Adding Kink To Your Sex Life? Join The Club!

17 Sep

MistressBy Elizabeth Shore

This week we’re marking the recent release of The Big Book of Submission, in which you can find our own C. Margery Kempe’s story The Rhino. And, while I’m always happy to celebrate the success of fellow writers, I find myself struggling to figure out what to say about kink. Honestly, I feel I have as much knowledge about the BDSM lifestyle as I do about, say, spark plugs. Or urban planning. But seriously, what’s a little lack of knowledge to stop me from gabbing about this topic? I’m a writer, after all. It’s what I do. So I decided to take the bull by the horns – or, in this case, take the butt by the plug – conduct a bit of research, and share my findings with fellow readers. Certainly I can’t be the only kink novice out there, and no doubt there are many who wish to add naughty to their nookie. So come along, students. Class is now in session.

For the kink philistine who wants to whip herself (heyo!) into shape, it’s best to begin at the beginning and start munching. Turns out, a “munch” in the BDSM world is the place to kick off one’s adventure. It’s an informal or casual social gathering for folks involved in the scene. Munches are the appetizer on the BDSM menu. It’s not so much an educational get together as it is a place to meet like-minded others. However, from what I’ve learned, there are plenty of novices who attend munches in order to familiarze themselves with how the BDSM scene works. If you’re planning to go, be aware of proper etiquette so you don’t wind up getting yourself spanked before you actually want to be. (!) For example, don’t ask someone at a munch what he does for a living, where he works, or any other personal questions that would out him to the outside world. Many people need to keep their kink under wraps from the rest of their lives, so probing into what one does aside from BDSM will win you no fans.

A munch may be directed toward a specific group (just for subs, for example), or might be focused on a topic such as the proper way to dominate. So, OK. You’ve decided you want to attend a munch. Where, oh where do you find one near you? Fetlife to the rescue.

Fetlife is the social network site for the kink-lovin’ populace. They boast a membership of over three million devotees (yowza!) and label themselves as “the BDSM and fetish community by kinksters for kinksters.” There are forums, event listings, advice, photos, and overall general resources for those who want to get their flog on.

In addition to Fetlife, there are bloggers a’plenty who will happily spank you with good advice, such as Jay Wiseman, The Pervocracy, submissiveguide.com, and Bemused Enlightenment, just to name a few.

When I think of BDSM gatherings, my mind inevitably conjures up images from the masquerade/bondage party scene in Eyes Wide Shut. It seems like something I could get into, especially if the people were as good looking in reality as they are in the film! (Uh-huh, I like to dream) Such parties apparently actually exist if one knows where to find them. Robin Reinach, author of the novel Broken Open, undertook a boatload of research in sussing out the kink scene in NYC, and she discovered that there are indeed Eyes Wide Shut parties around, some even held in swanky hotels.

Other elements of BDSM hold less appeal in my book, including fire play (ouch!), participating in a “slave market,” or electro torture. Still, perhaps what’s most appealing about BDSM devotees is how non-judgmental they seem to be. It’s an all-inclusive, anything-consensual-goes kind of atmosphere which, when it comes to sex, is something to be thankful for.

So there you have it. BDSM 101, for the unintiated. Get out your vinyl suit and join the fun. Oh, and for more fun, don’t forget to follow us at Lady Smut. If you don’t, we might have to spank you. :-)

 

 

 

 

The Sexy Submissive

16 Sep

By Liz Everly

Submission. The word intrigues me.

The act of submission and how it relates to sex provides much fodder for my feminist erotic-romance writer mind. I don’t pretend to understand it with any kind of depth—maybe sensitivity and imagination, yes. And I always say to each his or her own between consensual adults in any discussion of preferences or orientation. I can see the sexiness in submission, in giving yourself over to someone else completely, and trusting them, sometimes literally, with your life. I also get that this kind of thing takes place in many bedrooms without even calling it submission or BDSM—in a subtle sort of way.

It also must be said, of course, that it could be VERY interesting for a lover to submit to you. Even if for just one night.

