Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yielding: Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission

I don't like to be bossed around. I don't consider myself to be submissive, and my husband doesn't either. But.

The idea of being restrained, of being NOT in control, of being told what to do ... why do these thoughts turn me on? Why do I get a rush when my hands are held together over my head? Why does a little bit of pain seem to make my body respond so strongly? I don't know the answer, but I do know that reading the stories in Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission have had a much stronger effect on me than I had anticipated. (Disclaimer–I've not read all of them yet). The stories in this new collection of BDSM erotica, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, explore "female submission and male dominance from the sub's point of view." The women in these stories are "smart enough to know that kink is not about simply embracing one's fears, but grappling with them, battling with them, taking risks and seeing if, in fact, they yield sexy rewards."

It's getting close to midnight as I type this. I know I'm resisting. I don't want to go to the places my mind is going right now. Earlier this evening, I was talking with Emerald (author of the story "Power over Power") on the phone, and she said something about "intimacy with self" (I wasn't taking notes, but I did jot this down). And I'm tired and I don't recall the exact context, but that struck a chord with me. We have to get very intimate with ourselves, to accept whatever kinkiness lies within us. Sometimes what we want is not what we think we want.

Like I said, I've not read all the stories yet. But all the ones I have, even the stories that have at their center something that I just can't wrap my mind around, have been engaging and thought-provoking as well as arousing. I would heartily recommend this book if you are taking part in NaMaMo (for National Masturbation Month). That blog was started by Shanna Germain, whose story "Anticipation" starts off Please, Sir.

Here's the book trailer for Please, Sir.

Also, at the Please, Sir blog, there are some interesting posts, including interviews with some of the authors, excerpts from the book, as well as tidbits like info about the gorgeous corset on the book cover.

While some of the stories involve pushing limits and receiving physical punishment, some are more about psychological power play, such as Donna George Storey's "Just What She Needs," which involves a reversal of sorts.

What I'm wondering right now (when it's getting so late that I really need to stop wondering) is what some of the authors felt as they were writing these stories. Were they exploring territory they are familiar with or unfamiliar with? How much is autobiographical and how much imagination? You don't have to tell which is which, LOL. Unless you want to. Also, if in the writing of the story, you discovered something about yourself that maybe you weren't as aware of before.

And if you're not in this anthology, please comment on your thoughts about the whole submission/dominance topic and how it relates to your writing (if you write).

The last line on the back of the books says it all: Find out why nothing is as hot as the power of the words "Please, Sir."


Craig Sorensen said...

I feel that most people harbor a desire both to be dominated and dominant to varying degrees. It's something I frequently explore in my writing, coming from both angles of the relationship.

Both can be freeing, both can be, and in their way, empowering.

Erobintica said...

Craig, yeah, I agree. At least I know it's true for me. I've not really delved into that in my writing yet. I have a feeling I will be though.

And there is so much I wanted to add to my post last night/this morning, but my brain was mush. I guess I'll keep adding stuff in comments during the day. But right now I need a mocha!

Kam said...

It's really interesting to me that being a top is so much more appealing to me than being a bottom (i.e., more interest in dominating than being dominated). I haven't had the chance to read any of the stories yet, but I look forward to it.

Unknown said...

I like the playful side of both. For me, it's about freedom and living a life full of adventures --in a safe, loving context, of course. The world is so sexy -- I don't like closing myself off to experience. Rope, for example, is sexy -- whether it's got my undiepants flapping on it in the sunshine or is tied around my wrists. And sunshine, ohhhh sunshine!

Sommer Marsden said...

I felt penance when I wrote mine ~heh~because the impetus for the story I wrote was me opening my big mouth at a party and saying something that sounded way worse out of my head than in it. And the look on the man's face when I said it and the fluttery, twittery reaction of some other party goers.

I am a dominant person all day long. To the point of exhaustion, usually. which is why being with someone I trust enough to say: "hey, here, you are in charge of everything, INCLUDING ME" is very freeing and sexy and it took me the perfect mate and 30-some years to get to the point where I understood that about myself and embraced it. Once I did, all bets were off.

There is something extremely intimate about that kind of relationship too. It's like having a secret language. If I push him in public, very subtle motions or facial expressions that go unnoticed by everyone else can put me in check. And i'm not an easy woman to put in check ;)


Jo said...

I think we'd all benefit from getting it out into mainstream sex to a far more honest degree. Because the truth is, I think it underpins so many daily non sex interactions.

We're scared of it. Perhaps because it's too mammal?

Sigh. Want. Need. Please, Sir :)

Can't wait to get this book! Such a pretty cover too.

Elizabeth Coldwell said...

