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Lord of the Ropes

12 Jul

Shibari

Dear lovely people–A.C. Rose is with us again. Today she has an interview to share with us that she did with Morpheous aka Lord of the Ropes.

By A.C. Rose

What is it about ropes?

Some people think it is a little cray-cray to want to be willingly tied up. Others are anxious to try it. And there are those who attest to the sensual power of being tied up and vulnerable.

It’s fascinating to see how ropes are not just an integral part of BDSM play, and at-home sexy times, but have been elevated to an art form.

I reached out to Morpheous – that’s Lord Morpheous, to you – a sex educator, photographer, and kinkster based in New York and Toronto who knows the ropes when it comes to ropes. He is author of the new book, HOW TO BE KNOTTY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MODERN ROPE BONDAGE. 

His book is a beautifully executed collection of images with how-to instructions that illustrate many creative ways to tie one on.

He also teaches rope safety in the book.

Morpheous has taught workshops and performed rope bondage around the world and is the founder of Morpheous’ Bondage Extravaganza, reportedly the world’s largest public rope bondage event.  His work is included in academic collections and museums, as well as published in a human sexuality textbook. He is also author of How to be Kinky: A Beginner’s Guide to BDSM and How to be Kinkier: More Adventures in Adult Playtime.

If you’ve ever wondered why ropes are such a big part of BDSM, read on.

A.C. ROSE: For those readers unfamiliar, what is rope bondage?

MORPHEOUS: Rope bondage is the practice of tying another person for the purposes of art, or sex, or sensuality; in fact, for whatever reason you and your partner do it! It comes under the umbrella as BDSM and is most often used as a communication between partners, a way of connecting in a sensual manner, of one partner handing control over to another. There is an artistic side though, and one that’s central to how most people do bondage.

A.C. ROSE: Do you have to be a professional to play with ropes or is there a safety course one should take before trying?

MORPHEOUS: You absolutely don’t need to be a professional to start exploring rope bondage, and while I’d always encourage people to have basic first aid training if they’re going to get into bondage (and, in fact, even if they’re not), you can learn everything you need to learn about safety as you learn the basics of bondage. I’ve written several books and each one of them covers bondage basics and basic bondage safety to a different extent. It’s all about communicating well, checking in often and having certain important bits of safety hardware on hand at all times.

A.C. ROSE: Why do you consider modern bondage both art and eroticism?

MORPHEOUS: The rope bondage that we know today is most often a fusion of both the Eastern and Western styles, and one has a more artistic bent while the other is more about restraint. My personal style is certainly a fusion of these two styles—with a creative twist of my own. While modern bondage is very much about restraint for sexual or sensory purposes, the shapes of the body, the shapes of the rope and the different materials used means that there’s an incredible art to it—not to mention to the process of tying itself. Watching a talented rigger tie their submissive is almost as sexual as being tied yourself. The fluidity of the movement, the lines, the patterns, the almost visible chemistry between the two…it’s nothing short of art.

A.C. ROSE: Many people find the idea of being tied up a scary because of the connotation of being tied up, yet some are drawn to it, and find it exciting.  What is the draw to those who like it?

MORPHEOUS: The draw is, I think, that very vulnerability that some people find scary. To hand yourself over completely to another person is very intense, and it’s that intensity that is at the heart of all BDSM play. Whether you’re being tied or being spanked or letting someone mess with your head, its all based on the trust that you have in that other person—which is why it’s also so important to only play with people who you can trust and who have proven themselves to be trustworthy.A.C. ROSE: When you are working with ropes, are you a master, artist, or hedonist?

MORPHEOUS: I’m all three! The hedonism comes from the thrill of the connection and of the process of bondage; at no point does your desire for sexual contact or the drive to master someone else overcome your consideration for their wellbeing. A good rigger (the person who ties someone else) always, always has safety and security at the forefront of their mind. But then domination of your partner and artistic creativity are also in there too.

A.C. ROSE: There are many different examples in How to Be Knotty. Do you have a favorite technique? And why.

MORPHEOUS: It would be impossible for me to pick a favorite tie or type of tie. My favorite knots and binds change according to who I’m tying and for what purpose. Sometimes you don’t want to engage in intense sex play but you want to feel connected to your partner; the ties that I choose at that point will be very different to the ties I choose for a hot and heavy session. It also changes according to the body type and limitations of your partner. For instance, some people are more flexible than others; some have larger muscles or body parts in certain places, and some just don’t like to have rope across their chests or between their legs or around their hands. The beauty of bondage is that it is so adaptable—and it’s so fun to play with!

A.C. ROSE: Can you explain what ‘sub space’ is and how people get there?

MORPHEOUS: Subspace is the mental space that some submissives reach when they are tied (or when they are otherwise engaged in BDSM play). In subspace you’re consumed by your immediate sensory experience; everything else seems to drop away, and you become serene in the space you’re in, your connection with your rigger front and center of your being. It’s a glorious place to be—although, much like with orgasm, some people find it much easier to reach than others and some might never achieve it.

A.C. ROSE: Once someone is tied, what are some of the pleasures that are administered? Anything goes?

MORPHEOUS: Absolutely not. “Anything goes” isn’t something that should ever be said of anyone engaged in BDSM play of any type. Everyone has boundaries, both physical and mental, and this is a conversation that should ALWAYS be had before you engage in any type of BDSM, especially bondage, and you should also both check in throughout play. You can be very much attracted to the idea of something in theory and then not that into it in reality, and in that case, play should always be stopped.

However, the range of potential pleasures is almost endless! Penetrative sex, non-penetrative sex, sensation play — spanking, playing with pegs, wax, ice, etc.—whatever your partner is into is likely to be heightened when they’re tied. And it’s always fun to find out what they like best!

A.C. ROSE: Is expert rope play one of the more sophisticated aspects of modern BDSM? Or is it just a normal part of the lifestyle?

MORPHEOUS: BDSM term is an umbrella term for many different types of play, and a lot of kinky folks aren’t into rope play at all. However, when you’re at expert level of anything, I would say you’re moving towards the more intense end of the spectrum. You don’t get to be a master at rope without putting in a lot of time, effort, learning and most likely budget too, and you wouldn’t do anything of that if you weren’t hugely passionate about it.

A.C. ROSE: What is it about rope … that makes it so erotic?

MORPHEOUS: Everything! For me, it’s the smell, it’s the feel, it’s the look of it, it’s the marks that rope leaves on skin, it’s the flexibility and malleability of the material, it’s the colour… and it’s what you get to do with it. There are lots of different types of rope and different materials that rope can be made from, and each one has a whole different atmosphere to it. Personally, I love the traditional textures of hemp and hessian, as these look incredibly retro and hardcore.

A.C. ROSE: Does your local hardware proprietor know what you use it for?

MORPHEOUS: I like to buy from particular artisans and local producers who definitely know what I’m using their wares for. However, I’ve been known to buy emergency gear at my local hardware store and I’ve been there enough and said enough things loudly that if he doesn’t know by now, I’d be surprised!

A.C. ROSE: Do you also like, and partake in, vanilla sex?

MORPHEOUS: Of course! You can’t be kink 24/7, and sometimes after a long week all I want to do is cuddle with my incredible wife and eat ice cream and watch movies and have “nice” sex. However that never lasts too long. J

Thank you to A.C. Rose and to Morpheous for sharing their thoughts on this delicious topic with us today. Here’s a link where you can order HOW TO BE KNOTTY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MODERN ROPE BONDAGE. 

Click to buy.

A.C. Rose is a love, romance, and entertainment columnist and author of steamy romance books. Her Latest book is STAY AFTER CLASS

A super hot professor.
A beautiful student ready to swipe her V-card.
A gorgeous, naked art model.
The sketch that links them all.

Amanda Slade has a major crush on her sexy art professor and wants his help with an important extracurricular activity—losing her virginity.

Professor Jem Nichols knows falling for his beautiful student is a bad idea but he just can’t say goodbye as the semester ends. But the professor refuses to hastily take her virtue. Instead, he wants to slowly teach her the most important lessons of lovemaking.

By the time they’re done, he’ll know every inch of her body. But with the pressure building around his upcoming art show and her sexual debut, will Jem be the one to take her all the way?

School’s out, but the love affair is just beginning.

Find A.C. Rose on the web:

Website
http://acroseauthor.net/

Hot Romance column:  http://thethreetomatoes.com/category/love-sex/hot-romance

THE RED: Sexy Sunday Snippet by Tiffany Reisz

18 Jun

THE RED is a stand alone Erotic Fantasy Novel by Tiffany Reisz coming out on July 11th.  If you like this excerpt you may want to check out RADISH where the story is being serialized right now.

You want to know more, don’t you?  Read the excerpt below…

WARNING: This excerpt is *very* naughty.  Contains consent play & BDSM

It was near midnight when Mona returned to the gallery. She was eager to see Malcolm again, and even more eager to see what artwork she’d earn from his collection. At least she told herself all she cared about was earning the art, earning money to save The Red Gallery from foreclosure. That she enjoyed earning the money was beside the point. And yet, her step was quick and she’d spent half the day checking the clock.

It was time.

She went to the red door that led to the back room, took a steadying breath, and pushed it open. At once she was seized by rough male hands and dragged into the room. The door slammed behind her and she was pushed against it, her back to it. She tried to scream but a hand covered her mouth.

“Quiet, girl.”

The words came from Malcolm, though he did not look as he did when she’d last seen him. He’d grown a short beard and mustache, which made him look older, even slightly sinister. He held a rope in one hand. So it was to be role play? Very well. She’d given him carte blanche. Anything meant anything. She shouldn’t be shocked or afraid. But she was afraid. She was.

Because they weren’t alone.

With Malcolm’s hand over her mouth she glanced around the room wildly in her panic. Four men in suits stood waiting by a wooden box in the center of the room. All four men wore masquerade masks—one black, one gray, one red, one gold. They were cyphers in their masks, anonymous. Only Malcolm was unmasked.

