Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Latest Posts

BDSM

Okay, I have to admit that I’m ticked off and it’s all Lisabet’s fault. Well its not actually Lisabet’s fault, she just wrote a blog post Consent and Complicity that got me fired up.

If you haven’t read it, take a minute and look it up. You should be able to click the link above to view it.

My problem is simply this, why are writers of erotica treated differently than writers of any other genre and their stories have to conform to different rules than others.

My top peeve is the use of rubbers in erotic stories. Why do we need a condom, will you get an STD from reading? Do we need to promote safe sex? Why?

Did Dirty Harry use blanks in his 44 Magnum, well did he punk?

Are James Patterson’s characters all nice Sunday school teachers, well hell no!

So why can other writers write murder and mayhem without any thought to their character’s safety? Is it written anywhere that we have to play nice? I’m mad and I’m not going to take this any longer!

When you read a fictional story, most people read to be entertained and a means to escape to another world for a few minutes. Well, and if you read one of my stories, I hope you get off also.

I don’t have any lofty ideals about my stories, I write stroke, plain and simple but that’s not the whole story.

An erotic story by definition is to entertain and stimulate the reader, not to teach a lesson. Unless that’s the actual intent of the story.

I never use a condom in a story because I think that the reader needs to imagine the feeling of bare skin on skin, not plastic rubbing together. The story is not going to somehow infect us but if you’re worried about it try spraying your books with Lysol.

I doubt that you can find very many people who would rather have sex with a rubber than bareback. Especially in today’s world, where we are constantly concerned about some disease such as Ebola, AIDS, Hep C, or some other God-awful thing that might make your dick fall off.

By the same token, if the thought of pseudo-rape or non-con scenes turns your crank, then why can’t we read that? If Stephen King can torture and kill people in his stories without raising an eyebrow, why can’t we have someone put clothespins on our nipples?

Personally, I’m not into pain but I know a number of people who really get off on it. That doesn’t mean that you have to read/write a story involving a flogger but you should have the right if you want to.

According to authors who use a conventional publishing house and have to deal with editors, there is often the comments that the editor makes them tone down their story to be sure it doesn’t offend someone.

That’s why I like to satisfy myself and my readers, not some editor somewhere, which self-publishing gives you that ability.

Freedom of speech doesn’t protect speech you like; it protects speech you don’t like,” Larry Flynt of Hustler Magazine.

A few days ago, Robert Buckley posted a biting critique of political correctness in publishing, especially in erotica. He cited a personal experience where an editor had labeled his climactic scene involving two people who had a sexual history as a rape because the woman had not explicitly given her consent to the encounter.

Bob was dumb-founded – and I would have been, too. Lovers don’t need to ask permission. Even in an erotic interlude between strangers, mutual attraction can often be assumed, signaled by behavioral cues. We are, after all, writing for adults, not children who need every detail spelled out.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of readers who enjoy stories involving dubious consent, or even completely non-consensual sex. You can wring your hands all you want, but survey after survey has documented the fact that many women have rape fantasies. Do these women actually want to be raped? Of course not. That doesn’t diminish the erotic charge associated with being “forced” to submit to sex.

One reason this fantasy is such a powerful aphrodisiac is that it relieves the woman of responsibility for sexual activity. If you’re coerced into having sex, nobody can label you as a slut. You can remain a good girl even as you’re enjoying the enormous cock (or cocks) pounding your holes.

Intellectually, I can understand the appeal of non-con fantasies, but this particular kink doesn’t really push my personal buttons. I can recall only one book I’ve written that had elements of dubious consent (Rajasthani Moon). The novel begins with the heroine being kidnapped, whipped and fucked by a sexy bandit. The whole scenario is intentionally very exaggerated, treated in a light-hearted manner. No one could possibly doubt that Cecily Harrowsmith, secret agent extraordinaire on a mission from Queen Victoria, is having an excellent time. In general, serious non-con does not float my boat.

On the contrary, you might say I have a consent fetish. There are few things I find as arousing as explicitly agreeing to do something naughty. Even in a vanilla relationship, saying “yes” to passion is exciting and empowering. There’s always an element of risk in sex, emotional if not physical. When you overcome the fear and claim the pleasure, you reap incredible rewards.

Consent is even more potent in the context of dominance and submission. Nothing turns me on like a submissive agreeing to be tormented and used by a dominant. Admitting your deviant desires—taking responsibility for your own fantasies, twisted and taboo though they might be—scenes featuring this sort of dynamic never fail to get me wet.

My very first published work included this sort of interaction:

He leaned closer. “I want to tie you here, hand and foot, so that you will be more completely at my disposal. I believe that you want that, too. But you must tell me so. I will not do this without your permission.”

Kate was silent. She had never been so unsure in her life. Fear, suspicion, shame, and distrust warred with curiosity and desire. In his arms she had felt both sheltered and helpless, and she longed for those feelings again. Yet he was essentially a stranger, she reminded herself—a stranger with a shady profession and an unsavory reputation.

When she looked at him, though, she saw attentive concern in his eyes, belying the fierce reality of the cock which pulsed hugely from his fly. The sight of his manhood sent a delicious weakness through her limbs. I must be crazy, she thought, as she nodded her assent.

“Do it,” she murmured, and did not trust herself to say anymore.

With expert skill, he bound her wrists with the silken braids. “Silk is a marvelous substance,” he commented. “So soft, but incredibly strong. Like you, my little Kate. I know that you can endure much. Much more than you would believe.”

~ from Raw Silk by Lisabet Sarai

In more recent work, I’ve continued to explore the same themes, in perhaps more subtle ways:

“Look at me.” His tone was softer but no less firm. I raised my eyes to his, which were the startling blue of glacial ice. I shivered and burned. “You’re new, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Yes, Sir,” he corrected me. My nipples tightened inside my bra.

“Yes, Sir.” Just his voice was enough to make me ache.

“What’s your name?”

“Cassie, Sir. Cassie Leonard.”

“Don’t look away, Cassie. Look at me. Do you know who I am?”

“No, Sir. I just started at Lindenwood this week. Before that I was in the rehab department at Miriam Hospital.”

“My slaves call me Master Jonathan.”

My earlobes, my nipples, my fingertips, all seemed to catch fire. I wanted to sink through the floor. I didn’t want him to see how his words excited me.

But he did see. I stared at my hands, knuckles white from gripping the rail.

“You have a boyfriend, don’t you?”

“Yes, Sir, I do.” An image of Ryan rose in my mind, his brown curls and uneven grin, muscled chest and hard thighs. I did love him, truly I did, with his quirky humor, his gentle fingers and his boyish ardor. He was a fine young man. My mother approved of him.

“He doesn’t satisfy you.” It was a statement, not a question. Tears of remembered frustration pricked the corners of my eyes. “Why not, Cassie? Is his cock too small?”

