The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

January 3, 2017

http://www.gocomics.com/doonesbury/2016/11/06I went dark on November 9 after enough people voted for an eminently unqualified, racist, misogynist, homo-hating, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, narcissistic, criminal con man and Putin puppet to give him the majority of votes in the electoral college and force those of us who are not white, straight, christianists to live in fear for our lives.

The election results were disappointing, horrifying, nauseating, frightening, outrageous, and disgusting. The one thing they were not, at least for me, is shocking or surprising. I suspect the more marginalized someone is by our society, the less surprised they were by the vote.

Make no mistake, if you voted for Trump, if you stayed home and sat the election out as a protest (or just because you couldn’t be bothered), if you voted for Stein or Johnson or anyone else but Clinton, your actions contributed to people suffering and dying because they are queer, trans, POC, or just can’t afford health care. (No Clinton would not have been worse, she wouldn’t have hired billionaire white supremacists with no experience but plenty of conflicts of interest to run the government or worked to destroy any progress made in reproductive health care and LGBT/POC civil rights or left many of us trying to figure out whether we should flee the country.)

White nationalists emboldened by Trump are thirsting for blood. That blood might be mine, or your gay cousin’s, or the Sikh gentleman’s behind the motel counter whose mistaken for a Muslim, or the African-American boy’s playing in the park, or your neighbor’s who wears a hijab, or your trans co-worker’s. (You didn’t know she was trans? But you insist she should use the men’s restroom?)

As far as I’m concerned, every single person who voted for Trump is a racist bigot. You can say whatever you want about how you voted for him to protect your guns (Clinton wasn’t going to take them away). Or because the economy is in the toilet (it was the best it’s been since Bush destroyed it in ’08). Or because he’ll bring back manufacturing jobs (he can’t, automation has already replaced those jobs even if the factories move back to the U.S. and those jobs he claimed — at the cost of millions from taxpayer– to bring back either were staying anyway or will be used to create further automation). Or because he’s a successful business man (he’s lost more money than he ever made, routinely rips off people he hires as contractors, paid millions to get out of fraud charges against him, etc. etc.). Or because Clinton did whatever (outrageous misogynistic fabricated conspiracy theory) you’ve cited as an excuse not to vote for her. Or whatever other lies he told that you were gullible enough to believe. I do not care what “reason” you give to salve your conscious, you voted for toxic sludge and should be judged by what you did, not what you say.

I’m so very tired of inane statements about the majority of people voting with genuinely good intentions for what they honestly believe is their country’s best interest. The majority of those voters don’t give one rat’s ass for the best interest of the U.S. They deliberately voted to prioritize their straight white cis privileges over basic civil rights for POC, LGBTQ folk, and those who don’t worship their particular brand of consumerist christianism. They didn’t care about the consequences as long as they got what they wanted (and they will be genuinely shocked, blaming anyone but themselves and the man they elected, when they lose their jobs, their homes, their health insurance, and/or their savings and retirement as a result).

I find it more and more difficult to believe that even a small majority of people are genuinely good when so many of them are willing to deprive others of health care, a safe place to live, enough food to eat, a decent education, the ability to earn a fair wage for their work, agency/autonomy over their own bodies, a partner in life, etc.

Trump voters will eventually pay the price for their hubris. Racism is one of the ways the ruling class one percent keeps the poor white working class in line, enabling the rich to turn them into wage slaves while raping the planet, destroying our water supply and making the air impossible to breathe. No matter how bad it gets, at least those wage slaves can believe they’re superior because they’re white, straight christianists.

Racism has always been the primary motivation behind the white nationalism white evangelical movement and remains at its core. The GOP deliberately used the evangelicals to create the noxious atmosphere that allowed Trump to ascend to the White House by pandering to racist, xenophobic, fears of privilege loss.

Wherever you claim to stand on civil rights for women, POC, immigrants, or those who are LGBT, if you facilitated Trump’s election with your vote (or lack of) you are condoning both the violent racist/xenophobic attacks of his followers and your own exploitation at the hands of their billionaire masters. The overt anti-Semites in Germany didn’t enable the Holocaust as much as all those middle class Germans who wanted to Make Germany Great Again and who were willing to overlook their missing neighbors, the broken glass in the streets, the stench from the ovens, and the racist, xenophobic rhetoric. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

This naziism of America is the result of your sharing fake news, giving racists the benefit of the doubt, avoiding political discussions with family members who actively support venal politicians, staying silent in the face of misogyny.

