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Macho Sluts: Erotic Fiction

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When it was first published in 1988, Patrick Califia's Macho Sluts, a collection of S/M stories set in San Francisco's dyke bathhouses, sex parties, and S/M gay bars, shocked the lesbian community and caused an upheaval in the field of queer publishing. Nobody had ever written so frankly about the kinky potential of woman-to-woman sex (and nobody has ever done it any When it was first published in 1988, Patrick Califia's Macho Sluts, a collection of S/M stories set in San Francisco's dyke bathhouses, sex parties, and S/M gay bars, shocked the lesbian community and caused an upheaval in the field of queer publishing. Nobody had ever written so frankly about the kinky potential of woman-to-woman sex (and nobody has ever done it any better). If any book is responsible for the formation of the modern lesbian leather community, this one is it.Despite its graceful language, imaginative scenarios, and abundant humor, the lesbian press trashed Macho Sluts, and it became a focal point for the infamous legal battles between Canada Customs and Little Sister's, the gay and lesbian bookstore. But readers loved it, and to this day Macho Sluts remains a vital and moving classic that still has the power to educate, radicalize, and expand our notions of the body's potential to provide us with pleasure, pain, and love.This new edition, part of Arsenal Pulp Press' Little Sister's Classics series resurrecting classics of LGBT literature, includes a new afterword by the author, and an introduction by Wendy Chapkis, a professor of sociology and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.Patrick Califia has written many books about radical sex, queer communities, and the repression of desire. Almost ten years ago, Califia transitioned from female to male; he now lives as a bisexual transman in San Francisco.


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When it was first published in 1988, Patrick Califia's Macho Sluts, a collection of S/M stories set in San Francisco's dyke bathhouses, sex parties, and S/M gay bars, shocked the lesbian community and caused an upheaval in the field of queer publishing. Nobody had ever written so frankly about the kinky potential of woman-to-woman sex (and nobody has ever done it any When it was first published in 1988, Patrick Califia's Macho Sluts, a collection of S/M stories set in San Francisco's dyke bathhouses, sex parties, and S/M gay bars, shocked the lesbian community and caused an upheaval in the field of queer publishing. Nobody had ever written so frankly about the kinky potential of woman-to-woman sex (and nobody has ever done it any better). If any book is responsible for the formation of the modern lesbian leather community, this one is it.Despite its graceful language, imaginative scenarios, and abundant humor, the lesbian press trashed Macho Sluts, and it became a focal point for the infamous legal battles between Canada Customs and Little Sister's, the gay and lesbian bookstore. But readers loved it, and to this day Macho Sluts remains a vital and moving classic that still has the power to educate, radicalize, and expand our notions of the body's potential to provide us with pleasure, pain, and love.This new edition, part of Arsenal Pulp Press' Little Sister's Classics series resurrecting classics of LGBT literature, includes a new afterword by the author, and an introduction by Wendy Chapkis, a professor of sociology and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.Patrick Califia has written many books about radical sex, queer communities, and the repression of desire. Almost ten years ago, Califia transitioned from female to male; he now lives as a bisexual transman in San Francisco.

30 review for Macho Sluts: Erotic Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Tan

    When I first got into the BDSM community back around 1991, there were only a tiny handful of books that every person I met had on their shelf. The Leatherman's Handbook (a nonfiction book) was one of them, and Macho Sluts was one of the others. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty completed the triumvurate, one gay, one lesbian, one heterosexual(-ish). Of the three, Macho Sluts was the most readable, the most eye-opening, the most openly political about lust and kink. Decades later it is still an When I first got into the BDSM community back around 1991, there were only a tiny handful of books that every person I met had on their shelf. The Leatherman's Handbook (a nonfiction book) was one of them, and Macho Sluts was one of the others. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty completed the triumvurate, one gay, one lesbian, one heterosexual(-ish). Of the three, Macho Sluts was the most readable, the most eye-opening, the most openly political about lust and kink. Decades later it is still an eye-opening book, even in the age of the Internet where I can find (for example) millions of words of Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy BDSM fiction and endless BDSM community blogs.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Captainlaurie