“Is there a problem with the girl?” one of the men called out, the one in the red mask. His tone was imperious.

“Not at all,” Malcolm said. “I’ve got her.”

“Let’s see her then,” the man in the black mask said. He sounded bored, impatient. “We haven’t got all night.”

Who were these men? She couldn’t ask because Malcolm had ordered her into silence and his hand still covered her mouth.

“Coming,” Malcolm said. “You won’t be disappointed.”

He spun her without warning, turning her back to him. He put his mouth at her ear and whispered, “Do not fight me, girl. Put on a good show. I want a high price for you.”

A good show… He’d told her last time she existed to entertain him. So be it. She nodded and said nothing, though her heart still raced with terror. Would he let all these men fuck her? No. She knew he wouldn’t.

Or did she?

He took her by the arms and pulled her away from the door. He walked behind her, steering her to the center of the room where the four masked men waited. She tried to study their faces but only one lamp was lit, and they were all in shadows. Only the colors of their masks could be clearly seen. She looked at the floor instead.

“On the box,” Malcolm ordered and she stepped up onto the low wooden platform. Malcolm bent and pulled her shoes from her feet, tossing them into the shadows. He stood and mounted the platform behind her.

“Let’s have a look,” the man in the gold mask said and the other masked men nodded their heads in agreement.

Behind her, Malcolm dragged the straps of her purple summer dress down her arms. She wore no bra and she had to force herself not to fight him as he pushed her dress down and let it pool at her feet. In an instant he had a small sharp knife out and he used the blade to cut her panties off her hips and those he tossed into the shadows with her shoes.

She was naked, completely naked, and standing in front of four strange men. Malcolm produced a rope from his jacket pocket and used it to tie her hands in front of her. Then he reached high and she looked up. He’d hung a metal hook from a ceiling beam. With a swift and easy motion that showed he’d done this sort of thing a thousand times before, Malcolm hoisted her hands over her head and secured the ropes on her wrists to the hook.

There was no escape.

Mona wiggled her hands and the men chuckled at the sight of her struggles.

“Here we are, gentlemen,” Malcolm said. “Tonight’s best lot. Take your time. Bid high. She’s worth it.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” the man in the red mask said as he stepped up onto the wooden platform. Malcolm stood behind her, holding her hair in his hand. Mona panted in fear and anticipation. The red-masked man placed his hand on her quivering stomach and stroked her side and hips.

“Very smooth skin,” he said.

“The smoothest you’ll find on the market,” Malcolm said.

The red-masked man took a hard handful of her thigh and gripped it, slapped it. The men watching laughed again.

“The breasts are particularly fine,” Malcolm said. “As you see.”

“I see,” the red-masked man said.

“I don’t,” said another man.

“Then come see for yourself,” Malcolm ordered.

The man in the red mask stepped off the platform and the man in the gold mask stepped on. Without hesitation he groped her right breast with a large strong hand. Mona cried out more in shock than pain. With her hands tied so high, her breasts were exposed and she couldn’t cover them in any way. It was stunning to be touched so intimately by a stranger. He lifted the breast as if to weigh it in his palm, then he pulled the nipple, twisting it a little, teasing and testing it.

“Very nice,” the gold-masked man said, nodding. He shifted to the side and did the same to her left breast. He groped it firmly, squeezed it, lifted and weighed it, before pinching the nipple again, tugging it, and letting it go. “How’s the ass?”

“See for yourself.” Malcolm turned her so that her back was to the gold-masked man. She felt a hand on her backside, rubbing her from her hip to her upper thigh.

“A full ass,” the man said, pleased, as he rubbed. “Soft but not too soft.” He slapped it once and Mona gasped, gasped again when he gripped it in both hands and squeezed it, then pinched it. “Young firm flesh. My favorite.”

“I told you she was worth the money,” Malcolm said.

It was unbearable, being treated like this, treated like chattel. She burned hot with shame and humiliation. Tears stung her eyes. Her breathing was labored and her arms ached. She wanted to cover herself so badly.

“We have to see the cunt first,” another man said. “You know that.”

“Of course,” Malcolm said, laughing. “Of course you have to see the cunt.”

“Let’s see it then.”

Mona groaned as Malcolm turned her to face the four men again. Two of them stepped onto the platform, the man in the black mask and the man in the red mask. Each of them took one of her legs in his hands and hoisted her off her feet. They held her thighs open, her feet dangling helplessly in mid-air, her sex open and exposed. The man in the gray mask stepped forward. He didn’t stand on the platform. He was at eye level with her vulva.

She shivered and moaned as the man in the gray mask extended his hand and lightly touched her pubic lips.

“Exquisite,” he said. “Well-formed.”

“Tight too,” Malcolm said. “But she can take anything you want to give her.”

She saw the hint of a smile on the gray mask’s lips. With his thumb and forefinger, he opened the inner folds of her vulva, revealing the hole, the entrance to her body. He slipped one finger into it.

“And wet. Very wet,” the man in the gray mask said. It was true. Humiliating but true. For all her shame and fear, she was undeniably aroused as well. The man inserted a second finger into her and spread the two fingers wide in a V. She felt herself opening. It was a violation of the sanctity of her body. Why did she relish it?

“What have we here…” the man said as he pushed his fingertip into a deep hollow inside her, near the pubic bone. He pushed hard into the hollow, poked the hollow, prodded at it, teased the delicate dancing nerves. “I can feel her pulse right here. Very rapid.”

“Let me feel it,” the man in the gold mask said. She was empty again but only for a moment, as the gold-masked man put his finger into her and found that same little hollow along the back wall. Her head fell back onto Malcolm’s shoulder as the man in the gold man fingered and fondled her while she hung in the air, spread out and on display. The man in the gold mask examined her clitoris as well, kneeling in front of her and pulling up the tiny hood of flesh to see the organ. It was swollen and she hated herself for that. She hated it all, hated being held, being opened, being examined and displayed…

Oh, but she loved it too.

As the man in the gold mask continued to spread out and probe her sex, the man in the black mask turned his attention to her mouth. She struggled against Malcolm’s shoulder as the man pried her lips apart.

“Don’t bite,” he chided as he stuck a finger into her mouth. She felt it against her teeth. He was counting them, she could tell. But when he was done, he left his finger pressed lightly against her tongue. Now they’d made her mute. A hand that belonged to someone, she didn’t know which man, grasped her breast again and cupped it roughly. A hot mouth latched onto her other nipple and sucked it hard. The fingers worked inside her sex, stroking and rubbing and opening her up wider and wider. She heard the sounds of her own intense wetness. Her labia were pulled and tugged like her nipples, lightly slapped before he, whoever it was this time, pushed his fingers into her again. Three fingers this time, or was it four? She couldn’t tell anymore. She was dripping with need. Five men and their mouths and their hands were all together touching her, fondling her, sucking her and penetrating her mouth and her sex as she writhed and moaned softly, unable to protest or cry out or beg for mercy or—even worse and far more likely—begged them to fuck her. She craved their cocks, all five of them. Before, she’d feared Malcolm would let them fuck her. Now she feared he wouldn’t. But these were mad thoughts. She couldn’t let that happen. She struggled in the iron grasp of the five men, but it did no good, only harm, as the writhing brought her even closer to climax.

Then they all let her go.

It happened so fast, she would have fallen to the floor if the rope hadn’t held her wrists. They released her and stepped off the platform as if someone had given a command she hadn’t heard. She shivered, suddenly cold. Only Malcolm still stood close. She wanted to press her body into his, but he had her by the waist, holding her in place.

“Well, gentlemen, any other requests?” Malcolm asked. “Are we ready to start the bidding yet?”

She braced herself for the haggling. What were they buying? The right to fuck her? Or was it still part of the game?

“Bend her over,” one of the men said. “Let’s see all her holes.”

“If you insist,” Malcolm said.

“I want to know exactly what I’m getting,” the man in the red mask said. “If it’s no trouble.”

“I admire a savvy buyer. And no,” Malcolm said. “No trouble at all. I’ll put her on the pedestal.”

“Very good,” the red-masked man said. The other three men murmured their assent.

Pedestal? What sort of pedestal? Malcolm dragged her off the wooden platform and into the shadows. The light followed as one of the men lifted the floor candle and carried it over to the far corner of the room where Malcolm was taking her. She saw something there, something waist high and covered with a large velvet cloth. Malcolm pulled off the cloth and dropped it to the floor. It was a black leather stool of sorts, but wide enough for her to kneel upon easily. Jutting up from the center of the seat was a large thick phallus, smooth black leather and terrifyingly long—a foot long at least. She shrank from the sight of it, but Malcolm didn’t allow her to flee. He lifted her off her feet and placed her on the top of the pedestal. He took her hips and angled them so that the tip of the phallus kissed the entrance of her hole.

“Take it,” he said, an order she couldn’t refuse. Her body wouldn’t let her. She went down onto her hands and knees and sank onto the phallus, sliding her knees apart and taking as much of it into her as she could. As wet as she was, the massive object went into her easily and she rocked on it a little to take even more. She felt the muscles giving way to the phallus, accepting it, engulfing it. Malcolm had her pinned like a moth under glass. Pinned and put on display.

“Gentlemen, have a look,” Malcolm said. “I have oil here if you need it.”

The consummate salesman.

Mona hung her head, hiding her face behind her hair as the first man whose face she couldn’t see in this position came behind her and spread her buttocks apart. He made a pleased sound like he liked what he saw. He touched her with a finger and she gasped and shuddered. The fingertip was wet, covered in some sort of thick oil or lubricant. He slicked it all over the little hole, all around it. She tingled at the unusual sensation. It wasn’t unpleasant being caressed there on that sensitive opening, wasn’t unpleasant when the man slid a single finger into her as far as his finger could go. He held the finger in her, not moving it for a long time. She heard the men talking among themselves, saying things like “Very nice” and “Well done.” Inside her she felt the man moving his finger, not in and out, but around in a circle, opening her ever more and more.

