The following is a list of books about SM/kink/fetish/Leather by Black and POC authors. I drew up this list after going over the recent reading selections for the book club I run, the Leather Bindings Society. Although usually about a quarter to a third of the books we read each year are by Black and POC authors, I realized that it is still very easy to slip into reading only works by white men (or white people in general) if we don’t make a concerted effort to seek out other voices. That’s exactly what happened to the LBS in 2015, and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. BDSM-related publishing is of course a microcosm of the larger publishing industry, and as such, white voices are given a lot of airtime and privileged access to publishing, so those voices are the easiest ones to get our hands on. In the wise words of YA author Daniel José Older, “The publishing industry looks a lot like these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive.” (“Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing,” Buzzfeed, April 17, 2014)
My process for compiling this list was very informal. I went through my own library and I put out a call for suggestions on social media. As such, I have no illusions: this is not a complete list by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a lot longer than I’d originally expected it to be, which tells me that finding Black and POC authors in BDSM is at least in part about paying attention to what’s right under your nose, and at least in part looking deliberately to find them. I certainly plan to keep looking, so doubtless this list will continue to grow over time… perhaps with your help!
I am not providing reviews or making recommendations here, especially since I haven’t read all the works I’ve listed; but I have included short notes describing content when the titles don’t make it clear. I have also included anthologies or collections that feature essays or stories by Black and POC authors, with the essays specified, even if the collections as a whole are not edited by or exclusively written by Black and POC authors. In a few instances, the works I list here also feature on my list of really, really good BDSM-relevant fiction; I have linked those ones in case you want to go read their longer descriptions.
This list does not include pure erotica. Erotica is plentiful (see, for instance, sweetjuice.org or works by Zane), whereas relevant works in other genres can be much harder to identify or track down. The distinction can be fuzzy and I’ve got no interest in policing the borders of what counts as erotica. (I also read and write erotica myself so I promise this isn’t an anti-erotica stance.) Mostly I’m just repeating my book club’s formula, where we alternate between fiction and non-fiction choices, always aiming to read works that are likely to inspire discussion. Occasionally a book of erotica makes it onto the list, but we make lots of room for novels, genre fiction, scholarly work and other types of non-fiction, both from insider and outsider perspectives.
At this time, the list does not include any works by Indigenous authors. Though I’m aware of a number of Indigenous-authored works about sexuality, I have not yet come across any that relate to BDSM/kink and none have been suggested to me by others. I will remain actively on the lookout for such works and update this list as I find them.
I have included works by authors who self-identify as Black or POC, are known to me personally as such, or were suggested by others who are familiar with the authors or their work. My intention here is to be as broadly inclusive as possible, not to presume any authority over others’ identities or chosen terms. If any author I’ve listed here would prefer not to be, please contact me and I will remove your name and work title upon request.
Anyone is welcome to take this list and use it for their own purposes, share it, expand it and amend it at will. I hope it is useful and thought-provoking. My sincerest thanks to the many people whose suggestions appear on this list. I welcome, with great enthusiasm, more title suggestions in the comments.
- Anderson, Ho Che. I Want to Be Your Dog (Eros graphic novel; story of several S/M relationships set in Toronto’s Black community)
- Arobateau, Red Jordan. The Outlaw Chronicles: 1) Satan’s Best, 2) Leader of the Pack, 3) The Black Biker, 4) Outlaws! (prolific self-published author – other works may also address SM – http://www.redjordanarobateau.com/ and works on lulu.com)
- Butler, Octavia. Fledgling (vampire novel featuring poly power-based households, though not in those terms). This book features on my list of really, really good BDSM-relevant fiction along with a longer description.
- Delany, Samuel R. Hogg (Note: I think that an excerpt from this story appears in Ritual Sex, ed. Tristan Taormino and David Aaron Clark, but it’s not identified as such; I’m guessing from one character’s name)
- Delany, Samuel R. Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand (specifically the prologue which can be read as a novella)
- Delany, Samuel R. Tales of Nevèrÿon (a four-book collection of linked short stories has a gay black switch escaped slave). This series features on my list of really, really good BDSM-relevant fiction along with a longer description.
- Jefferson, Jemiah. Voice of the Blood (first in a vampire/horror book series with kink elements)
- Jones, Feminista. Push the Button (novel about a het Black American BDSM couple)
- Kwa, Lydia. Pulse (bondage subplot)
- Levon, Jay. Before and After Michael (gay romance w BDSM elements; Amazon Kindle serial in progress)
- Lowrey, Sassafras, ed. Leather Ever After: An Anthology of Kinky Fairy Tales (specifically, stories by Mollena Williams and Miss Lola Sunshine, plus possibly others)
- Matsuura, Rieko. The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P (woman wakes up with a penis where her big toe once was; fetishism, freak shows, etc)
- Midori. Master Han’s Daughter: Tales from Depraved NeoTokyo
- Taeko, Kono. Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories. (short fic, some w SM relationships; content warning: title story includes child abuse)
- Tan, Cecilia. Struck by Lighting trilogy – Slow Surrender, Slow Seduction, Slow Satisfaction
- Tan, Cecilia. Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords and Other Stories from the Erotic Edge of SF/Fantasy (the short story that launched Circlet Press)
- Tan, Cecilia. The Velderet (uses BDSM and sci-fi to explore notions of anti-oppression)
- Tanizaki, Junichiro. Seven Japanese Tales (classic)
- Thomas, Sheree R., ed. Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (specifically, “Ganger (Ball Lightning)” by Nalo Hopkinson)
- Trotman, C. Spike and Emmilee Denich. Yes, Roya (graphic novel set in the 60s about a D/s triad led by a woman of colour) This book features on my list of really, really good BDSM-relevant fiction along with a longer description.
