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So let’s talk about BDSM in erotic romances…

I read a lot; that is an understatement. I read everything about menages from menage à trois with almost (*)  straight guys to bisexual guys with one girl, from two guys to multiple men… and of course BDSM ménages.

(*) almost straight because I do not believe a guy can remain totally straight when he finds his pleasure by touching thru a very thin wall another guy’s part… not gay, not bi, but definitely not straight in my book.

I said it before and I will say it again: I am not an expert. I believe I have made this crystal clear already but I want to repeat myself just in case.

That said, I have some knowledge, personal and also from the books I’ve read. Does that makes me an expert? No, definitely not. I will never say what is right or wrong. I will only say what works for me. As a reader and somebody who met Dom(me)s and subs in real life in my community and online, I definitely recognize what is romanticized and what represents the reality of the lifestyle. And let me tell you something to ponder here: reality has nothing to do with what you read in general. (Please note the “in general” because I do not want to put every book and author in the same basket; far from it.)

I can tell your right now, right here that I read tons of romances labelled BDSM that had nothing to do with the lifestyle. So my question is this: does every story has to be real up to the infinite detail? No! Of course not. Many reasons for that.

First, many readers do not care about BDSM, plain and simple. They care to read a romance with some kinky sex scenes and some fantasies they probably have but never experienced. Nothing wrong with that. I have fantasies that I am pretty sure I will keep in my head or share with my partner(s), but to make them reality, probably not. Give them some naughty spankings that leaves no marks, dominant heroes that know what to do in the bedroom and in charge, a sweet petite naive woman, still virgin at 25 if possible and those readers will be in happy FantasyDomLand… does that means this romance is a BDSM? I will tell you in two words: No Way!

Sadly, I read so many of them that I lost count. I am not into FantasyDomLand romances. I wish I was, trust me, because it would remove so much frustration.

Then I wonder why so many authors are convinced they write BDSM when they do not? Where does it come from? And my main question is this: in order to write BDSM, is it mandatory that the authors must be either a Dom(me) or a sub(missive) or just close to the lifestyle in real life?

No! But is it a difficult response eh? My response is this: it helps… tremendously! Why? Because, there are some details that only people who are living it will know. The je-ne-sais-quoi that makes a story so much more credible, so much more lovable. Although, this is not an absolute proof if the author lives (or claim to anyway) the lifestyle, that she will deliver a credible story. I have a couple of titles and authors names in my head I could list you but this blog is not about pointing direct fingers and more about sensitize people in general, so I will bite my tongue for now. Let’s just say that I know immediately who is a professional and who took time to learn and/or deliver what is the lifestyle and who took the easy way out.

Then, I wonder, since I can tell you that I read at least 2/3 of “false BDSM romances” I buy regularly, and some authors look like very popular and well established, where are the other readers, like me, that wish to read adult D/s romances written for adult people that want consistencies and credibility on top of a romantic relationship. Are those not compatible?

Is it too much to ask the authors to do their homework and make sure they understand that their public is middle-aged women, not teenagers. How romantic and sweet can a deflowered sex scene be, really? I mean the list will go on and on and on with example of “me, caveman wannabe Dom; you, my brainless sex toy slave”.

I am not a 15 years virgin old girl. I am a few decades older and I know by now that Knights in White Armor do not exist. Perfect Dom(me)s do not exist. To be treated like a piece of trash is not acceptable. To be forced to have sex is called R.A.P.E. in my book no matter if the book is tagged “forced seduction”!

Everyone, living or just interested in the lifestyle, should keep in fluo letters: Safe, Sane and Consensual. ALWAYS! Those are no vain words. But I read so many romances labelled BDSM with no respect with the “consensual”, that is very sad that authors do not understand, and me thinking do not even want to understand which is worse, how important it is to respect the fundamental roots of the lifestyle.

So why the label BDSM when it is not? Because it sells. Because each time a reader sees a BDSM label, this reader associate it with hot kinky sex, and it sells.

And people like me who know it is not right will hardly raise their hand to protest because they may feel they are not the experts to say anything and here we go with the vicious circle with unsatisfied silent readers and authors that will continue to believe they are the best BDSM author of the decade because they are selling their stories.

Truth is, the lifestyle community do not care much. They know better. Can we say the same thing with all the readers? Can we assume that some naive readers will truthfully believe that because an author published and labelled the story BDSM, this published author has the knowledge just like a doctor with a diploma and what she read is what she should expect in real life: disrespect, bullying… worse, be forced to have sex, all because reading it over and over in so many different stories, it has to be true and, after all, if the man is gorgeous, it is sexy and all BS we can think of. Of course, no author should be responsible of how their readers will use their story in real life but considering the level of risks (rapes, beating, bullying), some authors should stop being so careless and think that the message they carry is not right, not right at all. BDSM is not a Disney story. Villain can be very real and dangerous… Sadly, heroes will be disguised in villains and readers will have no clue because the lifestyle will be completely distorted from reality.