“You have a plug?” the man asked Malcolm.

“Of course,” Malcolm said.

The finger left her but she soon felt something cold against her, cold and smooth like another phallus but far narrower than the one inside her sex. The man wielding it pushed the tip into her, paused, then pushed it in a few inches more as Mona let out a tense hiss between her teeth. Never before had a lover put anything into her ass—not a finger, not a phallus, not a cock. Yet here it was, going in as if it was made for her body. The man slid it in to the hilt and stopped. The base of the plug would let it go no deeper. Soft moans escaped her lips as Mona’s body adjusted itself to being doubly penetrated on the pedestal. She rocked back and forth, fucking herself with the phallus inside her vagina as the four prospective “buyers” walked around her. One stroked her hair, lifted it and sniffed it. Another stood by her face and took her nipples between his fingers and lightly pulled them. His fingers were cold and sent currents of electricity through her breasts and back. Another man played with her clitoris. His fingertip was wet with the oil as he stroked her. The last man rubbed her buttocks, caressing them lightly but over and over again. Sometimes he would pause to touch the plug or the phallus between caresses.

“Now, gentlemen,” Malcolm began, “let’s start the bidding, shall we?”

“I’ll take her for a hundred,” the man in the red mask said. A hundred dollars? A hundred thousand? A hundred days?

“Anyone wish to counter-offer?” Malcolm asked.

“Too rich for my blood,” the man in the gold mask said. He pinched her nipples again and she flinched as her sex contracted around the phallus.

“Mine too, I’m afraid,” said another man. He slapped her thigh lightly as if saying goodbye to prize horseflesh.

“I’d love to take her,” the last man said. “But I promised myself I wouldn’t spend more than eighty.”

“Then I think we have a deal, my good sir,” Malcolm said. The man in the red mask had been the one fondling her clitoris. Through the veil of her hair she saw him and Malcolm shaking hands. They moved out of her eye line, stood behind her. “Shall I take her off the pedestal for you?”

“No,” the man in the red mask said. “Leave her there. I’ll handle it.”

She heard footsteps, the door opening and closing, but she was certain the man in the red mask hadn’t left her because she felt his finger on her clitoris again. And then on her labia split wide by the huge phallus penetrating her.

“Magnificent,” he said. “Worth every penny.”

He took her hips in his hands and pushed her down, forcing her to take more of the phallus. Her head came up and she moaned with need. She could barely see. Everything was red. The blood behind her eyes, the blaze of her desire, the engorged flesh of her sex, all red, red everything everywhere, red as the man’s mask, the man who owned her. He lifted her up and off the pedestal and put her on her feet. He’d opened his black suit pants and his cock was out, erect and glistening with fluid at the engorged red tip. She had to have it inside her. She had to. She reached for it but he caught her hands, pushed her back into the wall and held her wrists over her head. Desperate, she thrust her hips forward to rub against him. Every move she made sent wild tremors through her body. The plug was deep in her ass still and she wanted it there. But she needed his cock inside her too. Needed it more than anything.

He guided the tip to graze her painfully swollen clitoris and she cried out. With one quick pump of his hips, he pushed the tip through the folds of her labia. With one more pump he penetrated her and with a final pump he entered her entirely. She came off her feet as he lifted her with his hips and pinned her again, this time against the wall. Her breasts bounced as his thrusts lifted her and lifted her. She was nearly screaming in her ecstasy, out of her mind with her pleasure. It felt like she had a rod of iron inside her, as thick, as hot, and as hard as anything could be. She didn’t know this man at all but he owned her. He’d bought her body and now he owned her. She was his slave, his possession, chattel, an object, his to do with as he willed. And what he willed was to fuck her against the wall, ram himself deep into her, pound her and pound her until she came with an unholy moan. Her head fell back against the wall and the man in the red mask kissed her neck, sucking the skin there until she felt it break against his teeth. She didn’t care. The pain spiked the pleasure. The plug in her ass and the cock in her pussy magnified the orgasm a hundred times. His thrusts were relentless. The man in the mask rammed her once more, twice more, a third time and then she felt the burning seed explode inside her so deep she could swear she could taste it on her tongue.

Mona went limp, but she was still impaled on the man’s penis, her feet twined around his thighs, her back pressed to the wall. She rested her head on his shoulder and breathed. Who was this man who’d bought her? What would he do with her? What had she given herself over to? It was wrong, all wrong. She shouldn’t be having sex with this stranger, this cypher, this ghost. She put her hands on his chest to push him away.

“Put me down,” she said.

“Not yet.”

“No, now,” she said though he remained inside her, still hard.

“Carte blanche,” the man in the red mask said.

“That’s for Malcolm, not—”

The man took off his mask. It was Malcolm.

“I told you I liked to play games sometimes,” he said with that smile he stole from the devil. “Didn’t I?”

“Malcolm…” She stared at him in shock and in horror, still pinned to the wall. “You had a beard.”

“Did I?” he asked, lifting his eyebrow.

“You did. Was it…It had to be a fake. You fooled me. I was so sure…” The four men were likely friends of his and when they’d haggled behind her back, Malcolm had taken off his false beard and put on the red mask to trick her. And she’d been tricked, thoroughly tricked.

“You saw what I wanted you to see,” he said. “The oldest magician’s trick.”

“Is this a trick too?” She struggled to free herself from the organ that penetrated her and his body that trapped her against the wall.

“Oh no, this is real,” he said. “This is the only thing that’s real to me.”

Red As Blood: Women & Gothic Romance

1 Jun

Lovely readers — I attended a panel at #WisCon that made me cry out with perverse desire.  It was called Red As Blood — a panel on women and the Gothic genre.  Loosely organized, it revolved around the interesting desires and situations that comprise Gothic joy and perversity.

“A young woman meets an interesting, mysterious man in a giant, lonely house.  It turns out he may have bad intentions.  Sometimes she wants him to have bad intentions.”–Emily Cataneo.

What I liked about this panel was that everyone on the panel–authors and fans alike, really obsessed over what I obsessed over, and had exactly the same attitudes that I had. Everyone on the panel was raving over Crimson Peak–especially Tom Hiddleston, especially the house and clothes — AND

Spoiler Alert!

…especially the end where two women fight it out with knives in bloody nightgowns.

Everyone didn’t care if there was no logical reasoning behind certain events in their favorite Gothic novels or movies.  Our love of Gothic is not about reason.

Then what is it about? It’s about a feeling of creeping doom, of impending horror.  But no ACTUAL horror, mind you.  If horror is that moment of curdling screams and blood splatter on the wall, then the gothic genre is about hearing that scream from a far distance and discovering the blood splatter on the wall by prying open a secret passage.  (Preferably 5 to 20 years after it got there.)

The gothic genre is about secrets.  About dread.  About creeping horror — yes! But it’s a psychological horror.

Notorious is supremely logical–but the sense of oppression is still intense.

Now let’s talk romance in these novels.  For my joys I hit the Goodreads best Gothic romances page. There you will find not only the old classic authors like Anne Radcliffe and Victoria Holt but also Gay Gothic Romances, and Gothic romances with witches!!!!

Now, when we turn to Gothic film, the problem is that they are often horror films and take things just a leeeetle too far for my taste. Sigh.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about gothic romantic films:

The Gothic romance film is a Gothic film with feminine appeal. Diane Waldman wrote in Cinema Journal that Gothic films in general “permitted the articulation of feminine fear, anger, and distrust of the patriarchal order” and that such films during World War II and afterward “place an unusual emphasis on the affirmation of feminine perception, interpretation, and lived experience”. Between 1940 and 1948, the Gothic romance film was prevalent in Hollywood, being produced by well-known directors and actors. The best-known films of the era were Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Gaslight (1944). Less well-known films were Undercurrent (1946) and Sleep, My Love (1948). Waldman describes these films’ Gothic rubric: “A young inexperienced woman meets a handsome older man to whom she is alternately attracted and repelled.”[1] Other films from the decade include The Enchanted Cottage (1945) and The Heiress (1949).[2]

The Gothic romance films from the 1940s often contain the “Bluebeard motif”, meaning that in the typical setting of the house, a certain part is either forbidden to be used or even closed off entirely.[3] In the films, the forbidden room is a metaphor for the heroine’s repressed experience, and opening the room is a cathartic moment in the film.[4] In addition, the layout of the house in such films (as well as Gothic novels) creates “spatial disorientation [that] causes fear and an uncanny restlessness”.[5]

In 2015, director Guillermo del Toro released the Gothic romance film Crimson Peak. He said past films had been “brilliantly written by women and then rendered into films by male directors who reduce the potency of the female characters”. For Crimson Peak, he sought to reverse this cinematic trope.[6]

And did he EVER! If you adored Crimson Peak then here are some treats for you.  Here’s my fun review of Crimson Peak for one, along with some other movie recommendations below.  First of all, I highly recommend Suspicion–a Cinderella story in which we and the heroine are gradually brought to realize that a) she’s no Cinderella and b) this is not a happily ever after.