    I read this as part of my voracious consumption of queer smut during my late teen coming-out days in the mid-90's. I thought that it was awesome and hot in a brilliantly filthy way that I'd never encountered before. Califia writes about beating the hell out of someone and then fisting them like some people write about religion, and I appreciate her for that. She's like a Jesus freak, except for hardcore queer fucking. I read it a few times (some stories more than others) then my copy sat on my I read this as part of my voracious consumption of queer smut during my late teen coming-out days in the mid-90's. I thought that it was awesome and hot in a brilliantly filthy way that I'd never encountered before. Califia writes about beating the hell out of someone and then fisting them like some people write about religion, and I appreciate her for that. She's like a Jesus freak, except for hardcore queer fucking. I read it a few times (some stories more than others) then my copy sat on my shelf for a few years until 2005 or so when I lent it to someone I went to college with. As far as I know it really got around, going from friend to friend all over Brooklyn. I never saw it again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I guess this is the kind of thing you can't really argue over, but I didn't find it that hot and, you know, a lot of my interests are represented so I potentially should've. However! A lot of the stories were interesting anyway. "The Hustler" was great, it's more of a dystopic story about a world governed according to second wave radical feminist principles. There is a great bit where the protagonist is surprised during sex with another woman and the police disapprove because "now that it's I guess this is the kind of thing you can't really argue over, but I didn't find it that hot and, you know, a lot of my interests are represented so I potentially should've. However! A lot of the stories were interesting anyway. "The Hustler" was great, it's more of a dystopic story about a world governed according to second wave radical feminist principles. There is a great bit where the protagonist is surprised during sex with another woman and the police disapprove because "now that it's possible to have equal heterosexual relationships, it's considered vaguely ungrateful to be queer" -- zing! a one-sentence takedown of political lesbianism. I also really liked "A Touch of Vanilla", an ostensibly vanilla story about someone going down on her lover, who takes forever to come. It's an arduous and even physically painful experience for her. Her internal narrative of service, duty, and transcending pain complicates the neat division between vanilla and kinky sex, and stayed with me for some time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie Elwood

    I enjoyed the three introductions more than I did the stories, which pretty much left me cold. I much prefer the Alison Kaine series, which injects a great deal of humor into the BDSM scene. This collection took itself too seriously and the writing was pedantic at times, as when a dominatrix enumerated the number and types of whips she owned. Having said that, this is a groundbreaking classic that opened up a new world of lesbian sexuality. The book was challenged repeatedly and was confiscated I enjoyed the three introductions more than I did the stories, which pretty much left me cold. I much prefer the Alison Kaine series, which injects a great deal of humor into the BDSM scene. This collection took itself too seriously and the writing was pedantic at times, as when a dominatrix enumerated the number and types of whips she owned. Having said that, this is a groundbreaking classic that opened up a new world of lesbian sexuality. The book was challenged repeatedly and was confiscated regularly by Canada Customs, until a court case that pitted Little Sisters, a glbt bookstore in Vancouver, against the government. From the Appendix: "We were successful in having the Supreme Court of Canada condemn the discriminatory, arbitrary, and irrational decision-making that was so prevalent prior to the Little Sister's case."

  5. 4 out of 5

    M.

