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Fifty Shades


By now, most, if not all, of the readers of this blog have read Profile, my novel about a smartass character who created a fake Facebook identity, and who, incidentally, is nothing at all like me. And if you haven’t read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for? (If you answered, “I’m waiting for it to come out in print,” well, good answer. It’s available now on Lulu, and will soon be available on other sites as well.)

So instead of writing about something from Profile, I decided I would write about something in Private Messages, my upcoming novel. Like ProfilePrivate Messages involves two characters who meet on Facebook and fall in love. But there’s a darker story that is woven into the background, a story of a couple of women involved in something of a BDSM lifestyle.

A lot has been said and written about BDSM in recent years since the release of Fifty Shades of Grey. Some have protested that it does not realistically or accurately portray the BDSM lifestyle. Others love the love story related in the book. Still others, instead of weighing in on the subject matter, simply want to bash it for their perception of its literary quality (or lack thereof).

Wherever you stand in the debate, the fact remains that more attention has been directed to BDSM. Yet despite all of that attention, there are still quite a few unknowns about it.

For instance, what is it? Why would that be unknown? Perhaps because of the fringe nature of BDSM, there’s a lot of ambiguity surrounding its practices, and even the origin of the name. According to Wikipedia:

The term BDSM dates back to 1969; however, the origin of the term BDSM is unclear and is believed to have been formed either from joining the term B&D (bondage and discipline) with S&M (sadomasochism or sadism and masochism), or as a compound initialism from B&D, D&S (dominance and submission), and S&M. Regardless of its origin, BDSM is used as a catch-all phrase to include a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures. BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers, extremebody mod enthusiasts, animal players, latex or rubber aficionados, and others.

Considering that welcoming and inclusive nature of those involved in BDSM, it may be difficult to pin down a distinct list of what is and what isn’t included. But what is certain is that numerous activities in the BDSM lifestyle involve power – the power of one participant over another. Someone putting him- or herself under the power of a dominant (or Dom/Domme) needs to know what they’re getting themselves into. So informed consent is vital.
Since many activities included in BDSM involve pain or discomfort, safe words are often used. These are prearranged words that tell the other participant that a line is about to be, or has been, crossed, and that whatever is being done has to stop. A word of advice, though: “Please continue” might not be a good choice for a safe word.

While Private Messages doesn’t delve deeply into these activities, it does follow the lives of a few people who do. And as you’ll see from this excerpt, distinctive clothing also played a part:

Mason looked at himself in the mirror. He was wearing black leather pants, criss-crossed with zippers and straps and buckles, and a jacket to match. It was Monica’s idea. She had enlisted his help tonight as they embarked on their first threesome job.

“Nice,” Monica said as she looked him up and down. “Very nice! Sexy.” She played with the buckles and the chunky zippers. The pull tabs on the zippers were two inches long and all the hardware was shiny silver. The outfit really was dripping with bits of metal. Monica was fingering all of it. Before he knew it, she pulled the one at the fly. Mason felt the pants loosen at his crotch and he jumped, startled.

“Don’t worry, babe,” she said, slapping his butt, and keeping her hand there, “you look great.”

Mason looked back at his own reflection. Focus, damn it! He took a deep breath.

“I look like Edward Scissorhands,” he replied, striving to regain the tenuous calm.

“Ha!” Monica laughed. “He looked great, too.”

Not mentioned in this teaser was the sexy outfit Monica was wearing. You’ll just have to wait for that.

Teasing and torturous anticipation are often parts of BDSM activities, too.