But if you want to get your gothic horror movie on–here’s a list from Indiewire to check out.  Some of them are fabulous.  Rosemary’s Baby is excellent.  Picnic at Hanging Rock is really mysterious. It’s like the missing girls floated off into some alternative realm after enough feminine corset squeezing and hair braiding to last a lifetime.  Gaslight is excellent.  As I mentioned above, Suspicion is one of my all time favorites.  The Shining is fabulous — but something I’d put on while doing another task so I could walk away as needed…(I’d put the premise of The Shining this way: What’s the scariest monster of the 70’s? The absent dad figure suddenly returned to be a ‘part of the family’.  Shiver. Ugggggggh!) Les Diaboliques was good, Notorius is sublime.  This list also made me want to see The Haunted with Kate Beckinsale as well as The Tomb of Ligeia…

THE GOTHIC ANTI-HERO OF ALL TIME? It’s gotta be Micheal Fassbender.  As I’ve commented before, Fassy seems to be all alone in his films.  That alone-ness is exactly what we want in a gothic anything. In the latest-greatest remake of Jane Eyre, he is utterly riveting.  At once flesh and blood with his long mutton chop whiskers, he seems like a Victorian that doesn’t wash everyday, that sweats, that chews his food. There is something very real and authentic about him–especially when it comes to his presence around women. Nevertheless, for all that he still seems like a very quietly haunted man who will NEVER be happy.  What I realized watching his performance is that Jane Eyre is a tale of warning: don’t fall for the man you work for.  Don’t let him seduce you.  Don’t succumb to the temptations he leads you towards breadcrumb of attention by breadcrumb of attention.  He has bad intentions and nothing good for you will result.  Fassy’s breathtaking performance is a seduction: rather slow and tender, but also deliberate enough to make one realize how wrong it all is.  His inscrutable mind is clicking behind the command of his words, looks, and touches the entire time.

Tom Hiddleston is an incredibly close second for my all time fav goth anti-hero.  His charismatic flavor however, connotes the possibility of a happier ending. If Fassy is the haunted man in his giant spooky house at the beginning of the movie, then Hiddles represents that peek of sunshine, that thin slice of spring — expressed only by a few blades of grass and one lone daffodil at the end of the movie.  There is something a little softer and more pliant about Hiddles the lover. He represents hope and escape from psychological hell into some sunnier, more mild and quietly happy place.  Tom seems like a man who needs an other to pair with him.  While Fassy, a more coporeal lover in the moment of temptation, perhaps–seems to stand alone in his blank emptiness to the bitter end.

I see Tom as more of an HEA guy–even if the HEA is with his sister.

What do you think, readers? Sound out below in the comments section — and I’m all ears for good contemporary gothic romance reading rec’s.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Guess the Lady Smut TBR Stack–Win $10 Amazon Gift Card!

4 May

Hi RT Orphans! Does your TBR pile have some of the same titles as ours? Let us know–leave us a comment below. 🙂 Want to buy the book on our TBR list? Click the link.  Meanwhile, here’s another fun game you can play at home.

FIRST Read the TBR lists. THEN guess which list belongs to which blogger. Your blogger choices are below & we’ve abbreviated the longer names for you. We also provided some hints.  THE FINAL STEP IS TO email us at LadySmutBlog@gmail.com with your guesses. The first reader to email us the most correct answers wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

CONTEST ENDS FRIDAY MAY 5th AT 12PM PST!!!!!

OUR BLOGGERS:

Elizabeth Shore

G.G. Andrew

Kiersten Hallie Krum (KHK)

Alexa Day

Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB)

Elizabeth SaFleur (ESF)

Isabelle Drake

Thien-Kim Lam (TKL)

Madeline Iva

Ready to play? Here we go——

Lady Smut TBR List #1

Hint: This blogger is a foodie who loves diverse romances & sex toys

  1. Alpha by Jasinda Wilder
  2. Nine Kinds of Naughty by Jeanette Grey
  3. The Muse by Anne Calhoun
  4. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
  5. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Lady Smut TBR List #2

Hint: This blogger likes to share all after a few dirty dates. ; > 
  1. The Pawn by Skye Warren
  2. Trophy Wife by Alessandra Torre
  3. The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke
  4. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Lady Smut TBR List #3

Hint: This blogger is a big fan of New Adult romances, secrets, and other crazy, sexy topics.

  1. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
  2. Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  4. Deadly Testimony by Piper Drake
  5. Ghostland: An American History of Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Lady Smut TBR List #4

Hint: This erotica author loves blogging about TWD, kidnapping & a few other illicit topics.

  1. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  2. All the Lies We Tell by Megan Hart
  3. Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Chorderlos de Laclos
  4. Slow Surrender by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres

Lady Smut TBR List #5

Hint: This blogger is wild about reviewing her fav authors.

  1. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
  2. The List by Tawna Fenske
  3. Madly by Ruthie Knox
  4. Beyond Doubt by Kit Rocha
  5. Edge of Ruin (set of 3 Viking Dystopian Novellas) by Megan Crane

Lady Smut TBR List #6

Hint: This author blogs about edgy topics of desire including: swallowing, tattooing, cross-dressing–even Jewish Swingers. 

  1. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
  2. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  3. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  4. The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose
  5. Beyond Ruin by Kit Rocha

Lady Smut TBR List #7

Hint: When this author wasn’t all tied up, she’s blogged about CW’s Riverdale.

  1. Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler
  2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  3. DC Comics Bombshells: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett & Marguerite Sauvage
  4. Initiates of the Blood by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Lady Smut TBR List #8

Hint: This blogger is a capital BDSM Erom author

  1. Bombshell by CD Reiss
  2. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  3. Royally Matched by Emma Chase
  4. The Chosen by J.R. Ward
  5. The List by Anne Calhoun

Lady Smut TBR List #9

Hint: This author loves blogging about wicked villains & paranormal television shows.

  1. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  2. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde
  3. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  4. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic V.E. Schwab
Send off those answers and follow us at Lady Smut. If you want to know the about the latest fun when it comes to sex, romance books, and pop culture–we won’t leave you guessing.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Fantasizing About The Hot Villain: Women as Hunters

20 Apr

by Madeline Iva

Who here sees a movie and winds up fantasizing later on about the hot villain? Raising my hand. WHY is my question. Why aren’t we fantasizing about the hot hero? (I mean, maybe we are. Sometimes.) Last week I talked about the hot villain being redeemed all the way into becoming an anti-hero. Here is another post about how we are bitten by the compulsion to use a hot villain as fantasy fodder.

How many Harry Potter fans found Snape a bit more interesting than all the other characters? Raising hand again. Of course, Malfoy fan fic is popular all across this great land. (Bonus points for those who add a queer element.)  But cold snobbiness is not so obviously a turn on–so what is?

THE VILLAIN AS ROMANTIC CHALLENGE:

Some women are hunters.

I loathe shopping, but I believe that some women shop as a form of hunting. They hunt down a bargain, they trap their sale item, and display their trophy at home. Myself, I love capturing a shy person at a party.  If I can get a shy guy or woman to crack open and talk about themselves, then I am so happy lapping at all that hidden goodness within.  Here’s my theory: if you are more comfortable at a party when you have something to do vs. just hanging out, I’m guessing you like to hunt a potential mate who presents some kind of challenge.

On the other hand, we need to respect the fact that some women like hunting men as an attention game for the sheer sport of it, whether they’re also looking for sex, romance, or a husband.  The idea of women hunting after men often used to have a really negative connotation.  But let’s face it, women really are socially very powerful.  For instance, there’s a Georgette Heyer book called AN INFAMOUS ARMY in which the heroine ‘Babs’ is in a mood, so she decides draw a man clear across the room to her with just one look.  She’s that kind of vixen.  Later on, she’s almost undone when she finally lands a guy she actually likes, because the vixen thing only works well when you don’t care, and by that point she cares a lot more than she wants to.

Spike is love’s bitch, and he’s man enough to admit it.

I decided to try a Babs-ian moment at one point in my life.  People were dancing and I was having some kind of crazy hormonal surge that left me feeling ridiculously full of confidence.  I spotted this guy on the other side of the dance floor–a blonde–and just BAM! Gave him one look.  It worked.  I watched with a bit of amused disbelief as he came across the crowded dance floor.  He turned out to be mega-cool and by the end of the night we had a thing going on.  (He dumped me a few months later.) On the other end of the spectrum, luring my Sweetie into a relationship was a much more subtle and drawn out process.  In those moments where I would entice him to yet another fun social event where we could bond, I was like a different person.  Kinda hunter-y, though that’s not how I’d put it at the time.  But definitely confident, goal-oriented, and–um–compelling.  Of course, I was an insecure mess the rest of the time, obsessed and anxious, desperate and yet still hoping.

My point is: the heart you have to conquer is the heart you’ve earned.  And when it comes to villains, they’re just not easy to conquer. Maybe they’re selfish, or mis-trusting.  Your above-average intellectual villain wouldn’t fall for you just because of your looks.  He’s probably more discriminating.

THE VILLAIN WHO HAS A HEART–though it’s “small and tiny, and he can’t remember the last time he used it.”

Your ideal hot villain cares for only one or two people–if that.  So in the fantasy, the villain who only has the capacity to love in the low single digits–loves you. You get to be within that circle of protection. You get to be one of the chosen few.

Even better–villains are often virgins of the heart when it comes to romantic feels.  He’s having new feelings he’s never had before, and this makes your encounter all the more scrumptious.

The fantasy about the villain is he can be so awful to others, but stops being simply awful to you.  He just can’t.  He may even be frustrated and unhappy that he can’t.  Being unable to act like an utter sh** the way he does to everyone else becomes proof that whether he wants to or not, he’s got the feels for you, and he’s got it bad.

THE VILLAIN AS COLD, ISOLATED MAN:

Fassy as Magnito in the Xmen franchise might as well be singing “Allllll by mysellllf”.   He’s an iceberg and you want to thaw him out. 

THE VILLAIN YOU PRACTICE YOUR SUPER-POWERS UPON, AKA THE PLOT OF EVERY DARK ROMANCE EVER WRITTEN:

 I love a Villain who does some bad stuff but also some good stuff and shows real anti-hero potential. In Dark Romance the villain/hero does a lot of bad stuff–even to the heroine.  Yet the heroine holds out a kind of hope:

  • if we can bond,
  • if I can show him I trust him,
  • if become one of the very few HE TRUSTS

…then I’ll be safe via some combo of my looks/personality/vulnerability/wits/social powers, and gift of persuasion…

…and therefore I survive and therefore I WIN.

Yeah—call this Stockholm Syndrome–sure, go ahead.

