Dear Indie | Writing BDSM / Kink Part 1: Balancing Realism With Fantasy

Hi Indies!

This is a subject I’ve been wanting to tackle for awhile, but since not everyone writes BDSM/Kink, I thought I would cover the more common areas of romance first.

It might surprise some of you to learn that BDSM/Kink literature has been around…well since the Kama Sutra, at least, which many agree was written in the 3rd Century AD. You might not even realize how many BDSM/Kink novels were turned into movies before the 21st Century, like The Story of O published in 1954 and adapted to film in 1975. Or Anne Rampling’s (Anne Rice) Exit to Eden adapted to film in the ’90s, which I refuse to watch because I love the book and the movie description reads like a parody. Unfortunately, some people’s response to things they don’t understand is to turn it into a joke.

Under different pseudonyms, Anne Rice also penned The Erotic Adventures of Sleeping Beauty (4 books) and Belinda (a taboo novel), both of which cover the BDSM genre. And if you think Fifty Shades of Grey was such an ‘original’ idea, then I challenge you to watch the movie: The Secretary released in 2002, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader and draw your own conclusions over the numerous similarities.

That wasn’t to be slanderous, honest, but to point out the fact that BDSM/Kink is far from being a “new” topic in literature or film and whether consciously or subconsciously, writers of Kink are drawing inspiration from other BDSM works. The thing is, about 85% of BDSM authors have absolutely NO real life experience in the Alternative Lifestyle. Kind of like 100% of writers of vampire lore have NO real life experience being a vampire. They’re simply doing what we always do as authors when writing about a topic we know nothing about and (hopefully) that’s a ton of research first! The key is where they’re finding all of their information. If you’re writing about something real, like Kink (not vampirism) and your ‘resources’ for ‘facts’ is the endless list of FICTIONAL BDSM novels in your Kindle, that’s the equivalent of seeking medical advice from an actor who plays a doctor on TV.

So, in Part 1 of Writing BDSM/Kink, I would like to cover Real Life resources to use as research (also good for inspiration!) for your books and the simple, but effective elements you can incorporate into your story line to make your Kink Scenes more believable while still maintaining the fantasy of it all.

THE REAL LIFE RESEARCH RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR WRITING BDSM/KINK

EVENTS: The Alternative Lifestyle covers a large community of people who often identify as “Kinksters” and they are quite active. All of the things we read about in our fictional BDSM books have the potential of being real. Not just the Kink Scenes, but the venues. Kinksters have dungeon parties, munches, private parties, clubs, annual conventions in places like Las Vegas, and they also have ‘public’ events for a variety of purposes to celebrate one or more area of the Lifestyle. There’s even a BDSM Event Calendar you can download to your phone so you can check which events might be going on in your area. I know my area has quite a bit, but one of the big one’s is the Seattle Erotic Art Festival which is open to the general public for an admission fee. This is not a “kink scene” event, there is no public nudity or sex (outside of the artwork) involved, but an event like this would be a great place to meet Kinksters and learn more about the various lifetyles in a less nerve-wracking environment than say a Kink Dungeon.

WEBSITES: Here’s a fact: the Kink Community is far more open and willing to talk about their lifestyles than you could possibly imagine. They are not ashamed of who they are or what they do, and just like any other person in the world who’s outside of ‘mainstream society’ in some way, they would much rather you ask, than just assume and paint them in a negative light. There are countless blogs, forums, and websites dedicated to educating people on the various BDSM lifestyles. FetLife is by far the largest community website for Kinksters, but it requires you to register with a username and password. However, there are many blogs authored by their members that don’t require any kind of log in. I won’t list them here without their permission, so I suggest you simply search both WordPress and Blogger (Blogger has the majority that I know of) or even just Google search.

