Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Sex in C Major by Matthew J. Metzger

sex in c majorTitle ~ Sex in C Major

Author ~ Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher ~ JMS Books

Published ~ 18th June 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary Romance, Transgender, BDSM, M/M/M





Stefan has ... fantasies.
He knows chasing those fantasies is only going to end in disaster, but he can't seem to stop his self-destructive spiral. He’s a transgender man struggling to come to terms with the intersection of his identity and his sexual fantasies as a submissive. He needs someone to take control before he loses it completely.
Daz can take control. He can teach Stefan everything there is to know about sex and submission, but for some reason, he can't get inside Stefan's head. Daz can stop Stefan’s self-destruction but not the fear that fuels it.
Stefan needs to know who he is before he can accept what he is. And it's Yannis -- Daz's aromantic, asexual, stern, and sarcastic partner -- who has the answer.


Sue’s Review

First I need to highlight the trigger warnings. Sex in C Major is a dark story that might push the boundaries too far for some readers. There are frequent graphic scenes, including rape, rough/violent and painful sex, self-harming, bondage and slavery. The main character is trans, so female body parts are mentioned repeatedly (the ‘c’ word is consistently used) and breasts and vagina are included during many of the sex scenes.

Sex in C Major centres around Stefan and the negative issues he has with his body and his acceptance of himself. Stefan is FtM trans, living alone in a squalid flat with no job, spending any spare money he has on illegal testosterone, weed, and cheap alcohol. He can’t afford the physical transition he desires, and so still has female body parts intact. He suffers gender dysphoria because of this and at the same time agonizes over the fact that he enjoys those parts being stimulated during sex. This in turn makes his dysphoria and self-hatred worse. He’s horny as hell due to the hormones, but has had no sexual experience as such. He craves violent, painful sex, is prepared to beg strangers to rape him or use him as a sex object.

Enter Daz (and later his partner Yannis). There’s a mystery that shrouds these two guys for the first half of the story. Neither Stefan nor the reader know exactly what to expect from them and this heightens the anticipation and fear of what might happen to him. Stefan latches onto Daz in the belief this man can fulfill his needs. There are a lot of graphic sexual scenes, mostly with Daz acting as Master—many are brutal, some are intriguing, one or two a little repetitive and don’t seem to progress the story—but gradually the three men become friends and enter a mutually agreed ‘relationship’. Stefan is treated as a sex slave, but at the same time they help him move toward achieving what he wants in life.

There were several things that pulled me out of the story at times:

Testosterone works directly on tissues in the female body, stimulating clitoral growth. It can reach up to 5 cm when fully erect. Stefan refers to this as his cock, but I don't think it is made clear in the story. 

Although I was intrigued when reading the brutal scenes, I found it hard to comprehend the extreme pain Stefan must have experienced, or rather the fact that he didn’t safeword. I couldn’t imagine how he could have continued with some sex acts and was cringing as I read just imagining the agony he must have been in.

Also, on a couple of occasions there was a shift in character expectations and the scene went in a different direction. I remember thinking ‘why the sudden change of heart?’

Since reading the gritty and highly compelling What It Looks Like, Matthew J Metzger has been on my list of authors to follow. Sex in C Major is also a well-written story and in a style that suited the mind of the point of view character and kept me turning the pages. I especially liked the course the story finally took and the ‘progress’ Stefan made along the way with regard to himself and his self-acceptance. I liked how Master Daz and Yannis came to care for him and the unconventional three-way relationship that developed between them over the months. It took many chapters for this to happen though, but Daz became attuned to Stefan’s sexual and emotional needs. The later Daz didn’t quite match the earlier sadistic and brutal man, possibly because he developed his skills as a Master. I was also intrigued by Yannis’ musical experiments and this added another dimension to the plot. And despite his rather blasé attitude to Stefan, their discussions helped Stefan come to terms with his sexuality and gender.

The ride is certainly long and gritty, and the sex scenes are detailed and perversely kinky at times. Sex in C Major is not your ‘usual’ sweet, gushing romance with sensual lovemaking. It has transgender, gay, bi, asexual, and aromantic characters who form a unique triad that works for them and has a satisfying HFN ending.

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1 comment:

  1. Your review is just right. I read the book and find it very hard to describe. It is dark and disturbing, yet the characters all develop and grow. It is painful, yet there is contentment at the end.