But Stockholm syndrome had a negative connotation of a kind of victim-hood, whereas what I’m talking about is slaying your skulking hottie villain with love-bonding.

This is less about being a victim and more about working raw survival skills when you’re at a complete disadvantage using only your powers of attraction and persuasion – which can feel like a sort of triumph and conquest. It’s like killing someone with one tiny piece of string.

SO WHY ARE WE LIKE THIS?

Why are we attracted to men with limited or negative qualities? Why aren’t we just wired to dive onto that sunny, friendly, honest good guy and not let go?  Welp.  I think it has something to do with The Warrior Gene problem.

THE WARRIOR GENE

There actually is a genetic variant that some humans (men) have which they call the warrior gene.  With this genetic variant you can get empathy, but it’s rather limited.  For instance, you can have soldiers who are efficient killing machines in battle, but still display love and caring for their family and children. This gene shows a middle ground between ‘normal’ people who really don’t like to hurt others, and sociopaths who have a hard time caring for anyone but themselves.

Okay, so here’s my whack theory: I hypothesize that there’s a counterpart to the Warrior Guy gene.

THE WARRIOR MATE GENE

Let’s call it the Warrior Mate gene.  The Warrior Mate gene (if it exists) would be a genetic variant that makes women highly attracted to Warrior Guys–even if Warrior Guy is sometimes a dick. I mean, in terms of evolution, Warrior Guy is the perfect mate waaaaaay back in the day, right? He won’t attack and abuse the children or you, but–and this is key–he will protect the family against ruthless, violent attacks. His lack of emotions in the moment of battle will give him an edge and he will be competent and unhesitating when it comes to killing.  Of course you’d be wired to look for this guy and to be attracted to him and draw him in close.

Further whack theory: this is why we women have evolved to process relationships to a much greater degree than men. (There’s science to back this up.) We need to sort through all the good and the bad when it comes to guys–sifting fine nuances in behavior–because sometimes the bad can work in our favor. I mean, look, if the Huns are on our doorstep we can’t go fight them all if we’ve got three knee-biters to look after. Right?

Do you revel in a good villain? Let me know in the comments section below.  Speaking of reveling:

We’re only two weeks away from our big event at RT.  Join LadySmut bloggers at the RT Booklovers Convention May 3-7, especially at our super special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever. Win crowns, fetish toys, books and more! Goodybags to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Reasons To Bang The Bad Guy, Pt. 1

13 Apr

by Madeline Iva

Saranna DeWylde got me thinking yesterday about why we’re so attracted to awesome villains like Loki. Because we are. I am.  Before I unleash my perverse romantic side, let us be clear: I’d never go near an evil dude in real life.  (I can’t help thinking of this guy who said to me in college: Women only like assholes, never the good guys.  No, David, most of us like the good guys.) That said…here’s the break-down on why we are simply fascinated with depictions of excellent villains and their equally hot cousin, the anti-hero.

(What is an anti-hero but a villain who was so damn attractive he was morphed by popular demand into Super-Duper Flawed Guy.  Examples: Damon on Vampire Diaries, Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sawyer on Lost — I could go on and on and on…)

From a romance perspective, a great, charismatic villain provides hideous temptation to fantasize.Their are specific qualities that particularly tempt us.  Let’s explore them, shall we?

THE VILLAIN AS A FANTASY OBJECT OF REDEMPTION:

  1. We especially like a villain with teeny bit of good in him: Romance readers are always willing take a small nugget of goodness and blow it up into something mate-worthy–even heroically substantial. Readers feel this especially for good looking men.  Would that we were as kind to women*** Anyway, Jamie Dornan playing Paul Spector in THE FALL is a serial killer, but also a loving dad to his daughter–therefore, it hurts when his world is falling down around him at the end and he has to explain to his daughter that he’s not going to raise her anymore and probably not see her again. There’s not the usual feeling of satisfaction that he’d been caught for his evil deeds and is going away for forever.  (I think the point originally was to show the audience that he’s victimized his daughter as well–but there was such an intense depth of emotion to the scene that it mutated into something more complicated, intriguing, and relatable.)
  2. Villain as misunderstood– underneath his/her reprehensible actions, there’s a world of hurt in that villain.  The villain needs someone to kiss the boo-boos and make it better. Frankenstein’s monster just wants to give the little girl a flower. Is it his fault she passes out from fear and people mis-construe the way he carried her off? He’s just MISUNDERSTOOD PEOPLE!
  3. Villain as a fish out of water – Loki fits this — he’s a fish out of water in Valhalla.  He’s intelligent and incredibly powerful, but despite his talents he’s not the leader–he’s not even one of them. Despite his strong call to lead, he’ll never get the chance because he’s a cuckoo in the nest. He’s all twisted up from the git go cause of the lies and things that were hidden from him – none of which is his fault. And frankly, NO ONE CARES to make it right with him. All paranormal monsters are always a fish out of water when it comes to normality–even when normality is being an immortal god in a giant hall at the end of a rainbow.
  4. Villains as victims/victims of betrayal:  Sebastian Stan was cat nip as THE WINTER SOLDIER in the movie of the same name.  Inside that weird bromance-core was an understanding of Stan’s plight: He can’t HELP IT – it’s not his fault—he’s been brainwashed!!!!  And those lips, yi.  Meanwhile, James Franco in Spider-man loved his father, and was blinded to the truth by his father, because his best friend and father both lied to him. The ending of the first Spider Man is drenched in irony through Franco not realizing that his virtues (his loyalty to his father) means his best friend becomes his worst enemy. I remember watching the first movie long ago and liking Franco in his proto-villain phase far more than anyone else in the movie even before Franco became a big deal.

    James we hardly knew ye as Harry Osborn.

  5. Villain as vulnerable: we relate to flaws A LOT. A top-notch villain can is as much a prisoner of his past and deep psychological needs as anyone else.

    Kylo Ren is angsty, unstable–ready to crack open and bleed pain. Yum!

  6. For some villains, happiness is just so close–yet so far away! Show me a villain who has the chance to change and I’ll show you a riveted romance audience.  The best villains often have pain they cling to that goads them towards doing evil–and when there’s a chance the villain might back off from this emotional sticky point before the point of no return oh, we are in our happy place! That’s how you know romance audiences–we want happy endings for anyone we find interesting.

NEXT WEEK: VILLAINS & OUR FORBIDDEN DESIRES

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

***Women on the whole are a lot more unforgiving towards other women than they are towards men. I think with a romantic perspective and therefore believe that my readers view worthy, hot men as objects of romantic conquest/relationship projects. At the same time I believe almost all women are still socialized to be harshly judgmental when it comes to other women–especially those depicted in romance novels.

Is that statement upsetting? I would never want to accuse someone unjustly of sexism, but even I fall down when taking the quiz below–see how you do:

  • Name three women you know personally who sleep around a lot, but you DON’T think are sluts
  • Name 3 woman you know who doesn’t prioritize their kids but you don’t judge them as neglectful moms
  • Name three women you know who have some kind of authority over you or someone very close to you that you don’t think of as busybodies or annoying bitches.
  • If you read a romance novel about an unmarried woman, who is intensely focussed on her career, and doesn’t want kids, or to take care of the people around her–would you see her as a role model? Or would you think she’s too selfish and unlikeable for a romance heroine? Now if the character was switched to a romance hero, would you also think he was selfish and unlikeable?

 

 

Bang-able Villains

12 Apr

Hello Lovely Readers! Elizabeth Shore is away today. Instead, we have a happily edgy post from the amazing and kick-ass Saranna DeWylde here.  I asked Saranna to do a guest post after I saw this exchange on facebook:

Yes! Exactly!

So I asked Saranna to talk to us about why we women are sometimes (often?) a bit more interested in a really good villain than they are the hero.

I absolutely love a well-constructed villain. I don’t mean an anti-hero, I like them, but this post is all about the E-ville. Is that a misspelling? Not at all. Say it out loud, roll it around in your mouth. You’re not a good villain unless you have the mustache-twirling pronunciation. Maybe even a bit of goatee stroking. You know what I mean?

No, I didn’t. 

When I first think about favorite villains, Hannibal Lecter comes to mind, but he’s not really a villain anymore, is he? In the television show, he’s more of an anti-hero.

 

Is he??? I haven’t seen this show, but I’ve heard so much about it…Check out the preview above.

What especially interests me about villains and their bangability is societal reaction and what we deem acceptably attractive in people. No one thinks anything about me saying I’d like give Darth Vader a run for his money except to say that maybe his parts don’t work in that suit. I maintain he could probably give really great orgasms with The Force. A little breath play, and pretty much whatever else he wanted you to feel. (Is it getting hot in here, or is just me?)

Old Darth does it for Saranna, Kylo Ren is all tortured and interesting to a new generation.

If I say I thought Paul Spector was hot from The Fall, I’d be one of those twisted girls into serial killers. But I know real serial killers. I was a prison guard. I hung out with them for eight hours a day, sometimes sixteen. None of them look like Jamie Dornan. And none of them were ever the least bit attractive to me.

Which is not to suggest that because someone is physically handsome in real life he’s NOT a serial killer….Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha

(Incidentally, I didn’t crush on Jamie Dornan until The Fall.)

Fictional evil is attractive. There’s a nod to everything that’s not the ideal. That’s not a princess. That’s not perfect. And part of us wants them to win because that means we can too. A charismatic villain makes so much easier to acknowledge our own sins, see our own dark places, and we can empathize with him in fiction, because we don’t have to own our massive flaws for real.

I find when a hero holds up his virtues it’s much harder for me to say, yes…that’s me too. The writers of Luther posited through show dialogue that women specifically were attracted to evil men because we were able to claim some of their power for our own. There might be something to that.

While we’re at it, I kind of have a type. The Devil. Almost anyone can play The Devil, and that’s an insta-girl boner. Hell, this could probably comprise most of my list. Apologies to Tom Ellis in Lucifer, though. He’s hot, but he started out an antihero so he doesn’t make my list. So pretty, though.

