Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mainstreaming BDSM

How much does a song like Rihanna's S & M help the kink community? Does her art give BDSM greater exposure--and therefore more acceptance? Or is the song nothing but glamorous sleaze wrapped up in fake relevance?

I think it's the latter. It's tough to take this song seriously. A line like "whips and chains excite me," is just plain silly. These words don't describe a relationship, just a masturbatory fantasy. The accompanying S & M video is truly awful. (It's so bad, I refuse to supply a link to it). The production is amateur, with gratuitous strobe effects, and psychedelic camera angles. Even worse, you've got a grinning Perez Hilton on a leash, lifting his leg at a fire hydrant. The rest of this repetitious mess is a collection of cliche fetish images. Rihanna's posing and gyration does not reflect anything substantial about sadomasochism or BDSM.

And it's too bad. Rihanna's Rude Boy lyrics, for example, are actually far more evocative of kink reality:
I like the way you touch me there.
I like the way you pull my hair.
I believe the song S & M is intended to court controversy in order to sell songs. There's no social awareness program going on.

Happily, there is a development in the popularization of BDSM that is significant. Colter's Daughter, an erotic romance by Maya Banks, is on the NYT e-book bestseller list. This novel has D/s themes. Yay on Maya!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coming Soon! Management Skills

My new BDSM Romance novella, Management Skills, will be released on March 7 by Carina Press. You can pre-order the Kindle version on amazon!

Here's the blurb:

When CEO Grant Edmonds meets with his new production manager, he immediately recognizes her as Silver, an exotic dancer who once mesmerized him at an exclusive fetish club. Though he was forbidden from pursuing her back then, there's nothing standing in his way now. He's not looking for an after-hours fling—he wants to own her. In every way.

As much as Allie Fairfax tries to deny her past, and the way her body responds to Grant, she soon finds herself having mind-blowing sex with the boss. Despite her own desire to surrender to Grant's sexual authority, she's not willing to risk her career. After all, she's been owned before, and it ended badly.

It's all or nothing for Grant. If Allie wants more of the fiercest orgasms she's ever experienced, she must consent to his rules...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gamesters of Triskelion

I've been reading an interesting discussion about the BDSM symbol on my favorite kink site. For those who aren't familiar with the emblem, it's a flowy, three-spoked yin yang type of image, often called a triskelion. Someone named Quagmyr claims he designed the logo. He says he created the emblem to allow BDSMers fearing persecution to secretly identify themselves to each other. (Because quickly jumping into the chains with a complete stranger is the true BDSM way, evidently.) Further, Quagmyr asserts that he and his friends conceived the symbol in the mid-1990s in a chat area. (I would think chat would preclude the creation of a piece of visual art.) But Quagmyr insists he copyrighted the emblem, and you'd better pay him if you want to use the symbol.

He's dead serious. According to some sources, Quagmyr extorted products (mainly jewelry) from small online businesses as payment for the use of his "copyrighted" symbol. He allegedly demanded payment for years. It appears he used the copyright scam to ensure his own BDSM-symbol jewelry monopoly.

Quagmyr directs BDSM non-profits who wish to use the symbol to publish a specific copyright notice, reproduced here:
The BDSM Emblem is copyright 1995 by
who maintains the copyright in order to protect the symbol. It is
freely available for all educational and non-commercial use
within the BDSM community without charge.
Even the copyright notice is copyrighted! I'm not an intellectual property lawyer, but I believe copyrights can only be issued to people or corporations, not e-mail addresses. I suppose nobody ever told that. Especially not the copyright office. I'm also wondering if one can have selective copyright. Isn't permitting non-profits to use a symbol the same as public domain?

And here's the kicker: the BDSM emblem has rich antecedents in Celtic as well as Eastern symbolism. It would be impossible to copyright something used by humanity for millennia. (The graphic above shows a scene from the original Star Trek show. A stylized, angular version of the triskelion was used as the symbol for a planet of fighting slaves.)

In the same amusing vein--and trumping Quagmyr--is this bit of news: The acronym BDSM has evidently been trademarked by Business Development University in PA. Are you interested in getting certified in BDSMTM? This year-long Certification 401 series will set you back $12,000, and is intended for
the Successful Sales Person who is looking to learn Leadership and Management skills to advance his or her career. This comprehensive program of classroom, coaching and practicum will prepare the Professional to manage and motivate Sales Teams, understand corporate dynamics and enhance their own sales techniques and process as well.
I like the part about learning leadership and management skills... and dynamics and processes.