Friday, March 6, 2009

Monogamous Vanilla Housewife Seeks Nice Guy Husband For Lifetime Commitment and BDSM

By Helen E. H. Madden

By 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.
As for that other D and S in BDSM, that applies as well:
  • 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.


  1. LOL and so true. We'll celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary this year. It is a give and take and all that you said.

  2. Cute and true, Helen. This May will be 28 years for us and it has taken all of your B's, D's, S's and M's to get us this far, including some D/s...

    Have fun at Eppiecon!


  3. Hmm, a bunch of noobs. LOL Helen, you're entries always crack me up and then I have to think about them for awhile before I post anything.

    I definitely agree that a long term relationship has aspects of BDSM, or D/s. Somewhere at some time, one or the other of you will be dominant. It could be she rules the kitchen and he does what he's told. It could be the shop out back, he rules and she's the gofer. The bedroom, well I think that's also somewhere that one or the other tends to dominate, but it could change over time too. The concept of 50/50 give and take might look good on paper, but I don't think it's realistic either.

    Now, having been married for over 35 years, I've finally got my hubby trained. He's got the 'yes, ma'am' down pat and knows when to shut his mouth. But, there are times when I know it's my turn to bow down and say those dreaded, 'yes, sir's' too. We survive and we love each other. Pretty scary.


  4. Hey guys! I'm sitting in my hotel room in Vegas right now, getting ready for tomorrow morning, but I wanted to stop by and see what was up.

    Chris, congrats on the 19 years! It's amazing all the give and take that goes on in a marriage, and most folks don't realize that's what's going on. I've seen more marriages disintegrate because the spouses don't understand that each partner is doing a hell of a lot of work, though maybe not the work the other person thinks they should be doing. I quite nagging the Hubster years ago about putting the dishes in the dishwasher because I realized he did things around the house I never thought of.

    Jamie, weren't you the one talking about quietly tiptoeing into BDSM? You know more about it than you let on };) I wish you could have been with us at the Erotica Heritage Museum on Wednesday. The exhibit on BDSM and House of Gord was... quite interesting (I saw stuff I had never even imagined before, and I've got a hell of an imagination!).

    Jude, I'm very glad you think I have something worth reading };) I know from BDSM couples I've talked to that they do a lot of give and take on all sorts of things, and not just in BDSM play. What they said about the day-to-day maintenance of the relationship sounded so much like my marriage that I had a hard time not laughing as I was listening. At some very basic level, all relationships have the same elements, no matter what the **flavor** of the relationship (vanilla, kink) may be.

    I'm getting back to work now! I've got one more full day in Vegas and then I'm flying home on Sunday to meet my darling husband. Ta-taa!

  5. Hmm. I'm not 100% convinced by your argument, Helen. However, I'm laughing too hard to really think about it in depth...

    Whatever you are though, you're not vanilla!

    Hope that you are having a fabulous time in Sin City.


  6. I'm a litle worried! I'm wondering if my wife has a hidden sister...

    seriously, that's lovely peice Helen, both thoughtful and funny.

  7. Vanilla you may be, but Vanilla with Chocolate Sauce on top...or Hot Caramel... ;-) from someone who has known you a loooong time.

  8. You know, vanilla used to be considered one of the most exotic of flavors. There's a reason why it's still around.

    Lisabet, as for the soundness of my argument, feel free to poke holes in it as you laugh! It's not an exact analogy by any means, I know, but then maybe it really only applies best to me and the Hubster, in our not-so-vanilla-as-we-claim relationship ;)

  9. Hi Helen,

    Sorry I'm late commenting, only just catching up.

    Sometimes I think that the main difference between some vanilla relationships and the kinky equivilants, is that the kinky people see the dominance and submission that's wrapped up in things that pass unnoticed in a vanilla household.

    Great post.


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