Now what are you going to do about it (whether you enabled Trump’s election or not)? Will you sit silently with your head down and ignore the slaughter or will you step up to stop the colleague making racist jokes, refuse to allow your relatives to justify their Trump votes, call out the guy yelling at the Mexican-American on the bus to “go home,” video record the white cops harassing an African-American for minding their own business, stand in front of the woman threatened for wearing an expression of her faith? Will you donate and volunteer for organizations fighting for civil rights and reproductive health care? Will you call your Congressional representatives, daily if necessary, to let them know you won’t tolerate evisceration of the Office of Congressional Ethics, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, etc? Will you recruit, support, campaign for, and finance candidates for public office who believe in civil rights for all?

Or will you proceed with your daily life while everything that made America great is destroyed?

I know where I stand. I may have been silent online, but I never stopped fighting. What about you?


Staying Safe Online

November 2, 2015

Included in Chapter Seven of Connecting to Kink

Guarding Your Privacy Online

If you log onto any fetish or social media site, you are liable to see the following message (or something similar) on various profiles:

WARNING: Any institutions or individuals using this site or any of its associated sites for studies or projects, profit or nonprofit projects — You DO NOT have my permission to use any of my profile or pictures in any form or forum both current and future. You may not cut, copy, paste anything from/off my profile including photos, videos and/or writings in any way, shape or form. If you have or do, it will be considered a violation of my privacy and will be subject to legal ramifications.

Be aware this warning is meaningless. It’s not a legally binding statement. The legal document you signed, by accepting the TOS (terms of service) when setting up a profile on any site, trumps anything you post and probably says pretty much the opposite.

The most important thing to understand when creating an account on any website that is free (and even some that charge a fee) is that you’re not the consumer, you’re the product.

Now, on Facebook and other conventional social media sites, the most embarrassing thing anyone else might learn about you is somewhat limited by the restrictions the site has on what you can post.

But, sites like Fetlife and Collarspace have no such restrictions. And the product is no longer just your gossip and cute pictures of your pets. It’s your sex life.

I’ve Seen That Face Before

Unless you can afford being outed as a kinkster, don’t post naked pictures of yourself in bondage with whip marks on your ass if they also show your face, tattoos, piercings, or other identifiable body modifications recognizable to anyone else who might stumble across them … or go looking for them. Don’t use pictures that show identifiable backgrounds, or that you may have also uploaded to a conventional social media site or to a website connected with your legal name. Check the background. Can you read the certificate perhaps showing your legal name that you hang on your bedroom wall?

A website that requires you to log on offers nothing to make you or your identity safe. Don’t believe that no one can see your photographs unless they’re also logged in. And don’t believe any promises of privacy offered by a site, because they’re not accurate.

For one thing, anyone can create a free email account on any one of a dozen sites while providing no information that can be traced back to them. They can then use that email address to create an account on the site you think is protecting you from non-kinksters’ eyes.

Further, those photographs can be accessed without logging in. Fetish sites are often free or partially free. They don’t invest money in security that protects the content. And there’s no guarantee that if you post a photograph that you’ll ever be able to delete it. Even if it is removed from a site, it’s probably still in the cloud storage system used by that site and therefore recoverable by anyone who knows what they’re doing. People have had deleted, “private” photos they posted online used against them in court.

If the photo you posted was taken with your smartphone, chances are the file contains data about where and when it was taken and other information that can be used to identify you.

Combine all these security holes with facial recognition software (which can deliver matches even when years, facial hair, weight, and makeup change someone’s appearance) and you have a recipe for disaster. What would happen if your boss found the picture of you getting gang banged or the private detective hired by your ex who’s fighting you for custody of your children turned up a photograph of you hanging naked and upside down in bondage or a prospective employer discovered images of you whipping someone chained to a rack?

Online privacy is almost nonexistent. I’ve always said that you should never post anything online that you wouldn’t want your boss, your elderly grandmother, your worst enemy, and the IRS to see — or at least don’t post it if there’s any way it can be traced back to you.


Rites of the Savage Tribe

September 10, 2015

Today’s guest blogger Jean Roberta believes in tolerating everything except intolerance. This piece originally was published on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Rites of the Savage Tribe

By Jean Roberta, author of The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella


I’m always interested to learn about sexual cultures: what a particular demographic considers sexually acceptable, and what is taboo.

