Thursday, June 30, 2011

I blame Cinderella.

I have a big problem as a romance writer. I actually love when the hero swoops in to rescue the heroine. Or just help her. Take over things for her when her life is all fucked up. I find this the very apex of romance, in kinky or mainstream stories.

Imagine my surprise when I learned this actually annoys most romance readers! Okay, I understand the whole deal that women don't like to be perceived as weak, that they shouldn't have to depend on a man for happiness or assistance when things get tough.

But if that's so, why are so many of our heroes alpha? Why are so many of them strong, tall, rich, and quite capable of solving any problem the heroine might encounter? If we enjoy these qualities in our heroes, what's so wrong with the hero using them to give the heroine a hand in her more frustrated or helpless moments?

Perhaps I fetishize helplessness when I shouldn't. It might interest readers to know that when I wrote Firebird, Prosper was originally painfully shy, insecure, self-doubting, and basically failing at life. In fact, her name, Prosper, was actually meant as an ironic nod to the fact that she wasn't prospering at all.

I didn't write her that way specifically so Jackson could save her. I wrote her that way because I feel that way sometimes--and sometimes I want someone to save me. Of course, I was told to change her as a condition of publication, to make her strong and able to function independently of Jackson's help. My editors were undoubtedly right to require the change...most of my readers probably would have disliked the weak Prosper. I wonder why I liked her so much?

I blame Cinderella. As a child I made my mother read the fairy tale to me at least three hundred times. There was something about her being lifted from abject misery and powerlessness to a wonderful life at the hands of the prince. Forget the fairy godmother. To me, she was just a bit player. It was the prince who really changed Cinderella's life. What a dream for her! What a new lease on life! Oh, and that ethereal silver gown! That prince was my first hero, and I suppose Cinderella and the prince somehow embedded themselves in my young brain as the apex of romance and the power of heroism.

I did actually write another book with a weak, needful heroine, because I wanted to have it for myself, to read myself. Ohhh, the hero rescues the shizz out of this girl, believe me! I won't ever publish it--I don't want the blowback. But I'll continue to enjoy feminine weakness and a male sweeping in to make it all better. Maybe that makes me a bad person. For sure it bars me from any self-respecting feminist circles. For a long time I've struggled with that, but I decided now that it's okay.

The funny thing is, none of my three daughters had any interest in Cinderella growing up, despite my pushy reminiscing desire to read it to them. My much-loved copy is gathering dust downstairs on my bookshelf, patently rejected by my strong and capable daughters.

Maybe that's for the best.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Impact Tools

Which implement turns you on the most in your fantasies and in the books you read? There are so many different types of impact play, is there something in particular that drives your fantasies?

The simplest implement, the hand, can cause an astonishing amount of pain, especially when used on an already sore bum. It's more personal, with skin to skin contact at the strike point. And you know he's hurting himself some, too. Feeling the heat in his own hand as the blood rushes there, the pain of the strikes reverberating through his hand and arm. It can add an extra emotional component to the whole experience.

For a spanking type activity, my preference is a thick leather paddle. They have the perfect mixture of sting and thud. Then there are the wooden paddles - thin is fine with me but I've never been a fan of the thick ones. I'm not a fan of baseball bats, either, and that's what the thick ones remind me of.

I believe one of the most dreaded spanking implements out there is probably a simple wooden kitchen spoon. Those who have been properly introduced to a tawse seem to have a lot of respect for those, as well.

We get back to personal with a man's belt. Especially if it is one he wears on a daily basis. The act of taking it out of the pants, of folding it into whatever form it will be used. It's a part of him, it has his energy, his aura.

Stepping away from the spanking activities, we'll move to canes. Most people either love or hate canes -- you rarely see anyone ambivalent about them. There are the skinny whippy canes that sting like a line of fire. Then there are the thicker canes that compress layers and layers of skin and muscle and blood vessels and nerves and it hurts once and then a few seconds later you get the rebound pain and it hurts again and doesn't stop for a long, long time. For some that description will turn them on, for others it will terrify them. And then there are the ones like me, who feel both reactions.

The loopy thing-a-ma-jigs fall into the cane category for me. Yes, they may be swung like a paddle but they give the same type of pain as a cane.

Then we have that whole whips and floggers category. Floggers, cats, single tails, double tails, viper's tongues, the list is long. This category is my favorite. The caress of the flogger, then the sting of the same flogger. The thud of a heavy flogger that strikes hard enough to knock the breath from your lungs. It's sensual, it's painful. The best of both worlds.

What is your favorite impact tool to fantasize about? I'm not talking real life here, there are things I detest in real life but love to read about and I assume others do also. Don't restrict yourself to the implements I've talked about, if there is something you like or dislike that I haven't mentioned please tell us.

Two questions:

  1. When you are reading, which form of impact play works for you the most?
  2. Are there any that are an immediate turn off?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Random Meanderings

There’s a whole lot going on right now in my world, good, bad and indifferent, minor and major. The bad stuff is mostly other people’s troubles, but busybody as I am, I’m drawn in. Work is a little crazy, a trip is imminent and a virus just trashed our desktop. None of it has anything to do with kink, or writing (except that my files are apparently intact – whew!). As a result, there’s not much in my head that is blog-worthy. So today I’m down to bits and snippets.

