Sunday, May 04, 2014

BDSM WEEK ~ Deconstructing BDSM Myths by Rachel Haimowitz

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As a huge fan of Rachel Haimowitz with both her Flesh Cartel Series and the Power Play series, there was no way that I was going to miss out on the opportunity of featuring her in our BDSM week. Rachel is a five plus star author in my eyes, who consistently delivers excellent BDSM erotic novels that will knock your sock’s off, especially, if like me, your preference is for the darker side of the genre… I am so pleased and excited that she agreed to be here with us today, to deconstruct some of those BDSM myths we all get a little confused with at times.

Also don’t forget to enter the giveaway below, as Rachel is gifting a signed copy, by both her and Cat Grant of Power Play:Resistance, definitely not one to be missed!

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DECONSTRUCTING BDSM MYTHS

By Rachel Haimowitz

Even within the BDSM community, there are many pervasive myths about its practitioners. Myths, of course, do contain some kernel of truth—just as with stereotypes, the assumptions must begin somewhere. But the problem with these types of assumptions, especially in a community as large and varied as the BDSM world (even the word “community” here is misleading; it’s not like we’re all card-carrying members of the same club), is pretty obvious: people are individuals, and we all like different things. Heck, we can’t even all agree on the meaning of BDSM itself: Is it Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism? Bondage, Discipline, Submission, Masochism? See what I mean?

Today I wanted to disabuse folks of two of the most pervasive BDSM myths: that all subs are masochists and all Doms are sadists; and that all subs are bottoms and all Doms are tops.

While I do think it’s fair to say that a great, great many Doms and subs fall into those categories, certainly not all of us do. And in particular, bottom/sub and top/Dom are terms I see conflated with such alarming frequency that it’s clear many folks don’t even realize there’s a difference. Let’s start with some quick definitions, then—and please note these are my definitions, which may well differ from others’:

Top: The penetrating partner during sex

Bottom: The partner being penetrated during sex

Dom: The partner to whom, by all outward appearances, control is given. Sometimes just in the bedroom, sometimes in and out of it, sometimes in varying combinations, and often to varying degrees. Control may be exercised in any number of mutually agreeable ways, ranging from service to humiliation to enforced chastity and everything in between—and not everyone enjoys (or should, or has to) every type of control. Consent is key in action, though may be (and often is) absent in fantasy. This is perfectly healthy.

Sub: The partner who, by all outward appearances, has ceded control. Again, sometimes in just in the bedroom, sometimes in and out of it, sometimes in varying combinations, and often to varying degrees. Control may be ceded in any number of mutually agreeable ways, ranging from service to humiliation to enforced chastity and everything in between—and not everyone enjoys (or should, or has to) every method of being controlled. Consent is key in action, though may be (and often is) absent in fantasy. This is perfectly healthy.

Sadist: A person who takes pleasure, sexual or otherwise, in inflicting pain on others. Please note that there are plenty of asexual sadists in the world; it’s not always about sex. Consent is key in action, though may be (and often is) absent in fantasy. This is perfectly healthy.

Masochist: A person who takes pleasure, sexual or otherwise, in having pain inflicted upon them. Again, there are plenty of asexual masochists in the world. And again, consent is key in action, though may be (and often is) absent in fantasy. This is perfectly healthy.

Now, read over those definitions again. Note two things: 1) the parts I chose to repeat over and over, and 2) the lack of overlap between the varying definitions in everything but consent.

Of course, these definitions do tend to fit into practical groupings, hence the origin of the myths. Someone who likes to take control is more likely to be both the penetrating partner and the pain-inflicting one; this neatly mimics the real-life behavior of an aggressor or attacker—a roleplay many Doms, tops, and sadists fantasize about. Just as someone who likes to cede control is more likely to be both the penetrated partner and the one upon whom pain is inflicted; again, this neatly mimics the real-life behavior of a victim—a roleplay many subs, bottoms, and masochists fantasize about.