I couldn’t believe I was having this conversation with a stranger, a patient, a half-paralyzed man forty years older than I was. I stole a glance at Dr. Carver. His mouth was firm but his eyes sparkled with suppressed mirth.

“No, Sir. His cock is fine.” Ryan was justifiably proud of his meaty hard-ons.

“What is it then? Is he a selfish lover? Does he come too quickly for you?”

Guilt washed over me. Ryan would happily spend hours licking my pussy and fingering me, trying to get me off. The only way I could manage it was to think about scenes from the kinky porn I hid from him. Whippings and spankings, gags and handcuffs, all the clichés that I couldn’t stop myself from wanting.

“Well? Tell me, Cassie. What do you need that he doesn’t provide? What do you want?”

My mouth filled with cotton. I couldn’t speak. I was acutely aware of my rigid nipples pressing against the starched fabric of my uniform. My clit pulsed like a sore tooth inside my sodden panties.

“Cassie, I’m waiting.” His sternness sent electricity shimmering through my limbs. “Don’t disappoint me.”

I dared a glance at his face. His left eyelid drooped slightly. His eyes snared mine. I couldn’t look away. One eyebrow arched in an unspoken question.

“I—um—I want him to, uh, to do things to me. That he doesn’t want to do.” I tried to break away from his gaze, but the force of his will held me.

“Things?” He sounded amused. A fresh wave of hot, wet shame swamped my body. “What sort of things?”

“Uh—tie me up. Spank me. Use me. Treat me like his slave.” It all came out in a rush, the desires I’d never shared with anyone except Ryan. Even then, I’d only shown him the tip of the iceberg, the least perverted of my needs. “He wouldn’t, though. He was shocked when I told him. Disgusted. Said that I had a filthy mind.” The tears that had gathered earlier spilled out over my cheeks.

“I imagine that you do, little one, delightfully filthy.” His voice was a caress, soothing and seductive. “I knew that right away, just from your reactions to my voice. Your deepest desire is to submit to a strong master, isn’t it?”

“Yes—Sir.” I felt relief, now that I’d admitted my secret. He at least didn’t seem to condemn me.

“You want to be beaten and buggered, shackled to the bed and split open by a huge cock. You want to bath in your master’s come, maybe even his piss. To be forced to service his friends.”

It was thrilling and horrible, listening to him enumerating my darkest fantasies out loud. My clit felt the size of a ripe plum, swollen and juicy, ready to burst. I nodded, still finding it difficult to expose myself so completely.

“I will do those things for you, if you’d like.”

~ from “Stroke” by Lisabet Sarai, originally published in Please Sir: Erotic Tales of Female Submission, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

Why do I find this scenario so exciting? Well, I’ve been there. I’ve stood in front of my master and been invited to admit that what he wanted to do to me, I wanted, too. I’ve consented to things I’d never dared to imagine. I’ve writhed under his blows, turned on despite the very real pain, recognizing in wonder that I’d asked for this. That realization raised the erotic temperature to an even more fevered level.

Certainly I wanted to please him. Knowing he truly appreciated my surrender made it all the sweeter. But the intensity of my arousal derived more from other aspects of our interaction. His vision, seeing through my good-girl persona to the twisted creature underneath, a woman I hardly knew existed. His whole-hearted acceptance of my deviance. My secret, shameful, delicious knowledge that I was complicit in my own debasement.

We shared the communion of outlaws, two souls with perfectly complementary fantasies. I’d stepped over that line deliberately, trusting him and myself.

He and I are still in touch, though separated by many thousands of miles. He recently sent me a video of “Wolf Like Me”, by the group TV on the Radio. I’d never encountered this song before, but now I can’t get it out of my mind.

Charge me your day rate
I’ll turn you out in kind
When the moon is round and full
Gonna teach you tricks that’ll blow your mongrel mind
Baby doll, I recognize
You’re a hideous thing inside
If ever there were a lucky kind, it’s
You, you, you, you

I know it’s strange another way to get to know you
You’ll never know unless we go so let me show you
I know it’s strange another way to get to know you
We’ve got till noon; here comes the moon
So let it show you
Show you now

I concur with his suggestion that the lyrics hold many D/s echoes. We both understood it in the same way—as an invitation to venture beyond the bounds of convention and normalcy, into the fierce, hot, wild unknown of power exchange.

An invitation to consent.

By Donna George Storey

The movie Fifty Shades Darker was released just before Valentine’s Day. No one cares. The box office on opening weekend was slightly more than half of Fifty Shades of Grey. The quality of the second movie may be a factor. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson did not return to do the sequel, which lacks the humor and sizzle of the first film, critics say.

Then again perhaps we’ve lost interest in the fate of Ana and Christian because our nation is too busy navigating our own intimate BDSM relationship with a billionaire? “You’ll let me hurt you, because you love me, right?” he snarls gently. “Don’t resist! You’ll enjoy it. Now stop calling your Senators and let me put these handcuffs on you. Trust me, it’ll be something terrific…”

Not sure how that’s been going for you, but I’m learning a lot about myself from this experience.

Indeed I find it fascinating that the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon of just a few years past is suddenly painfully relevant to our everyday lives. This month I’d like to share some lessons from E.L. James’ erotic novels that illuminate the power of fantasy, BDSM and billionaires.

Don’t Bother Fact-Checking A Fantasy

Do you remember all the dire warnings about Christian Grey as a stalker and a dangerously controlling personality? Therapists and cultural critics alike worried that the female fans of Fifty Shades of Grey would be fooled into thinking that the relationship between Christian and Ana was desirable and that these poor women would then seek out sociopathic narcissists who would abuse them physically and psychologically. Many more criticized the bad prose, the passive heroine and the inane plot lifted from Twilight. Anna J. Roberts even analyzed the novels chapter by chapter to show how silly, embarrassing and wrong the story was at every turn (her commentary is highly entertaining). BDSM aficionados pointed out that James’ grasp of power exchange is misleading and amateurish—indeed she has little, if any, personal experience in the kink for which she has become famous.

In other words, Fifty Shades of Grey was fact-checked by therapists, experienced authors and editors, and BDSM practitioners. In every respect, it was found lacking. Four Pinocchios all around.

The fans of the series didn’t give a fig. They loved the story, even if it was “bad” and “wrong.” Adding to the huge audience of true fans were the curiosity seekers. Thanks to them and a celebrity-driven press, Fifty Shades of Grey became—and still is, because I assure you I will get at least twice as many reads for this column as any I’ve written without “Fifty Shades” in the title—a code word for “exciting, kinky sex.” So what if the actual sex scenes in the book are far more vanilla than advertised? E.L. James is still a rich woman.