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I’ve read a lot about BDSM, talked with a lot of practitioners, and I can say that if it’s done right, with respect and honor, I have no qualms about it—even from a feminist perspective. Women submissives are powerful. If you don’t understand that, you should probably read more about it. But in any case, as long as it’s the choice of healthy individuals (men and women), I don’t think it’s a feminist issue at all. Where I take issue is with folks using the lifestyle to abuse and manipulate—but that’s not only in the BDSM community, is it? It can be anywhere.

In my guise as an erotic romance writer, I have met many swingers and BDSM practitioners—mostly online. While I don’t want to brush any one person with a broad stroke of generalization here, I’d say that many of them live around their sex lives. While that sounds interesting and pleasing to most of us, realistically speaking, I could not give it that kind of attention. (More power to those who can.) But the people I know in these lifestyles spend all of their extra money on toys, outfits, conference, clubs, and so on. That’s interesting, but not for me, at this point in my life.

Big Book of Submission

Click on this to purchase. Great cover, isn’t it?

But I will say that I’ve learned a lot about BDSM by reading about it and most recently I read “The Big Book of Submission” because CM Kempe’s writing is included and that’s always a treat.

What I found interesting about the book was the different views of submission it took on. It reminded me of this faceted gemstone of story. One view enlightened me about how some people really get off on pain. Another view offered a playful look into it, where married folks are just sort of experimenting with submission. And the book delved into the different forms of it—even choking. What hooks me, of course, is the story, not just the different kinds of submission the book explores.

I thought it was a fabulous collection—well worth a read and not just from the sort of ogling perspective (what DO these folks do in their playrooms or bedrooms?), but also from a story perspective. One story was told mostly through a letter from a submissive to her dom, who had asked for a description of how she felt during one of their sessions. Another story was told from the perspective of a submissive woman training her dom. Yes—you read that right.  It was any interesting collection of short stories and I read through it in no time. Check it out.  You won’t be sorry. While you’re at it, subscribe to Lady Smut.  You don’t want to miss a thing, do you?

Failing to Follow Instructions

15 Sep

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Big Book of Submission

Click on picture to buy!

My post last week on the controversial spanking scene in Outlander was meant to post this week to correspond with our own C. Margery Kempe’s release of the short story The Rhino in The Big Book of Submission.

Hashtag #PostingFail.

To be fair, following instructions has never been my forté.

For those of you inclined toward BDSM erotic romance stories, be sure to check out The Big Book of Submission. And if you haven’t had the chance to read it, click on the below link for that Outlander post, now properly chastised.

Outlander: A Spanking! A Spanking!

Jamie je suis prest

Follow Lady Smut. Instructions not included.

You Won’t See Yourself Coming: Blindfold Magic

14 Sep
Big Book of Submission

Click me. Click me right now.

By Alexa Day

Some time ago, I was at a workshop presented by sex educator Sheri Winston. (Her book, Women’s Anatomy of Arousal, is a terrific resource for anyone interested in women’s sexuality.) Sheri talked about the way we use our senses to achieve orgasm and about the way we often give sound the short end of the stick. When we give full voice to our climax, she said, we can achieve stronger orgasms.

anatomyofarousal

It’s the next best thing to being in that room. Click and get one.

Then she led us in a guided meditation. Something that would involve lots of sexy vocalizations but no touching. And if we reached orgasm during this meditation, well, that was so much the better.

I had two thoughts.

Thought One: This is the coolest workshop I have ever attended in my life.

Thought Two: I don’t think I’m going to be able to manage any part of this while surrounded by people.

So while everyone settled into comfortable positions, a couple of us looked around nervously, apparently sharing Thought Two. Sheri noticed us in a very nurturing but nonjudgmental way and said we could use blindfolds if we wanted. The blindfold, she said, would make it easier for us to concentrate on our own meditations, even in a room filled with people.

I didn’t know how helpful that would be, but I was willing to try anything that might make me more comfortable.

And it worked. I’m not going to say how well it worked, but it worked.