Like the genetics of bdsm. This is something I’ve wondered about for years. Anders and Maia even talk about it in As She’s Told. What on earth is the evolutionary value of a desire to be restrained and whipped, or vice versa? Not just a desire to play rough – that’s totally understandable, biologically speaking – but a desire for very specific, shared fetishes like whips and rope and tight black leather. What value does this provide to the genome? Does kink improve reproductive success? Dominance does, no doubt, but just plain catting around will spread a man’s genes far more effectively than any amount of bdsm clubbing. And the equation of dominance and baby-making is unlikely to hold for dominant women. So this one baffles me. Any thoughts?

Random thought number two: Something out of nothing. I think about creativity sometimes, and how it feels like it’s the act of bringing something into existence out of nowhere. But of course it’s not out of nowhere; it’s out of one’s head and history, and out of learning and experiencing the work of others. What we create comes as much from our culture as from ourselves; our brains and thoughts and the patterns in our minds are a product of what came before us. How much is unique? Can we say anything truly new? Does it matter? When I reach deep inside myself for a metaphor, for some way to express what can’t be simply stated, and I manage to find those words, it’s hugely satisfying. Finding a similar metaphor by someone else later on can be a bit of a letdown, but really it’s the process of transforming feeling into language that matters for me.

Random thought the third: Being asked to read others’ writing. I feel totally ambivalent about this. Back when I was writing As She’s Told, I was really desperate for feedback, for real, editing, literary criticism on what I was doing. One or two of my requests to authors were dismissed rather bitingly, with the statement that they had no time. Positive responses were like gold. So I totally understand the need and the frustration. I’ve done some reading and critiquing for those requesting it, sometimes with pleasure and sometimes with considerable regret. On the other hand, at this point I really don’t have time. Nor do I want to slog through someone’s poorly-written self-centred stroke fantasies. Okay, now I feel guilty. But porn / erotica has to be one of the few genres where content is supposed to make up for lack of writing quality. (Or am I wrong about that? I don’t read fanfic; perhaps that’s the same? No idea.) I mean, if the personal fantasy you’re writing gets you totally hot, then surely everyone will want to read it? What does it matter if you don’t know the difference between ‘there,’ ‘their’ and ‘they’re,’ or can't begin a story with anything but pages of exposition? Okay now I feel like a totally snarky and elitist bitch. But I still don’t want to read that stuff.

That’s all I’ve got for this round, folks. Thanks for indulging my limited attention span.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kink Monday - Humiliation

Humiliation is one of those hot button kinks that no one seems to feel equivocal about. Most kinky romance readers either love it or hate it. I know I used humiliation pretty liberally in Comfort Object, Mercy, and Club Mephisto, while I haven't used it at all in other books.

In writing this post, I wanted to get the input of someone who really loved the kink of humiliation in order to give everyone the most positive view of the loving, smexy side of this fetish. I asked my friend "Baby Firefly" for an interview since I think she's a real expert on the emotional side of this topic. I hope you enjoy her wonderful responses!

Annabel: Thanks a lot for agreeing to talk to us today about humiliation. I find this is a widely misunderstood fetish, so first things first. Could you give us your explanation of what humiliation kink is?

Baby Firefly: You’re welcome, Annabel. I think you’re right about it being a misunderstood fetish. Hopefully I can shed some light on it. Note: for the sake of ease, and so I don’t tear out my hair, I’m just going to use dom and sub in this interview. No offense is intended by this.

Erotic humiliation is where one derives sexual arousal, pleasure, or what have you, from being demeaned or degraded by another person. As I see it, this particular fetish is largely psychological in nature, and because of the potential for emotional harm, I would definitely classify it as edge play.

This fetish widely varies from person to person. For instance, being called names like slut or whore can be humiliating and even damaging to one person, but another may take no issue with it. The key is for the dom to have good insight to the sub’s psyche. I think humiliation works best between players who know each other very well.

Annabel: Were you always turned on by humiliation, or was it something that a partner got you into?

Baby Firefly: I wasn’t always turned on by it. I was one of those people who didn’t understand it. My owner is a sadist, and like most, he gets off on inflicting emotional as well as physical pain. We hadn’t planned on exploring it. It just sort of happened. We did a scene involving pet play and discovered that we both really got off on the humiliating aspects of it. After that, we began exploring it more in depth.

Annabel: Oh man, that's pretty hot. Have you ever had communication problems with your partner regarding humiliation? For instance, expressing what was okay and what was not okay, or how far to take things?

Baby Firefly: We’ve been together for nine years now and know each other really well. For us, communication has been crucial in making it work. Before we moved forward with the edgier side of humiliation, we had a long discussion about where the boundaries were for me and for him. After a really intense and degrading scene, we talk about it. The sexual component is only half of it. Processing the emotions it brings up is part of the aftercare. Sometimes I need that, and other times I don’t. The bonus is that not only does it bring us closer, but talking about it always makes for hot conversation.