- Tsui, Kitty. Breathless (lesbian SM incl. cutting)
- Tsui, Kitty writing as Eric Norton. Sparks Fly (writing as a (white?) gay leatherman in pre-AIDS San Francisco)
- Weatherspoon, Rebekah. At Her Feet (mommy-girl play and romance)
- Agbabi, Patience. Transformatrix
- Goddess Lakshimi. Safe Beginnings (http://www.lulu.com/shop/goddess-lakshimi/safe-beginnings/paperback/product-6510307.html)
- Midori. The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage
- Midori. The Toybag Guide to Foot and Shoe Worship
- Nawakiri, Shin. Essence of Shibari (Lee Harrington is working on getting this translated for publication late 2016)
- Taormino, Tristan, ed. The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge (specifically, two essays each by Midori and Mollena Williams and one by Ignacio Rivera)
- Williams, Mollena. The Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo
Community/politics of/thinkiness about SM
- Antoniou, Laura, ed. Some Women, (specifically, “Journal Entries” by Viola Johnson, “An Open Letter from a Masochist to a Feminist” by Cecilia Tan, “Mir’s Memories” by Mistress Mir, and “On Being a Titleholder” by Queen Cougar; possibly others)
- Califia, Pat(rick) and Robin Sweeney, eds. The Second Coming: A Leatherdyke Reader (specifically, “Boundaries: Gender and Transgenderism” by Michael M. Hernandez; “a latina combat femme, her shoes, & ensuing cultural identity,” “juego,” “mas juego” and “Chocolate Cake” by tatiana de la tierra; “sex does not equal death” by Kitty Tsui; possibly others)
- Dominguez, Ivo Jr. Beneath the Skins
- Harrington, Lee, ed. Rope, Bondage and Power (specifically, “On the Outside Looking In with a Fist Full of Rope” by Van Darkholme)
- Harrington, Lee, ed. Spirit of Desire: Personal Explorations of Sacred Kink, (specifically, “The Divine Scene” by Alexandra Entendre, “The Joy of My Service” by Domme Jaguar, “The Godhood of Genderfucking” by Jaki Grier, “On the Cross” by Master Malik, and “Another Dead N***er” by Mollena Williams; possibly others)
- Midori. Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink
- Morgynn, L.C., ed. Protocols: A Variety of Views (specifically, “Protocols” by Obsidian)
- Thomson, Mark, ed. Leatherfolk (specifically, “I Get Real: Celebrating my Sadomasochistic Soul” by Tina Portillo)
- Williams, Mollena and Lee Harrington. Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities
- Cruz, Ariane. The Color of Kink: Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography
- Khan, Ummni. Vicarious Kinks: S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary
- Sharpe, Christina. Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects (esp. chapter 3, “Isaac Julien’s The Attendant and the Sadomasochism of Everyday Black Life”)
- Bedford, Terri-Jean. Bondage Bungalow Fantasies (her clients’ fantasies + her own day-in-the-life writing)
- Bedford, Terri-Jean. Dominatrix on Trial (prominent activist against Bill C-36)
- Delany, Samuel R. Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (gay sex in NYC; not sure of kink content)
- Fisher, Gary; ed. Eve Kosofky Sedgwick. Gary in Your Pocket: Stories and Notebooks of Gary Fisher (edited by Sedgwick and published after Fisher’s death – controversial for those reasons and others, reviews very mixed)
- Ibáñez-Carrasco, Francisco. Giving It Raw: Nearly 30 Years with AIDS (Canadian leatherman)
- Johnson, V. M. To Love, to Obey, to Serve: Diary of an Old Guard Slave
- Johnson, V. M. Dhampir, Child of the Blood: A Vampire’s Babybook
- Kink and Trauma: BDSM as Self-Care for Survivors by Masti Khor and Chanelle Gallant (here) – see my reading list for therapists for more info
- Black Leather… In Color: Leather on the Cutting Edge for People of Color and Their Friends (8 issues, published 1994-2000. Not digitized (?) but the LA&M may have copies)
- Bound to Struggle zine series (5) (not sure how much of this is written by POCs)
- Fireweed, fall 1995 (issue 49), guest edited and designed by DE POONANI POSSE (specifically, “Black Lesbians and SM” by Carol Latchford)
- Venus Infers, vol 1, issue 4, “On Being A Titleholder” by Queen Cougar (also appears in Laura Antoniou’s collection Some Women listed here)
Art and photography
- Darkholme, Van. Male Bondage
- Darque. Indigo Blaque: A New Look at Fetish, Volume 1
- Darque. Blaque: A New Look at Fetish, Volume 2