The blindfold’s power is simple. It cuts off the outside world. The outside world will absolutely interfere with an orgasm if we allow it to do so. The blindfold prevents this interference. When you can’t see reality, you can rewrite reality to suit your purposes. Reality isn’t a room filled with people or the bedroom with the cat’s bed in the corner or the couch in front of the TV anymore. Reality is a temple or the nicest suite in the hotel or that secret place that’s home to your best sexual fantasies.

shaken

You will look every bit as hot as this in your blindfold.

I think that’s why the blindfold is so useful for sexual submission. A submissive carries a great deal of responsibility to focus on his or her sensual experience. The transformation of pain into pleasure, the elision of restraint into relaxation, and all the wonderful worlds of sense play can be muddled by visual stimuli. The blindfold leaves a submissive with nothing but sensation.

Loads and loads of wonderful, mindbending sensation.

The blindfold also locks out the more judgmental parts of the real world. Even subs who play privately live with concern about What Other People Think. With the blindfold on, a sub can’t see what he or she must look like, so it’s harder to feel self-conscious and easier to release into subspace. Plus, as ridiculous as it sounds, not being able to see the real world is almost like being invisible to the real world. The blindfold offers an escape from the outside world, even if the outside world is really only present in a sub’s thoughts.

There’s powerful magic in a blindfold, but then submission is a powerful magic all its own. This Friday, The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales offers 69 stories to stimulate the kinky imaginations of readers everywhere. Get ready to spend some time inside this fictional subspace with your favorite authors, including Lady Smut’s own C. Margery Kempe!

Just take that blindfold off first.

And follow Lady Smut. We might not see you coming, but we can hear you just fine.

Sexy Saturday Round-Up

13 Sep

LS Fb squareHello, Sexy! Rounding off the week with some great blog posts curated by Lady Smut? Welcome and enjoy.

From Liz:

Writing hot scenes—or not.

When do you quit a series?

Want to learn a bit about kink? Here’s the Kink Academy.

From Elizabeth:

What’s the best sex around? Why, it’s swinger sex, of course.

Having trouble getting your creativity juices flowing? Here are six obstacles that block you and six ways to get rid of  them.

Get ready for Sunday brunch by making the finest scrambled eggs EVER.

When, oh when, did it become OK to go to out in public wearing nothing but pasties? Tell me that, Miley Cyrus.

What the heck is he talking about? Man speak v. woman speak – 10 common misunderstandings.

Coming from giving oral sex.

From Madeline:

How much do top male models earn? How much do top female models earn?

Mocking the fate of Russia’s space sex geckos.

Coming Out About Spanking from Salon.com (Thanks for posting this on FB, Alexa). Here’s the other side of the coin, an essay on Finding the Courage to Reveal a Fetish from the NYTimes.

Shoe porn: slide show of shoes at the NYTimes.

Ladies, I give you the ORGASMATRON.

From Alexa:

OMG, stop with the sex recipes … said no one I know, ever. YourTango’s sex cookbook continues with sex frosting.

The work of a few thieves — and a lot of looky-loos — won’t keep us from taking nude selfies.

A fairly long list of foods that resemble dicks is sure to get you tittering.

Gone to Gdańsk

12 Sep

extricate ebook 72ppi

C. Margery Kempe is currently visiting Gdańsk (and Sopot), Poland for a crime conference and hoping it’s not too hot on the sunny shores of the Baltic Sea. She will be appearing as K. A. Laity and Graham Wynd for a change of pace. Pictures to share on her return!

In the meantime, be sure to follow Lady Smut here as well as on Facebook and Twitter because you don’t want to miss a thing!

 

Bonkbusters & The Younger Man: Q&A with Michelle Bentham

11 Sep
Striker

Like younger man/older woman romances? You’ll love this book. Click to buy

By Madeline Iva

Cheerio ladies and gents.  Today British author Michelle Betham is here to chat with us about her sexy soccer series — STRIKER, EXTRA TIME, and FINAL SCORE.

MADELINE IVA: Tell us once again Michelle: what’s a “bonkbuster”? (We don’t use this term in the U.S. but I love it.)

