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The Best BDSM Book I Never Wrote

The Best BDSM Book I Never Wrote
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  How to Be a Submissive

Here’s the thing: I’m not a sexual submissive. I’ve known women who are, and who really get off on the psychological thrill of being told what to do in and out of bed. Over the course of my research, I read there’s no such thing as a “born submissive,” but I’m not so sure that’s true. It has to be in the psychological makeup, or it’s just not going to be pleasurable.

Though I married a strong man who’s a natural leader and has opinions on how I should brush my teeth (and everything else), I never think of him as my “master.” I never want to be told what to do. Depending on the severity of my PMS, I might even suppress wild-animal-like rage when asked to get him another beer.

I especially dislike being told what to do in bed. Nothing takes me out of the moment quite as quickly as a sudden: “Rub my nipples!” I want to rub his nipples, but only when I want to. The mental image of a drill sergeant in bed with me doesn’t turn me on.

Before I launched into the book project, my experience of male dominance-female submission was pretty much limited to the movie Secretary and Selena Kitt’s book The Surrender of Persephone. I like reading about D/s (Dominance/submission; even the quirky capitalization reflects the exchange of power), and Secretary’s just a well-done film. It’s not a fantasy I’d like to act out, though…unless given the chance to enrage Christian Bale by doing something incompetent in order to get him to swear at me in his hypnotically sexy Welsh-English-American-whatever accent.

So, to pull off an e-book on the subject of sexual submission required good, old-fashioned research.

  Subjects Not Covered by the Dewey Decimal System

When researching any new project, my first stop is always the library. In college I learned to use the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature to ferret out magazine articles. Although I looked under a variety of terms, from “submission” to “bondage” to “sexuality,” I found little to help me at my small-town local library. Apparently, BDSM doesn’t come up often in mainstream American periodicals.

Undeterred, I hopped a bus and went to the larger city next door. There I began to search the books. Again, typing terms like “bondage” and “sexual submission” yielded little; these subjects are just as unpopular with public libraries as they are with magazines. I had to work smarter, browsing the large sociology section for books covering sexuality, then scanning their tables of contents and indices.

This took me a couple of hours. I didn’t mind so much, since the “big library” has a café where I could sip French vanilla cappuccinos (out of a vending machine!) and takes notes on my laptop. My serious study of a mountain of books about sex seemed to amuse the guy at the table next to me. By the time I was ready to catch the bus home, my stack of books was less mountainous, but still outlandishly oversized. Still, I could gain only a few rudimentary facts about the BDSM lifestyle, and even less about D/s specifically, from these volumes. It was time to go to the Internet.

  BDSM For Dummies

My guides to the Internet world of BDSM included Cerina X, the Triskelion Society, and Gloria Brame. With a little digging, I found websites that helped me understand the various forms of restraint, erotic humiliation, corporal punishment and orgasm denial associated with being a sub (submissive). Compiling a glossary of terms was an interesting task. Bastinado, crucifixion, human furniture, mummification and tickle torture started to sound like fun as I was defining them. I even began to have BDSM dreams…and I liked them.

Around the definitions of terms I was beginning to understand, I weaved a fascinating book of safe, sane and consensual edgeplay. I especially liked my chapter about a typical day in the life of a submissive. It was like writing an erotic short story, one in which I had permission to let all my darker impulses out to play. I tried to think like a Dominant male.

When I filled in the outline I’d been given and formatted the book, I felt I’d made a damn fine thing.

  So You Want to Be a Submissive

I was shocked to discover, about two months after I’d finished writing the thing, that the buyer was so disappointed in my work she was cancelling the project. Maybe she’d try again, she informed me, with a new writer.

The book I wrote wasn’t what the buyer wanted at all. Maybe I was too much of an outsider, and these manuals are best left to someone who lives within the lifestyle. Maybe I was too analytical and not passionate enough. Maybe subconsciously I was too judgmental, even if I do like to think of myself as an open-minded person. In the end, my work went to waste. I didn’t get paid, I didn’t get my work out before the public…I didn’t even get to keep the rights to my writes. I learned, though.

So you want to be a submissive? Buy the manual when it comes out. I didn’t write a word of it, so I can say that without the least bit of self-interest. The dark, edgy side of sexuality fascinates, though, whether you’re a submissive female, a submissive male, a dominant of either (or neither) sex or something else entirely. D/s teaches you to know your wants and needs and to maintain a healthy sense of self-respect. That may seem ironic in a lifestyle devoted to the giving up of control to another person, but I found it be true. Like any of the great world philosophies, D/s encourages you to first know thyself. Only then, once your own feelings have been mastered, can you learn to serve another. Only then can you don the studded leather collar and become a human footstool.

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Comments

paulashene  

I enjoying all the laughing I do reading your articles - the only thing I did not see as fair - you could not keep the rights to your writes? Need to get a little D into the situation, maybe?

09/21/2010
Bra25  

A non female submissive writing a book on how to be a female submissive - based on "research" is like a het writing a book on how to be a lesbian or gay man; a white person writing a book on how to be a person of color. Sure, it's done all the time - but isn't there enough fantasy parading as non fiction already on this topic?

I understand this was a learning experience for you; you now think you understand your kinky friends better, maybe. You now can teach other non-sub people what being a sub is like, sort of. People do this all the time, even in the Lifestyle.

Hooray, another voice added to the chorus drowning out the real voices of real submissive human beings who might also have liked to get published and paid. And someone in the community willing to hire a ghost writer, until she gets something she can claim as her own.

I liked THIS article however - about a non submissive woman honestly writing from her actual experience. Honesty and self awareness - they are some other big fundamentals in the Lifestyle.

08/19/2011

Great article.

04/06/2012

Great article, thanks.

02/09/2013

BDSM—kink—fetish: what are they? How does one do it? And, most importantly, who’s doing it? The answer might just be staring back at you in the mirror.

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