Submissive Guide is a community site for submissives authored by lunaKM (who has given me permission to share her sites here today) and has countless resources, articles and guest-posts from Real Life submissives, mentors or other Kinksters. It’s geared toward helping new and experienced submissives navigate the Lifestyle and keep them safe while interacting with the community. She also runs the sister site: Dominant Guide, which is available to help novice and experienced Doms/Dommes in the community. It likewise offers numerous articles and guest posts that cover many topics about the Lifestyle, usually written by and for Dominants. The articles on either one of these sites can give you an amazing look at both sides of a dynamic, the perspective on certain practices or tools used in kink and so much more. I highly recommend perusing the articles if for no other reason than to get a better understanding of your characters, of the thoughts and real views, not some fictional view, on different areas of the Lifestyle. It can help you tremendously when it comes to writing from both the submissive’s and the Dominant’s POV, especially their inner-monologue and what they might be feeling or experiencing at any given time during a scene.

MEMBERS: On top of sites and blogs that offer an endless supply of reading material, there are members of the community who regularly work with BDSM/Kink authors and state as much on their profiles/blogs/sites. I’m not sure if they charge fees or offer their assistance for free, it may differ between members. Again, all you have to do is Google or visit sites where you may find these members and the way to contact them. If they are charging fees, I imagine they’re easier to find, as they are likely advertising their services somewhere.

PROFESSIONALS: Did you know there was such a thing as Professional Doms/Dommes? Yes, these Kinksters charge a fee to scene with them and are usually highly experienced in a larger variety of fetishes than normal, so they can cater to a wider range of clientele. Professional Doms/Dommes may also be open to assisting authors with their works, but might be more apt to charge a fee.

SOCIAL MEDIA: By using Hashtags and Keywords, it’s easy to find Kinksters and kink-related groups/sites on Social Media. Many members have Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram accounts and clearly state in their bios what they are to the Alternative Lifestyle community and may even provide links to their blogs/websites where you can learn more about their area of expertise and possibly find more resource articles or posts. There’s even a BDSM Group on Goodreads, whose Moderators, and possibly most of their members are all Kinksters.

ACTIVE AUTHORS: Another great resource is to connect with BDSM/Kink authors who ARE members of the Alternative Lifestyle and may be open to answering questions or discussing their preferred writing tools for blending Real Life with Fantasy. Many authors who are Real Life Kinksters usually state as much in their Author Bios or openly talk about it in their blogs/Tweets, etc.

Yes, I am a Real Life Kinkster, and I am openly sharing with you my own writing tools and resources for writing BDSM outside of personal experience, but I am just one author/person and everyone’s journey in Kink is different. No, I don’t publicly announce/discuss my involvement in Kink, mostly because I write a variety of sub-genres in romance, so don’t want to single-out just my BDSM works to potential readers.

SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE ELEMENTS TO ADD REALISM TO YOUR BDSM/KINK NOVEL

DON’T SKIP ALL THE DETAILS (JUST MOST OF THEM): The bare bones truth about BDSM/Kink novels, even those written by Real Life Kinksters, is that the majority of it is Fantasy. That’s for entertainment purposes, obviously, because if we were to detail an actual “Kink Scene” between a Dom/Domme and their sub it would bore our readers to tears. In the real Kink world, and especially between members who have never scened together before, two or more consenting adults sit down and completely map out the entire scene they want to do together, what they want to accomplish, which fetishes they want to explore, their hard and soft limits, any possible triggers, the safeword (if used) or talk about what they use instead of safewords, health and/or physical conditions/concerns, what they will offer or expect in way of After Care, if they provide Before Care…the list can go on and on, it just depends on the individuals–and this discussion can take place days, weeks, or even months before the actual scene, not just the day of. If it’s discussed in advance, then it will be reiterated on the day of the scene before anyone even steps into their respective ‘roles.’

No one wants to read a damn instruction manual with all of these preliminary details in their fictional novels. Readers are happy to live in the fantasy-mindset that Kink scenes happen instantaneously and fluently–even between strangers. Real Life kink can happen quite fluently and more quickly between long-term partners, but sometimes it still includes a ‘discussion,’ especially, if it’s a kind of kink or fetish they’ve never tried before. Also, because Dominants like to state things, it’s in their bossy nature to do so. The more they say, the more their sub has to follow orders, see? LOL So, some ways you can add a little realism to your fictional Kink scene is have the sub pose a question or concern, or have the Dom/Domme state what they want to get out of the scene, and maybe cover the safeword/hand-signal. It’s a small piece of dialogue, but it’s effective. Also, any Dom/Domme worth their weight in gold will ALWAYS provide After Care, and that doesn’t have to be discussed, it can just happen, and viola, another piece of realism added to the fantasy.