    For a kid that spent most of their adolescence online reading and writing smutty sci-fi fan-fiction, this book echoed a lot of conventions I was already well-acclimated to. And while I can't flat out say it was predictable, so-so erotica, sometimes the characters were just so... hokey, for lack of a better word, that I couldn't really get into the whole of the story plots. It mostly struck me as akin to some of the more poorly written fanfic you could find online back in the glory days of AOL For a kid that spent most of their adolescence online reading and writing smutty sci-fi fan-fiction, this book echoed a lot of conventions I was already well-acclimated to. And while I can't flat out say it was predictable, so-so erotica, sometimes the characters were just so... hokey, for lack of a better word, that I couldn't really get into the whole of the story plots. It mostly struck me as akin to some of the more poorly written fanfic you could find online back in the glory days of AOL and Live Journal, which is funny considering this is (justly) considered a sort of ground-breaking piece of work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This isn't a review, it's a collection of thoughts as I read the book. There may be spoilers, although I reject the notion that a book published thirty years ago can really be "spoiled". Introduction: it's not an intoduction, it's a manifesto, and that's with a capital M as in manifest, by definition: "display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate." Califia is saying, "If you want the erotic fiction you desire, first you must demonstrate what it is." That's this This isn't a review, it's a collection of thoughts as I read the book. There may be spoilers, although I reject the notion that a book published thirty years ago can really be "spoiled". Introduction: it's not an intoduction, it's a manifesto, and that's with a capital M as in manifest, by definition: "display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate." Califia is saying, "If you want the erotic fiction you desire, first you must demonstrate what it is." That's this book. Califia is correct that the specifics are dated, but it contains relevant historical information on censorship. Finally on to the meat of the matter: the first story, "Jessie" (AKA the starfucker). It starts out like your typical hookup story, but it promises to take a darker turn, and quickly. Am I going to do a play-by-play (or blow-by-blow) of this book? Quite possibly. My reaction at the end of the first story: Califia can work up a kinky-hot-sex scene, but doesn't seem to know how to wrap up a story. "The Finishing School" - whoa, these short stories are long, especially for porn. I guess people's attention spans were a lot longer thirty years ago. Anyhow, this one is strictly for the aficionados (if there are any) of faux-Victorian lesbian incest porn. Age of consent, anyone? Also, not all of these sluts are macho by anyone's definition. Also, Califia's writing goes from the sublime to the ludicrous, example quote here: "[Mamma] caught influenza while two counts, one French and one Italian, were making love to her in an open carriage on her way back to our hotel. They were quite piques because her fever made her delirious before she could tell them which of their countries had won her accolade for amative skill. " My least favourite story in the book. I've been told that "The Calyx of Isis" is the real deal, and the heart of this collection. It had better be, since at 90 pages, it's practically a porn novella, especially in this era of the short attention span. Calyx of Isis: Hot wish-fulfillment fantasy, and I'm only talking about the establishing premise, the notion that there would be a permanent. multi-story, well-run, well-appointed and scrupulously maintained woman-owned women-only sex-positive space for dancing, socializing, and other more intimate activities. File under "would never happen", or "this is why we don't get to have nice things". And later: Thirty-three pages into Calyx of Isis: 'Scuse me while I get some graph paper to map out the dungeon. Fortunately, the author already rolled all the stats for this quest, because this not-so-short story has more characters than a Russian novel. Still later: 'I continue to plod or plow through Calyx of Isis. Upside 'leather-and-fur-bikini'. Downside? All those cans of Crisco." This story can be an ordeal for the reader as well as the fictional protagonist, but as a work of fiction it sets up the scenarios, the archetypes and the stereotypes of lesbian S&M writing well enough to be a reference point for much of the works that followed. Quote: from "The Hustler" "You can go a long way on middle-class rectitude and sheer ignorance." This may be my favourite story of this collection, and that quote is only one of the reasons. "Surprise Party": if cop/leather fantasy is your thing, this one starts off well. Even if that’s not your taste, stick with it, as it gets better. My personal preference is a plot with a beginning, a middle and a happy ending, and this story comes through on all counts. Will definitely re-read. "The Vampire" This story could be the mother of all those sexy-vampire stories, Personally I'm not a fan of the erotic-lesbian-vampire genre. It's too much akin to the lesbian-dies-in-the-end trope, except in this version she's already undead. However, it does highlight once again Califia's fascination with sex as a predator-prey activity. "The Spoiler": another cat-and-mouse game of obsession, seduction and humiliation, this time with no female characters at all. It's probably the most unusual story in this collection. Fascinating, yes, but erotic? Your mileage may vary. "A Touch of Vanilla": supposedly the only story in the volume that doesn't feature hard-core kink, and yet I would like to dispute the label. It's like Califia was thinking, "I'm writing all this niche erotic fiction for the S&M crowd, I should do something for the non-kinksters that is as kinky as possible in that genre." And so they wrote a story about cunnilingus as an ordeal. The Afterword: "A Note Lesbians, AIDS, and Safer Sex". DISCLAIMER: you shouldn't read this as a safer sex guide or (maybe not even read it at all}. It seemed obligatory in the late 1980's, when HIV-AIDS was not well understood and the death toll was rising, to include as much knowledge as possibly about the disease and ways to reduce personal risk, but this information definitely reflects the state of knowledge at that time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Pat Califia is a perverted literary genius. I don't just mean that she writes about sexy taboos with great skill. She has the will and insight to stare into the face of the our collective psychological abyss and mine it for all its erotic potential. That's no easy feat by any means, but for me what makes Califia a genius is the fact that she is also willing to candidly discuss the political/moral implications of her work and the quest to get off in repressive times. I would like to think that Pat Califia is a perverted literary genius. I don't just mean that she writes about sexy taboos with great skill. She has the will and insight to stare into the face of the our collective psychological abyss and mine it for all its erotic potential. That's no easy feat by any means, but for me what makes Califia a genius is the fact that she is also willing to candidly discuss the political/moral implications of her work and the quest to get off in repressive times. I would like to think that the political landscape has changed for the better since this book was originally published in 1988, but the intro this collection of shorts stories is both a frightening and insightful analysis of the sexual politics landscape at the time. As for the stories, there is a little bit of everything in this collection: Victoriana, sci-fi/fantasy, girl on girl, guy on guy, hetero, orgies, etc. All of it heavily laced with Dominance/submission and Sadomasochistic themes. Definitely a very hot collection, but honestly the stories are intriguing in their own right even if you aren't looking for erotic thrills.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caty