MICHELLE BETHAM: A “bonkbuster” is, basically, a novel – usually a contemporary romance – which includes more than a fair amount of, well, sex, and usually a big helping of scandal! Think Jackie Collins, Jilly Cooper, that kind of thing. Pure escapism, really.

MADELINE IVA: A little over the top–just the way I like my romance.

Meanwhile, I’ve read you’re from the North East part of England.  What kind of sexy men does one find in the North East of England? Would we recognize any British movie stars or famous movie characters from that area? (Rochester? James Herriot? Er, Rob Brydon?) Are your bonkbusters set there?

MICHELLE BETHAM: I’m from the North East of England, yes. A Geordie girl born and bred! But as far as sexy men are concerned… well, this part of the world hasn’t turned out too many globally recognizable movie stars/characters (as yet!), but, the most famous one out there right now would probably have to be Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam. He was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, just a few miles up the road from me, and I think it’s fair to say he’s pretty easy on the eye! Especially when he’s on a motorbike…

Charlie Hunnam -- clearly Betham likes a rugged kind of guy.

Charlie Hunnam — clearly Betham likes a rugged kind of guy.

And Newcastle-upon-Tyne is where – in the main – the ‘Striker’ series of books are set. Because I love the city, and I love the North East in general, so there’s usually always a North East connection somewhere in all of my books.

MADELINE IVA:  Ah.  The first book in your series is about a journalist willing to “play dirty” with a footballer (soccer player).  Just what dirty shenanigans does your heroine get up to? ;>

MICHELLE BETHAM: Well, Amber starts out as a bit of a “good girl”, really – career driven, focused, not really interested in a relationship, least of all with a footballer. But then Ryan Fisher crash lands into her life and all of sudden he opens up a whole new world to her. He’s a bit of a bad boy, the younger man.

Ever read a 'Bonkbuster'? Here's your chance! Click to buy.

Ever read a ‘Bonkbuster’? Here’s your chance! Click to buy.

MADELINE IVA: Nice! I love stories with a younger man.

MICHELLE BETHAM: He makes Amber feel sexy again, helps her to lose her inhibitions, which sees the sex in this book shift out of the bedroom and into places Amber would never have dreamed of having sex in before! I think it’s safe to say that a lot of the things that go on in the soccer stadiums in this book have very little to do with sport!

MADELINE IVA: Wow.  Now *that* sounds fun!

Your other book EXTRA TIME & FINAL SCORE are stories about “sex, secrets, and the trust cost of fame.” What are some of these secrets about?

MICHELLE BETHAM: Without giving too much away, we’re talking career-ending scandals, betrayals that could tear families apart; faces from the past coming back to re-open old wounds… And all three of the main characters in these books have secrets. All of which do, eventually, come out into the open. And when they do, it isn’t always pretty…

MADELINE IVA: See, I like it when things aren’t too pretty.  Well, thank you so much Michelle for stopping by today.

Buy Michelle’s books by clicking on any of the book covers above– and for those of you who adore SONS OF ANARCHY, follow her blog HERE–she’s a rabid fan herself.  

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Meanwhile, if your goal is to score the sexy, follow Lady Smut.com.  We’ll love you into overtime.

 

 

Save A Horse – Ride A Cowboy

10 Sep

Cowboy on hayBy Elizabeth Shore

Riding up and down Broadway on my old stud Leroy
And the girls say, save a horse, ride a cowboy
Everybody says, save a horse, ride a cowboy

– Big and Rich, Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)

I was visiting a friend over the past weekend and thinking about what I should blog for my Wednesday post. When I posed the question to her, she immediately piped up with: Cowboys. Of course, she’d just returned from a two-week vacation in Wyoming so one can understand visions of mounted men dancing in her head. I, on the other hand, realized that – aside from remembrances of the rugged guy from a certain cigarette ad –  I’ve never really given much thought to cowboys. Time to make amends! So c’mon, cowpokes. Rustle up a can of beans and gather ’round the campfire. Let’s think about cowboys.

