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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.

We Saw Fifty Shades Darker So You Don’t Have To

11 Feb

by Elizabeth SaFleur & Madeline Iva

Happy Weekend! We’re here to share with you all our thoughts after seeing FIFTY SHADES DARKER at the movie theatre last night. fifty-shades-darker

Madeline: I loved seeing that group of women who all came into the theatre wearing masks. In fact, my role here is to see the film with eyes of love.  To understand why women love it, why it’s so ridiculously successful.

Elizabeth: This blog post also could be titled, Fifty Scenes of Dakota’s Boobs. Or Fifty Shades of Mixed Messages.

Madeline: You’re in a mood this morning.  I can tell.

Elizabeth: I don’t hate the Fifty Shades franchise. I don’t love it either. I’m neutral, though I was really hoping Hollywood did a better job of portraying the lifestyle than they did previously. Of course, I recognized this story, from the get-go, isn’t a BDSM erotic romance at all.

Madeline: I mean, I agree.–But what is it then?

Elizabeth: It’s a story of a man with PTSD from his childhood who channels his angst by engaging in supposed sadism (I don’t think he’s really a sadist, by the way) with submissives. He meets an ordinary girl who sends this man mixed signals. But she would. She’s in her early twenties and still figuring herself out. But, Jesus, the back and forth!

All that chest--and no touching it. I would go mad.

All that chest–and no touching it. I would go mad.

Madeline: Yes, she’s still figuring it all out.  Jackie and I talked about that with the first movie. This is a strong message that’s getting out into the world these days and I applaud it.  You hear that men? Women are not playing games.  They’re not f**king with you.  They’re trying to figure it out, okay? And sometimes it’s not easy.

Elizabeth: I get why people love 50 Shades. Billionaires, mild kinky scenarios—

Madeline: Yay to mild-kink! Or, as I like to call it, Kinky-lite.  We need t-shirts.  I’ll get my people right on that.

Elizabeth: –especially if you’ve not been exposed before. People also love the luxurious settings, a man changed by the love of a woman. That trope is old as the hills.

Madeline Iva: As old as the hills–and yet there are real haters out there.  Haters who love romance, confoundingly.

Elizabeth: I get why people hate it. Bad BDSM benchmark set, a weak(er) story structure and did I mention the mixed signals from both characters?

Madeline: One thing about the mixed messages: I think that the movie makers had to do it the way that they did. They had to be true to the book and in the book, she’s walking away from kink.  On the other hand, what do we want? We want hot sex scenes in the movie! Like we had in the first movie, only different.  They delivered both.  Could they have delivered a movie that had a lot less sex? I don’t think so.

Elizabeth: The PR/Marketing person in me also thought they missed an opportunity to make the movie the best possible thing ever. No excuse! I mean, built-in audience, Hollywood! We had a row of women behind us who came as a group all wearing masks. You can’t buy this kind of loyalty.50-shades-darker-teaser-mask

Madeline: You think they should have really dug in and changed things, deepened the script, the plot, etc?

Elizabeth: Yes! So, sadly, this movie isn’t going to win any Oscars.

Madeline: So, here’s what I say — is this even really a movie? I mean, I thought of it as something in film form that was an homage to the book.  I think we’re in the early days of a whole new medium. We need to come up with a jazzy name for it.  I mean, that whole weird section with the helicopter crash? “Real” movies don’t actually work like that.  Which is okay–but comparing this to a movie is like comparing apples to…an apple flavored jolly roger candy.  You know?

Elizabeth: It will certainly please the 50 Shades crowd, but in equal measure that it will tick off the real-life BSDM enthusiasts. (I can’t help but think of how this mirrors our very-politically-divided country right now.)

Fifty pull ups. Cause you know *that* joke isn't getting old.

Fifty pull ups. Cause you know *that* joke isn’t getting old.

Madeline: Aren’t they already ticked off? I mean, by this point, I can’t imagine real-life BDSM enthusiasts going see this movie for sheer love.  Me, I was frankly relieved that it was so kinky-lite in the first movie.  FIFTY SHADES DARKER’s little play-time scenes were icing on the cake.  Besides, I brought my husband to see the movie, and was hoping to placate him with all the sexy biz.

Also, as Jezebel writers said: “What was good: basically nonstop puss eating.”

Elizabeth: !

Madeline: So sez Jezebel, so say we all. On the other hand, people kinda wanted to see Christian’s dick.  Not me, just…people.  #dickparity is a thing, I guess.

Elizabeth: What I liked about the movie: Dakota Johnson has got acting chops.

Madeline: I agree.

Elizabeth: She’d better than most people probably realize given she had to develop that character herself. Anastasia Steele’s clothes. I want that La Perla bustier garter set she’s wearing.

Madeline: We all want that La Perla bustier garter set.  And the body to go with it.

And it looks even better from the back...

And it looks even better from the back…

Elizabeth: –Ya know, for sitting around my home office so I can pretend I’m about to be whisked to a ball. Also, her lips. M and I agree – she had the best lipstick. And it stayed on no matter what they were doing like sucking face, which they did often.

Madeline: I liked the sucking face.  Jamie Dornan sucks face well.

Elizabeth: Christian Grey’s boat. Niiiice. Jamie Dornan’s buffness and scruffness – just the way I like it. Oh, and his neck! I just wanted to bury my face in it.

You want to grab him. Admit it.

You want to grab him. Admit it.

Madeline: I did not need him so buff.  But I am obsessed.  (Posting on that later.)

Elizabeth: The general eye candy was great. They live in a beautiful world.

Madeline: I was going through eye candy withdrawl. This movie definitely helped.

Elizabeth: But I can’t get over the mixed signals: “Christian, I can never, ever give you what you need.” Ten minutes later, “Christian, spank me.” “Take me to the red room.” Make up your mind, lady. You’re either into the kink or you’re not.

