Ellora’s Cave recently launched a new line of erotica for men, called EC for Men that offers very short, sex-driven reads that aim to satisfy an array of male fantasies. In their call for submissions for the new line, the publisher specified that submitted stories “should focus more on the sex than the romance,” should contain “realistic wording and dialogue for male characters (not the language women WISH men spoke),” and be centered on “more of what men want or need from women: sex, love, acceptance, admiration, dirty talk; less of what they don't need (judgment, drama, expectation of anticipating woman's needs).” We were intrigued by the idea of erotica for men, so we asked one of our female reviewers and her boyfriend to each read three of these new stories and give us their take on some of EC for Men’s launch books.
“Hard Day’s Reward” by Cara Carnes is the closest to erotic romance of the three. It is also the only story that involves a loving relationship. (However, the only real evidence of this is the “I love yous” the couple throws around.) Chad is a stressed-out businessman who has just finished the difficult task of firing a slew of people at work, and when he comes home his girlfriend Shelly surprises him with a ménage involving one of her old college friends, Marcy. The sex scenes are decent, and although Chad isn’t the most giving lover, Shelly is, comparatively, a fairly likable character. (She’s uncomfortable with the idea of having anal sex with Chad, and she knows Marcy will, so she’s gracious enough to let her man indulge, which I guess is nice … ) But, there’s a tension between Marcy and Shelly due to an unknown former conflict that is never explored, which left me unsatisfied at the story’s end.
In the opening scene, a sexy woman opens the door of Chad’s house and he becomes instantly aroused. He notices her hairstyle, her bust size and the color of her toenails, all before he notices that woman in front of him isn't his girlfriend. He then goes on to be serviced by this woman and his girlfriend, whose only priority in the story is to satisfy this slobbering dog of a man.
He literally does nothing to reciprocate. The female characters in Carnes' story live to serve. Things like cuddling and conversation are foreign concepts to Chad. He regards them as the tribulations he has to endure between ejaculations. As for whether this is a representation of a man's fantasy is kind of trivial. Sure, the idea of having sex with two women is alluring ... but not like this. This story portrays men as throbbing, mindless macho sex machines, dogs that somehow managed to walk upright.
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