One social event among today’s young that has been acknowledged in the media is the Teenage Sex Party: a group of secondary school students get together to drink, and (in many cases) indulge in other mind-bending substances. A gang-bang happens, either spontaneously (it seems like a good idea at the time), or pre-planned. In most cases that I’ve heard of, the event is largely spontaneous, though it often starts with one boy and one girl. The rest of the crowd piles on.

I suspect that this event happens much more often than many adults choose to believe. It’s easy enough to legislate a minimum age for drinking, driving, and consensual sex. It’s not really possible to legislate lust, curiosity, or recklessness, and teenagers of all genders have these qualities in abundance.

Now here is the catalyst that propels a local event into the stratosphere of public discussion: someone has a recording device and takes pictures, or makes a little porn-movie of the event. Someone posts this on YouTube or some other social-media platform. The images go viral. The girl or girls in the Sex Party (who are usually outnumbered by boys) become targets of a lynch-mob of their peers.

In some cases, the girl who has become known as the Scarlet Whore of Whoville (or whatever town it is) changes schools to avoid the stigma, and finds that her reputation has preceded her. If
she reads her email, she finds fresh insults and threats every day. She can’t concentrate in class, and wants to drop out of school. She can’t sleep. Her only support comes from her parents, who would like her to recover in a well-guarded facility. In a worst-case scenario, the girl commits suicide.

At this point, there is much hand-wringing in the media. The girl’s red-eyed parents ask why the police have not prosecuted the “rapists” who did this to their daughter. Various experts point out that vulnerable young women need to be better-protected from sexual exploitation presumably, by means of constant supervision.

Seriously?

The frequent aftermath of the Teenage Sex Party, in which a girl is deprived of human status because of her perceived sexual behaviour, is parallel to the disfiguring, flogging, or murder of “fallen women” in cultures that practice fundamentalist religion in its most medieval forms. There is nothing especially modern or high-tech about any of this; it took place in the time of Christ, as recorded in the Bible. (Christ was against it.)

Let’s reconsider the party itself. In a case that was recently discussed on a daytime television talk show, the girl who was the centre of attention explained that she went to the party with the intention of having sex with one boy (presumably her boyfriend at the time). Another boy entered the room, and both boys persuaded her to let them take turns. By this time, everyone involved was both drunk and high, so it was hard for the girl to remember everything clearly. At
some point, she became aware that the fourth guy had been replaced by a fifth guy. She couldn’t identify him, but she knew he hadn’t asked her permission.

The talk show host asked Scarlet (as I’ll call her) if she knew the difference between sexual attention and sexual exploitation. He made it very clear that there was only one right answer to this question. She said yes, and agreed that what was done to her had crossed the line. The host then assured the girl’s anxious parents that the local police were wrong when they said the boys couldn’t be charged. The host promised to look into the case himself.

Are you uncomfortable yet?

Scarlet was clearly disturbed by the host’s promise to her parents that oh yes, those five boys could and should be punished. She said she didn’t think they should get criminal records. She seemed admirably loyal to the truth: the event had not been a clear-cut assault, and she had not been simply a victim of unwanted sex.

It’s incredibly hard for a teenage girl to maintain her integrity by telling the truth about her sexuality in the face of social pressure. In my day, there was rarely any objective evidence, but rumours abounded. When numerous classmates asked me whether it was true that I had “done it” with the boy who was bragging about this, I denied it. Admitting it would have opened up an abyss of shame in which I was afraid of being trapped for the rest of my life. Then, when boys asked me why most girls lie so much about what they really want and what they’ve really done, I cringed. I didn’t want to be a liar or a hypocrite, but I didn’t see any viable alternative.

Let’s think about sexual hypocrisy with regard to Scarlet and the boys from the party. Did the boys acquire terrible reputations at school because they were recognizable from the video on YouTube? Did anyone propose that the person who recorded the event without Scarlet’s consent (and who might not have been a participant) should be convicted of a crime?

I would like to see a talk show with a different focus on the Teenage Sex-Party and its aftermath. Who were the ringleaders of the smear campaign against Scarlet, and why was no one talking about appropriate penalties for them? Where were the parents of these underage thugs? How many of them will grow up to become sexual bullies at work? Will any of them become police officers who use their power to abuse or even kill innocent civilians?

