First I think it's important to understand what BDSM actually stands for. It's an acronym for Bondage, Disciple, Sadomasochism. However within the lifestyle it's also accepted as a part of identifying the Power Exchange and Dominance and submission relationships. Individuals who embrace a Master/slave relationship do not consider themselves part of the BDSM mentality however do consider themselves part of the community.
The fact is that there are various levels of BDSM, from the pleasure seeker who wants a little kink with his sex before he runs home to his wife/girlfriend, to the adrenaline junkie (major pain slut) who wants to push himself as far as he can go (think in vanilla terms those extreme sports guys/gals), to those that actually embrace Dominance and submission as a way of life; and even further, to those individuals who embrace a Master/slave relationships and live it 24/7. And we haven't even discussed the subset that follows Gorean beliefs. Wow, talk about totally different. (No one ever mentions them.)
Contrary to popular belief, BDSM is not merely about whips and chains. In many instances, toys are never used as the individuals, both Dominant and submissive, are interested in "service" and a spiritual and/or emotional connection. Also keep in mind that some Dominants do not use impact toys (Whips, Floggers, Paddles) to enforce their dominance but use a psychological impact--even Fear Play—never once laying a hand on the submissive. There are also those Dominants/Masters/Mistresses who use humiliation and extreme control, again never once lifting a finger. Plus many BDSM relationships don't involve sexual contact. I can go on and on in this topic however I'm sure you are getting the idea of how intricate and diverse the world of BDSM is.
As for the idea that the submissive has the "greater control"…chuckles…well that is what we want them to believe! However, this is a widely debated topic within the community and the need to consider the concept of "consensual non-consensuality" as I like to call it comes into light. Once again, there are many diverse opinions as to who would fall under this category and the surrender of a submissive and a slave varies greatly as they're NOT considered the same and therefore one (the submissive) has more "rights" than the other (the slave).
As for setting limits and negotiations of what'll be used (ie: Paddles, Whips, humiliation, sexual contact/penetration, etc) this is acceptable for someone you're just meeting or are learning to interact with, however, there are NO negotiations when someone is a slave or property and belongs to their Master/Mistress. At that point, the Owner decides what's acceptable and what the slave/submissive will tolerate; which loops you back to "consensual non-consensuality".
So the bottom line is, it's essential when writing your book(s) to do your research and talk to individuals in the lifestyle and yes, realize that it is about sex and thrills and everything in between, however—and in my opinion, more importantly—it is about the emotional and psychological connection individuals make with each other.
As writers, it's paramount to keep in mind that some individuals may be experiencing their first taste of BDSM and Dominance/submission through your books. If they identify within this unique mindset and have no other clue as to what it's about, your book becomes the judge of whether they're "normal or not". As for Kinksters who read your book(s), personally, it's always nice to see the men and women represented in a respectful light and the villains and pathological behavior distinguished from those of us who practice D/s with love, respect and honor.
In my new book BDSM FOR WRITERS you will find many answers to your questions about the lifestyle. Yes there's the basics, however unlike other books on BDSM, mine focuses on the emotional and psychological connection men and women make; it discusses the various levels within the community (as briefly mentioned above); it gives you tips on character development, personality traits; it shows you how to train a slave; it discusses the benefits of rewards & punishments, and much more. There's even a special BDSM Checklist I created just for authors to help you develop your characters and scenes ensuring they are more believable and credible. My second book, BDSM THE NAKED TRUTH, is the version for the general public and doesn't include all the tidbits nor the many secrets Dominants use on their submissives which I've included just for you. However, it has a chapter on relationship all its own.
Ebooks are currently available and if you obtain your copy on my website www.bdsmforwriters.com you’ll be entered into LIGHTNING BRIGADE—this is what I affectionately call the first 300 people to purchase a copy of my book. With your purchase you’ll receive a $500 Digital Erotic Art Collection from Captured Erotica absolutely FREE. Plus you’ll be entered to win 35 kinky prizes and one mundane one.
Live with passion,
Dr. Charley Ferrer
Clinical Sexologist, Educator
TV/Radio Host & Producer
Award Winning Author
Sex Expert for Fox News Latino
Dr. Charley Ferrer is a Clinical Sexologist and Psychotherapist with over 15 years experience. She produces and hosts a TV Talk Show called PLEASURE on relationships and sexuality. Dr. Charley is a BDSM Educator and lectures at various events on this unique and erotic lifestlye. She’s an award within author with eight books on sexuality and self-empowerment.
*Edited by Teresa Crumpton*