Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Carried Away

Does anyone here read gay male bdsm fiction? In the BDSM Goodreads group there are a number of women who seem to find it tasty. I’d only read the Chaos Magic trilogy by Jay Lygon. Oh, and there’s a lot of male-male action in the MMf Interstellar Service and Discipline books by Morgan Hawke. Which I read by default while waiting for the next M/f scene. Jay Lygon is actually Kathleen Bradean. So I’ve only read gay male interactions written by women. Which of course makes the authenticity somewhat questionable.

As it looks like I’ll be on a panel with David Stein late in the summer I’ve been reading his novel, Carried Away: An S/M Romance. Apart from a cartoonishly bad cover it’s an interesting read. This book, published ten years ago, has become a classic in the small and mostly recent world that is m/s literature. This one focuses not just on who does what to whom, but on how a master / slave relationship can realistically be developed and configured. David Stein told me he wrote it as the “Anti- Mr. Benson.” I gather Mr. Benson, written in the 70’s, is heavy on unrealistic fantasy versions of gay m/s; I haven’t read it myself. And it is itself a classic in leatherman circles, so there were some misperceptions David was anxious to address. Which means his story gets a little preachy here and there, but nothing too major.

What I find fascinating is some of the differences between hardcore gay s/m and the M/f heterosexual variety. Wow, can those guys take a lot of abuse! (At least the ones in the stories.) If I’m uncomfortable in bondage in any way apart from that which is -- ahem ¬– intended, it needs fixing or I’m done. Arms going numb, knees getting sore, muscles cramping? – nuh-uh. And I’ve never come across a fictional female subby that feels differently. The sub character in Stein’s book puts up with hours of non-erogenous-zone aches and pains that would have put me off any kind of play forever.

Major beatings, yes – those happen in both kinds of fiction. But punching? I think that would tip the scale for the vast majority of female readers. Though I’ve come across a couple of real-life women who like it. Carefully controlled, I sincerely hope.

And the leather. Hey, I like leather; I do! I prefer leather restraints over rope any time. A leather corset is one of those things I wish I had but can’t afford. But the characters’ obsession with it is way beyond my league. Leather uniforms, boots, chaps, jocks, gloves. All cheerfully worn and displayed in muscly leather bar enclaves. By definition, a setting completely foreign to females of any variety. So reading about them as a kind of invisible tourist is a bit of a trip; like reading about a foreign culture. It’s like getting a seat on a second floor balcony on the route of a Pride parade. Close enough to see and smell the action without being physically in the way.

Not surprisingly, cock obsessions come in at a close tie with leather. Erections are such an obvious measure of arousal. Not that a female sub can’t be checked out for her reactions, but if she’s trying to act cool, tactile evidence is usually required. Whereas the men are hanging right out there, totally visible. Or jutting, as the case may be. A certain lack of the subtlety that I’m accustomed to reading and writing about when it comes to women’s sexual response. Whether men are really simpler than women in that regard I don’t know. But it must be very handy for a top to have such an easy barometer of arousal to go by.

So, all in all, a fine read. The panel – my first public appearance as Anneke Jacob – is no problem because it’s months away and I haven’t started worrying yet. I will (and will no doubt tell you all about it). But am quite looking forward to chatting with David Stein.

1 comment:

  1. The M/m stuff works for me because, as you noted, it is usually more hard core than M/f. Of course, that's part of why your books worked for me so well, too - LOL.