Monday, May 21, 2012

Kelly Thinks About BDSM - Part One


Like many others, I've been thinking about BDSM and romance novels a lot recently. I've read some great blog posts explaining BDSM and dispelling myths about it. Many have dissected the popularity of FSOG (yeah, don't worry, not going to do that here) with much discussion about feminism and female passivity and male power and how we don’t want the power we’ve gained through equality, we just want to submit blah blah blah.
Judging from my Amazon sales, there are a lot of people who probably don't even realize I write BDSM stories. I don't know if I do them particularly well, but I've gotten quite a few good reviews for them, in particular, Power Struggle probably garnered me the most rave reviews of any of my books.

I enjoy writing BDSM stories and I enjoy reading them — some of them. We all have personal tastes, and I will admit that when I read a book where the Dom hero told the sub heroine she was going to eat healthy food or else she'd go hungry, that kinda put me off a little.

So what’s the appeal of BDSM romances? Here's my theory.

Sex makes a woman very, very vulnerable. This is true for several reasons — physically, of course, she is vulnerable —getting naked with a man who is bigger and stronger than she is puts her in a very vulnerable position. On top of that, there are STDs which women are more at risk of acquiring, plus pregnancy and the consequences of that which can lead to long term child rearing responsibility. Then there's the emotional vulnerability. Yes, women can have no strings attached sex, but the reality is that sex often causes an emotional response in women (there is a scientific, hormonal explanation for it) which results in feelings of attachment that may or may not be shared by the man.

For all of these reasons, it is important that a woman trust the man she is having sex with.

As I said, these things don't just apply to BDSM relationships but to all relationships, and this is a good part of the reason the books I write include sex — because putting characters at their most vulnerable tests them the most, creates the most tension, and creates the most intimacy.

BDSM can range from some kink in the bedroom, to a total power exchange or 24/7 D/s relationship. It can range from a little bondage and spanking to some pretty extreme (and potentially dangerous) fetishes.

For this reason, the issue of trust becomes even more important. If getting naked between the sheets makes you vulnerable, being naked and tied up makes you even more vulnerable. This heightened need for mutual trust and respect intensifies the relationship, and in a romance, means the author has to really develop that part of the relationship between hero and heroine. Nobody wants to read about a woman who is clearly TSTL by letting an asshole she doesn’t trust tie her up. And since a romance is all about the relationship, this deepening relationship can result in a more powerful and moving story.

(Note:  the Dominant person in a relationship can certainly be a woman, and the submissive a man — I'm generalizing this way mostly because all my books have dominant heroes.)

For the woman to put this kind of trust in a man, literally putting her life in his hands, this has to be a man worthy of such trust. I enjoy romances which feature heroes who are strong, honorable, courageous and loyal. Consider how important those qualities are when a woman is trusting him with her life.

Now this can happen in, say, a romantic suspense novel, or even a historical novel set in times of war, or where there are dangers like highwayman and pirates — there are definitely other ways to create situations where the hero has the heroine's life in his hands. But I write contemporary romance and like most people, my day to day life is pretty safe and I don't really need a man to protect me from dangers all around.

On the other hand…safe, sane and consensual BDSM includes the use of a safe word…meaning the woman is assured she will never truly be hurt. Having sex with a stranger, with no negotiations, maybe even drunk sex, is far more dangerous than consensual bondage with a safe word. In a vanilla life, how many women have that assurance that they will never be hurt? Which really means, in a BDSM relationship, she’s not helpless--she’s powerful…

So writing a romance that includes BDSM and the complex needs of each character that potentially could include putting the heroine's life in the hands of the hero, means that hero has to be especially heroic. This creates characters that are larger than life, truly heroic heroes that we want to fall in love with too.

My brain runneth over with thoughts about BDSM, but this post is long enough, so you can read Kelly Thinks About BDSM Part Deux at my own blog this weekend

Also I'm sharing a smutty  sexy excerpt from my BDSM book Rigger at The Good Smut Event on Tuesday May 22 - stop by to check it out, and I'm posting more about why I write BDSM there on Tuesday May 29. 


4 comments:

PG Forte said...

awesome post as usual. can't wait to read part 2. ;)

Dita Parker said...

Had to hop off Reader and jump in to say I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Kelly. Spot-on!

June M. said...

Great post and I am looking forward to reading the next part and the post on The Good Smut Event.

Female Pantyhose Bondage said...

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