Annabel: Why do you think so many romance readers dislike humiliation, even consensual/desired humiliation scenes between people in love? Is it due to misunderstanding of the kink? Do you think there is a stigma against it? Do you ever feel stigmatized for enjoying it?

Baby Firefly: As women we’re bombarded with feminism, equality, empowerment. Humiliation opposes the societal norms we’re raised with. It’s been drilled into our heads that that type of treatment is wrong, abusive even. Romantic fiction is largely based on fantasy. And while readers can stretch their boundaries by enjoying things like dominance and submission, it’s difficult for them to take that a step further with humiliation. It makes them uncomfortable and it’s hard for them to sexualize it even when it’s the heroine who desires it.

I do think there is a stigma attached to it, but then there is with most BDSM practices outside of those who live it. I used to be very closed lipped about it even among my friends in the community. It turns out that the hang-up was mine. Funny how that works. I’ve come to embrace it. The wonderful thing about kinky people is how open and accepting they are about sexuality. Now, it’s not something I’d go telling the girls in my book club. I don’t think I’d be invited back after that.

Annabel: This is very personal, but can you share a humiliation scene you participated in that really moved you? Or a humiliation scene in a romance book that you thought was really written well?

Baby Firefly: Well, since posting a very personal scene for all to see would be its own form of humiliation, how can I say no? I’ll leave you with one of my journal entries. Thanks for having me here at Kinky Ever After, Annabel.

A Slut Goes to the Store

Sounds like the first line of a joke right? So not a joke. This weekend I was treated to taste of mild public humiliation. My owner wrote SLUT on my calf in huge letters in black marker. Not so bad right? That's what I thought until he sent me to the corner store at 5:30 PM on a Friday.

The mindfuck of it all was that it was written in washable marker. I could have very easily wiped it off before I went in to make my purchase. But at what cost? I don't particularly like being caned, so as much as I hated it, as humiliated as I was, the word had to stay.

I contemplated how I would play this out on the drive up. Would I try to stand with one leg in front of the other, attempting to hide it and in effect sharing my humiliation and embarrassment with the other patrons? Or would I stand there bold as brass and smirk at anyone who dared to look or whisper?

I ended up pretending that it wasn't there. Yes, I reverted back to my typical coping mechanism. I slipped it on like a skin, remembering how it felt all those years ago in high school.

Cold. Frozen. Above.

I still heard a few whispers. I felt the stares of the guys who stood behind me buying their twelve pack of Busch Lite on their way home from work. I heard them, but would I ever let that show? Not me.

I smiled at myself on the drive home, proud that I'd endured this little humiliation. But the ice crumbled when I saw my owner. He knows how I work. He can see through the layers of ice. The humiliation came crashing down on me full force as he asked me to tell him every little detail.

As I sat in the chair with SLUT glaring at me from my leg, I was so wet that I could barely stand it. Of course like the sadist he is, he let me marinate in that humiliation for a few hours before he gave me the release I so desperately wanted.

I loved every minute of this little task. My face is burning and my clit is throbbing as I sit here and type this. Yes, oh yes. I am a slut.


Many many thanks to Baby Firefly for agreeing to shed light on this often misunderstood form of kinky play, and for sharing such a thoughtful, heartfelt journal entry.

So, how do you all (the Kinky Ever After readers) feel about humiliation in your BDSM romance? Like, dislike, depends on the situation? Have you ever read a scene in a book that was humiliating and yet hot?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kinky Haiku Sunday with Strictest...sob...the finale

Once again, I'd like to thank Strictest for agreeing to let me post his poetry. These last four are some of my faves. Cheeky, serious, thought-provoking, all with 5-7-5 syllables. So cool.

Her bruised ass exposed
As she gets up from her seat.
"I'll do the dishes."


Some parts end up much
Cleaner than others when you
Shower with your slave.


"How may I serve you,
Mistress?" He asked, once the cash
Was placed out of sight.


"I'd like to try a
threesome," said Adam to Eve.
She raised an eyebrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dominance Does NOT Mean Domineering

When I imagine the Dominants in my stories, they aren't chest-pounding, I'm-in-charge, frying-pan heroes/heroines. 

Let me explain. In my mind, and from some of the conversations I've had with people not familiar with the lifestyle, there is a preconceived notion that dominants are also domineering. In my view, this is incorrect.


According to the good old Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of dominant is: controlling or prevailing over all others; overlooking from a high position; exhibiting genetic dominance. While the definition of domineer(ing) is: to rule in an arrogant manner; to be overbearing.


Big difference for me. And hopefully the characters I write.


In my opinion, domineering people tend to have very little control over their own emotions and behaviors. Therefore, they seek to control everyone around them in order to feed the belief that if they have power over others, they then have power over themselves. Their primary concern is focused on proving how much power they can wield over those around them.


This slots these people into my definition of a frying-pan character (mainly reserved for heroes, but there have been a few heroines who deserve the title). Namely, a hero/heroine who needs a quick smack (sometimes repeated on a daily or hourly basis) upside the head with a cast iron frying pan.


They tend to posture and gloat about what profound, important "I'm in charge here" people they are. Remember, Dominants aren't just men. There are many women who assume the role.