Madeline: Okay, here’s my take on that — at first in their relationship he wanted total control.  Even to the point of saying he didn’t “do relationships”.  Gah.  It’s like a dance, and he was always leading.

In FIFTY SHADES DARKER, she takes control.  It’s not about consistency.  It’s about her leading. In the past, with all his interactions the dominant dynamic was about them pleasing him.  Now he has to keep up with her, follow her lead, and prove to her that he can please her.  It’s all about her, people! (Which is catnip to us romance ladies.)

She's steering the ship now.

She’s steering the ship now.

Elizabeth: His admission that he’s not a Dominant, but a sadist really bothered me.

Madeline: It was certainly abrupt.

Elizabeth: And they acted like being a sadist must be a very, very, very bad thing. It’s not!!

Madeline: She’s getting on her BDSM soap box people.

Elizabeth: If you’re truly a responsible sadist, you play with consenting adults, and you never harm anyone.

Madeline: Which is different from causing them pain

Elizabeth: Right.  Pain is temporary, and some masochists get an endorphin rush off controlled pain, which registers as a kind of pleasure…so they like it.

Madeline: Yes, yes, yes!

Elizabeth: Harming someone is completely different.

Madeline: Noted.

Elizabeth: I had an issue with the symbolic kink. The movie brings out the usual kinky props, but clearly for symbolic reasons. There’s the blindfold and the cuffs but within one minute they’re having sex. They bring out the spreader bar and within one minute they’re having sex.  He gives her four spanks and then they’re having sex. I get it. They’re young, full of hormones and hot. But don’t expect any real BDSM. The movie had tons of sex and a little slap and tickle.

Madeline: I didn’t mind that at all. Huzzah to symbolic kinky sex!

Elizabeth: Speaking of the spreader bar. People…please DO NOT go to Amazon, buy the first spreader bar you see and do that flip move that Christian did to Ana without a lot of practice.

Do not try this at home...

Do not try this at home…

Madeline: It did look…quite…gymnastic.

Elizabeth: I’m not quite convinced that spreader bar exists in real life.

Madeline: A retractable spreader bar.  Yeah, that was a new one to me too.

Elizabeth: So don’t risk spraining an ankle or wrenching a back.

Madeline: Her breasts were like a third character in the movie.

Elizabeth: If there was an opportunity to show them off, the movie did.

Madeline: It’s actually in her contract–she must be topless or naked at least every fifteen minutes of the movie. (Joking.) But reading interviews, I think the actress has made this her thing.  And if an actor is a bit of an exhibitionist, who are we to complain? (I’m looking at you, Orlando Bloom.)

Elizabeth: Why couldn’t we get his glory to be the third character? Equal rights, man.

Madeline: #DickParity — starting that hashtag right now

Elizabeth: This movie was more sex positive than the last — and Ana wasn’t as big as a doormat as she was in the first movie.

Madeline: Amen to that!

Elizabeth: Oh, and for grins you really must check out this post from a Redbook writer, I Tried All the Sex From Fifty Shades Darker In One Weekend. Hilarious.

Madeline: I can’t believe Redbook did that…that is awesome.  Final comments?

Elizabeth: Bottom line: If you are a 50 Shades fan, you’ll love this movie.

Madeline: Durh.

Elizabeth: If you are a real-life BDSM lifestyler, you’ll probably stay away anyway. Christian is someone who needs to be “cured.” Yeah, right.  But what he needs (IMHO) is help with his PTSD, not his BDSM proclivities (though I’m not convinced BDSM even really is his thing).

Madeline: What is his thing?

Elizabeth: Okay–Growing up, Christian discovers how to use kink to channel his anger from his childhood trauma.  And so maybe when he gets together with her, and they bond, that anger starts to go away? And that’s why he walks away from it all.

Towards the end of the series, he says he doesn’t want to do it anymore.  In the third book he doesn’t want a red room in the new house.

A Dominant, meanwhile, that’s their main thing–being in control.  If he actually can be happy without being in control, yeah, he’s not a Dominant.  And a sadist — I’m sorry, but you don’t just actually decide not to be someone who gets off on pain.  It’s like trying to pray your way out of being gay.

Madeline: So if this was real life–which it’s not–Elena would be right.  Ana and Christian together as a couple would be a compromise for him.  A compromise most couples don’t survive.

Kim Basinger plays Elena in the movie--which makes it all very meta.

Kim Basinger plays Elena in the movie–which makes it all very meta.

Elizabeth: Right.  If it was real life.

Madeline: Which it’s not.

Elizabeth: I don’t care if this story is fiction, that idea should be sorted out. Okay, Hollywood, can you do that for us? So we’re ALL happy? See built-in audience above.50shadesshouldersleeping

And don’t forget out V-Day Giveaway.  Subscribe to Lady Smut — push the pink bottom at the top right of your screen and you’ll be entered to win. 

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

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.

 

 

All I Want For Christmas is…Orgasms For Everyone

15 Dec These handcuff bangles come in gold too.  They come with a little bag that says "There is freedom in restraint."

by Madeline Iva

Dear Santa: I gave a down & dirty questionnaire to the ladies at UNBOUND whose mission is to pry open your imagination… ; > …and inspire the sexual fantasies of women everywhere.  Here are their replies, along with a few naughty gift ideas for that special someone–yourself.

1. What have you seen/experienced going on with sexual relations in real life that gives your job at Unbound meaning to you?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): For me, it was going through a radiation treatment from cancer without one single doctor acknowledging that I was going through menopause or how it would affect my sex life. As I got older, I realized that, relative to male sexuality, female sexuality is often swept under the rug or dismissed. Every day at Unbound we work to acknowledge female sexuality and to provide a place where women can explore and enjoy whatever sex means to them.

Got stocking stuffers? Ice Cube Nipple Balm--in Choco-Mint!

Got stocking stuffers? Ice Cube Nipple Balm–in Choco-Mint!

