Review by Linnea ‘LiteralGrill’ Capps
Give Yourself a Hand: A Furry Masturbation Anthology is a collection of eight stories focusing on, you guessed it, masturbation as a theme. It’s edited by Skunkbomb and is published by Panged Fiction. I admit, I was quite curious when going into this one. There’s always the potential with something like masturbation for stories to feel a bit the same. There’s only so many things you can do with solo play right? As you’ll see in my review however, there are plenty of curious scenarios to be explored. Let’s take a look at the stories!
“The Christian Boy’s Guide To Sex With Demons” - PJ Wolf The first story of any anthology is so important. It’s what draws the reader in, shows off the theme, and sets the tone for the rest of what you are about to be. PJ Wolf’s story does just that. I absolutely adored this story, the idea of a succubus or incubus trying to explain masturbation to an 18-year-old who really has no knowledge of sex proper is wonderful. Masturbation is an act of self-love and not just in a joking sense. Embracing your own pleasure and knowing yourself is an important facet in enjoying masturbation, and this story shows that fantastically.
“With One Hands Tied Behind His Back” - Royce Day
What better way to get back to sleep than with a bit of release right? Well in this story when that doesn’t quite work for a vixen, her husband gets involved. Despite there being a couple in the story it is most certainly still focused on masturbation! I love how this story shows some BDSM elements and does so in the correct light, safewords (or songs, you’ll see if you read it) prominently mentioned. It shows how you can have sex with a partner all while you only are touching yourself, perfect for the anthology’s theme.
“Jerking To The Finish” - Jaden Drackus
Okay I have to be blunt, I don’t think this story really counts as masturbation. Despite it not quite tracking with the theme, the story itself is a classic forbidden love styled story where two gay racecar drivers have a good and sexy time together after a race. It shows off some serious love, has a solid comedic moment, and tells a good story along the way. Plus there’s enough fun little racing puns to make anyone crack a grin. An enjoyable read for sure!
“Too Much Play” - TJ Minde
First, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this seems to be a sequel to “All Work No Play” from Knotted II which I reviewed quite favorably. I know the average reader wouldn’t catch this, but I have to say I absolutely adored the story continuing like this, especially the small callbacks to the previous tale. It made it extra fun! The story discusses a fantastic fun device that makes so many interesting sexual situations possible: a small portal. Essentially, you could put whatever you want into it and have it appear on the other side for someone to play with. In this case, you might have an idea what part of the anatomy is sticking out.
After a perfectly explained discussion of setting scenes within BDSM (as they are using a scene to help demo the product) things go awry as the portal is stolen! Our salesman must quite literally track his partner’s cock down all while hearing descriptions of what is happening to it in his ear. It explores several different kinds of play so you get a small taste of various kinks making this story not only informative, but fun!
However, once again, this story didn’t feel like it hit the theme of the anthology. Masturbation normally means pleasuring yourself. This entire story basically focused on someone else doing things to another person. This isn’t knocking the story in any way: it was absolutely brilliant and I loved its conclusion getting to be a bit more about exploring kink and BDSM safely.
“Power & Pleasure” - KC Alpinus
This story throws a lot at you at once: gods, demigods, mystical powers and hierarchies, and even still a bit more than that. The world built is quite curious, though truthfully the difficulty in deciphering all that is presented at each moment detracts from the sexual side of the tale a bit. That and there’s honestly more sex scenes not focusing on masturbation vs. other kinds of sexual acts (but once more, this is an issue with the anthology theme, not the quality of the author’s story). However, the ideas presented elevate this story a bit more over one purely about sex. The idea of a spiritual journey where our main character has to learn to submit, relinquish their control, give in to pleasure. This story might not be the one in this anthology that, pardon my being crass, you get your rocks off to. That doesn’t make it any less an enriching experience to read. Sex doesn’t always have to be about some primal urge to orgasm. Sometimes it can be the centerpiece to a well told story.
“Oak Branch” - W.R. Frixmargen
The actual visceral experience of masturbation is expertly described here. How people call upon memories, sounds, smells, and experiences to their minds to get excited for the act. There was such a focus on sensations that really draw the reader into the moment so you can always experience from the squirrel’s point of view.
One of the biggest things surrounding masturbation is that potential risk of getting caught. To some, that can cause quite a bit of excitement. If that’s the case for you? This story is probably one you should read.
“Simplicity” - Televassi
Space, a place where you can truly be isolated, be the farthest distance away from others or civilization in general. It’s a perfect backdrop for this kind of story. A story where some fun toys make taking things into your own paws quite fun sets a curious backdrop for a sci-fi adventure. Who knew that when you’re forced to fly alone, a “smart” sex toy could be worth so much right? “An Unconventional Marriage Bed” - Rukis
First, a little warning: this story does have mentions of sexual assault. I do wish these things got content warnings a bit more often in books, but alas this isn’t the case here.
Still, the story presented is quite brilliant. This takes an unconventional pairing, a straight woman and a gay man, forced by propriety and society to be wed. This doesn’t seem like a great pairing for sexual times together, but that’s just what makes this perfect. The two do truly love one another and found ways to both enjoy sex, just not in the traditional sense. I honestly love how this presents a nontraditional relationship and what can arise from it. This is such a creative way to present masturbation and for those a bit voyeuristic really highlights how much fun it can be to enjoy a good show.
My main criticism for the anthology comes from its theme. The anthology is quite literally called Give Yourself a Hand: A Furry Masturbation Anthology. Several of these stories had a strong focus on things that were not masturbatory activity. Even if you try to ignore that the theme is supposed to be about masturbation and focus purely on “giving yourself a hand” a good chunk of the stories didn’t focus on handjobs or partners purely using their paws to pleasure each other. Unfortunately, the anthology does fail to bring its theme cohesively to light. Does this make the anthology bad? Absolutely not! The stories in this anthology covered a wide variety of themes that were titillating, arousing, or just downright thought provoking. If you’re looking for an anthology only focused on masturbation, this one won’t be quite the right fit. If you like the idea of an anthology with masturbation as more an overarching flavor that goes with the rest of a sexy meal, this one will do wonders. I certainly enjoyed reading it, and I’m certain others will as well!