Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica by M. Christian
Alyson Books, 2006
M.Christian will do anything. That's what you'll be ready to believe if you read much of his work, and most particularly, this latest collection of his MM stories. The subtitle "outrageous" is appropriate, as much for the ancillary action and the themes of these tales as for their sexual content. The truth is that M.Christian can imagine anything, and describe it so convincingly that you can't help but believe that he has actually been through the experience.
In the chilling yet ultimately uplifting "Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel", we are meet a nameless drifter who accepts thirty thousand dollars to indulge another man's unusual kink: a lust to be crucified. "Suddenly, Last Thursday" introduces us to Sebastian, a diabolically talented chef who understands the incestuous relationship between physical and sexual hunger. "Imago" portrays the peculiar liberation of suspension bondage, being completely immobilized, mummified, blindfolded, gagged:
Breathing a cavernous roar in his ears, his heartbeat the trot of steaming horses, vision nothing but soft black, taste of his own sweat trickling down from his upper lip, touching nothing but steaming self, reflected back by his insular cocoon, ... between floor and ceiling, self and other, here and there.
"Heart in Your Hand" is simultaneously graphic and romantic in its portrayal of a relationship based primarily on fisting.
M.Christian does it all: sentimental nostalgia in "Happy Feet" and "Flyboy", gritty noir in "Bitch" and "The Hard Way", self-deprecating humor in "Moby", and futuristic angst in "Utter West". The latter was one of my favorite stories in the book, as much for its haunting depiction of adolescent desire and loss as for its portrayal of uber-suburbia of the future and its discontents. Another favorite was "The Greener Grasses", with its searing D/s scene and its final ironic twist.
The sex in these stories also varies, from gentle and tentative to rough and urgent. None of the stories, though, is only about sex. I found myself wondering whether gay men would be turned on by these tales—and whether they would be able to tell that M.Christian is in fact (if not in fiction) straight. In "About the Author", M.Christian imagines, in his usual vivid detail, the disillusionment of a gay man discovering that his favorite author of queer smut is actually one hundred percent het.
Much of the other gay erotica that I've read has leaned heavily on the physical. This author, though, is at least as interested in the emotional and yes, the spiritual, dimensions of sexual encounters as he is in muscular buns, tanned pecs, thick uncut cocks, salt, sweat and jism. I don't know how a gay man would react to these non-physical complexities, but they suit my preferences perfectly. If your tastes match mine, you should pick up a copy of this intriguing collection.