Mind you, how many of us would appreciate our fantasies being fact-checked? What are the chances that any given neighbor spying on you while you undress is a gorgeous sexpot who somehow knows your pleasure buttons intimately without speaking a word once you finally beckon him or her over to your boudoir? Most of us know this is unlikely to happen in real life, but there’s no harm done if we merely imagine idealized encounters without consequences in moments of privacy.

Yet problems do arise when fantasies are taken so seriously that, say, you vote for someone who promises you a health care plan that covers everybody and costs less and offers more benefits except it’s not single-payer because that’s socialism–and you actually expect them to deliver on the promise.

Therefore, let us take note from the Fifty Shades example, that a “good story” trumps harsh reality when the desire to believe is strong.

The Strict Father and the Republican Party 

The general consensus seems to be that Fifty Shades of Grey is just a standard Harlequin romance that wouldn’t have gotten a second glance except for the BDSM. Apparently the novels finally made it completely okay for the ordinary Jane to think sexual thoughts about cable ties and handcuffs. Unfortunately, this openness has also brought out a lot of misogynistic cultural “analysis,” which says as much about the commentator as the topic. The books’ popularity was seen by some as proof that women naturally want to be submissive because they find their new “equality” in society a burden from which they long to escape into the arms of a billionaire with a secret playroom full of canes and whips. In other words, the Freudians were right that women are intrinsically masochistic.

I’ll let Leslie Bennetts challenge this conclusion most eloquently in “Sex, Lies & Fifty Shades”:

“So when people pontificate about women’s intrinsic sexual nature, I find myself thinking: How do you know? How can we ourselves even know? From earliest childhood, women’s experience of sex is so inextricably intertwined with all forms of male control that submission is forever eroticized in more ways than we can possibly unravel. As females, we have been dominated physically, politically, socially, legally, and economically, and pop culture endlessly reinforces the message.”

So if it’s not that women just naturally like to be dominated straight from the womb, what could be the compelling appeal of BDSM to millions? I humbly present an alternate explanation for the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, and it has to do with the Republican party. I owe this insight to George Lakoff’s Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think.

Lakoff argues that conservatives in America believe in the Strict Father model of the family and by metaphorical extension, the Strict Father model of our government. In this traditional, patriarchal structure, the father/president has the primary responsibility for supporting and protecting the family/citizens. He also gets to whip their butts if they don’t follow his directions.

“He teaches children right from wrong by setting strict rules for their behavior and enforcing them through punishment. The punishment is typically mild to moderate, but sufficiently painful. It is commonly called corporal punishment—say, with a belt or a stick. He also gains their cooperation by showing love and appreciation when they do follow the rules. But children must never be coddled, lest they become spoiled; a spoiled child will be dependent for life and will not learn proper morals.” (Lakoff, p. 66)

Under the Strict Father moral order, humans are more powerful and important than animals and plants and the environment, adults are more powerful than children, and men are more powerful than women. Thus, if a woman challenges this hierarchy by assuming male privileges, she is threatening the natural order and must be punished. This explains why those who oppose government regulations on almost everything else are quick to legislate to control women’s bodies–and also why the environment is fair game for whatever we humans want to grab and exploit.

The liberal family ideal, in Lakoff’s terminology, is the Nurturant Parent model. In this type of family, parents of both sexes embrace empathy, nurturance, social ties, fairness and happiness in the family relationship. Parents earn their authority by acting kindly and fairly and setting an example for their children. Children are encouraged to express their needs and opinions. Men and women are equal. This model of the family has been gaining traction, particularly among younger baby boomer parents. The downside of nurturant parenting–and government–is that it’s hard work and involves self-doubt, constant negotiation, and expensive social programs.

The majority of American voters today are likely to have been raised in a family more closely resembling the Strict Father model. This is why conservative rhetoric about family values touches deep chords in so many Americans. Fifty Shades puts the focus on women’s experience of submission, but men, too, must deal with power hierarchies in every aspect of their lives. Those with a Strict Father worldview are especially intimate with hierarchy, authority and punishment for disobedience. Yet while hierarchical power relations start in the family, we find them flourishing in schools, in the workplace, the doctor’s office, the military of course, and pretty much any setting that you’ll find as the unifying theme for an erotica anthology.

Speaking of erotica, allow me to call in another expert to support my argument: Jack Morin, the author of The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Sexual Passion and Fulfillment. Morin introduced me to the idea of the “core erotic theme.” You can figure out your personal core erotic theme simply by identifying the sexual fantasy that is most likely to turn you on, especially when you’re having trouble getting aroused.

In my earlier review of Morin’s book, I mentioned that I found this quote relevant to literary erotica writers: “Many find it discomforting to tolerate the ambiguity of the erotic experience, to accept its mixed motivations, or to observe how the erotic mind has a habit of transforming one idea or emotion into another.”

Morin is describing the genesis of sexual fantasy. That is, our erotic minds take material from our actual experience–such as our family or religion-induced guilt about sex, our doubt about our desirability, or frustration about sexual limitations–and transforms it into arousing fantasies that address or redress or overturn the limitations of the real.  In erotic fantasies, we are often freed from the restrictions that rule our behavior in real life.  Lovers are abundant, orgasms even more so.  Even in the submissive role, the dreamer is always, in some fundamental way, in control of the situation as she or he manipulates all of the characters in the sexual drama unfolding on the imaginary stage. Our minds perform the magic of converting desire, humiliation, confusion and powerlessness into sensual pleasure and release.

In real life, there are always restrictions upon our desires and thus feelings of anger and powerlessness to manage in one way or another. No matter how powerful a Strict Father might be, there are always women, profits, federal employees and deals that elude his control. Although men have social privilege in the abstract, millions of individual men don’t experience those privileges for reasons of economic standing or ethnicity or any other quality that might lower status. We each have a complicated relationship with power, and a mind that readily translates these ambiguities into the language of fantasy. Fifty Shades of Grey was the first popular novel to give ordinary people the cover to explore more fully the intersection of power and sex—whether to enjoy it, condemn it or both.

George Lakoff’s Strict Father model is very helpful in understanding the conservative approach to family and government, but we must remember that both the liberal and conservative family models are essentially fantasies in themselves. Human patriarchs are never unassailable towers of strength and rectitude, nor are real-life nurturing parents always perfect models of kindness and equality. Both kinds of authority figures wield power they invariably abuse and both disappoint us.

Our current political situation has allowed us a naked glimpse of the abuses of power in government that is a disorienting blend of reality and fantasy that all too often bleeds into the surreal. However, when you involve another adult partner in playing out your fantasy, it is extremely important to get her or his consent at every step of the way. This is the difference between a purportedly pleasurable BDSM scene and assault and battery.

Where indeed will this unfolding relationship between our Strict Father leaders and our many Ana-like uncertain citizens lead America’s democratic experiment? Might Fifty Shades of Grey have the answer?

Does America Get A Happy Ending?

