February is nearly over. It happens that this month saw the publication of the sixth (and sadly final) volume in the Nexus Confessions series. Nexus is of course Black Lace's twin imprint - aimed at men and famous for its specialisation in the kinkier side of smut, with spanking, pony girls and dressing up galore. Did you even know they did short stories?
The Nexus Confessions volumes aren't aimed purely at the fetish market though: they're all about the sort of naughty "true confessions" that appear in the readers' letters pages of adult magazines. The sort of things that leave you wondering "Could it be true? Would anyone really dare do that?" So you won't find the Janine Ashbless name in these volumes. Or the names of any other writers who are ex-members of Lust Bites. Oh no no no no. No no no. 'Cos these are anonymous confessions, see? Say no more.
Virgin of course believes in sexual segregation. Based on my *ahem* extensive reading of these volumes I am able to let you know the differences between their smut aimed at men (let's call those M books), and their smut aimed at women readers (W books):
- M anthologies contain some stories told from a male point of view. They're still in the distinct minority but at least there are some. As someone who likes to read male POV I find this rather refreshing.
- There are a lot fewer dominant or Alpha males in M books. And an awful lot more dominant women, some of whom are downright mean.
- Male narrators in M stories quite often have perfectly ordinary genitalia or are even (gasp!) under-endowed (see previous point).
- There are quite a few naughty young minxes ("I suppose I've always been what you'd call a bad girl") and overweight women with large bottoms in M books. In W books the POV heroine is usually more aspirational.
- In W books women are conflicted, constrained, and long for something beyond their horizons - something that it turns out can only be provided by the sexual encounter with the Man. In M books women are happy, straightforward, and love sex - any time, any place, anywhere - without worrying about what it means or what it will lead to. (I can't decide if this idealised view of women is sweet or a damning indictment of how neurotic we are in real life. Both, I suspect.)
- You can have golden showers in M books. Don't even try getting that into a Black Lace story.