Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Joys of Writing BDSM

by Lisabet Sarai



In my post two weeks ago I complained about the constraints of fitting into a genre. Now I have to admit that there is a genre where I’m comfortable -- the genre commonly known as BDSM.

I love writing BDSM. I find it far easier than writing so-called “vanilla” romance or erotica. I’ll be the first to admit the reason: it turns me on. BDSM pushes my personal buttons. My real world experience in the BDSM arena has been fairly limited but has had incredible personal impact. Nothing excites me like a well-written scene between a Master or Mistress and his or her willing slave. I know this is because the action and conversation contain echoes of my own ecstatic awakening to the joys of dominance and submission.

“BDSM” is short for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism. It also subsumes “D/s”, Dominance and submission. What is included in BDSM fiction? Depending on who is doing the writing, bondage could be anything from naughty little games with silk scarves to ball gags, hog tying and suspension. Discipline can range from a playful spanking to flogging with a bull whip. Blindfolds, handcuffs, slave collars, dildos, riding crops, leather masks, stiletto heels – the paraphernalia of BDSM have in fact become familiar to the point that they’re almost clich├ęs.

For me, though, the external tools and symbols of BDSM don’t matter, not really. The essence to BDSM, the key to understanding its appeal, lies in the relationship between the dominant and the submissive. Trust is the core concept. The submissive entrusts the dominant with her body, believing that he will administer no more pain than she can bear. She opens her mind to him, sharing her desire to be mastered. She gives him power over her, trusting him to use it wisely. Meanwhile, the dominant trusts the sub to use her safe word if he misjudges her limits, but otherwise, to let him lead her through the scene and not “top from below”.

(For convenience, I am using the terminology of a male dominant and female submissive here, but the dynamics do not change significantly regardless of gender.)

The two participants in this exchange of power are connected – emotionally, psychically, even spiritually. Successful BDSM scenes require a level of communication and honesty beyond what one usually finds in vanilla sexual encounters. A skillful Dom intuits the sub’s psychological and physical state from her breathing, her skin, her body language. To the sub, it can feel as though the dominant is reading her mind – and maybe he is. She cannot lie about her arousal or her agony. Both are plain to see. The experience of being seen and known so deeply is intoxicating, magnifying the sexual excitement.

I enjoy writing BDSM because I can participate vicariously in this intimate connection. I can write from the dominant’s or the submissive’s perspective, male or female. It doesn’t seem to matter. The buzz is the same.

This is just my view. Some readers, and writers, take a more fetishistic approach to BDSM. For these individuals, the paraphernalia are arousing in themselves. It doesn’t matter who is using them. And of course, there are people who find non-consensual scenarios of rape and torture sexually arousing.

It’s not my place to judge these people. After all, there are lots of fine upstanding citizens who would label my own interests and desires as evil or sick. However, neither of these perspectives on BDSM corresponds to my own. I write safe, consensual, responsible, emotionally satisfying BDSM scenes between adults who at very least care about each other’s welfare.

Sounds almost wholesome, doesn’t it?

It’s possible to write BDSM fiction with none of the traditional trappings. One of my all time favorite erotic stories, by Mike Kimera, is called “Other Bonds than Leather”. Better than anything I’ve written, it captures the essence of D/s, separate from the artifacts and the toys.

Meanwhile, here’s something of my own, an example that will perhaps make my point clearer than any more of this intellectualizing.

From “Wednesday Night at Rocky’s Ace Hardware Store” in Rough Caress (Eternal Press, 2008)

We pass a display of galvanized steel fittings. I stop, fascinated. Sturdy eye bolts and swivel bolts, hooks and pulleys, interlocking rings and brackets, all sensuously curved and shining a dull silver. I can't take my eyes away, imagining spread limbs and stretched muscles. Hardware stores always bring out my creative side.

He laughs at my intensity. "You know that we can't attach anything to the walls, Sarah. It's in the resident's agreement."