Something is definitely rotten in Denmark, so to speak. And it’s not a loss of sexual purity among young women.

About Jean Roberta: Jean Roberta has taught English in a Canadian university for over 25 years, and now teaches a credit course in creative writing as well.

Her diverse fiction (mostly erotic) has appeared in over one hundred print anthologies, an out-of-print novel, two out-of-print story collections, and two single-author collections (Obsession, The Princess and the Outlaw), as well as The Flight of the Black Swan. Anthologies including her work have won awards from Lambdalit, EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection), and Independent Publishers Association. She has also written poetry, drama, news articles, scholarly non-fiction, blog posts and reviews.

The 25 opinion pieces she wrote for a monthly column, Sex Is All Metaphors (based on a line in a poem by Dylan Thomas), are available as an e-book. Under her actual family name, she co-edited an anthology of scholarly articles: OutSpoken: Perspectives on Queer Identities, and contributed an article on a controversial “lesbian” novel, “The Well of Loneliness” (1928).

She married her long-term, female partner, Chilean-born Mirtha Rivera, on Samhain weekend in 2010. More on her website. You can also find her on Twitter and LiveJournal.


Forced Pregnancy Movement

June 19, 2014

Let’s call a spade a spade and stop granting the right-wing, evangelical, misogynists their self-preferred, and totally erroneous, title of “pro life.”

You can’t claim “pro life” if you spend time, money, and energy fighting to prevent people from getting life-saving medical care resulting in thousands of deaths each year.

You can’t claim “pro life” when you actively try to eliminate one of the best, proven methods of preventing unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions: fact-based sex education in schools.

You can’t claim “pro life” when you campaign against allowing womGynoticianen access to the most significant abortion prevention option: contraceptives.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you don’t work to provide pre-natal care for women so they can deliver healthy babies.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you argue against paid family medical leave that allows parents to care for their children when they’re newborns, sick, or injured.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you advocate cutting programs to feed, clothe, house, and educate those children you force into this world.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you justify laws that prevent same-sex couples from adopting the children you forced into the world then abandoned, preventing them from having a stable home because (and only because) homosexuality squicks you out.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you don’t support realistic minimum-wage laws that would eliminate the oxymoron “working poor” — poverty kills.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you refuse to take action to prevent the slaughter of children and other innocents and keep it legal for any idiot, criminal, and nut job to carry automatic weapons and enough ammunition to take out a municipal police force into schools, theaters, restaurants, etc.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you promote “Stand Your Ground,” police brutality, urban warfare, rape culture, and trans hatred — all of which cost people their lives.

You can’t claim “pro life” if you favor the death penalty.

In short, you can’t claim “pro life” if the only thing you do to “protect” life is use lies, outrageous and unnecessary procedures, and inappropriate clinic-closing regulations to stop women from terminating pregnancy … even when it means their lives are at risk, even if the fathers are rapists, even if they’re brain dead, even if the fetuses probably won’t survive.

If that’s all you do you, aren’t “pro life,” you’re a hypocrite who is part of the forced-pregnancy movement which only has the one goal of coercing women to deliver babies, babies you don’t give a rat’s ass about once they’re born.

So, if you’re pro-choice, pro-women, pro-freedom please stop using the term “pro-life” to describe members of the forced-pregnancy movement.


Talking to Your Daughters About Sex

April 3, 2014

Parents who refuse to provide accurate sex education for their own children often become caretakers of their teenagers’ grandchildren. Today’s guest, erotica author Missy Jane, discusses why she has no intention of repeating her parents’ mistakes.

Talking to Your Daughters About Sex
by Missy Jane, author of Erotic Influence

As the mother of four daughters I had some serious decisions to make when it came to educating them about sex. At what age should I have the talk? How much is too much, and how little is too little? What do I think they need to know, and at what point do they need to learn for themselves?

My own experience was very limited. No one in my house was allowed to talk about sex. To be honest, I’ve no clue how I learned. I do know that both of my sisters got pregnant and ran away from home as teenagers. I also know by the time my mother finally agreed to put me on birth control I was already pregnant. This is not the outcome I want for my girls.

Luckily my daughters know what I write. They know I’m always open about sex and they can ask me anything. I chose to educate them young, around eight years old. Why? They were already hearing things at school that brought up questions most parents would cringe at. When your third grader hears the words blow job you really have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I chose to be completely honest with my girls and educate them on the birds, bees, condoms, and VDs so they wouldn’t learn the hard way. So far, we seem to be on the right track and the honesty flows both ways.

