There’s something about the idea of publicly acknowledged power exchange. Kinky relationships in private are all very well, but for some, the more people who know, the hotter it gets. That may have something to do with the humiliation factor. I’ve noticed that readers who hate humiliation seem to prefer their fictional characters to keep their kinky behaviour to themselves. A preference for out-of-the-closet m/s may also have to do with the intensity of the power exchange. Fictional slavery that’s gone public is slavery with law and custom behind it. That means the owner has Power with a capital P. If that gave you a yummy little shiver, put up your hand.
When the story is about masters and slaves, owners and property, authors cook up all sorts of creative ways to make the bondage stick. Mysterious islands, pirates, slave planets, aliens with a fetish for human chattel. Secret societies, thugs with warehouses full of caged beauties, oriental flesh markets. Or historical fiction set in a time when people could be property. Whatever will make the slavery “real.”
Consent is, of course, a tricky issue in stories like these. I had to maneuver the plot of Owned and Owner through some narrow windows so that my s-type could be utterly helpless and yet totally consenting. Many authors go with the I-hate-it-I-love-it approach, as their outraged heroine succumbs to her inner submissive. And if the heroine isn’t kidnapped into slavery, it’s astonishing how often she’s kidnapped by bad guys and has to be rescued by her true dom (with a nod to Annabel’s rescue theme). It’s as if the kidnapping has to get in there one way or another.
Anyway, my main point was about the elaborate worlds we concoct for our naughty purposes. What imaginations we have! How many ways we contrive to render our characters helpless! I don’t know about you, but from a very early age I spent every minute of my time between lights-out and sleep, creating worlds like this. Sometimes I’d spend more time working out the society’s custom’s and belief systems than visualizing the payoff: naked slaves in bondage. Speculative kinky sociology; now there’s a specialty!
The book I’m working on currently has a string of fantasy worlds, so this sort of thing is on my mind a lot. What about you; Is there a secret slave society living in your head?