Although I enjoy writing vanilla erotica, I find adding domination or submission to the mix is more exciting because I like to explore the motivations of the characters. With vanilla encounters it's pretty much, 'You're hot, let's have sex,' whereas with BDSM it's more like, 'I need to be told what to do, let's have sex,' or, 'Receiving pain wakes something in me, let's have sex.' You can understand why that would be more interesting to a writer. I might incline more naturally to the submissive side of the equation, but that doesn't mean I don't want to explore the dominant's point, too.

Shanna Germain said...

I have to admit that my erotic writing -- much like my sexuality -- is all over the board. Some days I'm turned on by guys, some days by women, often by both. The same thing goes of vanilla versus non-vanilla sex. I like it all! And I want to write it all! :)

Rachel said...

What’s been interesting to me as a writer and editor is how, for many people, myself included, it often seems easier to write from the bottom’s perspective, perhaps because you know exactly what that bottom is feeling whereas a top may not.

My story was inspired by things that have happened to me but, as I often tend to do, I embellished that and mixed things up a lot, but the emotional aspect of what I feel when I’m being choked is all true. I think one thing you’ll see a lot of in this book is fear, skepticism, uncertainty, and how those things work with the characters’ arousal to make the scenes hot. To me, that is part of why BDSM, in real life and on the page, is sexy, because you don’t always know what’s going to happen once you get started. You may have prearranged certain limits and boundaries but within those, there is so much room for discovery. That’s actually kindof like the writing process (not sure which is scarier though!).

Thanks, Robin, for such great, thought-provoking questions and discussion about the book and BDSM. Someone asked at a panel the other day if you have to do everything you write about, and I say, certainly not, but you do have to at least be able to get very deep into the head of someone who would, and I think the writers in Please, Sir do that. But obviously I'm biased. :)

Heidi Champa said...

So many great points made so far, everyone!

I think that writing allows me to explore so many things, not the least of which is dormant or secret desires that play in my mind but never really see the light of day in real life. But, it also allows me to incorporate small parts of my real life, and alter them in a way that makes them much more universal.

I love exploring all aspects of sexuality and D/s is just one incredibly rich part of that. Putting yourself in someone else's hands and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to be taken, pushed to the limit, is an incredibly powerful experience. Capturing that for a reader is a challenge, but one I very much enjoyed.

I hope that answers your questions, Robin. I feel like I might have been rambling a bit. :)

Emerald said...

I relate to what Sommer said quite a bit about being "dominant all day long" and suspect that may be related in many cases to what seems compelling about sexual submission.

In the case of writing "Power over Power," as I mentioned to you, the non-sexual relationship between Jackie and Dominic was autobiographical; I did take Krav Maga and found an instructor I had mesmerizing. I recall mentioning "intimacy with self" last night because as I was writing the story it seemed to lead me there — the sex and BDSM elements, if you will, in that story are far less about physical acts than other levels of interaction. Jackie seems to be projecting power and control onto Dominic on some level, and she wants him to exert those over her so she feels it too. What happens (it seems to me anyway) is that his form of control is actually to take it and give it right back to her — to force her to confront the control (or another way to put it may be responsibility) she has for herself of which she seems afraid.

Through Dominic's training, he is a master of intimacy with and knowledge of himself. Jackie is not yet, and that is the area in which Dominic pushes her.

Thanks for this post, Robin! And of course it was a pleasure talking with you last night as well.

Erobintica said...

Oh! Looky all the comments that came in while I was out!

Kam, I'll lend it to you when I'm done. And it's been a privilege to be your friend on this journey.

Gina! Yes! Yesyesyes!

Sommer, thanks for stopping by. Hugs. I'm seeing in a number of comments, that it's that knowledge of ourselves, sometimes years in the acquisition, that offers both freedom AND power. Because it's powerful to really know oneself.

Jo, "We're scared of it. Perhaps because it's too mammal? " - whoa, a lot there to think about. You've given me an idea for a whole other blog post!

Elizabeth, welcome. I laughed at "With vanilla encounters it's pretty much, 'You're hot, let's have sex,'" probably because I found that when I tried to write vanilla stories, I was bored out of my mind. Which doesn't make for good writing. But I wasn't yet comfortable writing into the darker stuff. And that showed too. Writing is as much about self-discovery as it is in communicating. Thanks for stopping by.

Shanna! I love your " I like it all! And I want to write it all!" because you communicate that so well in everything, especially your classes (shameless plug from a very satisfied student). You embody body the joy and the pain of writing so well. ;-) Sometimes though, you take things a little far though. Get well soon.