After much self-inflicted drama and misunderstanding (spoiler alert), Ana and Christian end their travails as a deliriously happy married couple with two adorable children. Their chief problem in life is getting the kids to sleep. Ana, just by being herself and also saving Christian’s sister from an evil Princeton-alum kidnapper, has “cured” Christian of his kink and healed his heart.

That’s the fictional version. So what about our real-life power-kink tale? How will the American people deal with the unprecedented challenges presented by our billionaire Master? Will we live happily ever after in the end?

I’ve decided to be optimistic. In this, too, let’s take our inspiration from E.L. James and move this plot as best we can away from dysfunctional obsession and toward a supportive relationship between government and citizen that honors our Constitution and the rule of law. The “how” this happens is, of course, the most important question for every story.

Yet unlike Fifty Shades of Grey, the citizens of the United States are the authors of this narrative. The ending of the story lies in our hands. Let’s make it good.

Donna George Storey is the author
of Amorous Woman and a collection of short
stories, Mammoth
Presents the Best of Donna George Storey
. Learn more about her
work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com
or http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor

By Lisabet Sarai

Are there topics you feel should be unequivocally banned from erotica? Subjects about which you would absolutely never read—or write—in an erotic context? Do you believe there are some literary lines that should never be crossed?

Many people feel this way about rape or other forms of non-consensual sexual activity. Yet studies (here, for example) have shown repeatedly that many women (and some men) fantasize about being raped or forced into sexual activity. In general, these women understand that imagined coercion is very different from real rape. Finding the former arousing does not indicate a desire for the latter. Nevertheless many readers, and publishers, object to exploring this topic in erotica.

What about incest? Despite the difficulty authors experience in publishing fiction that features sexual activity between adult family members, the taboo topic is a turn-on for a significant subset of readers. The wildly popular step-brother romance sub-genre has provided a “safe” way for readers to experience the forbidden thrill of being attracted to a close relation. I personally consider this as a bit dishonest. I’ve had incestuous dreams about my own brother. I’d never act on them, but that doesn’t mean the dreams weren’t a turn-on.

Bestiality? If sexual activity involving animals is so horrifying, why are shifter stories so successful? Not to mention the cryptozoological “taken by bigfoot” sub-genre? Forcing oneself upon a dumb animal in the real world would be immoral, but the beasts in erotic fiction tend to be anthropomorphised. The human participants feel some sort of sexual connection with the horny dog or the sleek, predatory tiger. I’ve read some amazing erotica based on human attraction to animals. Does that mean I plan to have sex with my cat? Of course not.

Sex with children may be a hard line. Adults getting sexual with kids too young to object or to understand is definitely wrong. There are no extenuating circumstances. But how do you define “young”? Is fourteen too young? That’s how old I was when I gave away my virginity, to a guy who was twenty. I knew exactly what I was doing (well, in theory, at least). During the teen years, desire is confusing and inchoate, but overwhelming in its power. Memories of that period, when every emotion cuts to the quick, offer tremendous possibilities for meaningful and moving—as well as tremendously arousing—erotic fiction.

My clearest personal line involves erotic fiction that portrays inflicting serious violence, physical harm or death as arousing. I avoid such stories when I can. I’ve read enough erotica, though, to know that not everyone agrees with this boundary. Are the people who write such stuff fundamentally evil? Am I qualified to judge?

These are not easy questions to answer. If you think they are, I believe that you’re fooling yourself.

The core issue relates to another kind of line: the line between imagination and reality. Is someone who finds a taboo topic arousing in fiction likely to perform such actions in real life? I’d argue that most readers of erotica distinguish very clearly between the fantasies evoked by erotic fiction, no matter how extreme, and the life they live outside of books.

Of course there are individuals who do enact this sort of forbidden scenario in the real world. There are men who kidnap women and hold them prisoners in their basements for years, who secretly abuse grade school kids, who screw their prepubescent daughters. These people have always existed. Does our writing about the sort of crimes they perpetrate encourage these people to commit these crimes?

Does an author who writes about a serial killer encourage murderers in the real world?

How much of the horror that people express about various taboo topics is rational, and how much is based on their personal discomfort? I will leave that question open for you to ponder.

Publishers and online venues like ERWA don’t want to make readers uncomfortable. They’re also worried about getting in trouble with the law. Hence, they establish various rules about what content is and is not acceptable. These rules tend to be idiosyncratic, depending on both the personal beliefs of the owners or operators and their perception of their market. For instance, I had a publisher reject one of my stories once because they had a policy prohibiting the portrayal of priests and nuns in erotica. In the romance world, very few publishers will accept any work that includes bodily fluids (“golden showers” or “scat”) even though there’s no legal reason for them to reject such stories (and it’s possible to write about these topics with both grace and heat). These publishers are convinced their readership will find such content “gross”.

Rules can change. Last year, the ownership of ERWA changed hands. Now, the ERWA staff members are debating whether to remove the prohibition of incest erotica on the public website. Perhaps you will consider me an incorrigible reprobate, but I am in favor. I believe we should have as few rules as possible.

In my view, erotica should not only turn readers on, but should also expand their perspectives. Sex is inextricably intertwined with so many other emotions—love, guilt, ambition, shame, anger, and compassion, to name just a few. Erotica derives its singular power from this psychological complexity. It’s not a safe genre, or at least it shouldn’t be. Sometimes the most arousing stories are the most disturbing.

Does that mean nothing is sacred, nothing forbidden? That’s something each of us has to answer for ourselves. There are few, if any red lines that I can discern. Defining what is and is not acceptable in erotica is a dangerously slippery slope.

Red lines in erotica remind me a bit of limits in BDSM. Limits are personal—the activities I totally reject might be the ones that most turn you on. Furthermore, limits can change over time. Tomorrow I might consider doing something that terrifies or squicks me today. Finally, the most erotic BDSM encounters often result from pushing limits—moving beyond the edge of what’s comfortable and familiar into new experiences and new insights.

One of my favorite erotica stories is by Patrick Califia. (No
surprise there.) “No Mercy” (which can be found in his collection of the same title) centers Terry, who is in an abusive D/s relationship with
Heather, and on the cusp of finding her way out of it. The story begins as they
approach a piercing shop to finally get the genital piercing that Terry has
wanted for a long time. Her body could not accept the piercing from Heather,
she kept safewording as the moment was approaching, so they decide to go to a
professional piercer. The first 8 or so pages are filled with the lead-in to
the piercing. Heather thinks of the piercing as a last ditch effort to save the
relationship, and Terry thinks of it as another step away from the
relationship. The tension in the story builds until the piercing is done, and
once it is complete, Terry bursts out with a flow of words. The piercer, a
leatherdyke herself who becomes a key character in the rest of the story,
explains, “Once you poke a hole in somebody, something frequently comes out.” The
piercing, which is hot in and of itself and also incredibly satisfying, is also
holding so many other things for all the characters involved. It is this transformational
moment, this intensely loaded thing.