Dominants, in my definition (and in my books) are men and women who exercise a level of self-control that exemplifies them in whatever career field they pursue. They also tend to exude an aura of calm that draws people to them.


They are the quiet leaders who command respect without ever raising their voices. Those they love have no doubt that these people will do everything in their power to protect and care for them. Bbut very few are willing to cross these people, for they make a deadly enemy.


In fiction, especially romance, this person is usually considered an Alpha. If you move this person into the Dominant/submissive realm, command is second nature. And the relationship with the submissive is entered into as a means of safely leading the submissive in an exploration of his/her sexuality and ability to gain control of themselves. 


Dominating another isn't a power trip for them. It is the gift of sharing lessons learned in managing one's body and mind. Of disciplining one's self to maintain power over their needs. They will work with their partner to guide them into realms they've never explored in order to show them the pleasures that await them there. In many cases the dominance can take varied forms and every one is discussed with the submissive before proceeding. At least, that's how I see it.


For the domineering personality, their pleasure is solely self-focused. It is all and only about them and no one else. For the Dominant, it is a pleasure shared with their submissive.


This is all my opinion, so feel free to disagree.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pegging

I’m on the road this week, mailing this in from a hotel room in Ohio, so I’ll keep this a bit short.

Secretary for Two, my latest book, was just published by Loose Id on Tuesday. It’s my first ménage, and that was an interesting challenge. For one thing, it’s pretty far outside my experience. I don’t doubt there are successful three or more partner relationships working in the real world, but the ones people I know have been in have not had especially happy endings. I found that as I wrote the novel that I really believed in this particular HEA, however, because I thought each of the protagonists had needs that were met best in that relationship.

This is the second time that I included a pegging scene in a Male Dom/fem sub romance. The first was in Pushing Limits, where it was being done by a secondary character, to another secondary character. I hadn’t actually heard the term pegging until a couple of years ago, but the concept was familiar, a woman wearing a strap-on fucking a man. For some reason I find this incredibly hot, at least in fiction. I think one of the reasons is because a little bit of turning the tables helps emphasize that I don’t write Male Dom/fem sub romances because of some belief that women are inherently happier on the bottom. And as a related point, I want to subvert the idea that penetrating is inherently dominant behavior or that being penetrated is inherently submissive. I like making things complicated, even while I love the fact that a D/s relationship can be so very simple and straightforward and without the “I don’t know what do you want to do?” aspect that many vanilla relationships have -- or worse, the unwanted and inexplicit power exchange that causes one partner to take control and the other to be resentful.

Anyway… pegging. Hot or not? And I’d be particularly interested in what women who see themselves as strictly submissive have to say, because I’d call myself a switch and I’m sure that influences my perspective, but if that’s not you don’t let that stop you from chiming in.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brats - love em or hate em?

A little back story, I'm currently working on a book where the submissive is kind of a brat, at first anyway. I've read a few kinky stories that have this trope and enjoyed them, but more often then not, I'm just annoyed. Working on this book has been difficult at times because it's a fine line for me between resistance and topping from the bottom.

Bratting has differing meanings depending on who you ask. I think of it in terms of a bottom who enjoys struggling against control or challenging the top. They may purposely test boundaries or act out with the express intention of earning a punishment or attention.

Xeromag defines it as: A submissive who may refuse to obey a dominant's commands, tease or taunt the dominant, or engage in other activity intended to provoke a response, often a punishment response.

If I think about it, the sub in my book isn't exactly a brat, but she does purposely test the boundaries with her new dom in the beginning. Most of her behavior comes from her sarcastic nature which is systematically trained out of her by said dom. So is she truly a brat? Or just in need of harsh training? She probably falls somewhere in between. As the book progresses, she grows into her submission.

This type of submissive is less problematic for me in BDSM fiction compared to the sub who intentionally misbehaves seeking attention and punishment. I have a harder time enjoying books who portray characters like this. And I have an even harder time when they are paired with a dom who gives this type of submissive exactly what they want.

In my personal life, I'm sarcastic and have been known to be resistant. Part of my kink is force. Lucky for me, my partner enjoys making me toe the line. I know that others do not enjoy this particular dynamic, but hey -- your kink is not my kink...blah, blah, blah.

So my question to you: Do you enjoy fictional submissives who engage in bratty behavior? If you're kinky, do you have any bratty tendencies?





Link

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kink Monday: Tens Units

Tens


I'm a wimp when it comes to electricity. I've tried electricity - electrodes hooked up to me and then given juice by someone who knows what they are doing. Twice, but never again. It's now a hard limit. I've tried Violet Wands more than twice, because there are so many people who just love what they do... but my skin is apparently not capable of turning it into pleasure. Thus, another hard limit.

But Tens Units? Ahhh, those are a different story entirely. The sensation can feel like electricity, but it can also be a buzzing vibration instead of the sharp knife of straight electricity. It can also be made to just feel like the muscle underneath is flexing, and not feel like electricity at all. By using that effect, it is possible to make you feel as if you are being fucked, when nothing is touching you. You can take it one step further and hook it up to a butt plug made for a TENS and you can literally feel as if you are being fucked in the ass, when nothing is moving. Well, nothing except for your muscles.

