Friday, April 27, 2012

Are Safewords Really Safe?

Safewords are a formal way for the bottom to stop BDSM play. They add to the kinky mystique and drama, like contracts or other forms of protocol. Safewords might be used when "Stop, you muthafucka!" isn't considered cool enough. The most commonly used safeword is "red."

However, it's worth noting that a safeword is only as safe as the integrity of the Top. A safeword isn't safe if the Top doesn't respond correctly to it.

A safeword is not a magic incantation. It's not a "Beam me up Scotty, this scene sucks." Too often, bottoms are persuaded to engage in dangerous play because they get a safeword. And too often, the safeword is not honored. (Or the bottom can't use the safeword because the bottom is in subspace or gagged or whatnot.) How does this happen? A bottom can get into this predicament because he or she is expected to show "good faith" by trusting a Top. That's ass backwards. Trust is earned. Always. Anyone can call himself (or herself) a Top (or Master or Dom). That doesn't mean he or she actually has the bottom's best interests at heart.

I think safewords, though glamorous, are superfluous. They add a layer of danger, rather than safety, to BDSM interactions. A Top should know the bottom well enough to figure out when they have had too much. A Top should be able to read expression or sounds. Or a Top could even use ordinary, pedestrian communication.

If your Top is a person you really don't know well, and needs a glitzy form of "stop", you should reconsider playing with that person.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Musings

Progress

Earlier this spring I completed a science fiction romance novella. I actually made the deadline for an open call. I'm usually a day late. Now I'm continuing to work on a new BDSM erotica. (This is the story of the creation of the B&B in Management Skills. The H/h are older. I'm planning a series centering around the establishment.)

Reading

In between the two projects I took some time off to read. I read Nora Roberts' Black Rose as a model for an older couple romance. Unfortunately, when I write romance, I have a tough time reading it. I read like I'm a back seat driver, critiquing the entire thing. (Yeah, even Nora Roberts!) That sucks the joy right out of reading. Usually I'll read non-fiction or a thriller to get out of that critical frame of mind.

Last month I decided to read a bit of literary fiction. It was a way to "cleanse the palate" in between courses. I read Justine by Lawrence Durrell. This is a first person story written in 1957 about a group of self-absorbed, intellectual snobs. The tale is only mildly chronological. The star of the novel is not Justine, or the narrator, but the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The world-building is spectacular. Sadly, the human characters are so unaware, they don't offer much insight into "the human condition", which is one possible role of literary fiction. Oh, but the language! Extraordinary, poetic and vivid. If I could only write like that! Reading Justine was a refreshing break.

B&N and Fifty Shades

Last week I went to the local Barnes and Noble store to get a map of Connecticut. I like the ambiance of B&N. However, I usually buy stuff online at amazon, and never from BN.com. As background, I've had friends who have tried to get jobs at B&N, and been turned away because they don't know enough about books. So, supposedly even the checkout people are expected to up on bestsellers, genres and whatnot. While I was checking out, a checker asked another checker if she had ever heard of "a book called Fifty Shades of Grey." Neither of them knew anything about the book.

This little anecdote illustrates why B&N will ultimately fail at modern book-selling.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Threesome Fantasy: Double Impact

I think this advertisement for Liquid-Plumr is hilarious. I just wish the heroine got to keep her initial plain look. Because feeling sexy isn't a matter of makeup, loose hair and 20/20 vision.