But just as there are infinite varieties of people, there are infinite reasons, urges, and driving forces behind people’s participation in BDSM. For instance, a masochist may only submit to a Dom because they really, really, really want to be flogged. They’d be very unlikely to submit outside of the confines of a scene, and a scene itself would likely consist of nothing but pain play. In this instance, something like humiliation or demands for service might stop the scene cold. And the masochist might need to be tied down because their obedience and devotion to the Dom would not be enough to hold them still.

On the flipside of that coin, not all subs—quite possibly not even the majority of subs—are masochists. Service turns their crank. Humiliation and/or orders might be just the thing they’re seeking. They may submit within the confines of a scene, or maybe even 24/7. Pain in this scenario is likely only to be used as a punishment or disciplinary tool. They are unlikely to get off on being beaten. They may, however, get off on enduring the pain for their master, or on being brave enough to take it, or on being cleansed of the transgression for which they’re being punished. This is especially true if their master is a sadist. The dynamic of a sadistic Dom and a non­-masochistic sub was one that Cat Grant and I explored in Power Play: Resistance and Power Play: Awakening. It’s a particularly attractive dynamic to a sadistic Dom, because hurting someone who enjoys being hurt isn’t nearly as fun for a sadist as hurting someone who doesn’t enjoy it >:-)

Another dynamic you see rarely in fiction (or porn) but with some frequency in real life is a Dom who is also a bottom, or a switch. Female Doms with male subs often fit this category—they may penetrate with fingers or toys, and then be penetrated by their sub during sex. Many male Doms enjoy this too. It’s important to understand that the act of penetration is not by default an act of domination. A topping sub may be tied down and ridden by their partner, thus ceding all control of the penetration. Or they may simply be following every order their Dom issues—harder, faster, slower, deeper, etc.—thus, again, ceding all control of the act of penetration and in fact turning it into an act of submission.

These are just a few of the combinations you’ll encounter in the real world of BDSM. There are likely as many varieties as there are individual tastes, and they depend not only on people’s desires to give or receive pain, penetration, and control at any particular moment, but also where people fall on the sexual spectrum at any particular moment. Sometimes, for example, I like to hurt people in scenes completely removed from sexual acts. Other times, I like to hurt people during sexual acts. Sometimes those scenes involve domination. Sometimes they absolutely do not. Sometimes, I am the penetrating partner. Other times, I am the penetrated partner. Sometimes we both are, and sometimes neither of us are. And I’m just one person. So just imagine all the variety you’ll encounter if you venture out into the wider world.

 

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About Rachel Haimowitz

 

263206_1893954278472_1996486_n_thumb[1]_thumbRachel is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and co-owner and Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She's also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.
She originally dipped her toes into cable news and book publishing, decided the water was cold and smelled kinda funny, and moved on to helping would-be authors polish and publish, writing for websites and magazines, and ghostwriting nonfiction.
Her first novel, Counterpoint: Book One of Song of the Fallen, released in August of 2010 with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. Things pretty much spiraled from there, and now she plans to release four or five new stories each year. She loves playing with shorts and novellas just as much as sinking her claws into the worldbuilding fun of a novel.
When she's not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn. 

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

More books by Rachel Haimowitz

 

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Giveaway

Rachel will be gifting to one very lucky reader a signed copy of Power Play: Resistance which will be signed by Rachel and Cat.

Good Luck

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Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

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Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a Kindle Fire HD…

Good Luck!

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Giveaway Conditions

  1. The Kindle Fire HD giveaway is international unless excluded.  If your country is not on the list that Amazon delivers to, you will not be eligible win this  prize.
  2. Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews is not responsible for damage to the Kindle in transit.  All issues regarding this must be addressed to Amazon.
  3. All accessories for the Kindle Fire HD must be purchased by the winner – the prize is the Kindle Fire HD only and does not include the power adaptor.
  4. Entrants must be 18 or over.

32 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading about the different definitions. I had been under the impression that top/bottom meant the same thing as Dom/sub. I love learning new things, and I am loving this week!

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    1. That's a VERY common misconception. Another one that really throws folks is a "service top"--someone who dominates a partner not because they're a Dom themselves but because it pleases the partner for them to do so. So many amazing combinations out there! :)

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  2. Thanks for the giveaways. Such a great to learn of other authors other than the ones I already know!