2. Any specific incidents you are willing to share that resulted in a ‘I’m-going-to-give-up-dating-and-go play-with-my-sex-toys-by-myself” kind of mood?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): Unsolicited DPs are always great for that.

3. Any warnings or hilarious anecdotes about sex toys gone wrong/performing poorly? (Obviously not Unbound products, right?)

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): When I first started Unbound we kept all our inventory in a closet at our coworking space which was full of older accountants (i.e., *not* your hip coworking space, by any means). One day I went to grab something out of the closet and an entire case of bullet vibrators fell out on top of me and started actually vibrating all over the floor. Everyone in the coworking space watched as I tried to turn them all off and get them back in the closet.

These handcuff bangles come in gold too. They come with a little bag that says "There is freedom in restraint."

These handcuff bangles come in gold too. They come with a little bag that says “There is freedom in restraint.”

4) Explore how you wish people saw you vs. the ego-crushing reality of how your friends see you.

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): I think people often assume that the life of a startup is glamorous and truthfully it is anything but. Being responsible for a company means that it’s up to you to make things happen — this can mean anything from spending weekends in a warehouse to answering customer service emails at 2am. That’s not to say I don’t love it (I DO!) but it’s like having a baby — you love that baby and you’d do anything for it, but there are many times when you just want to get some damn sleep.

Gasp! Bondage Tape $8. F*** yeah.

Gasp! Bondage Tape $8. F*** yeah.

5) Do you all live in NYC? I hear it’s brutal there in terms of finding love.  Care to share any stories that contradict this/validate this hypothesis?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): I love dating in NYC because there’s always the opportunity for serendipitous romance. I was walking in Washington Square Park a couple months ago and a guy ran up to me and insisted on getting my number and going out on a date. I’m pretty sure he was homeless because when he showed up for the date he had all his belongings with him but it was still romantic! (Note from Madeline–See Arrested Development, Season Two where Lindsay dates Tom Jane.) Similarly, I fell off my bike a month ago and my license went flying and the guy who helped me look for it ended up asking me out. Only in New York can you fall off your Citibike and look like a complete idiot and end up with a date.

6) Snap-chat? Tinder? How are cutting edge gals like yourself hooking up these days?  Any advice? Words of caution?

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): Sometimes I use Bumble, I like that the power to start the conversation is in the hands of the woman. But honestly the swiping is exhausting and I struggle to find dedicated time for the polite small talk and vetting. In my experience, romance and sex and love have a way of finding me when I’m least looking for it, and that’s kind of how I like it.

7) Finish this sentence: In a future world of perfect sexual equality and empowerment we’d all be….

POLLY (CEO of UNBOUND): …having orgasms daily.

Thanks Polly! Now we turn to Lorraine—

1) What have you seen/experienced going on with sexual relations in real life that gives your job at Unbound meaning to you?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I find it tragic that so many people are afraid to try or ask for things in bed that they might be curious about or even know they find pleasurable from having experimented alone, simply because they are concerned that their partner or their friends may judge them to be somehow deviant or weird.  Because we’re all so different, finding out what works for you is by nature a trial and error proposition and if you’re only willing to try the narrow sliver of things that are conventional the odds are that you’re not going to experience as much pleasure as perhaps you could.

Ladies, it's a vagina pillow. Are those feathers? No, they're little, tiny, vaginas...

Ladies, it’s a vagina pillow. Are those feathers? No, they’re little, tiny, vaginas…

2) Any specific incidents you are willing to share that resulted in a ‘I’m-going-to-give-up-dating-and-go play-with-my-sex-toys-by-myself” kind of mood?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): When I encounter people who are excruciatingly boring, humorless or otherwise terrible I can seldom make it past a second drink and often turn heel to do exactly that.  If everything is “epic”, if you think that “all lives matter”, if you show up in *that* goddamn gingham J Crew shirt and proceed to talk about your love of IPAs I’d rather listen to the buzz of a hitachi than your nattering on.

3) Any warnings or hilarious anecdotes about sex toys gone wrong/performing poorly? (Obviously not Unbound products, right?)

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION):I was once giving someone an erotic massage and reached for what I thought was oil, but which turned out to be clitoral stimulant- something I only belatedly realized after having already slathered it on my subject’s back.  Their skin started to get red and warm and I tried to play it off as having been a warming massage oil.  Whoops.

Unbound has really cool curated boxes. This is a menopause box -- click to buy.

Unbound has really cool curated boxes. This is a menopause box — click to buy.

4) Explore how you wish people saw you vs. the ego-crushing reality of how your friends see you.

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I’m a total Instagram whore and so someone only viewing me through that lens would probably think my life is leisurely travel and fancy cocktails.  But the reality is I’m always glued to my phone or laptop working, no matter where I am and that I only sleep like 4-5 hours any given night.  Working all the time with so many deadlines and things to juggle can mean that I’m often looking to get to the point in conversation and sometimes social niceties can fall by the wayside. While in my mind I’m also an outgoing, open-minded, fun-loving person, my friends would probably say I can be a little (ok, strike that, very) blunt, cynical and overloud in public spaces and polite company.  I’m pretty sure it’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older but it’s made me appreciate the friends who stick by me despite my coal black heart and sharp tongue all the more.

5) Do you all live in NYC? I hear it’s brutal there in terms of finding love.  Care to share any stories that contradict this/validate this hypothesis?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I’m by no means the first to point this out but it’s a double-edged sword.  On the one hand there are a multiplicity of options- with 9+ million people to choose from (more if you count the B&T crowd I guess) you can basically find every combination of body type, personality, career etc.  On the other hand, because everyone knows they have options, people are more reluctant to get emotionally invested in who they date and can tend to treat people as disposable.  Ghosting is a big problem (which isn’t to say I’ve never done it)- but I get it.  Why settle down with one person when the entire city is at your feet?  It’s a hard sell.

