Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Too much reality? Middle age and the post nubile kinkster

Someone asked me whether I’d ever considered writing about “mature” people and bdsm. An interesting question. Despite my advanced age (all kids grown and gone) my own fantasies tend to be about the young and nubile. Sad but true. I don’t even have that thing for older, more mature doms that seems so prevalent. I mean, it’s nice if the dom knows what he’s doing and is at least a few years ahead of the female character, but lines of experience in a man’s face don’t do anything special for me. My long-ago sexual imprinting was on narrow male hips in well-worn jeans, broad shoulders in tee shirts, lots of hair, and a tendency to take the mike at protest meetings.

Here’s another problem with writing about older characters. There’s so much more life to fill in before the time of the book. A person with that much experience, it seems to me, would be that much more complex to portray. The reality is that when a book centres around sex and sexuality, readers get impatient with a great deal of character development. Perhaps I’m wrong about this; what do you think?

Here’s an interesting thought; how about a “flash forward?” Glimpses along the way of the couple twenty or thirty years later? Settled and matured, with their relationship developed into whatever it’s going to be. Not the core of the book, so that the rest is a flashback, but the reverse. Hmm. As nothing is new under the sun, I’m sure I’m not the first to think of it; anyone come across a book like that?

People do like to read about characters they can relate to. I think there’s definitely a market for bdsm books that reflect the reality of d/s relationships, which do in fact accommodate bills and kids and carpools. Imagine a story in which a couple manages to maintain their d/s dynamic despite the knees that won’t kneel and a whipping arm with chronic bursitis. Would it get you off? Perhaps it’s the romance aspect that’s lacking, not the nubile bodies, so how about a story about a couple that manages to come together and develop their d/s dynamic, with all their bodily imperfections and real-life encumbrances?

Maybe it’s a specialized market. A sub-sub-sub market. ;-) Your thoughts?


  1. One of my favorite BDSM books ever (it's actually just a novella, I think) is Away From Me by Sophie Oak. It features not-young protagonists. I'm not sure how old they are exactly, but I'm thinking 30s or 40s (don't think 50s) but that's pretty dark up there for BDSM novels. Their bodies are portrayed as imperfect, but perfect the way they are. I also love how mature they are, despite their flaws. A lot of the angst that would accompany a younger character wasn't there and that allowed me to focus on the actual plot of the story. It also made their HEA more believable, I was more convinced that this was real (both love AND commitment) and not just in the infatuation phase. I still read young(er) BDSM books, of course, seeing as that's all there is, but it was a very refreshing change. I think in Ice Queen they were also middle aged (though their bodies were, unfortuntely, portrayed as rather perfect).

  2. I tend to like the thirty something or even forty something characters better than most of the twenty something characters. Not always, there are exceptions, but I get so frustrated with some of the immature things that twenty something relationships seem to encompass.

    AS SHE'S TOLD didn't annoy me with all of that - the characters knew what they wanted, and were pretty mature in the way they went about getting it and then making it happen. Their level of emotional and philosophical maturity came off more like that of a 30 or 40 year old for most of the book. They had to be young and fit to pull off much of what was in the book, so it was a nice balance of youth and maturity, I think.

    Amber - I think Joey W Hill placed many of her characters in their thirties and above in her Nature of Desire series, and that definitely worked for me. They were in shape, most had careers or hobbies that kept them in tip top physical condition, but they were mature enough to know what they wanted and go for it.

  3. I like the 30 & 40 somethings the best too. But, yes, I can see why authors choose younger characters so often. Usually there's less "baggage" with a 24 year old than a 44 year old. I'm fine with the 20 somethings as long as the main characters are fairly close in age.

    ~ Diana

  4. Um, I didn't realize I was "old" O_O I guess mid 30s is old and mature. Sigh. I like the older men and women. And when I say older I guess I mean in the 50s. That could be because I'm in my 30s and I'd prefer an older Dom and Domme. I've read a couple from Lady Midnight (JJ Giles) and some of her couples are in their 40s or older.

    I don't think you have to talk about all their past. Maybe just highlight and reference a few key pivotal points?