For me, the first image that comes to mind is from Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Her husband, Ladd, is a true cowboy, in charge of a large cattle ranch in Oklahoma. She calls him the Marlboro Man and says he looks good in jeans. Which he does. On her cooking show, interspersed with demonstrations on how she makes gooey chocolate chunk cookies, she’ll sometimes have clips of footage showing her personal cowboy riding a horse or rounding up cattle or doing both at the same time. Hmmm. So far, so good.

When I asked my friend what she likes about cowboys, she replied that to her they represent the ultimate real man. Honest, hard-working, uncomplicated. Cowboys are the antithesis of the angst-ridden artistic worrier discussing his feelings in a Woody Allen movie. That’s not to say they’re living stress-free. One bad storm wiping out prize livestock and suddenly there’s a big ‘ol pile of worry about how bills are going to get paid. But somehow it seems as if cowboys handle that stress differently than city guys. They don’t analyze their concerns to death, they tackle them head on the same way they’d round up a stray calf.

Romance has appreciated cowboys for years, and for good reason. In a 2011 Time magazine article entitled “The Rise of The Cowboy Romance Novel,  Sarah Weddell from SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com said about a cowboy’s erotic appeal, “There is something very sexy about knowing that at 4 in the morning, if it’s 20 degrees below zero, that a guy’s going to get up and take care of things.” Cowboys have been described as “authentic” “genuine,” and “hunky,” and they are certainly, without doubt, all male. Cowboys aren’t metrosexual. Their nails aren’t buffed and their faces aren’t always shaved. They might be sweaty and dusty and their jeans might be ripped. They handle big, heavy animals so they’ve got to be strong. I’m not seeing a problem.

Readers don’t seem to see one, either. Among this year’s RITA winners was Jane Porter’s novella Take Me, Cowboy. It’s the fourth book of Jane’s Copper Mountain Rodeo series, all of which are flying onto e-readers as soon as they’re released. And nine-time RITA Finalist Jane Graves kicked off a new series with Cowboy Take Me Away which got a starred review from Booklist. Cowboys are versatile hero material. They can be sweet or erotic, contemporary or historical, of this world or an alternate one. And, as the Village People will attest, cowboys are pretty good at being gay, too.

So let’s hear it for the western boys. The studs who wear spurs, who rope steer, who can ride a bucking bronco the way I’d like to ride a bucking … um. Well. You get the picture. And speaking of pictures, I’m happy to share a few. Enjoy! And follow us at Lady Smut, partner. We lasso you a new post seven days a week.Cowboy man smiling happy wearing hat in country

Black and white cowboy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A muscular man in a cowboy hat

Handsome Man on Railroad Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait of a good-looking male model

Sex Toys—What and How a Woman Wants them

9 Sep

By Liz Everly

A friend of mine turned me on to “Frisky Business.”  Have you seen it? It’s a LifetimeUK show (or in my case a Netflix show) that is basically a reality show about “Lovehoney,” one of the world’s largest purveyors of sex toys. Yes, that’s right. And the show is a fascinating glimpse into the sex toy business.

First a bit of history. A few years ago, these two men decided to start this internet-based business up in Bath, England. The idea behind the company was that while there were a lot of sex toys available, they were mostly packaged in a very porn-ish way and very unattractive to most women. How, these two men wondered, could they make sex toys more appealing to women?

shutterstock_190760951

The answer was packaging. Their products are lovely to look at—very appealing to women, who might not care for the proverbial woman spread-eagle-across-the-vibrator package. The packaging is very discrete, feminine, and sexy.

They have an exclusive license for a line of “Fifty Shades of Grey” products, all approved by the author of the series, E.L James. How about that? Very clever, given the popularity of the series. And I quite like that she’s involved—quite openly. In fact, she’s quoted on the landing page of their website.

But as for the show, it’s well worth your viewing time. When you watch “Frisky Business,” you never know what you will see. A fake “fisting hand” used as a paperweight. Nipple clamps as a desk decoration. A squishy dildo used to squeeze as a de-stressor. All in a day’s work at the offices of Lovehoney.

