Saturday, August 9, 2008

Guest Blogger: Author Lisabet Sarai

The crew at Oh Get a Grip welcomes guest blogger, author Lisabet Sarai!

Candlelight, Wine and a Whip: Why BDSM is Romantic

Let me begin by saying that every individual has different preferences, desires and limits. That is, in fact, one of the first tenets of BDSM. The picture of the pierced self-corset posted a few days squicked me, too. However, I do believe that many people get hung up on the externals, the paraphernalia and the physical acts popularly associated with dominance and submission, and miss the main point. At the fundamental level, BDSM is about the relationship between the dominant and the submissive – a relationship that at its best is as intimate, intense and fulfilling as anything portrayed in vanilla romance.

BDSM not about one person controlling another. It’s not about cruelty or ego or weakness or low self-esteem or inequality. Serious practitioners (and I guess I must count myself in that number, though my current relationship is vanilla) will tell you that the essence of dominance and submission is an exchange of power. The submissive freely offers the dominant power over her body. (For now I'll assume a female submissive. I've written both male- and female-dominant tales, as well as some lesbian D/s, but it gets awkward to keep using multiple pronouns!) The dominant accepts responsibility for the submissive’s well-being, which includes her pleasure.

The sub surrenders herself to the dom, in devotion and trust. The dom can do whatever he wants with the sub; she has, after all, given her consent (although in the real world, there are always limits, agreed or intuited). He has the intoxicating knowledge that by taking what he desires, he will also give his sub what she most craves: the satisfaction of pleasing her master and the freedom to experience her secret, forbidden fantasies of ravishment and abuse.
Some threads in BDSM literature portray non-consensual dominance, where the submissive is coerced, humiliated and literally abused. I exclude these from consideration. Some people are turned on by such stories, and that’s okay, but I can’t see anything romantic in these scenarios.

My BDSM work focuses on individuals, often in a committed relationship, who share mutually complementary desires and explore them together. Whether the tale involves bondage, or spanking, or electrical stimulation, or some other challenge posed by the dominant for the submissive to experience, the real point is the psychic bond that develops between the participants in a BDSM scene. I know that it probably sounds absurd if you haven’t experienced it, but the dom beats the submissive out of love for her.

I had intended to share an excerpt from Raw Silk. This novel traces the journey of an intelligent, independent woman coming to accept her submissive desires and to love the man who intuits and fulfills them. At the same time, he recognizes his need for her. However, I decided instead to give you something a bit more light-hearted, a selection from Rough Caress, my collection of BDSM short stories. “Wednesday Night at Rocky’s Ace Hardware” is not a true story – but it might well have been. It captures the spirit of my own experiences with D/s, and demonstrates, much better than my halting efforts above, how BDSM can be wonderfully romantic.
Thanks Lisabet! And now a little about one of her fabulous romances. Click on the cover for more information:

X-rated Excerpt from “Wednesday Night at Rocky’s Ace Hardware” From Rough Caress :

We pass a display of galvanized steel fittings. I stop, fascinated. Sturdy eyebolts 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."
"Really? Well, we'll see about that, won't we?" His voice holds that familiar hint of mockery, but I can tell he is pleased. He pulls his hand abruptly from my sex, and I almost cry out in disappointment. "Now, let me think about this..."
I can hear him rummaging among the dowels. My mind paints pictures of what he will do, what he will choose. I see him easing the fattest rod into my cunt. My sex spasms at the thought, and an electric thrill seizes my clit. But then, why would I think he'd prefer my cunt to my rear hole? He's told me, often, that taking me anally is the purest form of domination. What if he forces a dowel into my ass, presented so conveniently to him here in the aisle of this hardware store, where anyone could watch and observe my total degradation?
I almost come with that thought. But as usual, he surprises me. Just as I am getting control of myself, I hear a swooshing sound, and something burns a fiery track across my left buttock. Before I can recover, my right cheek is symmetrically assaulted. Tears rise and spill down my face at the sudden, spectacular pain.
I tense, expecting more blows, but instead there is the blessed relief of his palm, delicately stroking my inflamed skin. "Yes," he says, "this should do quite nicely, seeing as birch switches are fairly hard to come by in the city..." He circles me, raises me up, and deposits a gentle kiss on my grateful lips. "Don't you think that this will work well, Sarah?"
I nod, still dazed by the pleasure and pain surging in my lower parts. He smoothes my dress over the rosy streaks that I know mark my skin.
I am barely decent when a bespectacled clerk in a blue-striped vest rounds the corner and almost bumps into us. "Oh, excuse me," he says, flustered. "Can I help you with anything?"
My Master looks down at me, pondering a moment. "Let's see, we have plenty of rope... which way to the plumbing supplies?"