Sex and kink can hold so much in them, and Califia is one of
those writers that deeply embraces this reality, and uses the sex and kink in
his stories to nudge the reader to grapple with the things he cares about. He’s
pretty upfront about it too. In his essay, “A Insistent and Indelicate Muse”,
printed in M. Christian’s brilliant collection The Burning Pen: Sex Writers on Sex Writing, Califia says:

“I like to use the cover of eroticism to entice the reader
and make them emotionally and psychologically vulnerable to new ideas or
discomfiting information. I hold out the reward of dirty talking in exchange
for the reader stretching their political muscles.”

Califia is upfront about wanting the reader to stretch, to
see the things that sex is holding inside itself, to grapple with those things
in reading his stories.

When I started writing erotica, it was about reaching for my
desire, trying to envision it and make it real for myself. My early erotica is
full of my fantasies about BDSM, but more than that, about my fantasies of
being seen, witnessed, and met in the wholeness of who I am, particularly
around gender. I wrote a story about being seen and desired as trans by cis gay
men. I wrote about being witnessed and desired as a genderqueer femme by queer
trans men. I wrote about being desired as a submissive boy by a trans man, and
as a femme dyke by a butch dyke.

These stories, these fantasies, were as much about gender
and queerness as they were about spanking, or pain play, or sucking cock in a
bathroom or an alley. They were imagining a sexual universe where I was able to
be in the fullness of myself, and be desired. Because I was worried about that,
worried about whether I was desirable in my gender complexity. Worried about
whether the kind of queer kink I wanted was possible.

I am not worried about those things as much now; I bring
other needs to my writing. But they often are still rooted in that desire to be
recognized, that desire to create moments of recognition for readers, that
desire to open up space that allows us to be in the wholeness of ourselves
during kink and sex.

Erotica has been a place where I play with the ways we can
feel seen and met in our desires, honored for all of who we are, witnessed and held
in our vulnerability, as we show ourselves to our partners. That’s been a
common thread in my erotica over the last 15 years of writing, because I find
it to be one of the most gloriously hot aspects of sex and kink. I titled my
recent queer kink erotica collection Show
Yourself To Me
to evoke that aspect of my work, to draw attention to the
ways it is rooted in that place of yearning and meeting, of holding and
celebrating, of showing who you are and being shown in return.

In a recent round table discussion on sex writing, Larissa Pham, who writes one of my favorite sex
columns, Cum Shots, said:

“With Cum Shots, people would text me (saying), ‘Oh my God,
you broke my heart again.’ This isn’t happy writing a lot of the time. Sex
is just a way to talk about other things. You poke sex and a bunch of stuff
comes out: power comes out, abuse comes out, emotions come out, trauma comes
out, race relations come out.”

For me, writing stories about sex and kink has been a way to
write about other things that I care about. You poke the sex and kink in my
stories and a bunch of other stuff comes out, including the very things that
Pham names in the quote above. Sex and kink is the arena where all that stuff
takes place, shows its face, gets grappled with and held. I use my stories to
illuminate ways I have found to create safe enough containers within sex and
kink that can hold the things that come out when you poke.

When you poke the sex you are writing, what comes out? How
do you grapple with that as a writer? How do you create stories that can hold
it? How do you decide what stuff your story can hold, and where you need to
limit that? What do you use sex to talk about?

You know how on Project Runway, when the contestants are creating a
collection, they keep being urged to make it cohesive? Cohesion is a big part of how they envision each piece of
the collection being connected and part of a whole. So it doesn’t feel
disjointed. So you get a clear sense of who the designer is. So you know who
they are making clothes for.

As a top, when I’m planning a BDSM scene, I’m attempting to create a
similar kind of cohesion. I want the play to feel connected, not like a series
of disjointed activities. I want the play to be an expression of who I am as a
top. I want the play to be specific to the bottom, and specific to this
particular moment with the bottom. It needs to be about both (or all) of us.

It can be easy to be caught up in a clever idea, or a particular goal,
or want to use all the tools available, or have a clear arc in mind. But goal
focused or highly scripted play often prevents us from being in the moment and
present with ourselves and those we are playing with. So I try not to overplan.
I want to leave plenty of room to respond in the moment. When I’m teaching BDSM,
I often tell folks: 

Let your intention
float alongside or in front of you. Grasping for it may sink you.

So, I generally lean towards a loose plan, instead of a script or
concrete goals. I’ve built scenes on a few tools I want to focus on. I’ve created scenes based on the emotions I wanted to harness. I’ve
planned scenes based on sensations I want to give. I’ve conceived of scenes
that are based on the kind of connection I wanted to create. These are loose intentions,
ones that I can let float next to me, and still really be in the moment during
BDSM play, let myself be guided as much by context and the responses of my
partner and my own desire right then, as I am by the intention. And even this
kind of loose intention can sometimes weigh me down in the moment if I become
too attached to it, so I try to enter a scene knowing that I may need to let it
float away from me altogether.

Many of my erotica stories mostly consist of a scene; there may be a
bit of a lead in, or sometimes a longer lead in, but often the bulk of the
story is the scene. That’s where the character arc happens, that’s where the
conflict occurs, that’s where I do much of my characterization. The scene is
the center of the story, and it needs the sort of plan that a real life scene
needs, one that is dynamic and responsive, one that allows for discovery and
flow, one that isn’t too heavily scripted or goal oriented. It needs to feel
cohesive, in some ways even moreso because it’s the center of a story.

I often do the bulk of planning for my stories much like I plan a
scene. I get a clear sense of point of view, and who the characters are as
individuals, but also their dynamics, the context for their play. I also have a
loose plan, an intention for how the
BDSM is going to be cohesive, deeply woven into the story as a whole. I choose
the thread I am going to draw throughout the scene so that it feels whole and
not disjointed. I think about the intention I am going to use for the BDSM scene,
and consider: How is the intention going to illuminate internal conflict for
the characters? How is the intention going to create opportunities for the
reader to get to know the characters? Does the intention fit this context, this
setting, and these people at this specific moment?

The intention I select for the BDSM scene gives me a path towards how
to set up the scene for the reader, how to create an arc for the scene, how to
build momentum in the scene. It is the thing I keep my eye on as I let the
story flow, and let the scene unfold, put these characters together and watch
what they do, in the moment, as they play off each other, respond to each
other, engage in their play dynamic together.

Let me give you a few examples from my recent collection, Show Yourself To Me.

