Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why BDSM? Guest Blog with Jeffe Kennedy



Why BDSM?

I’m sometimes asked why I write BDSM-flavored erotic romance.

Often people who ask these sorts of questions seem to think that writers decide on themes like this as a rational choice – as if we weigh our preference in the same way as whether to see family for the holidays or celebrate at home. Or whether to invest in low-risk long-term investments over short-term high-risk ones.
A sub-text accusation can lurk beneath, the implicit assumption that those of us who write BDSM have hopped on the Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon. Cashing in on the trend. Chasing the sexual ambulance of Big Money. I get why people think this, because there are a few writers who’ve committed this particular sin. I call it a “sin” because I strongly believe in writing what you love, not to the market, which is how most writers feel, in my experience.

For me, and for many other writers, we write what we feel, what floats our personal boats.
And, while I love pretty much all variations of consensual sex, BDSM is what holds the greatest allure, especially for storytelling. It comes down to five elements: Power, Control, Intimacy, Taboos and Elevation of the Senses.

Power

Power is one of my themes. I know this about myself as a writer. Looking across all of my work, regardless of genre – nonfiction, fantasy, fantasy romance, erotic romance – the stories are about power in some form. Having it, giving it up, struggling for it, fighting those who shouldn’t have it, what the nature of power is, all of these concepts and probably more. BDSM is all about power exchange. Giving up sexual power to another person is both a profound experience and a metaphor for power struggles in all aspects of our lives.

Control

In my worldview, control is related to power. I’d probably argue that control is a way of wielding power – or releasing it. By learning to control sexual interactions, which are chock-full of the most passionate and uncontrollable responses, not just physically, but also intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, we learn about our own power. For both the dominant and submissive partner, a BDSM scenario exercises levels of control, both of the self and of the sexual partner(s).

Intimacy

Sex is, by its very nature, a profoundly intimate experience. We reveal ourselves in ways we don’t in any other situation. Again, this exposure goes beyond the physical, though that’s a powerful metaphor, being seen naked, in positions and aspects that very few people see. During sex, ideally we also let go of inhibitions, of manners and politeness, of walls and facades. Story-wise, there are few other ways to so thoroughly open up a character. In BDSM, the extremity of the power exchange, the gain and loss of control, pushes the experience that much farther.

Taboos

I give a whole workshop on the power of breaking taboos, but the short version is that we grow up with social and personal taboos. They are instilled in us from our earliest consciousness, to protect us in our vulnerable years (don’t touch the hot stove, no more cookies) and to make us part of society (don’t say everything you think, don’t touch that part of yourself in public). Understanding those taboos and breaking them allows us to leave childhood behind and actualize into adulthood. BDSM is rife with taboos of all kinds, which gives me as a storyteller ample opportunities for my characters to break with old mindsets and embrace new, better ones.

Elevation of the Senses

Part of the method of BDSM is to use pain and suspended pleasure to activate the nervous system, allowing for a passionately excited state that – if well done – exceeds all others. This kind of excitation, again, allows for character transformation and a story that reaches greater levels of both conflict and emotional resolution. Also, when our senses are elevated, we “wake up” out of the routine, the duller kind of awareness we can sink into through the drone of routine. All of this, on top of the energetic release of breaking taboos, makes for a more exciting story.


BDSM, of course, is not the only fictional metaphor for getting at these concepts, but it’s my personal favorite for erotic romance. 
Going Under 
Falling Under Trilogy
Book One 
Jeffe Kennedy

Genre: Erotic Romance

Book Description:

Knowing all too well the damage online trolls can inflict, game designer Emily Bartwell takes privacy seriously. Living in solitude and working remotely under a male alias gives her a sense of security. The sexy writer renting the house next door ignites desires she’d forgotten she had, and when he invites her to play games of a very different sort, Em is ready and willing. Even if it means breaking all her own rules to abide by his.

Undercover tech reporter Fox Mullins is so close to the biggest scoop of his career: finding the elusive programmer Phoenix. An increasingly erotic adventure with his reserved but passionate new neighbor is the ideal way to heat up the chilly Pacific Northwest nights as he tracks the brilliant gamer.

At first Fox is happy to help Em explore her newly awakened kinky side, no holds barred, no strings attached. But as they push the limits of intimacy, both physical and emotional, Fox discovers he’s not the only one keeping secrets. And revealing hers may mean betraying the one woman who embodies everything he desires.

About the Author:

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook. 

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.  

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.


Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.




https://twitter.com/jeffekennedy

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