Tom Ellis as Lucifer

With that said, let’s open our Slam Books to

Top Eleven Villains I’d Bang.

Not ten, because I’m being contrary in honor of our villains. (After, you better share yours, too, or I’m not going to share my slap bracelets.)

In no particular order:

Darth Vader– As I said before, he could do some crazy shit with The Force. I just keep thinking about that choke hold. Amirite?

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), American Psycho– That might actually be bad sex. I’m not so much down for the coat hanger and he’s so arrogant, he’s probably terrible in bed. I think I really just want to pet his shoulders and his hair after we eat at Dorsia.

Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), The Fall– Well, I mean. C’mon.

Paul Spector in The Fall, aka Jamie Dornan

Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), From Dusk Till Dawn– Everyone wants to let her bite them. Everyone. She’s single-minded in her approach to food and any other pleasures. I support this wholeheartedly.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), The Wolf of Wall Street– I’m not sure if it’s the part where he says, “the book, motherfucker) or if it’s because he’s unrepentant about what a piece of shit he is, and I don’t know if I’d think the real JB was attractive, because he did actually hurt people. But his characterization? Yeah, I’d hit that.

Lizzie Borden (Christian Ricci) Lizzie Borden series– Here’s a woman who isn’t taking shit from anyone. She knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to take it. Whatever the cost.

Viggo Mortenson, The Prophecy– His portrayal of the Big D is one of the best ever. He’s not meant to be attractive, yet, somehow still is. He’s horrible, and awful and I love every second of it. “Little Tommy Daggett. How I loved listening to your sweet prayers every night. And then you would jump into bed, so afraid that I was under there. And I was!” Really, do you promise? Please?

Gabriel Byrne, End of Days– Gimme. (I also dug him as the priest in Stigmata, but he was sort of a hero there. Kinda. It doesn’t count.)

Mark Pellegrino, Supernatural– He’s almost an anti-hero. But not quite. Just enough… I love his character so much.

Sam Neil, The Omen Part 6400-I don’t know. I just can’t help myself.

Bradley James, The Omen TV series-He doesn’t want to be bad, he just is. And when he finally owns it? Boo yeah. Bring it, handsome!

Anyway, those are my eleven for the moment. My list is ever-changing, but I’d love to know which villains you’d like to lock in your bedroom. Tell me in the comments below.

Want more Saranna? Check her out on facebook, or sign up for her newsletter at her website. Tomorrow I’m responding more to Saranna’s post — check it out!

And follow us at Lady Smut where we’ll happily explore your dark side all night long.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Real Life Christian Grey Talks BDSM & Fifty Shades

15 Feb

Hello readers!  We have a guest post for you today from A.C. Rose–an interview republished TheThreeTomatoes.com. Find out more about A.C. Rose’s writing and her book about 50 Shades at her website. Check out her facebook group 50 Shades of Grey Fans.unnamed

Shades of Al Daltrey: Talking About BDSM with a Real Life Christian Grey

As “Fifty Shades Darker” plays in theaters around the world women are once again thinking of Christian Grey, BDSM and sexually dominant males. I felt it my journalistic duty to bring you an interview with a man who knows about it all, first hand.

Al Daltrey is a real life Dom who lives the lifestyle and also writes strong BDSM erotica. His books come with a warning label and are not traditional erotic romances, yet he has gained a following of female fans that appreciate his unapologetic peek into the world of BDSM. You might even say it brings some of them to their knees.

By day, Daltrey dons a suit and tie, and works in marketing. In 2014 he opened his laptop and somewhat accidentally launched a second career as an erotica author, penning his first book, Testing the Submissive. He admits it is “more extreme” than anything he would ever consider doing with a real life submissive, yet readers say the story makes them tingle in all the right places.

There is a line in that book that, to my mind, sums up why women love to read about powerful Alphas. “Experienced and mature dominants always have an understated confidence,” he writes. “There is no need to flaunt their power.” There is something very sexy about men, real and fictional, who own their power.

His second novel, A Condo With Two Views, is written from the point-of-view of both the Dom and the Sub. His most recent books are, Pain, Pleasure, and Purpose: Pleasure (Book One) Pleasure) and Pleasure, Pain or Purpose: Pain (Book Two).They tell the story of three best friends who help each other navigate life, loss and love…and lots of kinky sex. “I poured everything I had into this story,” says the author.

It’s not often you get to pull up a chair and talk to a real life, happily married, sexually dominant male, so we appreciate Al taking the time to answer some of our burning questions.

AC ROSE: What exactly is a male dominant?

AL DALTREY: First, let me say: definitions are not always universal.  Ask 25 people the difference between a liberal and a conservative and you will get 25 different answers. All my answers in this interview are my personal opinion based on my personal experiences. Others in the BDSM lifestyle may disagree, and that is fair.  For this question, I assume you mean a sexual dominant. The simple definition is: a person, male or female, who takes control during consensual sex. The submissive of course, relinquishes that control.

And what is exactly vanilla sex?

Vanilla sex is simply regular, normal, healthy non-BDSM sex.  Or, even more simply…non-kinky sex. It is a term that became popular within the BDSM lifestyle to describe sex between those who are not in the lifestyle.

So from your perspective, can a sexually dominant male enjoy both?

Absolutely.  Personally, I have always loved great vanilla sex. I may practice BDSM, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy vanilla sex too. BDSM became the icing on the cake.  In a good healthy sexual relationship, there are nights where a couple wants the lovemaking to be soft, tender and romantic.  Another night, for kinky fun, they might employ bondage and spanking.  The point is, it’s not all or none. There is room for both.

How did you find yourself on this path, personally? And are you currently in a power exchange relationship?

I was born with it. I know that for a fact. Growing up, the fantasies and inclinations were there. That said, for me, consent is key. I do not believe in force, and do not find force arousing in any way.  Today I am very happily married to my beautiful wife.

Female sexual submission is a controversial topic. Some see female submission as a weakness yet many women find role play satisfying and they obviously like reading about it too.

During my lifetime I’ve been lucky enough to meet my fair share of submissive women. And don’t for a minute think these women were weak. Outside the bedroom they were confident, opinionated, gregarious and self-assured. In fact, many of them were successful executives or professionals. At the workplace, they kicked butt. However, inside the bedroom (so to speak) they wanted to feel the strong firm hand of a dominant man taking complete control.

What got you started writing erotic books?

I started writing because of an interest in BDSM, not because of an interest in writing. One day, I flipped open my laptop and starting writing a kinky BDSM story, not really thinking about where it would lead. Soon I had 20 pages, then 40, then 60 and I knew I was on my way to my first novel.  I heard about self-publishing, so cleaned it up and uploaded it onto Amazon. The reaction seemed positive, and soon I had a Street Team on Facebook helping me promote the book.

Erotic romance is a huge now. Do you find as many readers who just want to read about kinky sex for arousal?

In my view, the market for erotic romance novels is far bigger than the “kinky sex for arousal” market.  The latter market scours the internet for sites such as Literotica to get their fix.  There are exceptions of course.  Some novels do well.  But generally, I believe the kinky sex market is remarkably small.

Since you are writing as a sexually dominant male, what do think women hope to learn from your books, and from you?

I worry about that. My books are not intended to “teach” anything about the BDSM lifestyle. They are intended simply as fiction. A story. I worry when people read my books hoping for a glimpse into the real BDSM lifestyle.  My books have a lot of stuff that I don’t condone.  Just like action movies are exaggerated, so are BDSM novels.  People should read my books for fun, not for education.

Is the sex in your novels rough because that is what your readers want?

It’s not that I’m trying to cater to what the reader wants but in storytelling almost everything is exaggerated for dramatic effect. In a cop story we see these wildly spectacular car chases where 10 Police cars chase a car through crowded streets at speeds of 200 mph. In a medical drama the Doctor heroically saves countless lives.  In a sports movie the athlete scores the winning goal with two seconds left.  Think of every single Hollywood movie you know. So, with a BDSM novel, the same applies. The tasks that the submissive must perform are exaggerated for dramatic effect. It’s fantasy. So, in my books, the sex scenes are intensified as is the case in every other genre.

Your reading audience is primarily women. Some would like to turn their vanilla mates into dominant males, or at least get them to experiment. Any advice on getting guys to try new things?

To answer a question like that would take pages, and even then, it varies by person/couple.  I’m not sure I can provide a succinct answer.  There is some information on my blog.  As I say in my blog: not all men are born with a dominant gene. With those men, I’m not sure that there’s any hope.  Those men who have the underlying qualities – at least there’s hope. Someone could probably write an entire book on this, lol.

Do people call you master?

As mentioned, I am happily married and have been for some time. My wife does not call me “Master” no. Nor do we discuss our personal lives in any kind of detail. I can tell you that I have been called “Master,” and it’s actually a lovely feeling. Obviously it is commonly used in a scene, but also it can be a nice endearment among two people who live the lifestyle.  He might say, “Sleep well my little pet,” and she might say, “Goodnight Master.”  Like anything, if terms of endearment are overused they become goofy.  We’ve all been around couples who make us gag because they are so lovey-dovey.  But used properly “Master” can be a great word. I’m not sure if your question was poking fun at the term…but I hold it in high regard.

Learn more about Al Daltrey.

Find Al Daltrey books.

Visit Al Daltrey’s Erotica BDSM virtual community.

A.C. Rose is a love, romance, and entertainment columnist and author of steamy romance books. Her Latest book is AROUSAL

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Only .99. Click to buy.

 

Allison Monroe just got kissed on an elevator.

But she has no time to be distracted by this gorgeous man, with his panty-melting glances and sexy accent. She’s headed to the most important event of her career—a launch party for the new “My Fantasy e-Reader” at Club Kismet, high atop a Manhattan Skyscraper.

She’s determined to forget about the amatory elevator ride.

But Nicolai Petre has other ideas. That kiss confirmed what his grandmother’s vision had already told him—that Allison is his destiny.

