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Guest Post: “Where There’s a Whip, There’s a Way: Getting In the BDSM Groove” by Lise Horton

Hold Tight Lise Horton

Songs have been replete with kinky references for decades. We may have gotten some of the references, but not others. Some of us may not have clued in to the hidden meaning at all! Like those tunes, the current popularity of the romantic erotic sub-genre of BDSM romance is being devoured by fans, but is everyone out there in fandom getting the full pleasure (pun intended) from these titles? A lot of BDSM lifestyle terminology and references are included and to make sure everyone can squeeze all the goodness out of these love stories, we thought we’d bring you a bit of an overview.

To begin at the beginning, what, pray tell, does BDSM really mean? The general understanding is “kinky stuff.” But let’s get more specific to help you understand the players in these wicked good stories.

BDSM can refer to a number of different things, in fact. Bondage. Discipline. Sadism. Masochism. But it also is broken down to refer to D/s – the Dominance and submission dynamic. And, M can = Master and S can = slave. And someone looking at these terms broken down may take a hasty step back. Bondage? Sadism? Slave? Where’s the door?!

Here’s the thing. The overarching rule in BDSM is explained by its two credos: “Safe, sane and consensual” – any play or lifestyle choices in this dynamic are discussed, negotiated and agreed to. No matter your role, it’s a dual agreement to interact according to these consents. At the same time, some folk question the meaning of “sane” (as they say, “Your kink is not my kink, but your kink is OK”) as too vague and offer the guideline of RISK – “Risk-aware Consensual Kink” as a more succinct explanation.

The other thing most BDSM players agree on is – well, pretty much nothing. In a true example of to each their own, pose a question and everyone will have their own answer. Twist it one way or another, back-off or step it up, or “That’s a Hard Limit!” may result. Likewise, in kinky romances we’re often treated to a broad spectrum of play from a cheeky spanking, to full-throttle S&M. Which means there’ll be something for every wicked taste out there.

So there are the main elements of kinky play. Now how about those lusty players? You’ve got a character in charge and a character as follower. But how do the roles really work?

In most romances you generally aren’t dealing with a Top and bottom (folks just out to “play,” without the power exchange dynamic or emotion that spices things up so well). They’re just dropping into the dungeon for a little tie-her-up, tie-her-down.

The predominant romance deals with a Dominant and a submissive (M/F isn’t the only combo,  as we have M/m D/s romances, and F/f on the rise as well! And heck, who doesn’t love a kinky ménage?!). The parameters of the relationship are utterly dependent upon the author’s needs. 24/7 lifestylers? Or boudoir-only D/s? So many choices, so little time to play! Most importantly, it is a consensual “power exchange” relationship for these players.

Top of the intensity scale will be Master/slave roles. One completely in charge, and one who has voluntarily (often formally) given up all control over themselves and their lives (Note: those “slave contracts” are not legally enforceable, and a slave can walk away, just as a Master can). This relationship can add an edge, and up the conflict in a romance, but M/s is not necessarily a scenario for the faint of heart!

Okay, what IS this whole “power exchange” thing? Whether you’ve got a Sadist and a Masochist who embrace what hurts so good, or a Dom and a sub playing kinder, gentler kinky games, it’s based on the concept of an exchange of power. A submissive giving her trust and control over her body to her Dom. And the Dom is accepting the responsibility for that control, and accepting her trust that he will keep her safe within the confines of their play. All mutual. Negotiated scenes or contracts notwithstanding, safety from harm is the goal for both players/lovers on the road to their kinky ever after.

Have I got you hungry to know more about the ins and outs of the world depicted in these steamy novels? Excellent! There’s plenty more of the ABCs of BDSM to feed those passions.

(But only if you’re good!)

Sisters in Love Melissa Foster

2 Responses to “Guest Post: “Where There’s a Whip, There’s a Way: Getting In the BDSM Groove” by Lise Horton”

  1. Cris Anson

    Excellent overview, Lise! Thank you for posting it.

  2. Lise Horton

    Thanks for visiting Ever After today, Cris! I know your familiarity with the subject matter is vast and I hope you continue to visit as I delve into even more specifics of this popular romance sub-genre and the lifestyle it references! It will be a fun “dungeon tour”!

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