6) Snap-chat? Tinder? How are cutting edge gals like yourself hooking up these days?  Any advice? Words of caution?

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION): I like to meet people in person at events or through friends I know to be a better judge of character than I am, whenever possible.  But apps are alright- though I don’t really read into matches much because some people just mindlessly swipe right.  My litmus test is much more the conversation- I can usually tell in few lines of interchange whether someone is passably witty, funny, not deterred by something like Unbound etc.  Of course apps introduce the risk of getting catfished (which fortunately has only happened to me once, albeit in hilarious fashion: the person turned out to be four feet tall and he talked in a high-pitched movie villain German accent just like Dr. Strangelove.)  Yikes.

I love how when you go to Unbound's Shop page, Anal is the first category. I love how this anal stimulator is called MOODY. I love how it resembles an evil gnome, ready to kill you with orgasms.

I love how when you go to Unbound’s Shop page, Anal is the first category. I love how this anal stimulator is called MOODY. I love how it resembles an evil gnome, ready to kill you with orgasms.

In any event I try to look for people who seem progressive and comfortably self-assured, because such things typically bode well for more confidence and open-mindedness in the bedroom.  Unfortunately until we life in a dystopian nightmare where there is a Yelp for people’s sexual prowess, however, you never know what you’re working with until you know.

7) Finish this sentence: In a future world of perfect sexual equality and empowerment we’d all be….

LORRAINE (HEAD of CURATION):…less stressed, uptight and more willing to try things.

wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_high_res_1800x2700Madeline 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.

Sex toys, always more than meets the eye…

29 Oct

By Isabelle Drake

Mysterious, tantalizing, surprising, smooth, and designed to make you feel amazing.

Think I’m describing a perfect guy? Nope. I’m describing sex toys—everything from the tried and true girl’s best friend, the classic vibrator, to remote control butt plugs. If you’re lucky enough to be a woman, toys are all about you because all the best ones are designed to increase a woman’s pleasure. They give you the opportunity to take ownership of your sexuality, experiment with different sensations, and most of all have fun.

Sex toys are a rite of passage. Where were you when you got your first? Your eighteenth birthday party? Bridal shower? At one of the shops on the side of the freeway? It’s awesome to receive a sex toy as a gift because it’s an invitation to a sisterhood. It hilarious to roam through a shop with your girlfriends, maybe after having a couple (several?) afternoon martinis, giggling and daring each other to try something ‘outrageous.’ You know what else is great? Receiving a box of fantastic erotic goodies delivered right to your door.

Here at Lady Smut we’re being treated to a some of the amazing, thrill-inducing subscription boxes from Unbound, a discreet subscription service for women who are unleashed, adventurous, independent, and know love a decadent time. Every three months the ba14805650_1242456599151177_910417584_n.jpgbes at Unbound put together a fantastic collection of items designed to put some sass in your step. This month I was treated to the Double Entendre box and yep, my steps have been sassy ever since.

The center attraction of this box, the Je Joue Ooh Collection. “The Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid once said that life is full of tough choices. But what if it weren’t? Je Joue’s fabulous new “Ooh” collection features a core vibrator motor that can be used with whatever your heart desires- be it a butt plug, a cock ring or their fabulous “pebble” clitoral vibe.” Sure,  I stole those lines right from the Unbound’s own site. By why not? That description is perfect. This set offers endless possibilities for private time.

The treasure from the box I’ve gotten the most use from is the one the box must’ve been named for. Is it a gleaming pair of bangles? Nope. Look closer. It’s a pair of golden handcuffs. This flirty accessory is an absolute conversation starter. Put on your sexiest blouse or form fitted T, run your fingers across the edge while chatting with the object of your desire, and the rest of the night is going to go your way. handcuff_mirror_grande.jpg

Cuff yourself? Link the two of you together? Or hook that hot one to the bed. These are all excellent ways to make sure everyone gets what she—and he—wants. Because we rock here at Lady Smut, we’ve written about handcuff before. Check out our post, Very Restrained Foreplay: Handcuffs in Hollywood.

Let’s not forget the yummy Smith and Sinclair cocktail pastilles, scrumptious Sliquid flavored lubricant and inviting Unbound door hanger. Yep, those were in that box too.

Isabelle Drake writes urban fantasy, erotica, and erotic romance. She even wrote a story, PLAY FOR KEEPS, about a woman’s first experience with sex toys.

514-180x288About PLAY FOR KEEPS:

Two men, one woman, a secluded beach and a challenge – which man really knows how to give her what she craves?

Keera Koltai is convinced she’s lost her sexual spark. Burnt out from her work at an adult toy store, Fantasies Inc., she’s headed south for some time alone – away from men. But thanks to a washed-out causeway, she finds herself stranded on a tiny island with two guys. For years, she’s listened to customers talk about lust at first sight, but she’d decided if it hadn’t happened to her already, it was never going to happen. Her instant reaction to the men proves that theory all wrong.

Check out an excerpt, share your experiences and thoughts about erotic play, and follow us here at Lady Smut. We know what you want and we’re here to give it to you.

Forcing A Collision of Fantasy and Reality With Renee Rose

26 Aug

By Elizabeth SaFleur

Today we have a special treat for you my LadySmutters. USA Today Bestselling Author Renee Rose is here! And don’t squeal too loudly, but…a sexy snippet from Renee’s latest work in progress is within this interview. Oh, go ahead and squee…I did.

For those of you who don’t know Renee, well…she’s a self-professed naughty wordsmith who writes BDSM and spanking romance novels. Named Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, she has also won The Romance Reviews Best Historical, Sci-Fi and BDSM awards, and Spanking Romance Reviews’ Best Historical, Erotic, Ageplay and favorite author. She’s hit #1 on Amazon in multiple categories in the U.S. and U.K., is often found on the list of Amazon’s Top 100 Erotic Authors and is a regular columnist for Write Sex Right. She also pens BDSM stories under the name Darling Adams.