He’s determined win her love but has only six days to prove they are meant to be. So he must keep her in a state of… AROUSAL.

Kinky F*ckery in 50 Shades: Interview with Jackie C. Horne

11 Feb

Ladies—Jackie from ROMANCE NOVELS FOR FEMINISTS is here with me today to delve deeply into the core themes of the 50 Shades phenomenon. We focussed on two questions:

Why do women love this fantasy?

Two reasons I love this fantasy--and they're big and blue.

Two reasons why I love this fantasy–they’re big and blue.

Does 50 SHADES represent a step forward in women’s sexual freedom—or a step back?

If you like 50 Shades and smart discussion – you’re in for a treat!

MADELINE IVA: I’m very interested in focusing on what it is that draws women to the 50 Shades fantasy…

JACKIE C. HORNE: To answer that, you first have to answer the question “what is the fantasy” that these books and films hold out to us? And that fantasy may be different for different readers and viewers. As a literary critic, I see three different fantasies at play in books 1 & 2. First, the fantasy that an ordinary girl (ordinary in both looks and intelligence) can catch the attention of a wealthy, handsome man (the cornerstone of much romance writing).

Second, the fantasy that said ordinary girl can rescue/save an emotionally messed-up man (again, a foundational trope in romance).

And finally, the fantasy that indulging in “kinky fuckery” is something to take pleasure in, rather than something to be ashamed of, even for an ordinary girl. The latter fantasy is the most progressive one, the most positive one as far as women’s rights and women’s sexual freedom goes. But the two former ones are what makes it safe, I think, for readers to accept the latter one. It’s the combination of all three that made the books such a phenomenon. Romance tropes as the life preserver, if you will, that allow readers to imagine themselves swimming out into the less familiar waters of sex with a touch of kink.50

MADELINE IVA: I’ve never heard it stated so well, Jackie! We’ve touched upon this topic before: I see the role of BDSM in the romance genre as representing a fundamental evolution in the role of consent.  Women are now asking for the sex they want and negotiating with their partners for sex that they want –or don’t want!–tons more than they used to.  I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts about this after watching the first movie.

JACKIE C. HORNE: I think this depends on the reader’s relationship with BDSM and the BDSM community. In the book 50 Shades Darker, when Ana is talking about Christian’s sexual needs with Christian’s psychiatrist, Dr. Flynn explains that “of course there is such a thing as sexual sadism, but it’s not a disease; it’s a lifestyle choice. And if it’s practiced in a safe, sane relationship between consenting adults, then it’s a non-issue” (412). If you are a reader who is a sexual sadist, or who is familiar with the BDSM community, then you’re probably going to find 50 Shades problematic when it comes to consent. The reason why I didn’t read these books until you asked me to participate in this discussion was because I had heard from romance writers who write erotic & BDSM romance that the books aren’t an accurate depiction of BDSM or of the BDSM community.

MADELINE IVA: True, but there’s a crap-ton of fantasy in BDSM erotic romance already. Inaccuracies abound and many fans want the fantasy—not the reality. (Esp. when it comes to sex clubs.)

JACKIE C. HORNE: If you’re not familiar with BDSM, though, if you read the consent to kinky sex not as a realistic possibility but as a metaphor, then yes, it can definitely be a metaphor for female consent.

It takes Ana a while (all the way to the end of book 1) to figure out what she wants, and doesn’t want, out of her sexual relationship with Christian. She’s up for bondage, up for spanking, up for lighter sexual pain, all things she never would have imagined she’d liked before she met Christian.

MADELINE IVA: Yes! And in the movie — what we see dominates what we hear. What we SEE is Ana enjoying lite kinky play…In the book, which is so much internal, her confusion and ambivalence take center stage.first-kiss-50

JACKIE C. HORNE: But in the book’s climactic scene, she realizes that she is not up for being punished, for being the object upon which Christian takes out his anger. Refusing to consent to the linking of love and male anger, the idea that male anger is always a part of male love—that may be the key shift from Old Skool romance novels to contemporary romances.

MADELINE IVA: This is a great interpretation, and I agree that if the fundamental message is not to accept male anger as a part of male love, that it’s a good one.  But I don’t know….(more on that later.)

What I saw as I watched that final scene in the first movie was her seeing his emotional pain and wanting to take on his pain — like a martyr.

Meanwhile, Cara McKenna is my touchstone for an author who shows consent VERY well without bogging down the plot or making us fall out of the fantasy.  50 Shades maybe does this less well, but it might be interesting to contrast how consent is carried out in the movie vs. the book.

JACKIE C. HORNE: Did you think there were major differences between book and movie in this regard? I didn’t notice any myself, but if you have specific scenes you can point to, I’d be happy to go back and re-watch the film again.

“Please, Ana, let me make love to you.”

“Yes,” I whisper, because that’s why I’m here. (50 Shades of Grey, 113) 

MADELINE IVA: I’m thinking of the contract stuff.  In the movie she was actively negotiating with him face to face and crossing out elements she vetoed. It seemed like there was energy to this exchange. To me this showed strong female agency — and have we ever seen a woman in a film before negotiating over sex so thoroughly? (Excepting scenes with sex workers–and even then not so much.)

In the book, meanwhile, the contract seemed (this is my interpretation) a packet of doom.  It seemed to make her cringe, and the details dwelt upon had to do with total control over her as well as painful sex acts.  It dragged her down into a pit of (again my take)  “No, no, no, no, OMG. Am I going to have to do this stuff? Gah!

JACKIE C. HORNE: Oh, yes, the contract scene is so great in the film! It shows Ana being far more empowered, and really enjoying the negotiating with Christian. Many film reviews cite that scene as the best thing in the movie.

In the book, the language of the contract appears not just once, but four times (at least in part). Is it just sloppy writing, that repetition? Or is there something really important in that legal language to James? The idea that this is a business relationship, rather than a personal one, to Christian? Which is an idea that Ana ultimately cannot accept.

MADELINE IVA: I’m interesting in talking about Jamie Dornan as a man/actor who was a kind of reluctant participant himself in the movie.  Yes, he did it for his career, and didn’t have long to think about his choice.  Also he is most definitely NOT a fan of the life style.

Dakota Johnson seems to have adapted a bit more (maybe because it’s the corner stone of her career?)

There are interviews where Dornan apologized profusely to Dakota Johnson before each take.  Do we care as much about male consent as we do about female consent? Is this going to be a problem? (Is it one already? Can men refuse sex without having their sexuality challenged, or facing aggressive repercussions –even if not physical violence?)

JACKIE C. HORNE: Your questions make me think about 15-year-old Christian, at the start of his affair with Elena. Did he consent? He says he did, but Ana is consistently appalled by the mere thought of an adult woman inviting a 15-year-old boy to have (kinky) sex with her. Ana never asks Christian to tell her more about his experience; she instantly assumes that he had no agency, no ability to consent, that he was molested and abused.50-shades-shower

I was disappointed that the books, which initially reserve judgment on this issue (was Christian abused? Or was his relationship with Elena a positive, even life-saving one?) end up coming down hard on the side of abuse by the end of book 2. Rather than presenting Ana’s intense jealousy of Elena as misguided or immature, the end of book 2 reinforces the idea that Ana is right to be wary of Elena. I thought this a very sexist move, complete with bitch-slap for the erring woman (not by Ana, but by Christian’s adopted mother).

I wished we could have heard more about Christian’s experience with Elena, that Ana had been more curious rather than judgmental about it. In some ways, you could say that Ana is infantilizing Christian by refusing to grant that even as a 15-year-old, he might have been capable of making informed decisions about his sexual desires.

MADELINE IVA: And this goes back to the core fantasies.  What you saw as the ordinary young woman saving/healing the wounded man I saw as a kind of mothering thing — the power of soothing.  “Let me make the hurt go away” kind of actions.

No cigarette burn scars on his chest in the first movie. Whoops! They fixed it for the second film.

No cigarette burn scars on his chest in the first movie. Whoops! They fixed it for the second film.

JACKIE C. HORNE: The larger issue—about male consent in general—is an interesting one. Yes, a man who turns down a chance to have sex is still likely to have his masculinity, or his heterosexuality, called into question, even in this day and age. But a man who turns down BDSM sex, or feels squicky about it, there’s something different going on there. BDSM sex isn’t as widely accepted, as widely admired, as straight heterosexual sex; there’s a taint attached to it for many people. Wanting to dominate women is a big no-no in our purportedly post-feminist age. So not consenting to participate in Dom/sub sex, or expressing uneasiness or discomfort with having to act as if you enjoy it, can be read by many as a positive thing, an endorsement of more equal power during sex between partners. A women’s rights kind of thing, no?

MADELINE IVA: Well, I actually know men who say “whatever she wants sexually I kinda have to do” and that with one man it’s kinky stuff with his wife. He’s okay with it, because she enjoys it.  With another man it’s about his incredible discomfort playing out semi-rape fantasies with women he’s having sex with…I think part of his discomfort involves reinforcing the perception that in some way he LOOKS predatory, etc.

JACKIE C. HORNE: I haven’t heard similar stories from any of my male friends or acquaintances. But your friends’ experiences do show how men can be subject to (or even victims of) sexual stereotypes. (I’m in the midst of reading a book about a gay asexual man, and he feels quite similarly, that he is surrounded by the imperative “men always want sex”). No man, or woman, should feel like they HAVE to do anything, sex-wise, that they don’t want to do. Ever. I hope your latter friend can find women to date who won’t push him to play the semi-rape game.

MADELINE IVA: Yup, I agree. The singles world of dating, hook-ups, etc, is a jungle—the price we pay for more sexual freedom seems to be more social pressure about sex and displaying sexuality in increasingly artificial ways.