"Well... what about out on the deck?" Our top-floor condo has a lovely patio built out on the flat part of the roof. From there we have a fabulous view of the city, from Twin Peaks to the Golden Gate.

"You want me to bind you out in the open, where anyone uphill can see you?" He rolls his eyes heavenward, pretending annoyance. "And you say that I'm perverted!"

He steers me onward. Reluctantly, I leave the suggestive display of fittings, only to be transfixed by the rolls of self-service chain at the other end of the aisle.

"Chain is completely impractical," he reminds me with a grin.

"But it's so decorative, so evocative," I counter. "Whips and chains, you know."

"Whatever you want, dear," he says, bowing low. I make a choice and he cuts me a four foot length of the pretty, brass-finished stuff with half-inch links. He dumps it into our basket. It gives a satisfying clink whenever we move.

My nipples go taut at the sound. He notices, of course, and leans down to tweak one, hard. Another wave of lubrication gushes from my cunt. His nostrils flare as my scent fills the aisle.

"My turn," he says. "Let's go check out the dowels." His thumb and forefinger are still grasping my swollen tit. He leads me toward the back of the store.

I look around nervously, but there are few customers at eight PM on a Wednesday evening. Despite my comments about the deck, I'm actually terrified of public exposure. To be more accurate, public restraint or punishment is still beyond my limits, something I'm not ready to admit that I want. He knows that perfectly well.

He halts in front of a rack holding wooden rods of varying diameters and lengths. I have small hands; I could not get my thumb and forefinger around one of the thickest. The thinnest are perhaps a quarter-inch in diameter, like the sticks used to mount children's balloons.

When he releases his hold on my nipple, I still feel the echo of his fingers on my throbbing flesh. "Bend over," he orders. Trembling with fearful excitement, I bend at the waist. I rest my hands on my thighs for support, but he can see that I am not comfortable. He flips my skirt up, baring my buttocks. "Don't move," he cautions, and then disappears, leaving me alone in this awkward and obscene position.

He is gone for what feels like forever. Slight currents of air brush my exposed ass like ghostly fingers. My engorged pudenda ache for his touch, and the scent of my lust is stronger than ever. Sweat trickles down my neck, dampening my hair. My heart sounds so loudly in my ears, I do not even hear him when he returns. He has a folding stepladder, which he assembles and places in front of me. "Hold on to this."

The position is more stable and places far less strain on my back. "Thank you, Master," I whisper, once again marveling at how finely tuned he is to my needs.

He slips a casual finger into my soaking cunt and wriggles it around. "You certainly are wet, Sarah." My pelvis churns at his touch. Without thought, I grind myself against his hand. I am rewarded by a sharp slap on my butt cheek.

"Be still!" he says softly. "I did not give you permission to move."

He continues to explore my well-lubricated folds. Meanwhile I press my lips together and tighten all my muscles, struggling to obey his directive of immobility.

"What are you thinking, little slut?" he whispers in my ear. "Tell me."

I can hardly speak, aroused and taut as I am. "That I'm yours," I gasp, finally. "That I would do anything for you."

That’s it, in the last sentence. I get wet every time I read that sentence. That’s why I write BDSM.

12 comments:

  1. Lisabet,

    I just finished reading Yes, Sir (including, your fabulous story "Body Electric") and found it incredibly enlightening in respect to the wide spectrum of BDSM engagement.

    I wholly agree with your insights here, and continue to be endlessly fascinated by just what turns people on.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  2. This is a great scene. Very inventive. Who'd have thought it could get so hot in a hardware store!

    Angie

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  3. I appreciate a good erotic BDSM story. D.L.King's story in Swing! has a BDSM theme.

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  4. Given, I haven't been having sex for all that long, but I never really understood the appeal of BDSM. In my mind, partially because I'm very into regular ol' vanilla, I always kinda saw it as the next step before rape. Thanks for writing on it. I definitely understand the fascination with it a little better. Truth be told, I like being dominated once in a while- just minus the toys and dirty talk. I guess it's not very different after all.

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  5. I'm not a big fan of the props of BDSM either. To me, it is always the relationship that matters.