My story, “It’s My Job” was written with a very particular intention for the scene: leather.
In particular, the bottom’s deep love for leather. This intention gave the story
its structure and tone, and its beginning with a focus on gay leather traditions
and the legacies of particular pieces of his Daddy’s leather. This intention made
the choice of all leather toys: gloves, boots, leather sap, braided cat, quirt.
This intention is what led to a long luxurious leather worship scene where the
bottom licks from his Daddy’s boots all the way up his chaps to his leather
jock. But it was the dynamic between the characters that drove where the story
went. The repetition of the boy describing that it was his job to care for his
Daddy’s leather, to stand still and take it for Daddy, all the specific things
that are his job in this role that is full of worship and service, that is what
led the story to its conclusion, to the center of the internal conflict of this
character. I fought where this story wanted to go, because I wasn’t sure I was up to writing it
that way, but it insisted, and I found I had to listen.

The plan is not in charge, it needs to be responsive in the moment, and
be real to who these characters are, to what their dynamic is. Sometimes the
scene builds to somewhere unexpected. Part of the point of the looseness of the plan is to
allow that to happen.

I wrote “Willing” with a desire to really focus on trust and the difficulties
of vulnerability and connection. It centers the internal struggle of a vampire
to let himself trust this boy he meets, who seems like he might be the willing boy
of his dreams. The intention of the scene was to show a dance of intimacy,
where he comes close, and pulls back, repeatedly. This is what led to a dance
metaphor in the descriptions of rough body play, what made the up-close nature
of knife play a central part of the scene, what drove how blood sports are integrated into this story. This dance of trust helped lead to
this particular moment where the top transitions from knife play to caning. This moment feels like the core of the story, revealing the
ways that this scene is different for the top, has higher stakes:

Mine, I think again. And catch
myself. I watch him, building on his fear, and remove my touch. There is only
the knife sliding along him, forcing him to remain still. There is only the
knife as silence lays on him like a blanket. I step away, moving quietly, and
leave him alone. We will see how much he needs connection, how much fear I can
build. We will see, I think slowly to
myself, how much distance I can tolerate.

My play is
usually about connection. About driving myself inside. About opening someone up
to my gaze. My tools are up close and personal. Play is my source of
connection, and I usually hurl into it, deep and hard.

I don’t want
to show myself yet. This must be done slowly. I want to see what he can do. I
want to wait before I commit myself to what I have already thought. I will come
to that on my terms, in my time.

I collect my
favorite canes, needing air between us. Needing the sound that whips through
the air and blasts into flesh. Needing controlled, careful cruelty. Canes are a
special love of mine. It takes a lot for me to risk thin sticks of wood, easily
broken to form deadly weapons. Canes are about my risk, too. Their simple
existence menaces. Their joy is unmatchable.

The planning makes the rest possible, creates the framework so that the
story can reveal itself. The looseness of the plan lets the scene breathe, lets
the characters struggle. It is that inner struggle that I love to write most.

My story “What I Need” is all about the intense desire for claiming of a trans stone butch
top. It is driven by the urgency in that desire. That’s what led to the choice
of first person present tense. That’s why it’s written to bring the reader up
close by addressing it to “you”. That’s what drives the pace of the scene, from
the start. That’s definitely what led to
the choice of toys. For the most part, there are none. This is a scene built on
getting up close and person, deep inside the bottom with the most intimate of
tools: the top’s body. It starts with throat fucking, and breath play not with
tools but with the top using hir body to cut off airflow. It continues along
this vein with rough body play, and is filled with this desire to mark and to
get inside, to claim through fucking and pain and culminates in blood sports.
That intention around claiming shapes the story, and what is revealed in its
midst is how vulnerable the top is in that desire for that level of connection.
That vulnerability becomes the tender core of this story, gives it depth and
struggle and reveals the POV character to the reader, a character who pushes hir own edges around how much clothing ze takes off during play.  

The plan is a path for the scene, but the scene may veer off the path.
Or the path may be reveal itself to be a bit more complicated that we might
have thought when we began. The plan gets me moving as a writer, helps me
focus, works to create a container so that the scene, and the story, can go
where they need to go.

Silence is Golden
To be published by Sexy Little Pages
Deadline: April 22, 2016

If
someone is unable to speak, how do they communicate with their
partner? If a sub or Dom can’t hear well in crowds but loves to play at
parties, what mechanisms are in place to ensure everyone stays safe?

Not
just gags and sensory deprivation! We’re looking for contemporary
kink-inspired tales encompassing a range of diverse characters and
intense, sexy storylines about communication, that make us squirm in
our seat. Tell us about every body, not just white, cis and able. Make
your stories hot with your characters reflecting real people across the
spectrum of size, colour, gender and ability.

Deadline 22nd April 2016. Word count 4000-6000. New writers welcome.

Please
read our full guidelines at www.SexyLittlePages.com/submissions for
how to submit your story (and a few things we are and aren’t looking
for!)

Questions? EMail: hello@sexylittlepages.com 

One of the best kink education panels I’ve ever
been part of was a group of experienced queer tops being real about our
experiences back when we were new tops. We told stories about mistakes we made,
how afraid we were, how much pressure we felt to act confident. We were real
about the ways we realized that we wanted to top, and what that early
self-discovery was like. We talked about the tricks we used to get over our
nerves, and the ways we learned to value our own needs. It was one of the most
real and important conversations I’ve ever had with a group of tops, and I feel
incredibly lucky to have participated in it. There was this hush in the room as
we spoke about this, a sense that we were breaking silence, that this
conversation was precious. We don’t have these kinds of
conversations often
 in kink community, rarely
speak openly as tops about being vulnerable, nervous, scared, or unsure.

When I was a novice top, I would have
loved to read stories about tops who were unsure. Part of why I felt like
I had to act sure even when I wasn’t as a novice top was that no tops were talking about being unsure. If
I’d been able to read stories about tops who were unsure, it would have been
validating, and really helped me. I know that some people look to erotica
& erotic romance for fantasy, and to get off. I sure do. But I also look to
it for a mirror.

The first erotica story I wrote from
the top’s point of view, “Nervous Boy”, had the top character being unsure. It
felt like such a risk to write. Maybe I was the only top that felt this
way. Maybe the bubble of faith readers had in him would burst when they saw he
was unsure. Maybe I couldn’t find these stories because no one would be willing
to print them. (I was wrong about the last one, by the way.)

These days I work really hard to include tops in my erotica who are
unsure, vulnerable, and scared
. I consistently write experienced
tops that doubt themselves, that need support, that are vulnerable, that have
needs. I care about those stories. I think they are important, not just as erotica,
but as a voice in kink culture that insists on top vulnerability and tops
having needs. But these stories aren’t the only kind of mirror I needed as a
novice.

I would love to read stories about novice tops
learning from experienced bottoms. I would love to read stories about
novice tops getting mentored, or learning through co-topping. I would love to
read stories about novice tops figuring out how to top through reading, going
to classes, having cybersex, talking with kinky buddies, watching instructional
videos, watching other people play. I would love to read stories about novice
tops trying out bottoming as a way to learn, and the ways that works for them,
or really doesn’t work. I would love to read stories about novice tops refusing
to try bottoming despite being pressured and finding other paths for learning
and self discovery. I would love to read stories about novice tops and bottoms
learning together, perhaps in group scenes, perhaps through co-bottoming,
perhaps on their own or with friends.