Part of the conundrum of playing up one’s sexuality is that some men I know have that bad boy vibe, but at heart they’re good guys. They draw women to them, but eventually hit an impasse when looks and who he is just doesn’t match her expectations.  In this film the bad boy is gradually revealed as a ‘good boy’ on the inside. So maybe there’s hope for my friends…fifty-shades-ball-1486048963

Moving on! Has Trump ruined billionaire romances? Or put a significant dent in them? I remember thinking: “Consent all you want young woman from a poor family. Once you’re in handcuffs in his home he could do anything he wanted to you and probably get away with it…” and I know this is a direct line of thinking from the news/publicity about Trump during the election…

Yet there’s always one side in the romance world shouting “IT”S JUST A FANTASY!” Is there a problem with saying it’s all just a fantasy? And what are we to do with the constant  demand from women for forbidden sexual fantasy? Should we be pragmatic and accept this?

OR for instance, (as one who grew up watching male fantasies of women in the media), do we understand that this has deeply impacted and harmed our culture?

JACKIE C. HORNE: I was recently interviewed by a reporter for the Village Voice, who asked if I thought the billionaire romance trend had contributed to the acceptance of Trump by many women. Rather than ruining billionaire romances, Trump might be the logical outcome of this romance trend. Because billionaire romances paper over the trouble that actual billionaires present, don’t they? Unlike saintly Christian, whom we only ever see engaging in business that is meant to help the powerless (donating food to Darfur; developing solar technology; donating money to the university to develop sustainable food programs), most real-life billionaires make their money through capitalistic competition, competition that often relies on shortchanging the average Joe (or average Ana) worker. To fantasize about a powerful billionaire falling for them, women have to forget or ignore all the other women (and men) upon whom his billions were built, and upon whom his continued wealth still relies.

And they also have to keep imagining that the only path to power is an indirect one, by being in a relationship with a wealthy man, rather than imagining that they could gain power themselves. Those are both fantasies that limit, rather than empower, women.

So I don’t buy the “it’s just a fantasy” explanation/excuse. What is the fantasy, and why are we having it? That’s a far more productive question, and avenue for exploration.

MADELINE IVA: I have no problem with this, only sometimes the liberal peeps can be as judgmental and shaming as conservatives without exploring the needs, frustrations, and context of those who are very different from them in terms of race or class.  If we could explore all of these issues without a dose of shaming, it would be nice.

But you know, scientific research on sexuality seems to indicate that what sexually turns us on seems to be fixed.  Maybe the “Why” of the fantasy and the turn on go back to that slushy mix of our evolution and what we were exposed to in our youth/teens and that’s that…Which takes us right back to your point about Christian’s first sexual experiences…

Let’s turn to talking about the differences between the first book and movie.  Some things just not translate well from book to movie? I don’t recall when in the book he showed up in Savannah that it was as big a deal to me.  But in the movie I had an involuntary “Stalker!” reaction. He seemed so much creepier in the movie.  Or is this just that I’m coming off watching him in THE FALL where he played a serial killer? ; >50shadesbathrobe

JACKIE C. HORNE: Funny, I had just the opposite reaction!

MADELINE IVA: — Okay, I hang my head and accept that I am having a post-The Fall Dornan experience.

JACKIE C. HORNE: I thought he was far creepier in the book than he was in the film. Dornan just smiled too much to feel like the controlling Christian of the books to me! (Must say I’ve never seen The Fall, though). The film cut out many of book-Christian’s more stalker-y/controlling moves—no mention of him moving her to first class on the plane without asking her, and he’s not so insistent about her eating all the time—so he didn’t come across as quite so control-freakish in the film as he does in the book.

MADELINE IVA: The eating thing.  Ugh!  It also made Ana seem SO PASSIVE and waify/victim-y.50-touching-lips

JACKIE C. HORNE: On the other hand, in book 1, when Ana teases Christian in an email “Have you sought therapy for your stalker tendencies?” he tells her (and us) that “I pay the eminent Dr. Flynn a small fortune with regard to my stalker and other tendencies” (290). This reassured me; I had thought from what people had told me about the books that they normalized stalkery/über-controlling male behavior. That Christian is actively seeing a psychiatrist about his issues sends the opposite message: that stalkery/über-controlling behavior is psychologically problematic. I was disappointed that Christian’s shrink did not make it into the film.

MADELINE IVA: Yes! Anastasia seemed to enjoy most of what they did a whole lot more in the movie than her internals showed in the book.  And did that tilt the scales of problems some people had with the book?

ana-shirt-2JACKIE C. HORNE: For all that we get so much of her internal thoughts in the books, Anastasia of the novels is a pretty empty character. That’s not a good or a bad thing; it’s just a way of telling a story, a way that allows the reader more easily to project herself into the novel than if Ana’s character had more individuality, had been more fully developed. Ironically, though we get little of her internal thoughts in the film, seeing Dakota Johnson up on the screen made her more of a person to me, an individual with thoughts and emotions different from mine, rather than just an empty placeholder for me to project myself onto.

The lack of access to Ana’s thoughts makes her wishy-washy-ness re: the kinky sex less apparent. I agree that in the film, she seems to enjoy the kinky sex more than she does in the books. And that made the story more interesting to me—the story of a woman exploring the boundaries of her own sexual desires.

MADELINE IVA: I agree that Dakota Johnson did a great job of seeming vulnerable and kinda raw in her own skin, but also very fluid and interesting in the kinky scenes.  She also just seemed older, which I found reassuring…

Going back to how this series explores typical/conservative romance values side by side with the more progressive idea of a young woman exploring kinky sex—Ultimately, Ana rejects kinky sex.  Do you think that this is on par with the other more conservative values of the book’s romantic tropes and again, makes it more safe for more conservative romance readers to accept it?  (Noting that this move seems to enrage many BDSM erotic romance authors more than anything else.)

Are we back to the “forced seduction” sexual tropes of the 80’s? In those romance novels it was okay for the woman to have sex in those situations because she didn’t ask for it… In the 50 Shades franchise, is it okay for Ana to explore BDSM-lite because ultimately she rejects it and therefore is still ‘a good girl’?

Meanwhile, what are we in the audience doing throughout the movie if not enjoying Ana’s engaging in forbidden kink?

weredoingwhat

We’re doing WHAT? Everyone seems to agree that both actors are much more comfortable filming together now. Not surprising, given the success of the franchise, and the boost to their respective careers.

JACKIE C. HORNE: Funny, I was thinking about what title I would give this discussion and came up with “Having your kink and condemning it too”!

I agree with you that Ana’s disgust with and rejection of the punishment aspect of Dom/sub play does dovetail with the more conservative values of the book’s romance tropes. Her rejection gives readers an “out,” a having your cake and eating it too safety valve. Which does undercut the progressive message to a large degree.

But on the other hand, Ana doesn’t rejects ALL kink (at least by the end of book 2). As I noted above, she enjoys being tied up, being restrained, being spanked. And in DARKER the book, she’s bugging Christian all the time to go back to the Red Room of Pain. Which doesn’t seem to me to be just about serving Christian’s needs; it seems to be a deep curiosity of her own about kinky sex.

Ana’s rejection of Christian’s sadism (and the book’s rejection of that label for him) enrages many BDSM erotic romance authors because Ana’s decision at the end of book 1 has a larger ideological weight: it tells the reader that the power dynamics in ALL Dom/sub relationships are both shameful AND are signs of psychological damage that needs to be repaired. Which is exactly the opposite message of current psychological thinking, as Dr. Flynn explains. Someone is a sadist just because he (or she) is one, not because he or she was traumatized as a child.

Perhaps Ana should pay Dr. Flynn (or another qualified psychologist) a visit to talk about her own ambivalences about BDSM?

MADELINE IVA: Perhaps!

Thank you Jackie SO MUCH for chatting with me! And readers, don’t forget our KAMA SUTRA giveaway.  All you have to do is hit our pink subscribe button above and to the right.

kama-sutra-giveaway

This giveaway includes massage oil, candle, soap, and lip balm.  (Continental US only!)

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

 

 

 

Fifty Shades Darker Celebration & Valentine’s Giveaway

9 Feb

by Madeline Iva

Are you going to see FIFTY SHADES DARKER this weekend? We are!fifty-ball

Well, Elizabeth SaFleur and I are. We’ve already got our tickets and we’re taking our spouses.  Not only that–we’re holding a celebration event on Facebook to chat with y’all about the FIFTY SHADES DARKER movie.  We hope you join us!50shadesshouldersleeping

Go to our event on facebook, press the *interested* button, then tell us what you thought about the movie:

  • What did you love? The actors, characters, settings, costumes, plot?
  • How did FIFTY SHADES DARKER compared to the book and the first movie?
  • Do you love billionaire romance themes in general? Or BDSM romances in particular? ; >

We’re also blogging about fascinating aspects of the movie here.  (Don’t worry, we’ll post everything over at the fb event too.)

  • Reasons Why Billionaire Romances Are Never Going Away
  • My obsession with Jamie Dornan
  • 5 Ways In Which Real Life Millionaires Aren’t Like Us
  • Jackie Horne from ROMANCE NOVELS WITH FEMINISTS will stop by. We’re discussing where young women are going with BDSM and how this is or isn’t reflected in the movie.
  • Joey Hill shares with us how to get kinky with her 10 favorite kitchen items.

50-shades-take-2

Admittedly, not all of us at the blog are 50 Shades lovers.  You might not be either — that’s why we have other smexy Valentine’s Day posts to offer you this month.  pantiesCheck out our posts on:

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

This Valentine’s Day weekend, we’re offering a Kama Sutra giveaway from Lux Aromatica that includes massage oil, soap, a candle, and lip balm.

To enter the giveaway, hit the SUBSCRIBE button on our blog now–it’s the pink button up at the top on the right–and fill out the form.  One random winner will be chosen from central Virginia where Kerensa’s stores are located and one random winner from the nation at large. (Continental US only, please!)

We look forward to seeing you all this weekend, even if you’re just stopping by to say hi. — xoxo

wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

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