I have a serious problem with not educating our kids about safe sex. I do understand the religious reasons some people are hesitant. I was raised Catholic, in a family that tried to stick to the doctrine as much as possible. It obviously didn’t help (see mention of sisters above). So, there comes a time when you have to ask yourself, who am I hurting here? In my opinion, giving my girls all the facts and letting them know all the options, hurts no one. I’m not going to get into a religious discussion here, but I don’t feel I’ll burn in hell for talking openly and honestly to my children. If anything, I feel it makes them safer. We talk about gun safety, food safety, car safety, and numerous other threats to our kids. Why in the hell not safe sex?

Having four daughters can be nerve wracking for many different reasons, but I don’t want to raise my grandchildren because my daughters are kids themselves when they have them. I’m raising girls with long-term goals to have careers and lives before making babies. I’m also raising girls with enough self respect to know when to say no. I’ve taught them to think for themselves and recognize the boys who won’t respect them as they deserve. They know there’s a man out there for them when the time is right. What kind of romance author would I be if I didn’t talk up the perfect hero?

Overall, I think the most important aspect of sex education is to not expect anyone else to give it to my children. The one thing I don’t do is wait for their schools to inform them about sex. By the time the school decided to show them the infamous film for girls, I had already told them all about it. I’ve taught them how to walk, talk, eat, and many other things. Teaching them to be safe once they decide to be intimate is a no brainer. Teaching them there is a time and place for intimacy, and a certain age when it’s not yet acceptable is also common-sense in my book.

Sure they’ve read YA books, seen movies, and even TV shows where a young character decides to have sex. Does that mean they’re going to run out to look for a partner? Nope. And I can say with confidence I’m not being naïve because I spend time with my girls and know them well. I also talk to them and most importantly, I listen.

About Missy Jane
Missy Jane is the alter ego of a married mother of four who was born and raised in Texas. A few years ago she finished reading a book by Mercedes Lackey and thought “Now, what if…” and a monster was created. Missy now spends most of her time lost in worlds of her own making, alternately loving and hating such creatures as vampires, shapeshifters and gargoyles (to name a few). When not writing, she spends her time reading, taking photos of her beautiful daughters, and training her husband to believe she’s always right. Excerpts from Missy’s paranormal and erotic tales can be found at on her website and blog. Missy can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

About Erotic Influence (Sequel to Erotic Images)
Annie may be a shy twentysomething who spends her days keeping track of her wayward teenage sister, but Rick noticed her living across the street as soon as he moved in. Now he can’t stop fantasizing about his sweet, innocent neighbor and wanting her has become an obsession. He just has to convince her to give him a chance instead of always running away.

Buy it at Ellora’s Cave.


Just because you read it in a book…

March 5, 2014

No one asks a mystery writer how many people she’s murdered. But, readers too often assume a writer of erotica has personally performed every sex act she writes about. Worse, as today’s guest blogger Beth Wylde discusses, they sometimes try to emulate what they read.

Just because you read it in a book…
by Beth Wylde, author of Broadly Bound: Broad Horizons

Fiction is fabulous. I was a reader long before I became a published author or an editor and I still have a voracious book appetite. The bill for my monthly book habit rivals that of a long-term addict. Words are my drug of choice.

My taste in fiction is also quite broad. As long as it is well written I will probably read it, no matter the genre or pairing. But, one of my criteria for a fictional story (even though fiction means the story is not true) is that it contain a bit of realism. Just a bit, otherwise I’d be shopping in the non-fiction section.

I know what you’re thinking: fiction is fake. Why should it be realistic? How can it be?

While it’s true that there are no such things as werewolves, vampires, or sex-enslaving aliens (or at least I haven’t met any), with a little research, an author can present the subjects in way in which the characters will be believable in a story.

I read for enjoyment, as an inexpensive way to relax. I want to be entertained. Nothing infuriates me more than weak characters, half-assed storylines, or an attempt to disguise abuse as BDSM. I want kick ass heroines and men who don’t feel the need to hide in the closet. I want action and drama and my HEA, no matter what. Sometimes the truth has to be stretched a bit to achieve that.

This is where our job as readers comes in.

