Tuesday, July 19, 2011


In my brief time writing BDSM, I've learned that there are readers who accept insta-play scenarios, and those who don't. By insta-play, I mean characters who get kinky very early in their relationship, maybe even before they really know one another. In real life I know that this could potentially be dangerous. You don't just meet someone and jump into doing BDSM. It's much safer if you get to know the person you'll be playing with first, negotiate, discuss limits, make sure they are clean, learn if you're even compatible and so on.

In erotic fiction some of that may be a bit glossed over and characters may get together much faster than would happen in the real world. As authors, we're told by our editors and publishers that sex needs to happen early in the story to keep readers engaged. This is where the problem often lies with writing believable BDSM relationships. The great thing about erotic fiction is that it's based on fantasy and you can get away with things in fiction you can't in the real world. Or so you might think. Some readers are willing to go along with the fantasy and others, not so much.

In my book Wrapped Around Your Finger, Banner and Indie get down to business after only knowing each other for very short time. I tried to make this quick relationship as palatable as possible. They negotiate beforehand, have already been tested due to their employment and Indie has a person she uses as a safe call. Even with all this in place, I still received some criticism for the relationship happening too fast.

I've read and enjoyed stories where time was taken to built a relationship and others when it's been more of an instant connection.

As a reader or a writer, what are your thoughts?


  1. I think it's perfectly believable to have sex after knowing someone only a short while (or even before the first "real" date), and sometimes even kinky sex. While doing an elaborate "scene" with rope bondage and actual helplessness isn't that smart, rough/needful sex isn't out of the question.

    *cough* Not that I know from experience or anything.

  2. I think for a BDSM insta-play scene to work for me there has to be negotiations and recommendations. Oh and the call to a friend about where you're gonna be. That's the bare minimum requirements. Not to mention the sexual attraction spark that ties the whole package together.

    With the right author, it's easy to go along for the ride. But it's a delicate balancing act. You want a fun, sexy story--not a wall banging book with a heroine who's TSTL.

  3. Insta-play at a play party or in some sort of public play space is easier for me to handle, because there are people around who will make sure the safeword is respected, and who will speak up if something is being done that isn't safe.

    Private play right off the bat is tricky. If the two know people in common who can vouch for the other, that helps. And I want some kind of negotiation - maybe for a first scene just "this is what will happen" and an agreement to that - instead of full blown negotiations right off the bat. But I want the boundaries to be clear.

    I want her to know what turns him on, and I want him to know what turns her on. Maybe not the very deepest darkest fantasies, but stuff that they wouldn't share with just anyone.

  4. I'll go along with what Candace said, that public insta-play, where the submissive's friends are already around, doesn't make the sub TSTL. I've used the call to a friend thing a few times, too.

    Aristotle famously reccomended that a drama should take place in 24 hours. There's definitely a tension there. The shorter a time the romance takes, the more the author can show everything -- the other option is to have a longer getting-to-know, but then the author has to do more and more telling.

    As a reader, I don't need sex in the first scene, or the second, or the third. What I want is sexual tension, not neccesarily sex itself, early in the book.

  5. Yeah, I've written insta-play scenes...I've also written dubious consent insta-play scenes, LOL. I think early scenes like that can have a lot of tension and drama that's absent when people do the responsible thing and wait and talk a lot before they play. So in that way they can be very HOT even if they aren't the best thing to do in real life.

    Both ways have their own charm and hotness, but I don't think either is necessarily bad in fictional/fantasy books.

  6. I think Sindra hit the nail on the head. Sexual tension is the thing that works. There are some books -- I'm thinking of Fallen Star by Morgan Hawke -- where crashingly orgasmic sex happens so early and so often that by the middle of the book there's nowhere else to go. It's peaked too early. Sexual tension on the other hand can be prolonged in all sorts of delicious ways.

    It's also possible to deal with the safety issue by having the characters grapple with the issue themselves. Which is what I did in As She's Told; sexual tension vs. a desire to take it slowly.