On to the goodies…

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What draws you to write about the Domestic Discipline or 1950’s household lifestyle?
RENEE ROSE: I prefer non-con or dub-con, so domestic discipline offers perfect, delicious scenarios for punishments, humiliation or D/s scenes to wind my crank. I think there’s something about the “danger” of non-consent or dubious consent–the not knowing for sure when or if he’ll stop, etc. that heightens the turn-on.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Do you believe today’s world of women’s hyper-independence contributes to this desire for Domestic Discipline (or some form of it)? Or perhaps it’s just the fantasy of reading it that provides some relief?
RENEE ROSE:I definitely think it’s just about the submission fantasy. I think of D/s as a sexual orientation–something about ten percent of the population are born into. I think it would be there regardless of the current gender roles.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: You’re so prolific! What is your writing day like? How do you get so many books published? We want to drink whatever you’re drinking.
RENEE ROSE: For some reason, I always have this feeling I’m behind! I have all these books in mind and can’t seem to keep up with them. I feel like the little hamster in the wheel! I see clients out of my home and write in the in-between times–whenever I can. I bring my laptop with me everywhere so I can write during my daughter’s piano lesson or at Starbucks after dropping the kids at school and before an appointment.

(Ed Note: Okay, now I’m jealous. Being able to write anywhere? What a gift.)

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: You also write in so many genres—regency, contemporary, western, medieval, paranormal, renaissance, age play, domestic discipline, spanking, and Sci-fi. That is quite a list. Do you have a favorite? Do you just wake up and think, ‘hmm, today I want to write in X genre.’ Or do you have a set schedule?
RENEE ROSE: LOL. I think I do just wake up and think, “hmmm, today I think I’ll write a ___.” 🙂 It’s whatever mood strikes me I guess. The common thread is always the D/s.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Is there a story you’re just dying to tell but haven’t been able to turn your attention to it yet?
RENEE ROSE: So many!!! I’m waiting to write a new shifter book (and I have another trio plotted) and I need to write the follow up to His Human Slave. There are several others yapping away to be written too!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR:  What had you write BDSM under a different name, Darling Adams?
RENEE ROSE:  I was at a stage in my career when I felt like I needed to reinvent myself. I was lucky in that I had some initial popularity right out of the gates, but then readers’ interest seemed to tail off. I think trying out a new name just helped me shift out of my “stuck” energy. I also had the idea at the time that I would make a clear delineation. Renee Rose would be for DD-style books and Darling Adams would be for BDSM. Of course there’s no such clear delineation anyway, so I don’t know what I was thinking!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: How much do you believe fantasy and reality collide in DD, BDSM, spanking and other kink novels? And is there a line you won’t cross? Or a line you think should be crossed more often?
RENEE ROSE: I have crossed many lines I didn’t think I would. When I started writing, I didn’t think I’d write ageplay. Or even BDSM (I found consent boring). I didn’t think I’d write rape-y scenes, but I just wrote my first one in His Human Slave. I guess I hope all my books force a collision of fantasy and reality. The reality is the emotions involved and the fantasy, of course is the actions/plot. I hope all the emotions come across as “real.” To me they certainly are.

(Ed note: His Human Slave is part of the Human Surrender anthology.)

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What are you reading?
RENEE ROSE: I’ve been reading mainstream novels with a D/s edge, studying how far a mainstream author can go. My agent wants me to write a “non-kinky” version of my Bossman series so I just finished reading Kresley Cole’s Gamemaker series and Tessa Bailey’s Protecting What’s His. There’s a little ass-slapping and all kinds of dominate talk, without ever crossing into real D/s. They work for me–they still turn me on. Even though they don’t have my full fantasies playing out, I could imagine them there, between the pages. I’m hoping to do that with this new series.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Oh, I love the Gamemaker series! Anything else coming, writing-wise, for you?
RENEE ROSE: I’m sketching out the non-kinky mafia series right now. In the first book, the heroine is an art historian with bad taste in men. She’s left her last boyfriend and taken a temporary job at a mafia-owned casino as a maid. While cleaning the owner, Nico Tacone’s apartment, he shows up and assumes she’s a spy, subjecting her to a strip search.

Here’s a little snippet:
He reached out and ran his fingers swiftly along the collar of my housekeeping dress, like he was feeling for some hidden wire tap. I was pretty sure the guy was half out of his mind, maybe delirious with sleep deprivation. Maybe he’s just nuts. I froze, not wanting to set him off.

To my shock, he yanked down the zipper on the front of my dress, all the way to my waist.

A tiny mewl left my lips, but I didn’t dare move, didn’t protest. In a flash, the dress dropped at my feet and he shoved me aside to get it out from under my feet. He picked it up and ran his hands all over it, still searching, determined I must have hidden something.

“Look, I don’t know what you’re looking for, but I don’t have it,” I squeaked. “I was helping Shannon and then she got a call–”

“Save it,” he barked. “You’re too fucking perfect. What’s the con? What the fuck are you doing in here?”

I was confounded. Did I keep arguing the truth when it only pissed him off? I swallowed. No words reached my brain that sounded like the right ones to say.

He reached for my bra. It was a front hook and he was obviously quite experienced with women’s lingerie because it’s off faster than the dress. My breasts spring out with a bounce, and he glares at them, nostrils flaring, as if I was the one who bared them just to tempt him. He examines the bra, then tosses it on the floor and stares at me. His eyes dipped once more to my breasts and his expression grew even more furious.

I tried to step back but I ran into the toilet. “I’m not hiding anything. I’m just a maid. I got hired a few weeks ago. You can call Samuel.”