    The other stories are your basic lesbo BDSM mainstream fare so far (though I'm sure they were quite revolutionary in their day) but one story, "The Hustler", really stuck with me and may even be worth buying the volume for. It's about a FEMINIST SOCIALIST dystopia that even I as a radical feminist found believable, showing that misogyny isn't the only ingredient in homophobia, whoraphobia, transphobia, and the fear and hatred of kink. And it's not just ideology either--Califia manages to paint The other stories are your basic lesbo BDSM mainstream fare so far (though I'm sure they were quite revolutionary in their day) but one story, "The Hustler", really stuck with me and may even be worth buying the volume for. It's about a FEMINIST SOCIALIST dystopia that even I as a radical feminist found believable, showing that misogyny isn't the only ingredient in homophobia, whoraphobia, transphobia, and the fear and hatred of kink. And it's not just ideology either--Califia manages to paint the main character's world and her pain in a poignant, very personal way. Not to mention the amazing, heartbreaking way the story depicted the love between two street workers in a D/S relationship. I know it's all just a metaphor for the 80s feminist porn wars, but I don't care.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fulani Fulani

    I read this some time ago, and it made a lasting impression. It's a story collection, with a with all the stories on a lesbian BDSM theme. The longest story revolves around a proof-of-submission ordeal in a BDSM club, with a woman becoming the submissive of the club owner. Other stories range from dystopian near-future SF in a female-dominated society, to the acting out of kidnap scenarios. That said, it's also a clever collection with intellectual arguments and propositions underlying the I read this some time ago, and it made a lasting impression. It's a story collection, with a with all the stories on a lesbian BDSM theme. The longest story revolves around a proof-of-submission ordeal in a BDSM club, with a woman becoming the submissive of the club owner. Other stories range from dystopian near-future SF in a female-dominated society, to the acting out of kidnap scenarios. That said, it's also a clever collection with intellectual arguments and propositions underlying the stories and some experimentation with style. It's an exemplar any fetish writer should read, and for readers it's a great benchmark for at least some forms of writing about BDSM and fetish.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    pat califia, aside from being a pretty kick ass activist for trans folk, is a marvelous writer of eroticism. this book has my favorite kink erotic fiction ever.."the surprise party"..where three gay cops abduct and have their way with a butch lesbian!

  11. 4 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    I used to be really into the sex-centered short stories of Pat Callifa, but I don't know if I am so much any more. They're a bit too hardcore SM for me these days. Pat sure can write. Warning: This book contains possibly triggering material.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Moose

    Loved it. Loved the lush writing that was so rich and talented even when it turned me off; loved all the essays that added context for such an important part of queer history; loved the variety of stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rita Brinkerhoff

    This book is DIRTY. That's all I have to say. If you like hot lesbians and crazy sex, you should read it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mischief

    what more is there to say????

