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.