He dropped the bra and stepped closer. The hardened menace on his handsome face flattered him, only increasing his attractiveness to me. My body thrilled at the nearness of him, pussy dampening. Or maybe it was the fact that he just stripped me practically naked while he stood there fully clothed. If I hadn’t been so scared, it would be uber hot.
He palmed my backside, hot fingers sliding over the satiny fabric of my panties, checking for bugs. He slid a thumb under the gusset, running the fabric through his fingers. My belly fluttered.

Oh God. The back of his thumb brushed my dewy slit. I cringed in embarrassment. He just noticed how wet he made me. His head jerked up and he stared at me, in surprise nostrils flaring.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR:  Whew! Panting a little over here. We can’t wait until this book comes out! In the meantime, what is your favorite way to connect with readers?
RENEE ROSE: I have a private facebook group where we have weekly “Wanton Wednesday” meet ups to discuss issues related to kink, relationships, books, implements, sex, etc. I absolutely adore and look forward to those events. I also get a fair amount of reader emails–I love when readers write back to share their journey with D/s.

All the better for us!

Psst…Did you know Renee also wrote a wonderful short in the Hero to Obey series, which features our very own Alexa Day, too?

THE LADYSMUT FAST LANE

Favorite smexy scene you’ve written?  I loved the angry whipping scene in His Human Slave.
Billionaire, cowboy or military hero? (or other?)  Billionaire, but military hero’s a close second.
Going back in time or jumping forward to the future? Back in time (corporal punishment– yay!).
Story you wish someone would tell already! I’d love more books that empower kids to follow their own hearts
Favorite holiday?  Thanksgiving. I love to cook and who doesn’t adore gratitude?
Tea, coffee, wine or martini (or all of the above)?  Coffee, then wine.
Number one bucket list item?  New York Times bestseller!

LOVE LINKS – Stalk Renee here
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And if you’re seeking a little more D/s and domestic discipline in your life, read Renee Rose or my latest release, PERFECT, a DD erotic romance with just a touch of suspense. Sometimes the perfect man is the most forbidden.

Click on image to buy

Psychological Torture You Pay For. Say Hello To The Blackout Experiments.

3 Aug

By Elizabeth Shore

In a country where it’s said anything can be had for a price, I haven’t given much thought to parting with my cold hard cash in order to be psychologically tortured. To have people scream at me, gag me, call me filthy names, force me to take off my clothes and run blindfolded through a dark room while being told what a hellish loser I am. But there are, it turns out, people who are indeed willing to not only voluntarily go through the experience but to pay money to do so. Introducing The Blackout Experiments.

I learned about this in a documentary film a saw recently entitled, appropriate enough, The Blackout Experiments. The film follows a group of participants – “survivors,” they label themselves – while they speak of their experiences with Blackout and talk about what makes them become borderline obsessed/addicted to it. And yes, one man’s therapist wife, whose speciality is treating addicts, told her husband he was indeed as hooked on Blackout as an alcoholic is to booze.  Yet Blackout, according to those who indulge, is not so much a harmful addiction as it is a cathartic experience to confront and overcome one’s deepest psychological fears. A true transformational process. As one participant in the film stated, “Blackout has the ability to change you if you let it. You learn what you’re capable of.”

As we get to see what goes on in the haunted house that is Blackout, a pattern emerges. Every participant is really there to confront his or her fears, and what exactly those fears are sets the stage for the Blackout experience. Participants want something truly powerful, something they’ve never experienced before. The film’s primary subject, Russell, stated, “I think deep down I want something intense enough that pushes me to the point where I want out but that I choose not to.” After a pause he adds, “That almost sounds like I want to overcome something.” And that, in fact, is what he does want, or at least what “survivors” say is the entire point. They want to overcome their fears.

But is this really what it takes for that to happen? Is there no way to conquer those demons other than being repeatedly degraded and humiliated by strangers? It seems from the film that many would say there isn’t. They’re like phoenixes emerging from the ashes, survivors of the fire and better because of it.

Naturally, the whole thing had my Lady Smut mind delving into sexual parallels. There are those who claim humiliation is the surest path to arousal. Being called a filthy whore, told to lick someone’s boots or clean whips with their tongue. The S&M part of BDSM once – although no longer – considered pathological, has similar psychological outcomes for participants as those who  go through a Blackout experience. S&M participants have reported lessened states of anxiety after engaging in sadomasochistic sex, and researchers say there’s science behind this related to how the body restricts blood flow to certain areas of the brain during S&M sex. The result, for some participants, is a feeling of “oneness,” and an actual altered state of consciousness.

That all sounds groovy, but I’m not jumping on that Blackout bandwagon. One guy in the film, who was the experience’s only detractor, said he’d gone through Blackout a number of times until it reached a point where he felt it had morphed from helping him overcome fears into what he called actual abuse. He claimed he’d been slapped and had feces stuffed in his mouth, and that session had gone far beyond the point where it helped him. Yet like a druggie who experiences a terrorizing hallucination, even those who said they thought Blackout might have at one point or another “gone too far” still came back for more. It wasn’t until the end of the film in which we saw the guys who run Blackout actually make the participants kick the habit and swear off the experience forever. One guy said it was if it had been decided that they’d “graduated” from Blackout and there was no longer anything from it that they could learn through more sessions. But the participants were hard-pressed to want to give it up. One woman said she felt like it was a rejection.

Speaking of those guys who run the sessions, their names are Kristjan Thor and Josh Randall. They only spoke for a few minutes at the end of the film, but what they said was interesting. Josh stated that the point of Blackout was to give something to the participants that was “undismissible (sic).” If we push ourselves to the limit, he says, it allows us to learn certain truths about ourselves. That’s why people pay money to be tortured.  An interesting side note: the two guys state that the concept was born out of wanting to make a wildly new haunted house experience, something no one had ever done before. But the concept grew, eventually becoming something far beyond its haunted house immersive theater beginnings into a deeply meaningful experience for a lot of tortured souls.