Tens stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, and the definition of Transcutaneous is basically "across the depth of the skin". In other words, the electricity is staying on the skin and not sinking in where it could be dangerous. There are people who advise against using them above the waist, but my husband has had a valve replaced in his heart and I asked his cardiologist if we could use the tens unit on his back for back pain - right over his heart - and was told 'no problem'. If it's no problem in someone who has had heart surgery then surely it's no problem for someone with a healthy heart. However, with that being said, we still don't cross the electricity from one nipple to the other, we put a positive and negative on each nipple to contain the electricity there, just to be doubly safe.

Tens units were originally used as pain management. You can put the electrodes in a pattern around what hurts and trick the nerve cells into not sending pain messages to your brain. They originally cost thousands of dollars and could only be obtained through a doctor, but today you can buy the base models for around $20 and the more advanced models for around $30. The unit pictured is a five mode model that sells for $31.50 with free shipping.

So how do you use something intended for pain management as a sex toy? It seems like there is a huge learning curve at first, but there doesn't have to be. Here are some things to remember:

  • Using large pads puts the jolt over a large surface, small pads over a small surface. Both have their uses. Start with the pads that come with it, play around with them, and then decide what kind you want to buy next. Generally speaking, the smaller the electrode the more intense it can be.
  • You may have to play around with the pattern. Try two electrodes to start, positive on one side and negative on the other, adjust them so there is a horizontal line running right across the body part you are targeting, and then go through all of the modes and a lot of different power levels. Try it again so that the line is diagonal, see if it feels different.
  • There are a couple of ways to use four electrodes around a single point. By using the positive and negative pads you can adjust them so there is a line of electricity running horizontal above and another line of electricity running horizontal below, or you can make it so there is a vertical line on the right and another vertical line on the left. Lastly, arrange them so they will make an X across the body part in question.
  • What part of the body? Surround the clit, surround the pussy, surround the ass. Or surround the clit and pussy and send juice to both areas on different modes, if you really want to blow someone's mind. If you want to surround the nipple you might want to read this primer, as it explains a little more about why you want to put a positive and negative at each nipple and not string the electricity back and forth. It should be safe to go back and forth, but why take the risk when it's probably more intense to focus on them individually.
  • Here is a page that shows where to place electrodes for pain in various places. This should give an idea of how to place them for sex play - you're just targeting other areas. There are also some youtube demonstrations of how to use them for back pain that are quite explanatory.

I think this is long enough at this point, so I won't talk at length about specialty attachments. There are ways to surround the clit, for instance, that are downright devious. It clenches and unclenches and can feel like someone has a vice grip around it without actually touching it. It can pull up so tight that all of the lips around it are pulling with it.

Sometimes, when the Top wants to hurt you, but doesn't feel up to swinging a flogger or wielding a cane, the Tens can be the perfect solution for them. Put the pads on, sit back, fiddle with dials, watch the wiggling and hear the screaming.

Oh, for any Tops reading this... we have zero orgasm control when the thing is around our clit. Please don't expect us to be able to hold back. It's not possible.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kinky Haiku Sunday with Strictest, part three

I truly enjoy sharing the haiku of my kinky friend Strictest. Not just because I don't have to get my own ass in gear and write haikus! No, it's because I really think his haiku are awesome. This is the next to the last set. I'll post the last set next week...some of my favorites. After that, I dunno... I might torture you with more kinky acrostics.


The young guy's right palm
Is redder than his sub's ass.
She smirks secretly.


She can't wait to be
Forced to disrobe. Prettiest
Girl at the party.


She likes the fact that
She can't pronounce her safeword--
It's "Worcestershire-Sauce".


Each Sunday, dolled up,
Her lips pursed with prayer, she
Worships the wrong god.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

T.M.I.

So, right now I'm working on a book. In this book a whole gaggle of horny women are living together in an old, distinguised maison of ill repute.

And for some reason, no matter how hard I try, I keep thinking about all of them getting their periods at the same time!

Yeah, I know. SOOOOO not romantic. But have you ever heard that, that women living in close quarters often get on the same cycle? I keep thinking, hmm, I suppose the orgies shut down once a month. And then I think, how do those old, distinguished pipes handle all those tampons being flushed at the same time?

Ha, yes, I think about these things as a writer. As a reader, not so much. I don't want to know! When it comes to kinky stuff, it's almost like these TMI issues are amplified. What happens to those butt plugs when they get pulled out in the middle of a sex scene? You can't just throw them on the floor. For that matter, when do all those sex toys get washed and sanitized, and who does it?

And of course, in my books and many other books, the hero and heroine usually drift off to sleep in one another's arms post-sex. In real life, let's be honest--GROSS. In real life, you're sweaty and you've got either goo trickling out between your legs or icky latex residue that it's probably best to rinse off. I also read somewhere that women should urinate after sex to prevent UTIs.

Sooooo romantic! I know!

I guess as readers, we all choose not to think about these things. Or do we? Do you think about these kind of things as you read? Do we prefer accuracy and realism in some areas, but not others? I think that's probably the case.