There are very few stories that center novice
tops. I can’t name more than a few short stories (mostly about couples
experimenting with kink together) and about half a dozen book titles, and I
read pretty damn widely. (If you are looking for examples I particularly
recommend For RealHave Mercy, and Sated, which actually features a novice switch,
but I especially adore her topping moments.) The dearth of examples illuminates
a pretty big gap in BDSM fiction.

But I think the gap is wider than that. The kinds of stories we tell
about novices are a bit…one-note.

Most of the time in BDSM erotica and erotic
romance, when a
character is a novice, it seems to be a stand in for virginal innocence. This character has done very little (or no) research about kink, and often has had no prior kinky fantasies. A clean
slate, if you will. The novice is
inevitably the bottom or submissive. (And for the most part, a woman partnering with a man.) Much of
the time, the experienced dominant teaches a novice submissive about their submissive identity. The novice only learns
about kink from
their partner, or occasionally a bit of internet research. They don’t talk to
other kinky people. They aren’t part of a kink community. They often don’t
know any other kinky people…besides their love interest.

There are so many other possible stories we could
tell about learning BDSM and being a novice.

What would it be like if we told stories about novices who took charge of their own learning
about kink, and went after what they
wanted? What would the story arc be if we started from there? With novice tops and
bottoms who didn’t learn through their lovers alone?

What about a story with a main character who
dropped kink (or a certain kind of
kink) after dipping a toe in, and is now thinking about picking it up
again?

What could the story be if the character is an
experienced top or bottom that is exploring switching for the first time?

What about a story centering folks who are new to
D/s but have done SM or bondage for years?

What about a story centering a novice whose first experiences of BDSM are with a professional? 

What about a story centering a novice who learns about their own kinky desires through doing sex work?

There is so much possibility in stories about novice queers, novice Ren Faire folks, novice goths,
who come out into kink as part of their culture, and now need to claim it for
their own. So many cultures and communities are kinky. It’s really
different to be a novice trying out BDSM inside one of those. Sassafras
Lowrey has written two (non-erotic) novels (Lost Boi and Roving Pack) about communities of homeless and
precariously housed queer and trans youth that center kink as an important aspect of the community culture
and a vital part of the lives of the characters. I would love to read more
erotica and erotic romance stories about being a novice in that kind of context. Where characters are coming into kink
through being pagan, or punk, or a vampire, for example, where BDSM is already
an integral part of the cultural landscape.

What if the story was about a novice top or bottom trying to claim their desire as a
survivor of violence, navigating the complexity of consent?

What if the story was about a novice top or bottom of color grappling with racism in
the kink scene, claiming their sexuality in that context?

What about stories with novice edge players? I
was definitely one of those, and would have found so
much solace in a story that came from a place that acknowledged the diversity
of desire and the ways that just because you are a beginner doesn’t mean that
you don’t want intensity in your BDSM.

What would the story be like if it centered a novice who went to kink education or munches with
groups of friends? I went to some of my first kink events with my best friend,
who’d been kinky all along, but I hadn’t known, in 5 years of friendship. I’ve
seen novices find each other
early on in kink community, and form intense friendships, support each other to
explore. I want more stories about novices who support each other,
where that friendship is a core part of the story of self-discovery.

What if the story was about a nerd who did tons
of research first? Who spent years
exploring their kinky desires through writing or reading fan fiction before
trying it out in life? I knew much more about my own kinks with very little
experience because I had so much cybersex. Folks in kink communities are often really scornful of people
who learn about kink outside of real life experience, but it’s so common! I
know there are more people than just me who did tons of reading before they
ever acted on their desires.

I would be so excited to read BDSM
fiction that represented the wide range of novice experience that actually
exists in life. Perhaps one of these ideas will inspire you to write something
new. I know I’d love to read it!

by Jean Roberta

On Saturday, January 23, I attended an annual event in the university where I teach: the Creative Writing Open House. In theory, everyone on earth is welcome to show up, free of charge (and sample the free tea, coffee and muffins), to hear half-hour talks on aspects of writing by faculty members who teach this subject at various levels. Questions are not only allowed, they are encouraged. In reality, this event is attended by a sprinkling of undergraduates who are thinking of taking a class in creative writing and want to know what they could expect. So far, no one has discussed grading standards, but I suspect this would be of great interest to most of the audience.

I gave my usual talk about “niche publishing.” As usual, I found this topic so inspiring that, at some point, I ignored my notes and spun off into the various niches that an aspiring writer can find, and I raised the question of whether literary erotica has been completely swallowed by erotic romance because of a constantly-changing, profit-driven publishing biz that tries to ride the crest of every wave, even though trends are hard to predict and dangerous to follow because they start to recede even while they’re peaking.

I had just been introduced by the current head of the Creative Writing Committee as probably the most-published person in the room. OMG! I’m far from being an expert on what works, and in fact, several of my colleagues have won more awards than I have (or probably ever will) for writing relatively “mainstream” fiction and poetry. (Dramatists seem scarce in these parts, although one of them was formerly head of the English Department here.)

One of the niches I discussed was non-fiction, loosely speaking: blog posts and reviews. It’s something we’re all encouraged to write for the purpose of promoting our “real” writing (erotica, romance, spec-fic, whatever), but when/if we write more words of on-line non-fiction than anything else, we’re either letting the cart pull the horse, or we’ve discovered a delightful new niche in which to express ourselves. (I prefer the latter theory.)

Re literary erotica, I said I would not rehash a tired debate about how this differs from “porn,” but I would attempt a definition: literary erotica is simply literature (fiction, poetry, even drama) that includes explicit sex scenes. One of my male colleagues seemed so impressed by this concept that he said he didn’t see why any reader would object to this type of writing, or why any writer would avoid writing it. I explained the project of British publisher Totally Bound to publish new versions of classic novels (Pride and Prejudice, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Wuthering Heights) with sex explicitly included. I also mentioned James Lear’s novels, which come close to being parodies of well-known novels of the past (Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped) as m/m erotic mysteries. My colleague seemed so delighted to hear that sex can appear on the page outside the context of “porn,” strictly speaking (films and magazines marketed as masturbation fantasies) that I could imagine him hard at work on an erotic poem or story.

This colleague is primarily a poet. For the sake of politeness, I avoided suggesting that Canadian poetry is a niche in itself, far from the kind of writing that appears on bestseller lists. (The poet showed the audience his latest royalty cheque, for $4 Canadian.)

