By Helen E. H. MaddenBy the time you read this, I will be in lovely Las Vegas, at EPICon 2009, a convention for e-publishers and e-published authors. I'm looking forward to a lovely long weekend there. The convention has arranged for a book signing for all the erotica and erotic romance authors at the Erotica Heritage Museum, and I can't wait to participate in that! It's not so much the book signing that has me psyched, although that is pretty nice, but the chance for adult conversation on adult topics... like the subject of today's blog post.
I'm sure we've all heard the old adage, write what you know. I've also heard the modified form, write what you can research. When it comes to writing BDSM, I must confesst I live by the later rule. I have no experience with BDSM, either as domme or sub. My darling husband and I must be the most vanilla couple on the block, with most of my wicked adventures confined to the written page. That's not to say I haven't tried some aspects of BDSM with the man I love. However, I found being tied up more boring than arousing, and the one spanking I got earned my love a sharply cocked eyebrow that clearly stated, "Excuse me? Have you forgotten I am a second degree black belt?"Of course, the Hubster is also a second degree black belt, which makes for an interesting marriage.
Many people who know us assume there is some sort of D/s dynamic going on in our relationship, and not just because we beat the crap out of each other at the dojo on occasion. But the BDSM those people are thinking about is along the more traditional lines of "nice-guy husband" married to "harridan-fishwife." (I don't know why people think I'm so bossy and demanding!) I suppose we only reinforce that image by mixing up gender roles all the time. I cook, but he buys the groceries. I run off to Vegas for a wild time with my friends, and he stays home to take care of the kids. Yes, I'm an independent modern woman. I might be a stay-at-home mom, but I'm a free range stay at home mom which means I can tell my man to take care of the kids because baby, I've got to get out of town.But still, many of folks would be surprised to learn how dependent I am on my darling husband. For instance, I cannot mow the lawn, pay the bills, fill out the taxes, or even change the water in our humidifiers. Well, I suppose I could, but I've never had to perform any of those tasks thanks to the archangel who is my husband. Similarly, he has no idea how to handle the laundry, help our oldest get her homework done, bully the local moms into participating in school events, or do the thousand other little chores I handle on a day to day basis. He needs me to make sure dinner gets on the table and the kids survive school. I need him to make sure the money keeps flowing and the house doesn't fall down around our heads.
So it is a balance of power, an exchange of power even. I gave up a hell of a lot of power when I decided to quit my J-O-B and stay home to figure out exactly what the hell I was going to do with my life. And then I gave up even more when I had children and decided to slip into the role of housewife and mom. But the Hubster has also given up quite a bit by taking on the role of primary bread-winner (no more carefree spending for him!) and becoming a dad (one who changes poopie diapers, I might add). He caters to my needs as Queen of the Roost, while I acknowledge that is Da Man Of Da House.This leads me to believe that anyone who can understand the intricacies of a relationship - the power exchange, the give and take between two (or more) people who know how to make it work for years and year - anyone who can understand that, can understand what goes on in a BDSM relationship. In fact, I'd say a successful relationship of any flavor, including vanilla, is a BDSM relationship. Don't believe me? I'll can spell it out for you right here:
- Bondage - you're bound to each other, through thick and thin.
- Discipline - it takes a lot of it to stick to that aforementioned bond, but when you've been married 15 years, you know you've got what it takes.
- Sadism - you're willing to inflict yourself, with all your faults and sins, on your partner, knowing they'll still love you the next day.
- Masochism - you're also willing to accept that your partner is going to inflict themselves on you in return.
- Dominance - You know when you need to take the upper hand and make decisions ("No dear, I said we're ordering pizza tonight because the cook is tired and the kitchen is close!).
- Submission - You know when you need to step back and let your partner lead ("Yes, you're buying, so I will order your favorit - pepperoni and black olives - even though I hate olives and will pick them all off").
See? So I'm vanilla, but I know what goes on in my marriage, and I can extrapolate from there to write a scorching BDSM scene when needed. And anybody who says I'm wrong about all this? Well excuse me, but have you forgotten I am a second degree black belt?That's right. Don't argue with me.