If anything, it’s certainly it’s a conversation starter. Are you ready to take the Blackout plunge? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to follow us at Lady Smut. We promise it won’t be torture.

 

 

 

We’re All Kinky Monsters. Yes, We Are.

22 Jul

By Elizabeth SaFleur

I have no frickin’ idea how to start this post, except to tell you the truth. I was minding my own Internet business doing research when I came across  this Psychology Today blog post talking about how fetishes aren’t so, well, fetish-y anymore. It’s a fascinating short read in which I learned in some parts of Japan you can find vending machines that sell used school girl panties. Ya know, to satisfy that on-the-go panty fetish urge.

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But after reading said post, a question arose. Are there any sexual taboos left? Any more sexual proclivities one wishes to keep secret? Like not out in public via vending machine where anyone with a phone can snap a pix of you burying your snoz in a girl’s thong?

Let us review. A decade (or two) ago, being gay was considered scandalous. Five years ago (okay, maybe ten), most people were aghast at BDSM. The Fifty Shades phenomenon cured that last one — sort of. So now? I ask, in my best Carrie Bradshaw voice, are there any sexual activities left that cause scandal? Or have we all woken up to the fact we’re all kinky monsters at heart?

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According to Psychology Today, fetishism is “sexual attraction to objects, situations, or body parts not traditionally viewed as sexual.” This definition did not help at all in discovering who might fall into the kinky camp.  I turned to the diagnostic criteria for 302.81, a.k.a Fetishism, from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, Copyright 2000, by the American Psychiatric Association. (We at Ladysmut like to be all official-like with our references.)

Criteria, by the Big Bad-Ass Psychology Community, for being a fetishist:

  1. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the use of nonliving objects (e.g., female undergarments).

Does a vibrator count? Because that pretty much puts most of the female population on this list.

  1. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Well, that depends. Define impairment. Like think about it all the time? Wouldn’t that put most males between the age of 12 and, oh, 70 in that category because they have sex on the brain?

  1. The fetish objects are not limited to articles of female clothing used in cross-dressing (as in Transvestic Fetishism) or devices designed for the purpose of tactile genital stimulation (e.g., a vibrator).

So, I guess dressing up as a woman if you’re a man and using a vibrator isn’t a fetish? And if I’m a woman who worships her vibrator like the God-given-best-thing-man-ever-invented-since-fire miracle that it is,  I’m off the hook, too? But if I throw in some stuffed animals (plushophilia) or other objects, I’m a deviant? What about foot fetishes (podophilia)? They’re human (partly) and not an object. (I’m not gonna lie to you, I want to do Alexander Skarsgard’s abs as seen in Tarzan like nobody’s business.)

Further research only confuses things. You  can find reams of studies that show kinky sexual fantasies are super common, how some kinks (such as cuckolding) are growing in popularity, and  how even the Big Bad-Ass Psychology Community has been re-assessing its viewpoints on BDSM (not considered a kink by many, but close enough for our purposes).

giphy (4)

Bottom line, there seems to be a growing acceptance that if something turns you on and you’re not hurting anyone (including yourself), have at it. Okay, then. Carpe the fucking diem out of that turn-on.

Yet perhaps something even more important is going on. We’re growing to become more of who we really are and not society’s version of who you should be?  Sorry for the Dr. Phil moment. But, really, addressing your desires, even the dark scary ones that some Big Bad Ass Psychology Community has deemed “not normal” can be empowering and healthy (once again provided it’s safe, sane and consensual). In fact, many new studies have shown people who engage in BDSM are happier and healthier than most people. Why? Because they’re being themselves.

Psst. In case you’re absolutely convinced you’re 100 percent vanilla, I don’t want to burst your bubble. But if you are turned on by hot men (or women) pictures you might fall into pygophilia, the love of buttocks. Or, perhaps you love muscles? You have sthenolagnia. Sicko. Then, of course, most males would fall into having mazophilia, which is worshiping breasts. Geez, get out the straight jackets.

Personally, I think we should all adopt erotophilia: Positive attitude to sexuality (opposed to erotophobia). Here, let us help:

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Follow Ladysmut. We don’t mind if you’re kinky. We love eeeeeverybody.

Speaking of which, check out Rachel Kramer Bussel’s latest anthology, Begging For It.

What would you give — or give up — to fulfill your most cherished sex fantasy? In this Cleis Press collection, erotica editor Rachel brings us femme fatales and shy women, women on a mission and women opening up to new worlds of discovery: women who know what they want and are not afraid to beg for it! Let yourself go with these 20 tantalizing tales of tortuous longing and release.

*****

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get a little graphic about it  — “it” being the smex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. She also is super proud of her erotophilia and sthenolagnia.

He’s Hot, He’s Tied Up, and He’s All Yours–Now What Are You Gonna Do?

30 Jun He's hot, he's tied up, and he's all yours.  Now what are ya gonna do?
Some days a woman feels her inner spank more than others.

Some days a woman feels her inner spank more than others.

by Madeline Iva

Let’s talk about women in seriously tight leather, wielding whips. While everybody hates a shrieking bitch, we all respect the woman who has her sh** majorly together.  This woman is my role model when I encounter her–be she a mom or a boss.

She is unflappable when it comes to getting results.  ‘Results’ often means putting man or man-child back in his place and making him behave.  I respect this kind of woman–but do I identify with her as my heroine in an erotic romance story? Sure I do!

In the DEVIL’S DOORBELL anthology I was raving about last week, the heroine in Megan Heart’s story is a domme, with a hot sub.  His dick may be in chains (literally) but he is clearly empowered with his own agenda.

Our heroine in this story is heart sore (but then again, what Megan Hart heroine isn’t? ; >) She tends to his needs, until her own needs become so large, that her sub puts his role aside.  He takes his turn being the comforting one, the one to hold her and fuck her hard if that’s what she needs.

