Thursday, August 7, 2008

Different Strokes...of the Whip?

Well, this topic has generated some interesting comments, as I’d anticipated. Maybe a little more one-sided than I’d guessed, though. So here I am, playing devil’s advocate, as it were.

I don’t think there’s a single damn thing wrong with the BDSM lifestyle. Nope. Not a thing. As long as all participants are consenting, mentally and emotionally healthy adults. While I admit my personal experience ends at “bondage lite,” I can certainly see the romance in a well-written, emotionally charged BDSM book. I think reading about things outside one’s comfort zone helps one explore and find out exactly where that comfort zone is. Curiosity is healthy. And playing with new things helps keep anyone’s sex life interesting. Again, as long as all parties are in agreement. No one should EVER be forced or shamed into trying anything that makes them uncomfortable.

One aspect of the BDSM trend in books is, however, something that puzzles me. I’m talking about emotional BDSM, or verbal abuse. I get the appeal of being tied up, flogged, blindfolded, whatever. I DO NOT get the appeal of being called bitch, slut, or anything else. I simply cannot find any romance in that sort of encounter. My understanding of the D/s relationship is that a Dom or Domme should want to take care of their sub(s). Not revile them. I have been told however, that this is a popular market niche. Fine. I don’t get it, but that’s why there are different books for different tastes.

So does BDSM sell books? In some cases, it seems to. My one book with a “light bondage” warning, however, is the lowest selling of all my EC titles, so maybe not so much for the light stuff. But even without delving deep into the lifestyle—which takes a lot of research to get right, elements of bondage can spice up any erotic fantasy. In a book, or in real life.


  1. Nicely put. I agree with the name calling. I've never understood why degrading someone was meant to be sexy. Of course there's a lot I don't understand about the lifestyle but I still find it interesting. When I read one, I feel like I need a notebook and pen out to take scientific notes and impressions. I guess that's not so good cause that means I'm taken out of the plot to look at the situation clinically.

    Either way, excellent blog, my friend.

  2. Anything consentual is okay as long as no harm is done, in my view. The name calling, verbal abuse is bothersome though. I would think those "names" would stick in the mind long after the sex was over.

    Hmm. I'd be interested in seeing sales stats about the bdsm stuff.

    Thoughtful post, Cindy!

  3. I have "heard" that bdsm sells very, very well. And more than one writer that specializes in it has publicly stated that their books are doing well. So I suspect that there is a strong niche market for the "real deal".

    It may be that there is not so much of a market for bondage lite. There are so many elements to books that it's hard to break down and decide exactly what is a seller or not.

    Good blog, Cindy!

  4. I think that the line between Bondage Lite and Hardcore comes from writers, and really people in general, taking the first two, Bondage and Discipline, in stride. A little spanking, a little tying up, maybe a blindfold, and it's okay.

    Where people fall off the bandwagon is when we get to Sado Masochism. This is where the pain gets stronger, the "violence" more pronounced. The name calling, the whipping, the hard stuff falls into the back half of the lovely achronym.

    I think that is the part that makes it sexy for the people in the life. Others perceive it as "wrong" or "dirty." Therefore they are getting something from their Dom/Sub that others won't freely give of themselves.

    The main thing to remember with all of this is that BDSM is about trust. For the Master and the servant. The sub has to trust that the Master will really stop when the safe word is thrown out. And the Master needs to trust that the sub won't cry wolf later and press abuse charges against them.

    Sorry my two cents were so long. I've been reading the blog all week and honestly I was avoiding responding because I knew that I would end up running on. But I wanted to share my views on it as well. I hope you don't mind Cindy. Sorry.

    Great posts though guys. Well done, all of you.


  5. Thanks for the thoughts, dakota! Well put.

  6. Great post, Cindy.

    That blows me away that verbal abuse is something that people would enjoy... But it takes all kinds to row the boat. :D

  7. I think that all week long people have been saying, "Hey, if it floats your boat, that's great. But it doesn't float mine," and other variations on "to each her own."

    I will killing time waiting for a train in Penn Station a while back. There's this teeny tiny bookstore where I like to browse (and buy, too often) in such situations. I happened to pick up an anthology of the writings of the Marquis de Sade. Honestly, the BDSM I've read in EC books is NOTHING compared to that. It was horrific. One scene had the man (the Marquis, I presume) using sex to convince a woman to throw her baby daughter into the fire and watch her burn to death. NOT OKAY!!!!!!

    So no one should issue a blanket statement that there's nothing wrong with the BDSM lifestyle. The BDSM lifestyle as we read about it in our carefully edited and designed for the modern woman books, fine. But the BDSM lifestyle as modeled by the guy who started it all and gave his name to is: NO.

  8. Point conceded, Elyssa. You are entirely correct. I'm sure innocent victims should have come somewhere in my "as long as all participants are consenting adults..." disclaimer.

  9. Name calling is demeaning, not pleasure giving, & so it can never give a high of any kind to anyone.


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