Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Tuesday Titles 113..

A couple of books for you today - I've recently delved into Sierra Cartwright's Donovan series, which if you're not into fairy explicit BDSM content, is not going to be your cup of tea. (Seriously, graphic content to follow.)

As someone who isn't afraid to ask for what they want when it comes to relationships, the recent rise in popularity in this genre has really intrigued me. Are we getting more open with our relationship chat? Or are we living through the books we read on the subject and secretly wishing we could be more like these characters...? I know which side of the fence I sit on, but what about you? 

Bind - Sienna Cartwright
"You remember that we talked about safe words?"

She couldn't believe they were having this conversation. "Yes."

"Unless there are words you want to use, we can use red and yellow. Red for stop immediately, yellow for slow down, we need to talk, I'm scared, or to let me know you need something."

"That works for me."

Bind, the first book in Sierra Cartwright's Donovan Dynasty series really sets the scene. Lara, whose family is facing financial ruin, comes up with a rather risky business proposition and is a little surprised when entrepreneur Connor takes her up on it. 

Full of fairly graphic BDSM and dom / sub references, this is not a book for the faint of heart, and the second in the series picks up where Bind leaves off, with a focus on some of the other characters in the company. 

Brand - Sienna Cartwright

He wants her subject to his will. She’s scared she may never want to get away. The first time Sofia McBride meets the strong and determined Cade Donovan, he warns her to keep her distance. She tells herself to heed his words, but she’s stunned to realize her depth of attraction to this intimidating man.

Brand continues the Donovan series in the same way - sexy, heated scenes and graphic descriptions of the relationship forming between Sofia and Cade. 

To be honest, there are so many series' of books in the BDSM fantasy category (we're well into 50 Shades territory here) that it can be hard to find a stand-out writer, but I think Cartwright does well here to put her own stamp on the genre and I'm keen to read the third installment. It's clear that she has a real passion for her subject matter and she's written a guest post, on BDSM and how it fits into her relationships, which I'm keen to share, as something which has always intrigued me is how we find out if the other person in our relationship is into the same fantasies as we are:

I Like to be Spanked - Sierra Cartwright

"“I like to be spanked” is not something I ever imagined saying on a first date! But since my divorce, it’s something I’ve said…more than once.

When I’m having dinner with a Dom whom I met at a munch (an actual term for a casual meet and greet, typically at a restaurant or other public place), at a lifestyle club, or through mutual friends, it’s an expected, even necessary part of the conversation.

It’s much more difficult, embarrassing, even risky with a man I’ve met through friends or standing in line at a coffee shop. I’ve heard a range of responses, from, “Really? You want me to tie you up? Hell, yeah. I can do that!” To, “I could never treat a woman that way, not even for fun.”

The normal response from men who have never experimented with BDSM is a ton of questions. “Doesn’t spanking hurt?” Uhm. Yes. It does. “Why do you want to do that?”

It would be easy to not bring up the conversation so early in a potential relationship, but I’ve always been intrigued with BDSM. When I was a young married woman, I learned my husband had little to no interest in exploring my kinky side. I told myself that I could read books and fantasize about various scenarios and still be happy, even though I’d never get to experience them for myself.

But after recovering from the utter devastation of a divorce I never wanted, I made some decisions. And one of them was to explore the thing that had intrigued me for years.

Even though I didn’t know it at the time, a new male acquaintance was a Dom. We were discussing our failed marriages, and one evening on the phone, I had confessed that I had always wanted more, sexually, from my relationship.

He pressed for more information. And since I had the distance and anonymity that comes from being on a phone rather than being face-to-face, I admitted that I had read some of Anne Rice’s material, as well as the Story of O. Since I still had no idea he was dominant, we had a bit of an intellectual discussion.
And then, very deep into the conversation, he told me to slide my hand into my panties to see if I was wet.

I froze, somewhere between shock, disbelief, and excitement. But there was something in his tone that hadn’t been there previously, a command, a demand, and he was totally uncompromising.

My heart raced at his implacability. I protested. I asked him if he was crazy. But I was reeling. This was exactly what I had said I wanted, a feeling of arousal that left me giddy.

He asked if he needed to repeat his order.

“No,” I whispered.

“So. Are you?”

“You’re a Dom?”

He laughed. “What do you think?”

My knees weakened, and I sank into a nearby chair.

“Do it now!” he snapped

And I did.

Delirium made my world spin. Nothing has been the same since.

That night, before I went to bed, he told me to masturbate, but not to orgasm. I did…and I thought I might die from the exquisite torture. I tossed and turned, and the little sleep I got was fitful. Even though I was exhausted, I’d never been more vibrantly alive or curious.

We never had a formal dating relationship, but he was the Dom who taught me, in a very real way, when to use my safe word, and he helped me find my limits though a lot of discussion and experimentation.

Once I’d tasted this kind of excitement, I was committed to having a life that included at least some elements of BDSM.

As a novelist of romantic BDSM fiction, I’m lucky. When I meet men who know nothing about it, but my needs don’t terrify them, I give them a copy of one of my books. If he’s interested in me, he will likely read it. At the very least, he’ll skim it to get an idea of the things that intrigue me.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that BDSM is extraordinarily empowering for the submissive. At first, that idea struck me as an oxymoron, but before scening with a Dom, there’s always a discussion about consent and about the things the sub enjoys, the things she’s willing to do, the things she might consider doing, and the things she will never agree to. There’s an extraordinary amount of conversation and discussion. And it’s raw and honest, emotional in a way I’ve rarely experienced in a non-BDSM relationship.

In fact, it’s not unusual for there to be several long discussions before the couple even engages in BDSM. Doms as well as subs will want to know the person they’re going to play with. He might want to know her personality and build-up trust. I’ve gone on as many as four different dates with a Dom before venturing into his dungeon. (This isn’t necessarily true in a club setting.)

There is always an agreed-upon word that will immediately stop a scene. There’s a word that will allow for a pause because something isn’t working, perhaps a fear has thrown a submissive out of the scene, or she has a cramped muscle, or something is no longer pleasant. After connecting and talking, they may continue, the couple can move onto something else, or they can agree to end the scene.

No matter what, the Dom must remain in control of himself for the duration of the time he’s together with his sub. It’s his obligation to protect her and care for her, especially if she is so far gone with the pleasure of endorphins that she is no longer thinking straight.

Can I share one of the most delicious secrets about BDSM? It’s all about the sub! Many people believe that BDSM is about a submissive serving a Dom, and there’s certainly an element of that involved. But first and foremost, it’s about her. He focuses all his energy, time, thoughts and attention on her. And that can be a heady experience indeed.

Another thing that surprises some people is that no two BDSM scenes or relationships are the same. People can meet for scenes and never have a romantic relationship. Intercourse is not always part of a scene. Even among committed couples, relationships are unique. Some live a dynamic twenty-four hours a day. Some keep it in the bedroom or only on weekends. Just as every relationship you’ve ever had is different, so, too, is each BDSM union.

And even though that initial conversation can be terrifying—more than one man never wanted a second date—I’ve learned that I have to take risks in order to get what I really want in life. So, yes, I like spankings and floggings. And while you’re at it, grab a blindfold. You can skip the gag because now that I’ve started talking about what I want, I’m afraid I’m never going to stop."


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