Sorry if I squicked anyone out today! I promise not to actually mention tampons or toilet clogs in my upcoming book, even if it's running rampant through my mind as I'm writing. Le sigh.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Simultaneous Orgasms

I don't believe that both people reach completion at the same time very often in the vanilla world. I'm not vanilla, so I don't know for sure, but from what I understand it's kind of a rarity in real life. Vanilla sex is usually written with a simultaneous finish, but I've seen a number of online conversations with people rolling their literary eyes about it being written that way so often.

In the world of BDSM, where submissives are often trained to wait until given permission to come, it should be a given that synchronized orgasms would be a lot more common. Shouldn't it?

I still see readers occasionally talking about it like it's purely fantasy though -- like it only happens in books. I've even seen people comment that they'd like to see it written more "real", where everyone doesn't finish at the same time. But in my world -- my real world, not my fantasy world -- it's the norm for people to come together for the big finish.

The other thing the BDSM world has going for it is foreplay. The majority of the time our sex has a long period of flogging, or nipple torture, or orgasm denial, or forced orgasm after orgasm after orgasm, or intricate bondage, or something that comes before the sex and either allows for many orgasms before the actual sex act starts, or denies those orgasms before the sex starts. Either way can work out just fine.

Sure, it's often a Dom's prerogative to just say, "Bend over" and then go at it with no foreplay... but that in and of itself, the fact that the submissive must do it, that she is being used with no care given as to how she feels about it at the time... that's usually a big enough turn on that foreplay isn't needed. Or, occasionally, the submissive isn't turned on at all, she just bends over and deals with it until he is done. It may not be a turn on when it is happening, but can be a huge turn on the next day when it is remembered.

But back to my point, the world of BDSM is, in a way, geared towards the ending being manageable, and thus geared towards simultaneous orgasms for the finish (assuming the couple isn't into long term orgasm denial). By the time the end is nearing the Dom will have either allowed the submissive to have already had many orgasms and can be building her up to the final big one... or he can have denied any orgasms for the past hour or more of titillation and then order it to happen just as he is about ready to finish. That is the norm in my world. It doesn't happen that way 100% of the time, but I would guess that the ending is within thirty seconds of each other greater than seventy-five percent of the time.... and at least ten percent of that other twenty-five percent is when he intends for it to not be simultaneous because he has a different ending in mind. Or that's what he tells me, anyway.

What about you? Do you see the whole simultaneous ending as fantasy or the way it usually works out in real life? Do you roll your eyes at a perfect ending? Would a book be more real for you if the occasional scene didn't end skillfully choreographed?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quiet doms

I’m planning to write about a quiet dom. Someone human and even ordinary, whose dominant depths only emerge when the time is right. A man who doesn’t rule a kingdom or a corporation, or make every women puddle with a glance. No arresting appearance to make him stand out in a crowd. A nice guy who picks up milk and bread at the corner, likes kids, and has exactly one tie in his closet for weddings and funerals.

In other words, a character who might be the partner some of us sleep with every night. Could you love the guy in fiction, too? I will paraphrase Jane Austen and say that this may be a new kind of character in bdsm erotica, and dreadfully derogatory to a hero’s dignity, but if it be as new in common life, the credit of a wild imagination will at least be all my own.

No, but seriously; I’m by no means the first. Claire Thomson wrote one in Dream Master. Philip is a nice man who happens to be into d/s play. Our Annabel Joseph has at least one sweet, caretaking dom hero, Brand in Deep in the Woods. Novelists have rung all sorts of changes on the characters and confluences of sub and dom. I took a step in this direction with Anders in As She’s Told, who is not rich and who works with his hands. (Though I did succumb to my thing for tall men by making him six foot six; he stands out in a crowd. And I admit he’s kind of alpha.) Also, I think there’s a whole genre of cowboy lit, with hard-bodied males smelling of sweat and stables. I’m not pretending to be unique here.

In part I’m looking for that moment of discovery. I’d like to make the reader feel the way I did the day I looked past a boy’s nerdy glasses to the wonderful face beneath. I’m looking for reality, too – love amidst bills and hurried vet visits. Love with texture and fibre, salted by daily chores and sudden hands in the night. Who is this familiar stranger in my bed?

How do ordinary people deal with their kinky souls? Can fiction find the joy in that? How do strange sexual urges rise and emerge onto the surface of the murky pond of a relationship?

What do you think?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kink Monday: Ponyplay

Owned, used, totally controlled. Do those words do anything for you?

It’s not easy to write about ponyplay without referring to deeper matters. You have to be able to see objectification or humiliation as sexual turn-ons; otherwise ponyplay is simply absurd. The concept of human beings on display as dumb animals suggests a pretty profound level of kink that is definitely not for everyone.

That said, If the concepts work for you, read on.

Imagine being buckled into a tight web of leather harness, including a bit and bridle. Imagine that harness hitched to a cart, and someone sitting behind you in that cart, holding the reins, controlling you, directing you with pulls and twitches. Maybe they even have a whip to speed you up, to remind you not to drag your feet. It’s your body doing the work, but it’s not your mind that decides how the work gets done. You’re just the engine, the manifestation of someone else’s will.