Authors are first and foremost entertainers. We write stories for our readers to enjoy. Sometimes our characters do things that real people should not attempt. Some of you may be laughing right now, but I worked in a hospital for 13 years, three of those in ER Radiology on third shift. People chasing the orgasm do some stupid things in bed, on the roof, in the backseat of their car, on the kitchen stove, etc… (you get my point).

Hell, there is now an entire show dedicated to sexual escapades gone wrong and the subjects don’t always walk away laughing. Sometimes they don’t walk away at all.

Just because you read something in a book, especially BDSM fiction, does not mean you should run out and try it.

Your girlfriend may suck like a Hoover but when she is gone don’t try to use the vacuum as a stand in for her. She’ll come home to find you missing some valuable parts.

It’s never a good idea to put an animal up your ass, no matter how small it is or how amazing someone tells you it’ll feel once you get it in there.

There are certain household and easily found chemicals that should never be used as lube or arousal cream, and I mean never!!!

For those times you want penetration, and there are no toys handy to help you out, be very careful what you decide to use as a substitute. Bottles of any type are never a good choice, especially if they are glass or are open at the top. The vacuum effect can happen here too and it won’t be an enjoyable experience unless your desire is for major, internal surgery.

Don’t take someone else’s sex meds if your dick works. A loving partner will understand that you need recovery time and a ten-hour erection is not a fun thing, or so I’ve been told.

There are other incidents I could mention but those remain at the front of my mind. Overall it is the reader’s job to use caution.

I always add in personal touches to my stories, especially my BDSM ones. I write about things that fascinate me and turn me on. I do my research if it is a kink I have not personally experienced or had the nerve to try yet, but sometimes my characters still push the envelope of what is safe and sane. If you read about something kinky that interests you, even if you know the author does her research, you have to do the same.

Ask someone you trust, who has experience in the lifestyle, to guide you. Go to a munch, watch a demo, take some time to visit a local club and just observe for the evening. I’ve found people in the lifestyle to be unusually welcoming. I think part of that is because they have been the subjects of prejudice for so long they welcome those who are truly interested and want to learn.

But, don’t pick up an absolute stranger, go back to their house, and let them tie you up and beat you. (Don’t laugh. I’m not making these examples up.)

You won’t find ‘do not attempt this’ warning stickers on most fictional books, if any. The fiction category label is all the warning a reader should need. So go out and enjoy a good book, just remember in the end that it’s entertainment, not a how-to manual. If you enjoy reading BDSM stories, please pick some by authors who actually know how to research in that genre. If you need some good recommendations just email me. I promise you won’t find any poorly written, abusive-boyfriend-disguised-as-a-Dom, fanfic on my list.

About Beth Wylde:
Erotica author/editor Beth Wylde writes what she likes to read, which includes a little bit of everything under the rainbow. Her muse is a flighty smut bunny that believes everyone, no matter their kink, color, gender, or orientation is entitled to love, acceptance and scalding HOT sex! You can contact her directly at b.wylde@yahoo.com, visit her website or join her yahoo group.

Beth’s books range in genre from paranormal to contemporary and in pairings from lesbian, bi, het and beyond.

About Broadly Bound: Broad Horizons:
Welcome to Broad Horizons, the world’s first and only strictly GLBTQ BDSM entertainment facility. It’s opening night and the owners, Dani and Maryanne, want to invite you inside for a first hand look at what they’ve created. With ten themed bondage rooms, a main stage with several smaller performance areas, a second level observatory, two bars and a dance floor, plus a few extra surprises, your pleasures are only as limited as your desires. Tonight’s event is by invitation only, so bring your RSVP, your proof that you’re over twenty-one and your imagination because this evening almost anything goes.

Buy it at Excessica.


Why Writing About Female Submission is a Feminist Act

February 3, 2014

I reserve this blog as a soapbox. Starting today, I have decided to occasionally step aside and let others use this platform to share their thoughts. As my first guest blogger, I am excited to welcome Cecilia Tan who is an amazing writer, a ground-breaking publisher, and a great friend.

Why Writing About Female Submission is a Feminist Act
by Cecilia Tan, author of Slow Seduction

I’ve been writing fiction and non-fiction about BDSM for over 20 years and I often write about women on the bottom: subs, masochists, “slaves.” I write from the following basis:

  1. Sexuality is a normal part of being human and being a healthy female.
  2. Sexual and erotic fantasies are a normal part of being human and being a healthy female.
  3. Oppression of women’s sexual fantasies is oppression of women.
  4. Anything which oppresses women’s sexual fantasies cannot be feminism.
  5. Feminism’s goal is to overcome power structures that empower men at the expense of women.