And, I might add, you never know what you will hear. They have cuts to the customer service women—all extraordinarily professional and polite saying things like “The jelly is mostly an anal lubricant, but might be able to use it elsewhere. But it’s quite sticky. Just so you know.” Or, “Which size anal plug was that again?” “Yes, that dildo does come with balls.” And so on and so forth.

It’s lively entertainment—and it’s all a part of the sex-positive, woman-friendly attitude of Lovehoney. (I must add that there are plenty of high-quality toys for the men, as well.)

We can glean many lessons  from this company’s success in terms of women and sexuality. There’s no seedy or even borderline-seedy in the way of packaging, prodct, or attitude. Being open about sex is part of the company ethos. One of the owners of the company regularly takes news products around to their women employees to ask what they think of it.

In one episode, one of the women tells them the button on a vibrating finger toy is in the wrong place, it would make it too uncomfortable to use. (This toy will be out later this year and will be called Rockbox Finger Toy.) This is all done very matter-of-factly. Imagine, asking women what they want in a product made just for them. Why more sex toy companies don’t do this, I have no idea. I mean, really, only a woman would know this—obviously, the male designer, who was standing right there, had not thought the design through. I think he was viewing from the angle of a man using it on a woman. Interesting, isn’t it?

In the mean time take a look around this site that’s a LIFETIME site, but the Frisky Business folks seem to be blogging there. Great stuff. 

Also, do check out their US site here and their UK site here.

After you visit, come back to Lady Smut, where we are always sex-positive. Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.

Full disclaimer: I’ve not purchased anything from this company and they are not paying me to write about them. I just think they are very cool. That said, if they wish to shower gifts on me, I will be happy to oblige. Wink.

Outlander: A Spanking! A Spanking!

8 Sep

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Okay, admittedly, I mixed my movie references in the title, but I’m of the opinion that there’s always a reason to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail, along with Star Wars, The Princess Bride, and often The West Wing, to name a few off the top of my head. I’m hardly going to pass up the opportunity now.

Here be spoilers about Outlander the book and the show. Proceed at your own risk.

We’re mid-way through the first block of eight episodes of Outlander on the Starz network. It’s been a marvel of a show that’s staying true to the book, often lifting lines and passages straight from its pages, while inserting new scenes and making adjustments to others for the television medium that yet fit seamlessly into the ethos of the novel. It’s been a slow build of the Life and Times of Highland Scots as seen through a displaced 2oth-century woman, but there’s been no less tension for all that as Things Are Revealed and players moved into place. It helps that the actors are flawless and compelling in their roles, from the gobsmacking perfection of Sam Heaugan and Caitriona Balfe as Jamie and Claire to the pitch-perfect secondary players of Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish), Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek), and Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix).

The slow burn of Claire and Jamie’s courtship is hotter than any sexposition scene in Game of Thrones. The looks Jamie gives Claire when she’s not watching him (and sometimes when she is) could scorch down the castle. Their growing friendship is faithfully and charmingly rendered, lovely to watch unfold with subtle facial tics, loads of subtext, and tons of non-verbal goodness. It offers the rare opportunity in a TV show to see two people with extraordinary chemistry behave honorably as to their social circumstances even as they’re repeatedly drawn together and form a strong friendship based on respect and just flat-out liking one another that will be the foundation on which their tumultuous future rests.

claire and jamie at the black kirk

Yeah. That look.

And yet…we’re waiting on the good stuff.

That would be The Wedding, slated to happen in episode 7, followed by The Bedding, which is sweet and funny and a little sad and helluva romantic. Alas, that is soon followed by The Spanking, which is…something else altogether.

I volunteer

The Spanking is one of the most controversial sequences in Outlander. I know of several women who refuse to have anything to do with the series mostly because they’ve heard about The Spanking. For those of us who’ve read the novel, The Spanking hovers over every episode of the show, certainly over all of Jamie and Claire’s slow courtship. We know it’s coming, we’re waiting to see how it’s rendered with near equal anticipation of The Wedding and The Bedding. It has far-reaching implications on their relationship too, but we’ll come back to that.