The focus of the whole event definitely seemed to be on writing as self-expression and as communication with other writers rather than as a way of making money. Nonetheless, I pointed out that both literary erotica and writers who write about gay men or lesbians (Sarah Waters, Jeannette Winterson) seem to get more mainstream acceptance in Britain than in North America. The reasons for this are subject to speculation. Could the Puritan roots of North American culture still be keeping sex in general, and especially non-heterosexual, non-monogamous sex, in the margins?

A traditional relationship between the literary margins and the mainstream seems to me to be represented by the odd but moving friendship of John Preston and Anne Rice in San Francisco in the 1970s, before she became famous for bringing new life to vampire fiction. Preston was never even close to being mainstream: he proudly identified himself as a writer of gay-male BDSM “porn” before explicit sex, kink of any kind, or male-on-male lust could be mentioned outside of certain ghettoes, and he was a social/political organizer because he needed to help create the kind of community he wanted to live in. Like many pioneers, he died before he could see his efforts bearing much fruit.

Anne Rice has always admitted how much inspiration she got from John Preston’s writing as well as from his more personal conversations with her. However, I’m often reminded that most of the readers who love the gothic lushness of her novels about vaguely homoerotic vampires (who all have a kinky blood fetish by definition) have never heard of John Preston and probably wouldn’t think of him as her Muse even if they knew who he was. The margins nourish the mainstream, but this process usually seems invisible to everyone who hasn’t deliberately researched it.

If I continue to talk about “niche publishing” next year, and the year after that, I suspect my examples of what is “niche” will have to change with the times. I would love to see Canadian poetry outgrow the half-shelf it occupies (at most) in the brick-and-mortar bookstores that still exist. I would also love to see literary erotica marketed simply as “literature.” I’m not holding my breath until a miracle occurs. The one thing I know about “mainstream” culture in general is that the stream is always moving.
——————

[The cover of an upcoming anthology of steampunk erotica (a niche within a niche?) in which I have a story]

I read a lot of BDSM erotica and erotic romance. While what
I write is fairly specific, I enjoy reading a wider diversity, all different
sorts of pairings and groups. I enjoy the sort that is all about building a
fantasy for the reader, from the billionaire natural alpha dom, to the corral
where you park your submissive at the club. I also enjoy the sort that is
intended to feel real, to reflect the realities of kink life. I’m not one of
those folks who do BDSM and need fiction to be realistic; I’m perfectly fine
sinking into a fantasy story about a magical mind-reading dominant, whether it
comes with a critique of kink life (e.g. Cecilia Tan’s Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords) or
is purely there to fulfill a fantasy (e.g. Cherise Sinclair’s Club Shadowlands)

What I’ve found is that there’s a particular thing that’s
pretty much guaranteed to spoil my investment in and enjoyment of a BDSM story:
carelessness in the context of a scene or D/s dynamic.

To be clear, I adore mean, cruel and even cold dominants.
I’m not talking about sadism here, or needing to go easy on bottoms in a way
that treats them as fragile. I’m not even just talking about tops. Bottoms can
definitely be careless too.

I’m not talking about stories where folks have casual play,
or play that’s not centered on emotions or caring for each other romantically.
I’m not even talking about psychological edge play scenes that center on a top seeming careless. I’m fine with that
sort of play as long as I know, as a reader, that the top is actually seeing to
the well-being of the bottom, and that the bottom knows somewhere in the back
of their mind that they can trust the top to be careful with them.

What do I mean when I talk about carelessness?

I mean carelessness in terms of leaving a bottom tied up and
unattended. I mean carelessness in terms of casual selfishness where the
character is solely focused on their own needs to the point of ignoring the basic
well-being of the folks they are doing BDSM with. I mean carelessness in terms
of launching into heavy humiliation play with a novice with no negotiation. I
mean carelessness in terms of deliberate ignoring of basic bodily needs. I mean
carelessness in terms of deliberately fucking with someone’s head when mindfuck
was not on the table. I mean carelessness in terms of a dominant giving a
submissive away to someone without ensuring that the submissive is ok in that
person’s care.

For the most part, what it often boils down to is a
character treating another character like they are not a real person, but an
object, not as part of an agreed upon D/s dynamic or humiliation scene, but in
actuality. Treating them as if they are a tool to get off with, not a human
being with, y’know, needs and vulnerabilities, who is worthy of a basic modicum
of respect and care.

Is it realistic to have characters do this? Absolutely. This
behavior abounds in kink life, just as carelessness does in many other kinds of
communities.

Do I want it in my erotica or erotic romance? Absolutely
not.

Please do write about miscommunication, misunderstandings,
secrets, scenes that go wrong, common novice mistakes, times when people need
to safeword, accidents that happen in play, times when folks are not aware of
their feelings or not up for talking about stuff they should, and all the other
ways that people are human and have opposing needs and fuck up and things fall
apart and need to be repaired, especially if you are writing realistic stories
about BDSM. I’d love to see more of that in the kinky fiction I read. I don’t
need or even want characters to be perfect.

Carelessness is in a different zone for me.

Why?

I don’t trust the character any more as a practitioner of
BDSM. I wouldn’t recommend them as a player to a stranger, must less to someone
I care about.

I am not rooting for the couple anymore. I want the other
character to dump that asshole, not make excuses for them or sink deeper into
connection with them or ignore the problem or want to be treated that way.

I don’t want to witness them playing or falling for each
other. It’s not hot. I wouldn’t watch that scene in a public dungeon; I
definitely don’t want to read it.

I don’t want stories that support, elide, apologize for or
excuse carelessness in kink. Especially not in a main character I’m supposed to
be identifying with or desiring or rooting for. Especially not in a story that supposedly
has a HFN or a HEA ending.

Want me to love your BDSM erotica and erotic romance and
invest in your characters and story?


Show the reader moments where characters are careful with each other.

Where dominants take an extra moment to ensure they still
have consent. Where submissives consider a dominants needs. Where tops check in
after a scene. Where bottoms share information a top might need in order to
fully consent to something. Where a dominant pays attention to body language
and tone of voice and not just the words a submissive uses. Where a submissive
notices that a dominant seems off and checks in. Where a top thinks about what
a bottom might need from play. Where a bottom thinks about the shit a top had
to deal with today and treads carefully around sensitive subjects. Where
characters negotiate in a way that shows they are invested in each other’s
well-being.

It’s those moments that make me fall for your characters,
root for them as a couple or triad or group or whatever they are together, want
to follow them to the end of the story. Those are the moments that make me sigh
and smile and swoon.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica

Archives

  • 2019 (5)
  • 2018 (93)
  • 2017 (103)
  • 2016 (137)
  • 2015 (160)
  • 2014 (155)
  • 2013 (144)
  • 2012 (110)
  • 2011 (14)
  • 2010 (5)
  • 2009 (31)
  • 2008 (8)
  • 2007 (3)

Categories

Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Latest Posts

Pin It on Pinterest