Today I am going to talk about how the authors and publishers tag their romances “BDSM” and the consequences.

First I want to state loud and clear that I am not a Domme, nor an expert. However, I met few Doms in real life and online and they were kind enough to help me to understand the lifestyle and see it from their perspective. I also goggled a lot and I am a member of FetLife. I am living my own personal journey in the lifestyle but again, this does not make me an expert.

This said, each time I want to buy a book and after reading the story I check the tags the publishers used, something inside me scream: this is not right! Change it!

Do not get me wrong. If a story is really BDSM related, I have no issue that it is labelled that way. However, if the story is about playing top/bottom (soft play with cuffs, spanking), then I think it is not right. It seems that authors and publishers easily forget that in BDSM, SM means Sado Maso. Sado Maso is NOT romantic. In fact, living the lifestyle is NOT romantic too.

So why am I so obsessed on the label “BDSM”? Because it portrays a wrong information to women. They will may enter in the lifestyle and will be badly burned because hey! they read a BDSM story and in the BDSM story it was okay to do this or that. Predators will LOVE them. They will jump on them like vultures with fresh meat.

Oh I can hear you laugh here. Please take the time to surf around the net and type: BDSM abuse and maybe you will stop laughing…

I understand the difference between real life and romance life. I do. I understand the extra attraction and the $$ that generate the use of this term. I am not naive nor blind. Can you swear all the readers are aware of the difference between reality and fiction? I just want to make sure that readers know the difference as well. Tagging BDSM a story when the story is definitely not a BDSM story will project a false image that BDSM is easy and game. And this is my main concern with probably an uneasy feeling that somehow the BDSM community is not seen as it should be.  A clear warning from the author in her/his dedication (Cherise Sinclair: thank you!) should be mandatory. Tags with blurb should be accurate. Some authors will make researches about historical events or else, why BDSM should be misused?

I just wished people did not mix everything with anything when they have no idea about the subject. It is frustrating when I read a mention “BDSM” and there is NO BDSM, just some BDSM elements such an alpha spanking or ordering positions or making mention to tie his partner (somehow the heroes always die to tie eagle spread their partner but they never do! lol). I do not call that BDSM. I call that a dominant or a top, someone who need/wish to take the lead in the bedroom.

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WIKIPEDIA:

Although it’s increasingly common for couples, particularly younger couples, to have “power neutral” relationships and/or play styles, activities and relationships within a BDSM context are often characterized by the participants’ taking on complementary, but unequal roles; thus, the idea of informed consent of both the partners becomes essential. Typically participants who are active – applying the activity – are known as tops, those who exercise control over others are commonly known as dominants, and those who inflict pain are known as sadists. These are often the same person, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Similarly, those participants who are recipients of the activities are typically known as bottoms, those who are controlled by their partners as submissives, and those who receive pain as masochists; again, these are frequently the same person and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Individuals who alternate between top/dominant and bottom/submissive roles – whether from relationship to relationship or within a given relationship – are known as switches, though the term is occasionally seen as derogatory or unnuanced and is rejected by many who might simplistically fit the definition. Precise definition of roles and self-identification is a common subject of debate, reflection, and discussion within the community.

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So far, the term “light bondage” seems to be the alter ego term for author and publisher who know perfectly that BDSM does not apply at all with the story. It is still not right since bondage is about binding someone with ropes (shibari) but this is used in erotic romance world for such a long time now that people assimilated this with dominant heroes and most of them have no idea of the misuse. I am semi okay with that. I will go with the flow: take the lesser evil if I have a choice eh?

Many possibilities to mention/tag:

Light bondage (spanking, cuffs, dominant male taking control of positions)
BDSM elements (spanking, voyeurism, flogging, fetish, violet wand, etc)
BDSM with D/s (no Sado/Maso, no blood play etc)
BDSM with Shibari bondage (Japanese bondage with ropes)

Everyone can tag, blurb their romance the way they like. And yes, it is up to each reader to be smart and “adult” to understand that romance and reality is different. Sure. Many women do. Not all though.

BDSM is not for everyone. We do not wake up a morning after reading 50 shades of grey and say: hey? you know what? I am a submissive or I am a Dom(me)!

There is a huge controversy in my City because young girls 15-20 read 50 shades at school and the message they project is: it is okay if a guy is rough with me, I deserved it, I asked for it.

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WIKIPEDIA:

In 2011, the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey was published by E.L. James. Fifty Shades of Grey is the first book in a trilogy that focuses on the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, in which Grey is the dominant and Steele is an internally conflicted submissive. Though the situations and interactions within the book are often more abuse than BDSM according to people associated with and involved in the BDSM scene. It topped the Best Sellers list in the United States and across the globe.

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Do you see the danger? I do 😦

In BDSM world, it exists thousand of fetishes of all kind. Some really sweet like the cuddle whore and some not that sweet the rape fetish. Many people who are living the lifestyle are extremist when it is time to fulfill their needs. Rape fetish is more a consensual sex play between two partners that know exactly their limits. The scene has been discussed 100% prior it is played. There is no misunderstanding, there is no shadows: each partner know exactly what to do.