By writing and sharing my sexual fantasies, some of which are about submission, I commit a feminist act.

Where people get tangled up when discussing BDSM is when #4 and #5 seem to be at odds, because in their view BDSM is a power structure that empowers men in favor of women. Put simply, that is a shallow, misinformed view of BDSM. BDSM is practiced by women, men, and people self-defining all along the gender spectrum, with no inherent role ascribed on the basis of gender. But the common idea that a man “should be” the dom and the woman “should be” submissive persists in the mainstream. That’s the setup in the wildly popular book 50 Shades of Grey, a book that has opened a huge conversation about BDSM but which doesn’t push that conversation beyond what the mainstream already gets wrong.

Setting aside the fact that in BDSM women are often dominant and men are often submissive, let’s talk specifically about women on the “bottom”–women like me and the women I write about. If we believe that women’s sexual pleasure is central to their freedom and to their health, we should be celebrating the diversity of things that turn women on. On one level, BDSM is a sensual and sensory experience.

There is a panoply of sensations, cravings, and tastes to be indulged when one is a masochist or a sub. This is the sensual world that Karina, the heroine of my Struck by Lightning book series, is introduced to by James, the mysterious dom she meets at the beginning of Slow Surrender. Karina quickly comes to realize that what makes BDSM so vastly different from the unsatisfying vanilla sex she’s previously had is that as the submissive, her pleasure and sensations are the absolute central component to her interactions with James. She’s confused when James doesn’t want his dick sucked at the end of their first encounter. It really is all about her. What gratifies James, as a dom, most is not his own orgasm but his ability to play Karina like a fine violin.

The psychological aspect of D/s comes quickly into play in Slow Surrender, too. Karina comes to realize how silenced she has been in her vanilla relationships, which have been built on (patriarchal) assumptions about what a “good girlfriend” is supposed to be like. Based on some unspoken standard, a good girlfriend is supposed to make herself attractive to her mate, be sexually available when he needs, but never too pushy with her own needs (because that would make her a slut). In her BDSM relationship with James, she finds he fully expects her to be open and honest about her needs. Consent and negotiation, the basis of BDSM relationships, can’t exist or take place without that honesty and disclosure. James also takes the guesswork out of it by being equally honest with her about what he wants and needs. Karina finds it refreshing that he will tell her what to wear, or that he’ll set options before her in which there is no “wrong” selection: Each choice she makes informs him about her preferences.

As Karina learns, dominance and submission doesn’t mean James dictates her every move. It means they have a framework within which each partner has agency. Unlike “traditional” relationship structures, which hand the majority of the power and privilege to the male partner, in a BDSM relationship the power is split in a systematic way. At first, Karina doesn’t even realize how much power she has in the relationship because she’s having too much fun to have thought deeply about it. When she realizes what immense power BDSM–and love–give her over her partner, it’s a lesson she’ll never forget, and I hope it’s a lesson the reader will remember, too. Not every reader is going to go out searching for a BDSM relationship, but my hope is that by seeing how an alternate power structure creates a functional relationship, some readers will be able to effectively seek out honesty, agency, and erotic satisfaction in their own lives.

If that’s not a feminist act, I don’t know what is.

About Cecilia Tan:
Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. Tan is the author of many books, including the ground-breaking erotic short story collections Black Feathers (HarperCollins), White Flames (Running Press), and Edge Plays (Circlet Press), and the erotic romances Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever), Mind Games (Ravenous Romance), and The Prince’s Boy (Circlet Press). She was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2001, and is a current nominee for the Lifetime Achievement Award in Erotica from RT Magazine. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats.
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About Slow Seduction:
Slow Seduction is Cecilia Tan’s latest BDSM erotic romance novel, the second book in the Struck by Lightning Series. Karina finds herself in England, working at a major museum. There she meets the enigmatic Damon George, a dominant man with clues to James’s past… and to James’s desires. Damon is rich, gorgeous, and a member of a secret society that caters to the sensual thrills of the wealthy and powerful. And he’ll help Karina lure James in, while teaching her how to please a dominant man. By the time she finds James, Karina has been “trained” to please another. Will James reject her, or find her more irresistible than ever? Karina is determined to confront him and she will not be denied.
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