Part of the appeal of the historical genre in romance is the chance to subvert the domination of and submission to the authority that existed in those periods. The bluestocking who refuses to be forced into marriage by her father. The witty, spirited ingénue who must marry the mysterious duke to save her family only to heal the wounded beast with love. The beautiful captive who steals the pirate’s mercenary heart. The feisty bookworm who charms the handsome, dissolute duke. Some of that is placing modern feminist ideals onto period plots, but I’m increasingly surprised by how often it’s more about bringing to light documented ways women asserted themselves within the confines of, say, Regency or Victorian societies. In Outlander, a “modern” woman is being submitted to the male dominance of 18th-century society and she instinctively rebels (quite forcefully and vocally) against it.

Many of the objections to The Spanking is the flat-out physical abuse of the heroine by the hero along with the patriarchal notion that a man has not only a right but a duty to chastise and punish his wife. The show (and the book) touched on this 18th-century mind-set in the first episode when Claire swears and shouts at Jamie as she bandages his bullet wound. The Highlanders, unused to such impudence from a women, chide Claire that her husband needs to take her in hand. No doubt accustomed to handling sexiest behavior from soldiers and officers in a battlefield hospital, Claire rolls her eyes and snaps for them to “mind their own bloody business.” As modern women, we cheer her response and attitude, but the point has been made that the Highlanders expect Claire’s husband to discipline her for any untoward behavior, the likes of which, to their minds, she displays on a regular basis. And Jamie is soon to become that husband.

Violence permeates Outlander like a character all on its own. This is a rough era where survival came hard and lifespans were short. It’s also a tumultuous time historically with tensions between the Scots and the English that made any untoward action possibly life-threatening. From her first arrival, Claire is exposed to a skirmish between the English soldiers and the Highlanders. The fact that Claire knows how to behave in a war zone being so recently on the front lines of World War 2 is one of the main reasons she adapts so quickly to her new environment.

Violence is in everyday life at Castle Leoch, particularly toward children and women. The boy is nailed to the pillory for theft. Laoghaire is brought before the laird to be beaten for presumed loose behavior with no more proof or witness than her disgruntled father’s word. When Jamie steps up to take her punishment, it’s not because he objects to the idea of beating a young woman–that is nothing new in his world–but because he wants to spare her pride at having it done before the crowd. Violence is the expected consequence for disobeying or rebelling, particularly (though not exclusively) for women and children.

In the novel, author Diana Gabaldon takes some pains to lay out Jamie’s reasons for spanking Claire based on actions she took that landed her, him, and the rest of the Highlanders with them in mortal danger ultimately because she disobeyed Jamie’s orders.“‘There’s such a thing as justice, Claire. You’ve done wrong to them all, and you’ll have to suffer for it.’ He took a deep breath. ‘I’m your husband; it’s my duty to attend to it, and I mean to do it.’” (Gabaldon, Diana. Outlander: with Bonus Content p. 251  Kindle Edition.)

jamie eye sexes claire

Eye-sex anyone?

My hackles rise just typing “Jamie’s orders” or even with the idea that a husband has any right ever to physically punish his wife. Hell, I vehemently objected to corporal punishment from my parents–being spanked enraged me. But again, this is something that has to be taken in the vein of the culture of that century. Not excused, mind you, much like we don’t excuse the abuse of black men and women during the era of slavery by recognizing it did indeed happen. Depicting such abhorrent actions in, say, Twelve Years a Slave, is no less an accurate rendition of time and place then Jamie spanking Claire for her “offenses”. No one’s approving it by reading or watching it.

In the pages and pages and pages post-spanking during which Jamie and Claire find their way through its after effects and consequences on their very new and very raw marriage, Claire’s fury and outrage boil over at the realization that her husband enjoyed it to which Jamie heartily admits guilt. The notion that he would get painfully aroused when beating her is the last straw, worse the idea she should be grateful he didn’t act on it by forcing her afterwards. On my first reading, it was at this point when I went “oh hell no”. I get the cultural mores; I may not like them, but as an historian, I get it. But for the hero to admit that Claire’s pain, resistance, and ultimate subjugation, something she clearly was in no way enjoying, got him off? Oh hell no.