BDSM work by Lisabet Sarai

Rough Caress (
short stories) ISBN 978-0-980-4739-7-1
from Eternal Press

Ruby’s Rules
(erotic romance novel) ISBN 978-1-897559-24-6
from Eternal Press

Raw Silk
(erotic romance novel)
Incognito (erotic romance novel)
Rendezvous (romantic novella)
from Total-E-Bound


  1. The excerpt indeed is illustrative. I guess you are right about the both way participation here. For sex is indeed about Ying and Yang : the dynamic & the receptive.

    Only BDSM seems like the definition of sex stretched to its limits. But within limits.

    Consensual sex that is. Not the rape kind...

  2. I have always believed that one of the most fundamental aspects of a truly fulfilling relationship is trust, and your opinions on a romantic BDSM relationship, and the excerpt from Rough Caress are wonderful examples of this!

    That said, there is definitely a difference between trust and surprise! In your excerpt, Sarah doesn't know what her Master's going to do, but her trust is rewarded!

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Angela, you've identified a key element in a happy BDSM relationship. Not only does the sub trust the Dom not to truly hurt her, she also expects him to come up with something exciting! Being an effective dominant takes a lot of imagination.

  4. Thanks for giving us such a thoughtful and enlightening post and of course for the intriguing excerpt.

  5. Wow, thank you for the invitation to visit the blog Lisabet. I've mined through the week's posts. Interesting. The BDSM lifestyle fascinates me, both as a writer and a woman. The sales in this area are phenomenal and I've spent a lot of time learning and talking to people as I do research for a story I'm working on.

    I've met some wonderful, sharing people who live the lifestyle. By outward appearance one wouldn't know their personal life is out of the "norm".

    I find the whole subject fascinating. (And as a couple bloggers pointed out throughout the week there are sooooo many levels of BDSM.)

    Your excerpt is beautiful, Lisabet. The loving relationship between the sub and her Dom is very much how one woman described her relationship with her master.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. SO glad you joined us this week. Your insight is great and the excerpt delicious.

  7. I know I am only a guest, but I have to say that I completely agree with your insight and knowledge of a true BDSM relationship. Thank you for your clarity over this subject and I will be keeping an eye out for your books.
    Thank you again,
    Candy Stone from the literagasm group.

  8. I find this subject fascinating and I loved the exerpt. this blog entry certainly gives something to think about.

  9. Nice job, Lisbet!

    And you're absolutely right about BDSM. It's actually quite beautiful when you look at the trust aspect. I have one coming out 9/17 from EC that's a comedy (since the genre is begging for someone to take that angle) but we still treated it and the people involved with respect.

    I know. Sounds impossible, huh?


  10. But still, the vanilla world wants to know, "Why pain? Why would he want to hurt her, and why would she allow, or worse, want it?"

  11. Enjoyed the thoughts. The excerpt was hot! I find that BDSM romances push the limits of what one has been brought up to find acceptable. The more I read, the more I realize that each person is responsible for themselves as much as for the other person. You can choose to hurt or you can choose to enhance your sexuality and learn more about yourself. Each person will find what is acceptable to them in the relationship or in their reading.


  12. A reply to anonymous, who asked: Why pain? There are several answers:

    - When you're sexually aroused, pain feels different. The endorphins blunt the negative aspect and being spanked or whipped can actually feel pleasurable (strange as this may seem). Intense stimulation becomes enjoyable at this level.

    - It's a measure of devotion. The sub gets her pleasure from serving the Master and enduring her trials. So even if it hurts, she feels pride, satisfaction, fulfillment from the knowledge that she has surrendered herself completely to her Master's will.

    This being said, not every BDSM relationship includes pain. The essence is the power exchange, the trust and surrender, not the pain (from my perspective at least).

    Why would the Dom want to inflict pain? To test the sub's devotion. To exercise his own power. And to give the sub what she wants.

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