Talkin’ ’bout Power

Let’s talk about power. While it comes in various flavors, only two kinds matter here. The power component in erotic “power exchange” is the first.

Power exchange is, in many ways, the ultimate sex — because it is more than sex. Sure, sex can be good, grand, special, earth-shattering, and more, but when it involves literally exchanging power it can move into a whole new realm where “good” can become staggering, “grand” transforms into ecstasy, “special” evolves into life-changing, and “earth-shattering” develops into . . . well, something even more earth-shattering.

That’s because power exchange is about control: When you exchange power with your partner, you give up control of what happens to you. You can become property, an object, a toy to be used, if only for a while. And when you accept that kind of power in a relationship, you become the Master, able to control your partner in any way you desire and to keep him in line by dishing out whatever devious punishments your mind conceives.

But you already know that, don’t you? You know that kind of power — the kind you feel when your eyes meet those of an adoring slave and your body responds with a deep bass chord of desire to use, to control, to dominate, or when the touch of your Master’s hand feels like you’re tongue-kissing an electrical socket.

Rest assured, then, that in buying Winner Takes All you have chosen wisely. Which leads me to the second kind of power I want to talk about, the power of words — the power of writing, of language, of storytelling. That’s the power Christopher Pierce wields here.

Writing about power exchange is one thing — believe me, I know — but to do it the way Chris does it is a rare, beautiful, magnificent thing. In these pages you’ll find lots of sex between Masters with firm hands and slaves with firm other parts, but there is also more — a “more” that takes these stories to a whole new level of beautiful language, touching characterization, poignant plotting, and a full-bodied eroticism that will bring a heart-beating roar of desire to even the most jaded porn addict.

Pick a story — any story — here, and you’ll see what I mean. Chris doesn’t just know how to write, as the incredible fluidity of his prose proves; and he doesn’t just know how to tell a great story, as the breath you take at the end will demonstrate; and he doesn’t just know how to create living characters, as the way his people walk off the page and into our minds and fantasies reveals. More important than all of these, he understands the essence of sex — and its transcendent potential when one surrenders and the other takes control in a real power exchange.

I’m sure you’ll do as I did when I finished reading the collection: after the sigh of satisfaction, after the grin of admiration, after the moan of pleasure, you’ll put the book down and give the author a round of applause for showing us the nature of both power exchange and, especially, the written word. — M. Christian, author, editor, and bon vivant

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