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! <3

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  3. i like the books My Billionaire Master: Indebted To Him i love the site i really love the giveaways and all the great books you review and giveaway i love reading all kinds of romance books denise smith

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    1. Isn't the Sinfully Sexy crew awesome? :D Thank you for stopping by!

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  4. i really enjoy reading different types of books

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  5. I'd stayed away from RESISTANCE because I'd heard that Jonathan is a bit of a bad Dom, but now I'd really like to give it a try...

    --Trix

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    1. Howdy nonnie. Jonathan IS a bad Dom, at least with a reluctant new sub--the first book in the Power Play series is a bit like watching a train wreck unfold. But he does finally catch a clue and make it up to Brandon. Hope you enjooy! :D

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    2. It took me a while to decide to read these books because of some negative comments but I've just finished both and highly recommend them.

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  6. Thanks Rachel for the obvious respect you show for all kinds of kink and the clear explanations you provided here! And thanks for the giveaway ;-)

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    1. I had fun writing this :) Thanks for joining in today!

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  8. BDSM is my favorite genre of books to read. My favorite books are Only Pleasure sure by Lora Leigh, actually the entire series is fantastic. Also Maya Banks Pleasure series is one of my faves as well. If this is your genre of reads, I would HIGHLY recommend both of these series. Both series are tastefully written and unforgettable!

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  9. That clarified things nicely. Thank you, Rachel!

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  10. Very good clarification of the differences between Tops/bottoms, Dom/mes/subs. I find people often get those confused. The power exchange can make a scene completely different and is a definite rush.

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Forgot to mention my favorite bdsm books. You know, I don't really have any. There are a few I enjoy but they are lighter. Most books seem to be M/F bdsm and I usually stay away from those unless there's some paranormal aspect to it. I suppose since I can get bdsm in RL, I don't read bdsm all that often.

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  11. Thank you for the awesome giveaway! I love this blog and all of the reviews you post!! :)

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  12. Now I'm kind of interested in how the dynamic with a masochistic dom and a partner would play out...
    As for my favorite bdsm book, The Hostage Bargain really stands out to me since I read it when I was completely new to the genre. For a real all time favorite pick I would have to read hell of a lot more before making a decision, there's a lot of good books. ^^

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    1. Probably with the Dom yelling "Harder!" ;-)

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  13. really interested in this series...would love to win

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  14. Thank you for the educational post. It was eye opening on some levels. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  15. Loved the interview. The latest BDSM book I have read is Interview With The Master by Jason Luke.

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  16. Thanks for the great interview! You ladies always do such a great job! My fav BDSM series is Club Shadowlands.

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  17. I love that you added "This is perfectly healthy." to the end of your descriptions as there can be a lot of uncertainty or confusion or concern when someone is developing/discovering their kink. (Or when a loved one discovers a hint of yours...perhaps when they stumble upon something juicy you've been reading.)

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  18. Wow - I love the "definitions" ! and think many more people might realise the very fine line there is in BSDM when reading these. I'd like to reiterate the "individuality" of any BDSM relationship - one thing does not suit all - and there are certainly more differences between couples than we (aka straight, non-experienced readers) can imagine :)

    I'm a great fan of the "Powerplay" and "Flesh Cartel" series :) but the author who trips my switch every time is Joey W Hill :)

    *Hugs*

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  19. Sounds amazing. Thank you for a wonderful book.

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  20. This article explained so clearly many of the misconceptions I had. My first foray into Male/Male books was the Market Garden series which opened my eyes to this genre. i look forward to reading your books now!

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  21. You guys have the best giveaways ever!! I love your choices in books! Thanks for everything!!

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  22. Love this blog and thank you so much for all the awesome giveaways!

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  23. The definitions are really helpful. I know lots of people who do not understand bdsm at all, sometimes, I try to explain it but they still don't get it or even try to understand it. Maybe I've been so used to the m/m romance genre that I still find m/f or f/m bdsm quite... weird I guess would be a term. I think I haven't oriented myself to those. As for my favourite bdsm book... to be quite honest, I think it's mostly books from Kim Dare(since I've only read most of them and not much of others)

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