Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Appropriation with a purpose

By Tim Smith

I must admit that this blog topic confused me at first. I know that appropriation means “to set aside for a specific purpose,” and is most often used in reference to a budget (i.e., an appropriation bill to fund the military). I was perplexed by how appropriation would apply to romance topics until I looked up the verb tense, appropriate. Meaning: to take by force, or to take control of.

Aha! We’ve drifted into “Fifty Shades” territory! Unfortunately, that didn’t do me much good because my erotic romances don’t bend that way. If I did undertake the domination theme, I could never write it as well as our own Lisabet, or many other erotica writers. I’ve read a few of these, and some of the goings-on actually turned me away. Inflicting or receiving pain for the purposes of sexual gratification has never appealed to me.

I’ve only used this character quirk a couple of times in my romantic spy thrillers. Each time it was applied to one of the villains. My two lead characters in that series are former CIA spooks named Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens. Both have left the spy game to settle in the laidback anonymity of the Florida Keys, where Nick owns a waterfront club in Key Largo. Installment number two in that popular series, “Never Look Back,” featured an unusual nemesis, a female former CIA co-worker named Terri Halloway. She and Nick had a fling once upon a time, but he didn’t stick around for an encore because, as he explains it to Felicia, “Terri likes to play rough and I don’t.”

I made this character a sexual sadist for a reason – to show that a female villain can be just as deadly as a male. Perhaps deadlier, given the right circumstances. Terri Halloway actually experiences a sexual climax when killing someone with a gun and gets off by making her bedmates suffer. I included a scene to highlight this trait. It starts out innocently enough, when she picks up a young stud by the hotel pool and lets him think he’s seduced her. They go to her room, and the guy quickly figures out that he got more than a casual pick-up on a hot afternoon. It was probably the leather belt tethering his hands to the bedframe and the hot candle wax dripping onto his chest that gave it away. Or possibly Terri giving his scrotum a painful squeeze so she can achieve orgasm by hearing him scream.

In another Nick Seven thriller, “The Vendetta Factor,” I reversed things. This installment had Nick taking on the Miami mafia, and there’s a bodyguard/enforcer working for one of the Dons, with a rather quirky character trait. He beats up and kills people for a living, and he thoroughly enjoys his work. So much so that it has crept into his sex life. After several graphic beatings, the pressure mounts and he must do something about it. I showed him going to a hotel room to meet an escort, who proceeds to physically degrade him. He reaches the point of no return and ravages her on the bed. Afterwards, he contemptuously throws $1000.00 at her then leaves, his needs having been fulfilled. All of this is done without a single word of dialogue or internal thought.

Appropriate THAT!


  1. Hello, Tim!

    Yet another take on the concept of appropriation.

    However, I feel that you may have some confused notions about BDSM. Yes, there are some psychologically disturbed people who get sexual pleasure from doing true damage to another person, but this has nothing to do with the erotic kick of dominance and submission. Maybe you need to read a bit more in order to understand the different between consensual D/s and violent abuse.

  2. Tim, you did mention "Inflicting or receiving pain for the purposes of sexual gratification," and the "receiving" part more or less indicates consensual agreement, but the ways you show it in your stories is another matter. On the other hand, I guess there's a consensual element between the writer and the reader, who presumably gets a charge out of the violence, and with characters already seen as villains that's to be expected.

    However, BDSM practice are seldom matters of villains and victims, and the physical aspects are only part of it, and not necessary a major one. The emotional charge of being dominant or submissive by preference, is powerful and complex, with both parties getting some of the satisfaction by knowing that they're giving each other what they want and need. My perspective is that of a close observer, with friends active in "the life," but I came to realize that a dominant needs a submissive to truly want domination, and most would refuse someone who had other motives for offering to submit.

  3. Wow - I didn't mean for my ignorance about "the life" to cause such a backlash, and I humbly apologize. Lisabet, you're right in assuming that I'm not familiar enough with the subject matter to devote an entire story to it. I've read some of your stories and felt that the domination aspects had mutual consent and more than a degree of sensuality. On the flip side, when I was reviewing books online, some of the practices described were the ones I mentioned that I found to be too extreme.

    Sacchi, I think you see why I added the sadistic trait to the villains I described, because it is a part of their psychological make-up. Further exploration of the hit man in "Vendetta Factor" reveals that deep down, he loathes himself for getting pleasure out of beating and killing people, and his encounter with the escort is his self-atonement, as in "punish me so I can feel better about myself."

    I hope that clears things up a bit. If not, I'll move to a monastery and change my name to Brother Orchid.

  4. Hi Brother Orchid ;) Just going to say a quick welcome. Lisabet and Sacchi have already covered what I might say about BDSM. Appropriation is not an easy topic to come in on. Hang with us, my new friend!

  5. I have been taking baby steps towards understanding the allure of BDSM myself. Lisabet has told me of some of her books to read, and I did find the inner dialogues fascinating, and they have helped me to see just how BS the FSOG phenomenon was (hopefully it's in the past and stays there. Dear lord, she can't keep flogging that dead horse, can she? Pun intended.)

    For an enlightening and really hot read, try Lisabet's "The Gazillionaire and the Virgin." Phew! The virgin in question is the male dom, and the wealthy one is the female. I thoroughly enjoyed that one!


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