Is it degrading towards women? Cari Silverwood, popular author of BDSM fiction begs to differ and debunks the myth that BDSM is tantamount to abuse and degradation.
BDSM! Oh noes!
Some of you may have run away already, while I’m sure others are fascinated and have sat down with a coffee in hand. BDSM has been shoved into prominence by the emergence of that book. If you don’t know which book is that book, here’s a crowbar for you to lever off the rock you’ve been hiding under.
Yes, there is a huge pile of books out there featuring BDSM, but it has been building for many years. The ebook simply made it easier for us to pretend to be reading “How to fertilize your garden” while actually leafing through (or maybe that’s eLeafing through) the pages of The Dom who Whipped Sally.
And no, I haven’t written that one. It’s on my list. But first I’m writing Fifty Doms of Shadiness.
BDSM is such a curious and far-branching acronym that even the people doing it don’t always agree on what it means. So it’s not surprising some authors don’t get it right, readers get misled, and a book labeled BDSM is just as likely to have sexual abuse as a theme as it is to contain law-abiding adults getting their kink on in a mutually agreed upon manner where both of them end up happy.
Do I write BDSM like this?
Wait, do you know what BDSM is?
Listen closely children, says I, shoving my glasses higher, and tapping on the blackboard with my cane. BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, and Sado-maschism and also, in a really funny rearrange-the-letters-way, for Dominance and submission.
But there’s a bunch of other things it can also cover, some of which make my eyes bug out too. This is when you haul out the other acronym, wait for it, YKINMKBYKIOK.
Which is…running away to make sure I get this right and running back again…yes, I did look this up – your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay.
So now we agree, vaguely, on approximately what BDSM means. And I can say…
Yes, I do try to write BDSM as true to reality as I can, sometimes. It is fiction, after all.
I write a lot of stories with fantasy settings and in those, things get distorted. There aren’t too many clockwork warriors in real life, or even lust plagues, unfortunately. But here’s what I don’t stick in my books, BDSM-wise.
If I am aiming to show proper BDSM, I don’t write perfect Doms, or dominant men, who have a stick up their ass (no, that’s not a kink) instead of a sense of humor, or a total disregard for the woman’s feelings or needs. I don’t write non-consensual abuse.
I don’t write in submissive women who are doormats who cave in to the man without thinking of themselves, and whose sole purpose in life seems to be to kneel and admire the male’s super-impressive lower appendage. And wow, how much faster would it have been for me to write dick back there?
I rarely write BDSM club scenes because I have no up close and personal knowledge of those and I really believe most BDSM happens within private homes. No, you don’t have to be an exhibitionist who wants to be whipped in public to be into BDSM.
Some believe BDSM is degrading to women. Talking about my stories doesn’t help to dismiss this little falsehood. Apart from pointing out that play is a natural and healthy part of our sexuality, many of the submissive women into BDSM are perfectly capable individuals who have wonderful careers and are dominant outside the bedroom.
They choose to do what they do.
I know of many who have, in effect, trained their husbands to be their Dom. But, I hear someone cry, all of this is psychologically programmed into these women by society in a devious design to get them to kowtow to male supremacy.
Feminism is about women owning their own desires and needs. Standing up and going against what society believes to be the norm to fulfill your desires is an excellent example of the principle of feminism. Yes, some women choose to be submissive to men.
But whatever kink they are into, it is always consensual. The main motto of BDSM is safe, sane and consensual.
And to show how silly that argument is, many men choose to be submissive to women. Plus not all BDSM requires dominance and submission, and there is always a safeword or special action that will stop everything.
To go full circle back to fiction.
Those sexual fantasies that most of us harbor in our dark devious minds where no one else can pry, those are what BDSM often revolves around.
I know of married couples, who are into role play, who play out that commonest fantasy of women – the rape fantasy. But with BDSM you can say stop. If you’re not adventurous enough to actually engage in these types of games, what better way to live them out than through a book?
Here’s a last thought to make you do that terribly inconvenient thing and rev up some brain cells. You may already read stories that are in the shallow end of BDSM without realizing it – all the old bodice ripper stories, and many newer romances, satisfy the desire of many women to be forcibly ‘taken’ by a strong dominant man.
From my own experiences, and that of others, I know that erotic fiction can be the keystone of permission that leads many to explore their sexuality. Sure, not everyone will share the same fantasies as you, but you may be surprised at how many do.
The commoner kinks are those of bondage or restraint, dominance and submission, spanking (very common and there are enormous resources on the internet devoted to spanking) and other impact play such as flogging. Floggers do not have to inflict pain and can give sensational massages if done correctly.
So go forth and read to your heart’s content, discover BDSM if you wish to, and maybe even find out about a perfectly healthy part of you that hasn’t ever been allowed out to play.
(As a warning to those who investigate, my latest and most popular book, Take Me, Break Me, is not purely BDSM. It skirts the realm of capture fantasy and, even though by the end of the story it is consensual, at times the story drifts into what is called dubious consent.)
Cari Silverwood writes the way the world should be - dangerous and sexy with bullets piercing the darkness and lovers wrenched close by ropes. When you need escape, when you need that rough lover to bring you to your knees, here you will find stories to singe your fingers. The taste of adventure, the tang of BDSM, the burn of fantasy run wild. Brace yourselves, if you dare to read.
And...in this real world, she has a lovely family in Australia, with the prerequisite teenager who dwells in the dark bedroom catacombs…a husband who raises eyebrows when he catches glimpses of what she writes, and a furry menagerie of other animals barking, meowing, and swimming about the place.
Where you can find her:
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Are you a fan of BDSM fiction? Which books would you recommend to readers wanting to delve into this genre?