Book Review of Xan West’s Show Yourself To Me

There are a lot of reasons you should buy this book. You should buy it because the stories are hot. You should buy it because there will be a story in here that reaches deep inside you and wakes something up you didn’t know was there. You should buy it because the writing is so dirty and good. But honestly, none of that even matters. You should buy it because we all need stories like these to be written. We need the beautifully crafted visibility these stories give to a very real, diverse, queer community. Visibility is everything. If you’re queer, you know that. We cannot survive without it. Xan West is relentless in this. You will learn something in this collection and you will like it.

I hope you already know Xan West’s stories. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Xan read and it’s a powerful experience. Xan’s voice is measured and soothing. The words enter you slowly and you’re drawn into the deep dark depths of the story before you realize where you’re going. Xan’s stories are deep. And often dark.

I was thrilled to get an advance copy of Xan’s new solo collection of stories, Show Yourself To Me: Queer Kink Erotica, published by Go Deeper Press. The book is available now. You can get an ebook or physical copy directly from Go Deeper Press. Also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Personally, I always recommend walking into your local bookstore and asking them to order a copy if they don’t have it already. 

Xan’s writing is strong and hot, but what blows my mind is how much Xan’s stories expand my understanding and my capacity to see beyond my own default fantasies and the biases embedded within them. That might not sound super hot, but it is.

When I first opened Xan’s book, I saw a note about content which acts as a guide to the reader around the types of scenarios each story contains. I skipped this section intentionally. I didn’t want to spoil my reading of the stories by knowing in advance what was coming. And I didn’t want to back away from anything before having a chance to be drawn in. I have not been a fan of trigger warnings, but Xan approaches this in exactly the right way – helping a reader who needs a guide access a story that might otherwise be inaccessible. Some of us can’t just blindly walk down that dark alley. The risk would be too much.

For me, I wanted to walk down that alley totally blind, so I jumped straight into the stories and this book starts out with the perfect jolt. From the very first words in the first story, “Missing Daddy, we know right where we are.

I miss Daddy. It’s just that simple. Not just him—I miss who I was back then.

We don’t know where we’re going yet, but the pull of the journey is there right from the start.

I love Xan’s writing for how devoted it is to the internal life of the main character. These are not surface stories about a hot scenario. Each story eviscerates a specific desire. Laid bare is the dirty secret buried within someone wanting to use or be used, to bruise or be bruised. We get to dig our fingers into the soil and feel the roots of desire. Sometimes the want is our own, but what I love most is being sucked into a burning need that is wholly foreign to me. That’s when Xan’s writing is a gift, when I suddenly want what I’ve never wanted before and I feel a door open deep inside me.

These stories are also rare in how beautifully inclusive they are. I am going to admit something that I’m not proud of. When I write, I am precious about each moment. I don’t like to break a scene with anything that interrupts the flow I’m trying to achieve. Xan pushes the limits of this in the opposite direction and I’m damn impressed with the outcome. The stories are inclusive in a beautifully thoughtful way. This is a passionate advocate for erotica beyond the pitifully limiting normative boundaries that most erotica exists within.

“The Tender Sweet Young Thing,” includes a full cast of characters with different physical abilities and takes you right through & over that into the heart of the story. Was I drawn away from the action in a moment that describes how someone who is diabetic makes it through a lengthy play session? Yes. But is the story right to do that? Hell, yes. Because this is real. And fantastic, in the true sense of that word. This fantasy is laced with a reality that seems very necessary. And I understand what visibility means. I respect it. I crave it for all of us. To commit to that and also write incredibly hot erotica is not something you come across in many writers. These stories are striking in their hot diversity.

It’s a heady mixture, this collection. These stories are committed to a purpose of more than just turning you on. Each story is intent on exploring what makes us tick, how we struggle sometimes to accept the dark desire that turns us on. And every story in this book is incredibly hot. There were so many moments reading these stories where I had to pause and suck in my breath.

A knife would help me slow down. A knife would require precision and very minute movement. A knife would demand the kind of deliberate intent that would gear up my higher brain and give me what I needed to rein in this feral appetite.

I found myself reading these and grinning wide out of respect for how well each moment was crafted. It was hard not to give more away in writing this, but you need to go get this collection for yourself. You need to read this. Like I said, we need stories like this out there. This kind of visibility is oxygen. We need it to breathe. We end up at the end of this collection, having taken each journey as they come, story by story, in a place of respect. Respect for our desires. Respect for each other. Respect for the damage we overcome and help one another through. Respect for the queers who came before us. Respect for our differences and our sameness. It’s a hell of a lot for a bunch of dirty stories to deliver. Thank you, Xan.

Xan West’s Show Yourself To Me: Queer Kink Erotica, published by Go Deeper Press. Buy it at your local bookstore or order it online from Go Deeper Press,  Amazon, or Barnes & Noble

GDP022-ShowYourselftoMeCover (1) (1)In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.

Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.

Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.

Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.

This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.

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