    Its almost impossible in real life to be outside a relationship and understand it. Writers expose the things we can't see on the surface and give us a chance to connect. What understanding can I glean from a flogger or a corset? None. But an emotional connection to a character opens worlds.

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  6. I thought this post was very enlightening to someone like me who really still doesn't quite get it when it comes to BDSM. I think this is going to be one of those weeks where I'm going to have to listen and learn more than talk.

    Garce

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  7. Rubbing hands together. I too have been waiting for this week's topic. LOL I also write a lot of BDSM, or D/s related stuff. A lot of mine is female dominant, male submissive. The toys and trappings might be fun, but the emotional dynamics are what I really like to explore. I mean, why would some six foot six hunk want to allow, no--beg, some 5 foot nothing woman to torment him in some sexual way?

    As for the trappings, years ago, I wrote a flasher about a woman who'd bound her fella with licorice strips. His instructions were, 'don't break them' There were no chains or leather bindings, there was simply her asking him to control himself while she felated him. His desire to do so was what she was after.

    Course, I have written much harsher tales, and I enjoy those too. Pony boys and secret meeting to be abused can be so much fun. LOL

    I am so looking forward to seeing where everyone takes this.

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  8. Sorry I'm late chipping in. Got behind with everything and it's only now I'm catching up.

    I think you're right that the emotional impact is far more important than the trappings. Leather is very nice, but it's not the be all and end all :)

    Great excerpt. There's always something special about looking at the same thing as everyone else in the shop and knowing you're imagining a far more interesting use for it than they are!

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  9. Hello. I just found this blog while searching for something else. I have to say I very much enjoyed your blog. Although I write gay bdsm stories, I also appreciate good heterosexual bdsm stories. My favourite being Master, a collection of bdsm stories which provide in-depth insight into the practice. I also find bdsm incredibly sexy. Otherwise, I wouldn't be writing it, and for me, what makes BDSM sexy is the domination and submission element and the psychology of characters in that kind of relationship. That element makes me be able to imagine how people may find oral sex, bondage, humiliation, spanking, etc. sexy. Thanks for your own insight!

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  10. Greetings, Nana,

    Wow - this was a long time ago!

    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to comment. What pen name to you write under, so I can keep an eye out for your work?

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  11. Hello, Lisabet. My pen name is Nana G and you can find me Amazon Kindle Store. I also have a few fan fictions published in Archive of Our Own site, which are free to read. Is your pen name also Lisabet? I have a few fictions that need finish reading, but after that would love to have a look at your work.

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  12. I want to write something semi-autobiographical about a bdsm relationship I had for 25 years, beginning in 1973. Here are 2 problems (one of which I think I can solve): a. Writing in a woman's voice is different. Men write in short, action-oriented language. No emotions, no texture. Pornography. I can do "woman" to some extent -- I wrote 150 words on selecting/preparing her charmeuse robe. b. More importantly, I have no idea what she felt (physically of emotionally) when events occurred. Where I might say only, "I put the collar on her for the first time, added a leash, and pulled her head down to my crotch," she might have said, "I'd been waiting for my collar for a week. It would mean that I was truly his. The leather was cool as he fastened it around my neck, but quickly warmed until I didn't notice it. There was a slight pressure evenly around my neck. I felt secure. And then he clipped on a leather leash and tugged lightly, pulling me forward and my head down. I knew what he wanted. There was nothing else I wanted more." Like that. But I don't have personal knowledge of how it felt to be tied the first time, to swallow, to be sodomized, to be paddled, to be beaten with a riding crop, to be given to other men -- I wasn't the sub. I'm sorry to say she went crazy (the technical term is nucking futs) and tried to run me over with her car before using an aluminum baseball bat to shatter the rear window of my car. There is ZERO chance I will talk with her again, so never can ask what I need. Do you have ideas where I might find the info? Is there a central "how it feels to get (whatever)" guide? Or people I might ask? Long comment. Sorry. Thanks for your help.

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