If that idea has some resonance, then imagine the arousal when you can’t do anything about it, and are being pushed to go faster, faster, while thigh and ass and belly muscles strain…. For those into pain, imagine the whip that drives you. For those into service, imagine the pure gift of carrying your dom wherever they want to go. For those into bondage, imagine all the varieties of harness that presses here, there, everywhere.

There are a hundred variations. Some ponyplay is mainly dress-up and display at big fetish events, with glittering gorgeous ponygirls strutting in ostrich feather plumes. Some folks specialize as groomers rather than pony or driver, preparing, pampering and harnessing their charges. Then there are clubs that arrange private outdoor settings to provide a more genuine experience for the participants. Pony players without such access do the best they can indoors. Treadmills have their uses, for forced exercise in the grip of interesting bondage. If the weight ratio is right, some ponies are actually saddled and ridden; very direct physical contact and control are the attractions in that case.

Many fetish gear suppliers offer some version of pony tack. It’s expensive, so I suspect a lot of people make their own. Just look up ‘pony play gear’ on Google if you’re curious. There’s also plenty of ponyplay fiction to be found on the web and elsewhere. Carrie’s Story and Safe Word by Molly Weatherfield are famous in this regard. My own two books contain it also. A great website with years worth of archives of photos, videos and stories is Sir Jeff’s Ponygirls. You can find an excerpt from my book As She’s Told on that site. There are how-to books as well, notably Rebecca Wilcox’s The Human Pony, and the online zine she runs: Equus Eroticus.

So for any of you who’ve actually read down to this point, what do you think? Is ponyplay just too ‘out there,’ even in fantasy? Is it so far from the romance realm that it squicks big time? Any part of this particular kink that rings pony bells?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kinky Acrostic Sunday

Oh BAM! Yes, you remember writing Acrostic poetry from first grade. Who's to say we can't put it to kinky purposes? Acrostic poetry is another example of "constrained writing"--a literary technique in which the writer is bound by some condition that forbids certain things or imposes a pattern. Ooh...what could be more kinky than being constrained or bound? Here are a few examples I came up with. You gotta try this. It's fun!

Why should I
Help you fetch the
Instrument of my own
Punishment?


Sensual
Loving
Accomodating
Vigilant
Enamored


Potent
Erotically charged
Raw
Very horny
Extremely excitable
Raunchily
Tantalizing...


Rough
Obscene
Magnificent
Arduous
Needful
Carnal
Exquisite


Be sure to post your own acrostics in the comments!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Letting Characters be Themselves

I am always amused when a writer tells me that they had a plot for their story, but the characters simply aren’t behaving themselves, and are taking the story somewhere else. What I hope she means is that in the course of writing the story, things didn’t work out logically the way the author thought they would, and she’s figured out a new story that she’d rather tell. After all, as authors, we can always go back and change the character’s personalities so that they fit the plot. We’re not locked in a linear process where the moment we’ve penned a word it has to stay in the final draft regardless of what havoc it plays with everything else. We only have to keep what we write when it’s better than what we planned -- and it often is, because in the process of writing scenes flow organically one after another in ways they don’t always in the outline. If we outline. I sometimes do, and sometimes I need to just put the characters into action, see what happens, and then come up with a plot after I know who they are. Sometimes the plot conforms to the characters, and sometimes I need to find the right characters to conform to the plot.

The question of how to conform comes up in BDSM, and especially in BDSM fiction. A lot of times characters seem shoe-horned into some over-arching orthodoxy about how BDSM ought to work. In these books, there’s a right and a wrong way to do things: how to kneel, how to address a dominant, whether subs should avert one’s eyes. This can be hot, and it can move plots along, and I’ve done it myself. In Purple Passion I have my heroine get into trouble for looking a dominant in the eye. I don’t think it’s the most realistic scene I’ve ever written, and I think any real dominant who presses a case that he’s entitled to something from a stranger because of a breach of protocol is an ass. But I think it worked well in that story, even if it did feel a little gimmicky -- and the hero is there to save the day, anyway. The relationship between them isn’t about how it “should” be, but about how it can be, because they want it to be.

All this came to mind on my current WIP. My heroine, Stella, sees herself as more interested in sensations than submission. My hero, Evan, thinks she’s not being totally honest with herself, and is instructing her to kneel. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen in books where a submissive is shown that she should kneel knees wide apart, back arched, chest forward -- there are variations, after that, often equally dogmatically presented: hands behind the back, or turned up and resting on the thighs; always looking up at the dominant or always looking down and away. And if a top wants to insist that one of those is the right way, well, that’s hot, or can be. He (or she) is the top, after all.

But Evan isn’t concerned about any of that, or what anyone else thinks is the “right way” -- he’s concerned about his sub. And Stella needs to ease into it a little more. So instead, he makes everything as comfortable as possible, preparing her cushions that are just right for the traditional Japanese seiza position, which isn’t intended to be sexy at all and in which those knees are together. Because he’s involved in directing her, making adjustments in her position, etc., Stella feels the submissiveness of her act. And because his adjustments are about keeping her posture sustainable and comfortable, rather than for his own visual pleasure or that of others, she doesn’t end up having the difficulties she might have if he tried to make her do it the way you usually see it in books. Seems like a small thing, and it doesn’t turn my plot upside down or anything like that. But it is letting my characters be themselves, and not just be “Dom” and “sub” with different names. If my characters aren’t telling me what to do, and telling me about their special way of connecting and how it’s different from the norm, or the (often imagined) BDSM norm -- well, then it really is time to rewrite. Or start over.