SAFETY FIRST: In common, human, modern-day situations: Make sure your characters are practicing Safe Sex. Believe it or not, Kinksters tend to be more anal-retentive about safe sex than the average person. Some of them won’t even perform oral sex without a condom. Sex toy sites offer a number of safe sex items like oral and vaginal dams, body and finger condoms, on top of regular condoms. That’s because Kinksters are usually involved with multiple sexual partners, even if not all at the same time. They’re also prone to taking on ‘new’ sexual partners more frequently. Submissives/slaves are at the whim of their Dom/Domme who can at any time bring in random Dominants or subs to have sex with them. Dungeon and private parties may offer attendees the ability to scene with random Tops/bottoms, and even though not all Kink scenes result in or involve sex, condoms still come into play (or should) when they do. Just like with anything else, though, there are always exceptions to the rule, but that would be dragging you way down the rabbit hole into a whole other arena of Kink (maybe some other time, in another post) LOL.

Your characters have no need to go to such extremes as using dams or body condoms, but practicing safe sex by way of regular ol’ condoms is a fan favorite no matter which sub-genre of romance readers enjoy, so it should definitely be used in BDSM/Kink.

LET’S GET PHYSICAL: Be somewhat mindful of physical limitations and injuries. This isn’t always going to apply to your characters. Paranormal/Supernatural beings are going to have less limitations and stronger bodies, phenomenal healing abilities, etc. But, when I read about a human woman getting whipped bloody (actually detailed as bloody) and then getting up and walking out the door, driving home without so much as a wince, I just have to shake my head and stop reading. Labeling your story as BDSM doesn’t magically make your human character’s body any more resilient to damage than a Psychological Thriller would. “Enjoying” getting spanked doesn’t give your character super powers vs someone who doesn’t enjoy it, and it certainly doesn’t shut off their pain receptors (they get off on the pain, they want to feel it).

The Sciatic Nerve is the longest nerve in the human body. It runs from the lower spine through the BUTTOCKS, down the legs and into the feet. It is the part of your body that’s at the highest risk of damage in real life Kink, because of where whips, floggers, hands, canes or paddles strike and also because of how ropes/straps are tightened in bondage. Real Life Dominants are (or should be) knowledgeable of these things and the slew of other possible injuries that can happen if they’re not careful. Lending this ‘Knowledgeable/Mindful’ trait to your fictional Dom/Domme can go a long way toward adding realism to your Kink Scenes, as well as endearing them to your readers.

Okay, that’s all for this post or I run the risk of boring you to tears! LOL I’d like to take a second to once again thank the Amazing lunaKM for granting me the okay to use her sites here for you all as possible resources. They really are a gold mine of information! In my next post, I’m going to cover the ways you can use reactions, inner-monologue, and emotions to add even more realism to your BDSM/Kink novels and then I’ll touch on some tropes and possibly the various ‘types’ of kinks, fetishes, and dynamics if I can. If not, then I guess there will be a part 3!

❤ What’s your favorite part about reading or writing BDSM/Kink? Do you prefer books with a good balance of realism and fantasy, or don’t mind either way as long as it’s not way out of the realm of possibilities? Once again, if there’s a topic or segment you’d like to see discussed in any of these posts, please let me know in the comments below. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Dear Indie | Writing BDSM / Kink Part 1: Balancing Realism With Fantasy

  1. Great post, thank you for the information! 😀 I need to check out those links.

    I’m pretty omnivorous when it comes to reading, and a good BDSM-themed novel is always welcome (I actually read a really feisty one just recently). I’m not a real BDSM author myself, but since my stories sometimes include BDSM-esque elements I love to take notes on the topic. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anytime! They’re really good sites, even thought they are designed for helping people entering the Lifestyle, they still have plenty of articles filled with information for anyone and everyone. 🙂

      Like

    • Many welcomes! I totally thought I’d already replied to this – so I apologize for the late response! 😀

      LOL, you don’t have to know power exchange to have common sense, my friend – and I know you and I are on the same page when it comes to what will have us tossing a book out the window! ❤

      Like

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