation that someone would not connect with erotica published.  

I loved experiencing Kyla’s first time having intimacy as a woman. Kathleen P. Lamothe also asked a question even I have not heard of before (laugh) – I feel so out-of-date. So rainbows “Do you flag it left or right?” Now I get the color answer that Kyla gives later, but what the heck is left or right? (laugh) That is actually a joke that I’ve heard guys ask other guys whether they hang left or to the right. (smh…the things I share!)

My favorite quote comes from June Amelia Rose who describes kink. I think this is one of the best statements about this taste of expression. People often confuse BDSM and fetishes with bad pasts, dark trauma, mental health, or some type of warped sexual drive. (All those bad movies and books giving BDSM a bad name…I won’t mention any particular book because that would be throwing massive shade. (smirk)) The best statement I have read in regards to feelings regarding kink is:

“…(K)ink …reintegrates your body and mind together with the expressions of love and emotions…when I engaged in BDSM, I was reconnecting with the parts of myself…I was becoming one and whole with my desires, with the universe, with my partners.”

Torrent and Tumult, June Amelia Rose, p. 73.

Editor Sinclair Sexsmith says in the Introduction, “I love sex.” (sigh) Yeah, me too…a lot. (laugh) Sexsmith echoes my thoughts exactly about what sex means to me. Sexsmith also says that idea of this volume is to expand the reader’s thoughts as to what is erotic and what is an erotic experience. For me, one of the major stimulators is words. Sexsmith hopes that we find this volume “delicious”. Sexsmith has succeeded, it is so delicious and I want to get drunk on it…everyday.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Amazon Affiliate Notice is on Front Page!

Further Details:
Publisher: Cleis Press, 9781627783088, 8 December 2020
Cover Design: Allyson Fields; Text Design: Frank Wiedemann
Editor: Sinclair Sexsmith
Series: Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year #5
Pages: 167; Sex: Rated R, BDSM

Promotion materials provided by Cleis Press.

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