Friday, October 26, 2007

Hurt me, baby!--pepper

Well, better late than never, right?

I've been working on a paper today. Well, that's not quite true. I've been reading and waiting for some serious divine inspiration. So far, I've got nothing. I can't believe I have absolutely nothing to say about Lord Byron, but there ya go. Unfortunately, I can't write about how hot he probably was.

So since I'm busy for the 2nd week in a row, I must leave with questions that have been on my mind for some time.

1) What does "BDSM" mean to you? That is, when you buy a book with a BDSM title, what do you expect? If you write BDSM, what do you write?

2) Is there such a thing as going too far in BDSM books?

3) Do you think that gay BDSM is a bit more...realistic than het BDSM?


Unknown said...

It depends. I'm a big fan of BDSM that uses the BDSM elements as part of the relationship- not the focus of it. Recently I've been reading Joey W. Hill, and I find she handles BDSM very well. Her scenes can be a lot more hardcore than what I've read in other authors (who I feel HAVE taken it too far)- but she handles it well, so I can ride with it, because there is an underlying relationship between the characters.

I also like when not every scene that is written in a BDSM novel is BDSM- 'cause sometimes you need breathing room for normal sex. If that makes sense.

Come visit me at my review site, I'd be interested in hearing you're thoughts!

veinglory said...

It is not a thing I am especially interested in but I am intrigued if a twist is put on it, or the characters are really rounded and believable. I am very disinterested in work that throws in a whip or set of handcuffs just to be 'oh, naughty'. But playing with power and roles, or setting a story in that scene, can add a whole new dimension.

Dusk Peterson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dusk Peterson said...

"Do you think that gay BDSM is a bit
more...realistic than het BDSM?"

(Glances at Nifty's Authoritarian section and laughs hysterically.)

Um, no. With the caveat that I don't read het BDSM stories, I would say that the average writer of gay BDSM is fully competitive where lack of reality is concerned.

The lack of realism I've most often run across that could be fully curable is when het writers write about gay men doing BDSM, while only knowing the traditions that are most often found in heterosexual BDSM. It's true that a lot of gay men follow these traditions, and it's true that there's a lot of crossover between gay and het BDSM these days. But when an author makes a big deal about the fact that his or her gay male character is into leather, and then reveals, through terminology and character actions, that he or she has absolutely no knowledge of leather culture, I wince.

I don't read lesbian BDSM, but I imagine that the same problem occurs there. And I'm still awaiting the day when some author realizes that there are a few heterosexual leathermen and leatherwomen in the world.

"That is, when you buy a book with a BDSM title, what do you expect?"

My criteria for good BDSM literature is the same as for good vanilla literature, which means it varies, according to what the author is trying to accomplish. Like JC, I do wish that there were more BDSM stories that focussed on the relationship. There are plenty of vanilla love stories that don't have sex scenes or have only a few - why should BDSM characters be the only ones humping their brains out? (Yes, I know, it's because, for most people, BDSM is erotic play, nothing more. But I'm interested in the characters for whom BDSM is part of their everyday life.)

I also wish that there were more stories about BDSM/leather communities. I'm getting really, really tired of reading stories where the main characters have no social BDSM network, or that network consists of rich men who gather together in order to exchange slaves. I'm sorry, but the average leather club meeting or BDSM munch is not like that. The BDSM social world has its own interesting aspects - my goodness, one night at a leather bar should supply any BDSM writer with tons of story material - and I wish that more authors would write about those aspects.

"If you write BDSM, what do you write?"

Gay leather stories, as well as gay historical fantasy stories that explore dominance and submission within the cultural contexts of those particular societies. (Another of my pet peeves: fantasy societies where everyone seems to have access to all of the objects sold by Mr. S.) I've written both erotica and erotic love stories, and some of my DS stories within series are simply love stories.

"Is there such a thing as going too far in BDSM books?"

(Glances at Nifty again.) Well, yes, but I would say that the romance world isn't likely to have to worry about that. :) From my perspective, coming from the gay erotica world, the problem that romance authors face is excessive timidity from publishers.

While there's a lot of BDSM storywriting out there that offends my ethical sense, I tend to feel that there's too much focus in our society on whether stories about sexual power or sexual pain go too far. I think the big problem our society faces is from stories that explore, in an amoral or even immoral manner, nonsexual violence. And those sorts of stories, alas, have a PG rating slapped onto them and are marketed to kids. So I'm far more worried about that mass-market problem than about the tiny minority of authors who make BDSM edgeplay sound safer than it actually is.

Mya said...

I am a student and fan of BDSM, but I am more interested in how it shapes mental bonds and relationships, rather than how much pain a person can deal or take. To me its more important- what happens after.

BDSM for shock-value came come off as vulgar, but when it is balanced with positive outcomes, it is beautiful.