  15. 4 out of 5

    Valency

    Hardcore (and sometimes disturbing) lesbian s/m erotica. Yummy. "The Calyx of Isis" remains one of the most erotic stories I've ever read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    So fucken hot!!! Maybe the best erotic I've read in a long time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    I used to strategically leave this lying around in my room when I was in college, just in case anyone had any...questions.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    Mostly it's the story about the daughter being sent to boarding school that I love. So hot!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    see review of No Mercy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Macho Sluts: Erotic Fiction by Pat Califia (1994)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Quite hot in some parts, but it's a little tiring to see fucking for pages after pages after pages after pages.... I've given it a 3, but I would give 3.5 stars if I could...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Toby Wiggins

    This is probably my favorite collection of kinky queer erotic writing. How can you not love it? Hot. Period.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Another excellent book of S/M stories by my favorite author. Tasty!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lee Ann

    I can see why it's referenced as ground breaking for when it was written, and as an example of good hard core lesbian erotica.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I am currently reading erotic fiction through January 1st. This definitely had some stories that I enjoyed and some, not so much. Different strokes, and all.

  26. 4 out of 5

    June Amelia Rose

    Patrick Califia’s genderfuck lesbian smut is all parts problematic, controversial, engaging and hot. He certainly has a passion for the BDSM community that is unrivaled. You really get a sense of how much he loves the community in San Francisco and all the different types of people he’s come across.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carmen something

    Back in the day of Pat, I think Macho Sluts was probably very cutting edge. Canada was banning all sorts of publications and second wave anti-porn feminists weren't on board with chosen power play as it reified heteronorms. Aside from the middle piece and most lenghty piece in the book, which causes me internal conflict (in oh so many ways, yum/hate/concern/can't stop reading), the rest of the pieces are what we love about Califia--fabulous genderfucking and well, just fucking. The intro about Back in the day of Pat, I think Macho Sluts was probably very cutting edge. Canada was banning all sorts of publications and second wave anti-porn feminists weren't on board with chosen power play as it reified heteronorms. Aside from the middle piece and most lenghty piece in the book, which causes me internal conflict (in oh so many ways, yum/hate/concern/can't stop reading), the rest of the pieces are what we love about Califia--fabulous genderfucking and well, just fucking. The intro about censorship is the most well crafted essay in the book. I might have skipped the rest of the book at a different time in my life, but managed to stay with the stories through the end. And then read the intro again for a bit of a mental tease.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    Macho Sluts is a book that apparently needs a lot of introduction: 75 pages of it out of the 400 page book. It makes sense, though, because a lot of the appeal and importance of Macho Sluts comes from the reaction to it. It was originally published in the 80s, during the feminist sex wars. BDSM was seen as a patriarchal power display, and something lesbians just didn’t do. Macho Sluts inspired a lot of outrage, but it also just kept selling... Read the rest of my review here: Macho Sluts is a book that apparently needs a lot of introduction: 75 pages of it out of the 400 page book. It makes sense, though, because a lot of the appeal and importance of Macho Sluts comes from the reaction to it. It was originally published in the 80s, during the feminist sex wars. BDSM was seen as a patriarchal power display, and something lesbians just didn’t do. Macho Sluts inspired a lot of outrage, but it also just kept selling... Read the rest of my review here: http://lesbrary.com/2012/07/29/danika...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Xio

    hot hot hot, finger licking, wrist tiring, sleep with a smile... This with Doc and Fluff and your wrist might get fractured. Went through a serious exploration re the boundaries of my sexuality in my late teens and early twenties. Read all I could get ahold of in this genre of S/M and in particular Lesbian S/M. Califia is a savvy agent of queer sex I must say. This book got me through many fantasy reenactments in my mind and served as an inspiration for quite a few real life activities.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate Klein

    This is a complicated "four stars" for me. I definitely didn't like all of it, and there were parts of it that I really DIDN'T like, but the parts of it that I didn't like made me think a whole lot and I got a lot out of that.

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