All of which helps when a demon from her past comes back into town.  This bad boy who once wrecked the heroine shows up to befuddle her head and break her heart. Again. Yet thanks to her domme experience and her sub, who’s shown her just how good a real man can treat her, she is no longer the broken woman her ex left behind. She finds an emotional power to deal with her ex calmly and firmly—putting him in his place sexually–even in her highly vulnerable state.  Not your typical spanking sub tale.

Click to buy to read this forceful, sexy, hero's story...

Click to buy to read this forceful, sexy, hero’s story…

Joey Hill has probably been most successful writing domme heroines and sub heroes. In NATURAL LAW, the hero is a cop going undercover at a sex club as a sub to catch a murderous FemDom.

Mac is an interesting alpha-sub. The heroine thinks he throws himself into the submissive roll with the cocky idea that he’s so tough, no woman can break him.

Such attitude makes her itch to try, of course.

Letting himself be restrained, Mackenzie, full of male pride, insists he can take anything she dishes out. There are two scenes when Violet violates his sense of old skool masculinity.  As he roars with primal fury, he’s helplessly getting off – and getting off – and getting off some more.

Reading these scenes, I was like ‘Oh my God!’, my eyes glued to my Kindle.

Viola breaks her bucking bronco, and leaves us with a wounded, sexy beast, weary and full of feels as she holds his large head in her hands.  He’s more humble, his primal force banked in the tenderness he feels towards her. I’m sure this scene hits all the right pleasure button for women readers.

MADELINE IVA: How are you the rare exception when it comes to erom writers in being able to have really successful FemDom sex that actually sells? What’s your secret sauce?

JOEY HILL: When I started writing my first FemDom/male sub story, I didn’t expect to BE writing that genre. Holding the Cards was intended to be MaleDom/female sub, because that’s what I liked to read myself. But it didn’t work, and I became so frustrated, I flipped the roles and suddenly the book took off. That was the story that taught ME that I could enjoy reading about that type of relationship.

I didn’t quite get my feet under me until the next one, which was NATURAL LAW. When I wrote Mac and Violet’s story, I figured out “the secret sauce” so to speak. Like most of those who were writing erotic romance at that time, I was a traditional romance reader. I loved romances with uber-alpha heroes (aka Dom wannabes that the world wasn’t ready to call Doms yet, lol). So when I wrote NATURAL LAW, I wrote a hero who had all the elements of those traditional heroes. Mac Nighthorse was protective, strong, and sensitive at the right moments in a masculine way (not a girl hiding in a guy’s body, lol), but he had the intriguing twist of desiring to submit sexually and serve… Full stop.

He's hot, he's tied up, and he's all yours. Now what are ya gonna do?

He’s hot, he’s tied up, and he’s all yours. Now what are ya gonna do?

It was that word “serve” that clicked for me. Since then, I’ve called this form of submissive the “palace guard” sub. He’s the type of guy who might be a cop or in the military, with such a craving to serve the woman he loves that it translates into a submissive orientation. I am a submissive myself, so I used my understanding of the submissive psychology to guide me through the scenes, but integrated it with how I’d expect a male hero to react and handle those scenarios.

Of course, the nice thing about how the erotic romance genre has evolved is it also now has room to explore the beta male subs.

Oh behave!

Oh behave!

It’s also REALLY important not to forget the Domme side of the equation. Just as my male sub still has traditional qualities of romance heroes, my Domme has vulnerabilities. She doesn’t stop being a woman in love; far from it. Her Domme side is all part of how she loves. She’s tough and amazing, but she still needs to be held when she cries. Which is genuinely the way a Domme is in real life as well. Dom or sub, these are still human beings whose needs and desires are pretty much the same as what we all have – they just express them through a Dominant or submissive orientation.

MADELINE IVA: Do you think FemDom will be more embraced by romance audiences as we move along?

JOEY HILL: As the erotic romance readership has grown more sophisticated, they’ve become more willing to try storylines they wouldn’t necessarily have considered when they first started reading erotic romance. So yes, I think as readers hear from other readers “Hey, this is really good and you should try it,” they will. That’s how NATURAL LAW gained in popularity and became the book that launched my career. Pretty funny, since I assumed in the beginning I would only ever write Male Doms, lol. Now I do Dommes, Doms, threesomes, you name it. I guess erotic romance authors become more diverse and sophisticated as we go along, too.

But final note, if an author wants a FemDom book to take off get it in the hands of readers/reviewers who will give it a try and crow from the rooftops to other readers if they love it. I’m seeing more and more requests from readers looking for “good” FemDom/male sub stories.

MADELINE IVA: Thanks Joey for being here today and answering these questions! Our very own Alexa Day has a FemDom story out in the new anthology HERO TO OBEY.

Click to buy it now---only .99 cents!

Click to buy it now—only .99 cents!

The hero in this story is young-ish, hot-naturally–and performs as an excellent bar back for the owner of a restaurant and bar on the seashore. The heroine’s female employee is like “Can we keep him? Can we?” because he really puts an strong work ethic into his physical labors in an efficient and conscientious way. The heroine, however, has other ideas about what to do with such an obedient, gorgeous employee who responds so well to her commands.

There’s a great scene in the store room where nothing is said really, but the chemistry is palpably felt to the point where the relationship cannot go back to the way it was.  You’ll have to read the rest to find out what happens.

Meanwhile, do you have a favorite FemDom read? A favorite Joey Hill or Megan Hart book you adore? Does FemDom do it for you? Do you think this sub sub-genre is a growing trend?

As we become more comfortable with women in positions of enormous power, *cough* woman president of the United States *cough* do you think more women will see themselves in the FemDom role and look for more of these romances? Or do you think it will drive women even further into the fantasy of submission as they seek a break from all that responsibility?

Do tell.

Meanwhile make your mistress happy–follow us at Lady Smut and subscribe to our newsletter.

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Fall, 2016.

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