Claire responds in much the same way and Jamie gives her back that which he stripped her of through the spanking: her agency. His value of and love for Claire outweigh any disciplinary power his culture and time give him over her. He takes a solemn vow never to raise his hand to Claire again and by doing so, honors her agency, the very thing he violated by spanking her, above his cultural norms. For a man of his time, this is a revolutionary declaration. To Jamie, such a vow is sacrosanct and it elevates Claire to a reverence and commitment that is given only to men of high position. Jamie refused even to give such a vow to his Uncle Colum, Laird of the Clan MacKenzie, as it would violate the one given to his own clan. So by giving it to Claire, he raises her above any loyalty or oath to his clan and family. In effect, Claire has become Jamie’s laird. But she is also his wife, his partner and equal in a way women of the 18th century did not typically enjoy.

jamie and claire on the road

The Spanking sequence stands in contrast to the frank and earthy sexual pleasure Claire and Jamie discover together in their marriage bed. On their wedding night, Claire introduces the inexperienced Jamie to a little rough sexual play and later, back at Castle Leoch, before Jamie leaves her for a journey, he most definitely takes those lessons to heart.

“You’re mine, mo duinne,” he said softly , pressing himself into my depths. “Mine alone, now and forever . Mine, whether ye will it or no.” I pulled against his grip, and sucked in my breath with a faint “ah” as he pressed even deeper. “Aye, I mean to use ye hard, my Sassenach,” he whispered. “I want to own you, to possess you, body and soul.” I struggled slightly and he pressed me down, hammering me, a solid, inexorable pounding that reached my womb with each stroke. “I mean to make ye call me ‘Master,’ Sassenach.” His soft voice was a threat of revenge for the agonies of the last minutes. “I mean to make you mine.” (Gabaldon, Diana. Outlander: with Bonus Content (p. 279). Kindle Edition.)

And Claire, strong, speak-her-mind, “modern” Claire who was, more often than not, the sexual aggressor in her marriage to Frank, Claire not only submits to Jamie’s rough dominance, she viscerally responds and is an active participant.

Beads of sweat ran down his face and dropped on the pillow and on my breasts. Our flesh met now with the smack of a blow that was fast crossing the edge into pain. My thighs were bruising with the repeated impact, and my wrists felt as though they would break, but his grip was inexorable. “Aye, beg me for mercy, Sassenach. Ye shallna have it, though; not yet.” His breath came hot and fast, but he showed no signs of tiring. My entire body convulsed, legs rising to wrap around him, seeking to contain the sensation. I could feel the jolt of each stroke deep in my belly, and cringed from it, even as my hips rose traitorously to welcome it. He felt my response, and redoubled his assault, pressing now on my shoulders to keep me pinned under him. There was no beginning and no end to my response, only a continuous shudder that rose to a peak with each thrust. The hammering was a question, repeated over and over in my flesh, demanding my answer. He pushed my legs flat again, and bore me down past pain and into pure sensation, over the edge of surrender. “Yes!” I cried. “Oh God, Jamie, yes!” He gripped my hair and forced my head back to meet his eyes, glowing with furious triumph. (Gabaldon, Diana. Outlander: with Bonus Content (pp 279-280). Kindle Edition.)

Jamie and Claire

And later…

“Oh, aye, Sassenach,” he answered a bit ruefully. “I am your master … and you’re mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.” (Gabaldon, Diana. Outlander: with Bonus Content p. 280). Kindle Edition.)

I mean..strewth.

I don’t know how the show will present The Spanking. I hope they give it the time and consideration to make it more than just “they beat women back then, didja know?” That they show the watershed moment it was in the early days of Claire and Jamie’s marriage. But until then, at least there’s this:

Jamie je suis prest

Enjoy some rough play with your sexy times?

Big Book of Submission

Check out the Big Book of Submission. Our own C. Margery Kempe’s short story The Rhino is between its pages. Click on the picture to learn more.

 

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