Now… think about a pseudo Dom who is not a Dom and a woman who think it is very hot to be taken a bit roughly and think that it is very sexy if the man pushed her but then realized that her “no” (safeword) is not respected… because you know what? the erotic romances she read portrayed BDSM in a very romantic way. How many woman after reading a BDSM book dreamed of the alpha male or asked their partner to be more dominant?

Do not get me wrong: I do like to read romances labelled/tagged “light bondage” or “BDSM” or “BDSM elements” or “D/s” but I like to read them even more when it is obvious that the author is leaving the lifestyle in truth. It is something I spot immediately in the first chapter. I have no doubt in my mind.

Unfortunately, some authors or publishers go with the fashionable wave, do not know much about the lifestle and just want to make extra $$. I get it. It is hard to become a popular author. My concern is that thousands of women who became groupies of Mr Grey have no idea that he is a character of fiction and in real life it does not work that way. There is a danger to portray BDSM as if it is for everyone. It is not. A choice of tags and a warning should help to remind every readers that a Dom is no prince charming and a character should remain a character of fiction.

A woman died in my city because her partner and her decided to play BDSM a week end and he left her hanged with a collar alone. She died suffocated. Another died because the gag was kept too long. Injured people suffered because blood play went a bit too far…. and how many women are/were raped because they think/thought that their partner is/was an experienced Dom? Many women are/were tricked by men that call themselves Doms, just to rape them. Many women see a great money opportunity (seeing a person in leather and holding a flogger is NOT a proof that this person is experienced!!!)

This is no romance but the choice of using the term BDSM can portray the lifestyle as an affordable easy lifestyle. Readers do not always understand the difference between reality and romance. Please make sure to use the term correctly and add a clear warning (clear, not hidden between publishers infos). Try to do not use the term BDSM if it is not truly BDSM, make a difference between a dominant or a top versus a real Dom. Try to use alternative terms 🙂

I read many “bdsm” ménage so far and this is something I wanted to share and sensitize. The term “BDSM” or “Dom” should not be used lightly… even in a romance

ps: Oooo and by the way… BDSM is ALWAYS consensual!!! (wink wink Siren Publishing)

Thank you for your attention… and concern.

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I invite you to read or listen the following. I do not approved everything said in audio interviews but at least it will open some doors to some of you 🙂

Those are not related with my article today which is to make sure that the right tags are associated with the erotic romance but I came across those and thought it was fun to share 🙂

MUST READ: ACID TEST
Thank you Sir B. 😉

Safe, Sane, Consensual

What BDSM Is All About

Advice to a Newbie Submissive About Dominants

The BDSM lifestyle: Interview with a submissive

BDSM as business: Interviews with Dominatrixes

When safe words are ignored

I Never Called it Rape: Addressing Abuse in BDSM Communities

Red Flags for Abusive Relationships

Ambriosio’s BDSM site

http://www.masocast.com/

David Knight: Bondage Movie producer

BDSM etiquette (source: wikipedia)

A scene takes place within the general conventions and etiquette of BDSM, such as requirements for mutual consent and agreement as to the limits of any BDSM activity. This agreement can be incorporated into a formal contract. In addition, most clubs have additional rules which regulate how onlookers may interact with the actual participants in a scene.[51] 

WIKIPEDIA:

BDSM represents a continuum of practices and expressions, both erotic and non-erotic, involving restraint, sensory stimulation, role-playing, and a variety of interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who don’t consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community and/or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in BDSM can range from one-time experimentation to a lifestyle, and there is debate[by whom?] over whether a BDSM or kink sexual identity also constitutes a form of sexual orientation.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9b/BDSM_acronym.svg/500px-BDSM_acronym.svg.png

The term BDSM is believed to have been coined as a compound initialism in the 1990s to combine communities and practices that had a significant amount of crossover – bondage and discipline (B&D or B/D), dominance and submission (D&S or D/s), and sadomasochism or sadism and masochism (S&M or S/M). BDSM is currently frequently used as a catch-all phrase to include a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures which may or may not fit well into the original three intended categories. With an ethos of “your kink is OK!” many BDSM communities welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers, extreme body mod enthusiasts, animal players, latex or rubber aficionados, and others.

About Mary's Ménages Reviews

I read, review, beta read and blog about erotic ménages romances since 2005. Welcome to my world! :)

2 responses

  1. Marie says:

    Mary, I couldn’t agree with you more. I read books and researched before I even thought about writing a book with BDSM in it. Mine are mostly considered light (bondage, toys), to medium (whips, Dom/Sub). Sane, Safe and Consensual are always part of my books. 50 Shades of Grey is not a book anyone under the age of 18 should be reading. And it doesn’t show the lifestyle in a positive light (not that I’m an expert). Thanks for blogging about this.

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    • marynaughtywhispers says:

      Thank you Marie for your comment.
      I am happy that some authors like you understand
      Mary

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