Jumping off my soapbox now. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

About condoms...




Here's the thing, I hate having to write condoms into stories. There I said it. I'm not sure if it stems from a personal dislike of them, or if it's annoyance at needing to write them seamlessly into a book. Now before you jump down my throat, I'm all for safe sex. I think it's crucial in this day and age especially if you're not in a committed relationship complete with blood tests and other forms of birth control. Even being the pro-safety gal I am, I have to admit that I can't stand rubbers. There is nothing sexy about the smell or taste of latex. Just no.

If you write paranormal or fantasy, you can get away with all sorts of things, like lack of condoms, no STD tests, etc. It's an easy fix when you have a supernatural species immune to disease. With contemporary? yeah, you can't get away with that, add kink to the equation and just try to write a story with no mention of condoms, birth control or blood tests. Some readers will not only notice, but they may even email you about it. Yes, I have author friends who have received such emails.

One of our very own authors could teach lessons on how to include condoms in your story without taking the reader out of the scene. You know who you are *cough* Annabel *cough*. I seem to have a harder time with it. I think the problem is that I never remember to include them when I'm writing. 99.99999% of the time I have to go back and add it in. And that just makes me more annoyed.

If you're a reader, are condoms necessary for you to enjoy contemporary erotica? Would it bother you to read a book without mention of a single Trojan?

If you're an author, how far do you go? Do you include condoms for intercourse as well as oral? And if you do include them for oral, are we talking dental dams too? The thought of having to write that and make it sound sexy gives me hives.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

His head or hers?

So the backstory is...I'm working on a novel.

Part of the challenge for me with every story is deciding whose head we're going to be in--his head or hers. In other words, POV or "point of view." For many novels, it's not such a big issue. I spend time in both characters' heads depending on which character has the most to contribute to the particular POV of any given scene.

But sometimes I can't decide which character's head I want to be in for a scene, and that really sucks! If I choose the wrong character, I might get to the end and realize it doesn't work. Then I have to rewrite that scene switching the POV. I've had to do this on several occasions and strangely they always end up being really strong scenes, I guess because I've essentially written them twice. But it's frustrating!

The kink and erotic element brings up another consideration. Do we want to feel his sadistic rush? The internal conflicts to his outward control? Or do we want to feel her masochistic surrender? Her terror or jubilant happiness at her lack of control?

Whenever I finish a book, I always feel like half the story is missing, because in any particular sex or kink scene, we are getting one POV rather than both. That doesn't mean I want to start writing stories in the omniscient voice, or that I want to start head-hopping from character to character throughout each scene. But it is always a conundrum to decide which character gets to take us through which scenes.

With my book Club Mephisto, I solved the problem by staying in one head only--the slavegirl, Molly. This was an intentional decision because I wanted us to feel as though we were taking Molly's journey with her. I never wanted my readers to have a chance to escape from her mind. I was happy with the end result...I do not regret that decision one iota. However, I do feel there's a whole book hiding under the surface of that book--the book that tells what Mephisto, her (temporary) Master thought and felt. We never learn anything about that at all--we only know what we observe and surmise through Molly's eyes.

Ah, well. Maybe someday I'll write that book. I keep saying I will but I haven't started it yet, except to write the title down on a document and save it.

As a reader, do you have a preferred "side" as far as POV? Do you prefer to read kink scenes from the POV of the top or the bottom? What about erotic scenes? Do you prefer to see and feel the action from a man's POV or a woman's?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Vanilla Sex Scene

I'm currently writing the most difficult sex scene I've ever written. It's <shudder> vanilla sex.

In a way, it's probably a good exercise because I'm having to focus solely on the sensations. I'm used to showing and describing the power exchange and the effect that is having on the characters, and I'm used to writing about extreme sensations and how those are processed. Writing a nice juicy power exchange scene mostly flows for me - I think it and type it and it just kind of happens. Sure, I struggle and waffle and argue with myself over the editing and polishing, but the first draft just sort of flows out of my fingertips. But writing just plane old normal vanilla sex is... hard.

Why am I writing a vanilla scene? Well, it's a long and rather complicated story, but the short explanation is deceptively simple: She has just ended a very long 24/7 relationship and wants to give Vanilla a try before even considering jumping into another power exchange relationship. I really do want it to be good for her. True, it isn't going to be her cup of tea, but I want her to have a good experience. I want it to be a fair trial, if that makes sense. But I'm just not happy with the way I'm writing it. I've finally decided to stop wrangling it and move on with the story. Hopefully I will be able to come back to it in a week or two and be able to sink into the experience enough to write it.

I'm thinking I need inspiration, perhaps a nice romantic moment in a movie or TV show? Maybe something along the lines of Dirty Dancing, or Titanic, or possibly Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Any suggestions of a nice vanilla romantic sizzling sex scene to set my muse off in the right direction?