I should know better but I will still shake my head and add author’s name on my black list and write poor reviews and be frustrated that I spent my money and time.

I wished publishers and authors would respect their readers a bit and make a clear distinction between D/s, BDSM elements, Bondage (Shibari)… and avoid to call their story a BDSM story and call their heroes Dom(me)s. I wished they had integrity towards their customers and not fool them all with false labels..

This said, I will add a grain of salt because I know that certain publishers give no choice in the labels. Few authors from different publishers told me that their stories are indeed D/s and not BDSM but their publishers decide the way to promote. Not fair to ignore their voices, but a reality.

Can I also add something, since I am on my face-palm mood? Could people who do not live the lifestyle, know nothing about it, shut the f* up instead of leaving stupid comments they may call reviews? I read so many of them that it is not even funny anymore. If you do not like a BDSM, do not read it, dammit! If a Dom(me) is not the way you think a Dom should be, can you just be a smart cookie and think that a Dom(me) is not a copycat of another Dom(me), the same way each and every relationship is different?

Sorry… I don’t do stupid.

 

Mary-2

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7 responses »

  1. skyejones says:

    Very interesting blog article. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Your book is labelled BDSM? Are you kidding me? […]

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  3. caradd78 says:

    Love your comment… I couldn’t have said it any better. As a new author diving into the world of erotic romance and working hard to ensure what I write is authentic where bdsm is concerned… you hit the nail right on the head. BDSM is more than just a genre I write about… I can understand why you get sick and tired of seeing post from individuals who have a hate on, negative connotations etc for the genre and the lifestyle. I agree with you… I’d like to add the following… If you are not going to embrace the beauty of the lifestyle and give the lifestyle and genre respect… then back off! Yes, everyone has the right to their opinions, its one of the fundamentals of living in a society that provides us with such freedoms. However, that doesn’t mean we should take to an online form etc to display our ignorance and stupidity…

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  4. I agree with much of what you say here, but much of what you say here seems a bit off to me at the same time.

    I honestly think you are merging three terms that at this point MOST lifestylers actually separate.

    Those terms are D/s (referring to dominant/submissive lifestyle), M/s (referring to master/slave lifestyle) and there is BDSM (referring to kinky activities most often associated with but not limited to those who live D/s and M/s lifestyles).

    Most BDSM romance novels do not write about D/s or M/s relationships, but they may include some rough or kinky elements associated with BDSM. For example being willingly yet forcably taken, or being spanked. Instantly these elements define BDSM whether a M/s or D/s relationship is present or not.

    Another point I want to make is that when you mostly have met Dom’s through local munches and through offline methods, you find munch more Sensual type Dominants, because the extremists avoid the public eye. However the extremists are out there.

    There are people who look for consensual abuse, unloving relationships, slavery in which there only decision is there master and everything after that is forced (look at the sub bdsm culture of gorean beliefs for example). So whereas you may BELIEVE these novels depict clear abuse not bdsm, the fact is many of the extremists wee like to forget exist, really are out there (look to collarspace, many are there),

    And last but certainly not least by any stretch – I have lived this lifestyle for over 15 years and honestly, I reject all of RACK (risk aware consensual kink), SSC (safe sane consensual), and the 4c’s (Caring, Communication, Consent, and Caution) frameworks. Of them all I think the 4c’s is most logical – but none of them settle well when it comes to encompassing M/s D/s and BDSM.

    I do agree on your point of the word BDSM being used because its the hype of the moment since the 50 shades books were first introduced to the world. I also agree the majority only care there are elements of kink within there stories, it doesn’t have to be bdsm kink by any means.

    Overall I love your post, but wanted to share some varied opinion for you to perhaps consider. Hopefully it was taken well as it was meant well 🙂

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    • thank you for your comment and insight!
      I do not merge the terms or at least this was not well explained then. I am rambling because instead of BDSM, they should put BDSM elements… which is for me a compromise.
      Then I hate the “forced seduction” or “non consensual” tag… that is a complete nono. Nobody should use this to promote their books.
      Again wrong use of the tags here.
      I want to raise the opinion to be careful and use the BDSM terms wisely and not abuse them, I do not pretend to use the hundred of existing fetishes terms because the public are not into the LS so they do not care but I am definitely upset about publishers or authors that disrespectfully abuse terms in order to attract.
      I am well aware of the play roles etc… but again the big majority is not.
      If you do not know a topic, my motto is: shut the fuck up! 😛

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  5. Rose Hart says:

    “Although, this is not an absolute proof if the author lives (or claim to anyway) the lifestyle, that she will deliver a credible story.” – this is so true.

    I’m a fan of ‘Dark’ BDSM reads that often include dubious consent scenarios, although i’m completely understanding of why some people hate it. Aware & part of the lifestyle means i get it (M/s dynamic for example) on say a level that a naive soul after some FSOG follow-up, doesn’t. Hopefully if they’re interested in those labels they’ll do some research before finding themselves in trouble.
    Great post. I’m on the fence with some of it, but i see what you mean.

    Like

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