Rachel, first of all, welcome, and thank you for giving me a spot on this virtual book tour. I did not submit (ha!) anything to this call when it came out. I was still in a place of not being comfortable writing into the corners. I do think it's the "fear, skepticism, uncertainty" that make these stories interesting and not just arousing. And why is it that people only ask that (doing everything we write about) of authors that write about sex?! Oh well. Thanks for coming by.

Heidi, if there was any rambling, I didn't notice it. I tend to ramble quite a bit myself. I'm fairly new at this writing erotica thing, but I am finding that if I try to totally keep myself out of the writing, it just doesn't work. And yeah, by putting a little part of ourselves in our stories, we make it universal, because obviously there are many many people that have had the same thoughts before us. Thanks for stopping in.

Em! The pleasure was mutual. ;-) I'm glad you came to comment, because I did like what you had to say about your story. I found this to be very interesting: "What happens (it seems to me anyway) is that his form of control is actually to take it and give it right back to her — to force her to confront the control (or another way to put it may be responsibility) she has for herself of which she seems afraid. " I'll have to think on that some more, there's a kernel of a thought, but I am distracted by heavy rain right now. ;-)
And thank you Em.

Donna said...

So fascinating to read these different writers' approaches to D/s. I relate to so much of it, especially Emerald's point about power play forcing you to confront your own issues around control.

It also seems to me that older people (over 30) tend to be able to appreciate the sexiness of power play. Before that, many people are just trying to figure out sexual relationships, but I'm sure there are exceptions, people who know right away they flourish with power play.

I am more interested in psychological power play, and I think all of the D/s stories I've written tap into a reversal of sorts. That is, just like in "Just What She Needs," the dominant male is actually reading the sub's desires and allowing her to do just want she wants without having the explicit responsibility of owning those desires. Or in the case of my story, she is "forced" to acknowledge what she wants and needs, but she abdicates the responsibility to him and thus can just go along for the ride, confident he will set it up so she does enjoy it. If that makes sense....

Mercy Loomis said...

I'm with Shanna--all over the board. I write lots of different kinds of erotica, and I like lots of different things personally. Kinky erotica is some of my favorite to write though, right after paranormal and (best of all) kinky paranormal.

In my personal life, I was surprised to find out I was a masochist. Masochism made no sense to me. In fact, it still doesn't, I'm just ok with it now. ;) And I find being submissive to be so very very relaxing. I like not having to think, and I love the fact that my submission is exactly what my toppy husband wants. It's fulfilling on so many levels!

For "The Sub Fairy" I really wanted to explore the boundaries of D/s, but the vanilla-side boundaries, not the other extreme. I came to BDSM late myself, so some of the narrator's experiences are definitely analogous to my own.

Remittance Girl said...

I haven't thought a great deal about the story I wrote, "The Negotiation" that was included in this anthology. My story was more of a satire. You see, I don't see dominance and submission as being 'out of the mainstream' at all. Nice people don't want to call what they do to each other in the everyday world 'BDSM' and no one is wearing leather or wielding a riding crop but, for all intents and purposes, these power dynamics are acted out in the courtroom, the boardroom, the school room, the city council, the prison, the church, the senate. Everywhere.

I think what I find so gratifying about sexual submission and domination is that it is the only honest, above-board manifestation of an almost constant and universal reality.

Erobintica said...

Donna, your observation that it seems that people over 30 are able to appreciate power play. How about over 50? ;-) And what you say makes perfect sense.

Mercy, welcome. The vanilla-side definitely came through in your story. I kept imagining the couple to be friends of mine, LOL. Thanks for stopping by.

RG, welcome, and, you are so right.

Emerald said...

"I think what I find so gratifying about sexual submission and domination is that it is the only honest, above-board manifestation of an almost constant and universal reality."

I find this an incredibly interesting observation. I don't know that it had consciously occurred to me that way before, but it resonates for me.

Lisabet Sarai said...

The details of my story, "Stroke", are not at all based on personal experience, but the emotional context most definitely is.

I've had one significant D/s relationship in my life. It influenced me profoundly. For me, the excitement of BDSM comes from the psychic connection between the Dom and the sub--in part, the way that the Dom strips the sub bare, forcing her to acknowledge her own taboo desire to be dominated. This requires a level of trust from the sub that ultimately leads to physical arousal and intense satisfaction. The bonds, the constraints, the pain, do not generate the arousal (except that for they may trigger excitement by association). The psychological dynamics lie at the core; the physical stuff is all periphery.

In "Stroke" I try to push that notion to its logical conclusion by creating a dominant who is partially paralyzed yet can fulfill the submissive's fantasies almost without touching her.


Erobintica said...

Lisabet, welcome. "The psychological dynamics lie at the core; the physical stuff is all periphery." I keep hearing this over and over again from the authors, which probably explains why the stories in this collection are so engaging.

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