For an outstanding post by Xan West on a topic near and dear to my kinky heart, visit The Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog and see Describing Pain in BDSM Erotica.
One of my Wheldrake’s posts was selected for this month’s Elust. Enjoy the complete issue below.
Photo courtesy of Charlie in the Pool
The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #77? Start with the rules, come back December 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
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All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!
The End of the Run
Ladies Who Lunch
kink of the week: dirty panties
Because I Knew I Shouldn’t
Erotic Fiction: “Everything”
Look, Don’t Touch
As one night ends…
Unmasked: Part 1: The Gift
The Secret Rolls
Another Halloween has come and gone, and the goblins must be safely back in their caves under the hills. That particular holiday is mostly just silly, campy fun, at least for adults, but it’s also a journey through the harmless border regions of the sinister. Every Halloween we rediscover the exhilaration of playing around with imagery that taps into some of our primal terrors – the walking dead, monsters that blur the line between human and beast, things that go bump in the night. A hint of dread, divorced from any possibility of real harm, can be a wonderful intoxicant.
Halloween is, of course, popular among BDSMers, for more than one reason. People who enjoy dressing up in extravagant leather, rubber and latex outfits (a subset of the BDSM community that doesn’t include me or, as far as I know, My Lady) probably find that slipping into a costume at the end of October comes naturally, but I think there’s also a deeper affinity based on the idea of safely exploring the darker side of human experience. A dominant sadist, like a Halloween vampire, is cloaked in an aura of exciting menace but can be trusted not to pose a real threat to life and limb. However, the average party-goer in a vampire costume is unlikely to sink his or her teeth into anyone, whereas a sadist presented with a willing victim just might – metaphorically, and perhaps at some point quite literally.
Being taken on that kind of journey by a sadist, as I know from personal experience with My Lady and others, can involve a heady and bewildering mixture of sensations and mental states. Pain is the key ingredient, at least normally, but it can be accompanied by things like discomfort, degradation, helplessness, vulnerability, and even desperation. For me, however, the prevailing emotional texture of such adventures is defined by various kinds of fear, at every stage – fear of the sadist herself, and of what she might do to me. It begins with the nervous anticipation of knowing that a skilled and enthusiastic tormentor is going to make me suffer, an ominous feeling that rises to a crescendo as I find myself being prepared to receive her cruel attentions. There might be a slow walk to a well-equipped room in a suburban basement, a casual order to strip partly or completely naked, an implacable tightening of cuffs around my wrists and a gentle caress of dark fabric settling over my eyes. Nudity, blindness and physical helplessness bring a terrible and wonderful sense of vulnerability, an inescapable awareness of being in someone else’s power. As blows begin to fall and strong fingers begin to pinch and prod at the most delicate parts of my body, the agony is mixed with an inevitable fear that it might get far worse, that I might end up shrieking and sobbing and pleading desperately for just a little mercy. Certain cues can induce a more immediate terror: the swish of a cane from somewhere behind me, a threat whispered or growled into my ear, a hand meandering across my thigh towards my defenceless crotch. And when the torment is over, for the moment, I can start to worry about what ordeal might come next.
My Lady’s ability to scare me isn’t limited to the rare occasions when she can get her hands on me in person. I don’t think I’ve ever, since I first surrendered to her control, opened an email from her without at least a little thrill of trepidation. Subject lines such as the dreaded “Instructions” and the thankfully infrequent “Punishment” ratchet up the tension, but even messages with totally innocuous headings can contain alarming surprises. My Lady is, after all, a whip-smart and wickedly inventive dominant who has had a few years to get to know me and figure out how to push my buttons, and she doesn’t hesitate to use her knowledge and imagination to come up with unexpected ways to make me squirm. A few quick lines of text is all she needs to torture my naked flesh with clamps or clothespins, slide a plug deep into my submissive ass, harness my cock and balls in that tight leather and metal restraint she made me buy several months ago, or impose new restrictions on my culinary and masturbatory pleasures. It would be a miracle of complacency if I wasn’t scared of the woman.
What makes my fear of My Lady exhilarating and arousing, instead of miserable and debilitating, is that I know I can trust her not to go too far. She’s not going to kill, maim, infect or traumatise me, and she’s not going to send illustrated reports on my submissive side to my friends, family or coworkers. My dread of the suffering she inflicts so expertly and gleefully is quite real, but knowing that I won’t be harmed in the process (at least, beyond the odd welt or bite mark) prevents any slide into the sick horror I imagine I’d feel if I were kidnapped by mobsters or terrorists. The great paradox of my inner erotic life is that suffering at the hands of someone like My Lady is also tremendously exciting, and the fear both fuels the excitement and combines with it to create an irresistible cocktail. I’m sure that I could get something out of submitting to a dominant who didn’t frighten me, but a vital component would be missing from the experience – as if I was being stalked through a haunted house by a vampire without any fangs.
One of the first people I ever did D/s with as a Dominant was j., a sweet and earnest boi who thought of hymself as a knight. Hys submission was based on hys conception of chivalry. That particular masculine archetype was where hy found honor, pride and strength in service to a Dominant. Hy was the first of quite a few submissives that I’ve known who found the knight/chevalier archetype a way to access their submissive masculinity.
There is a huge fantasy of feudalism that many find deeply compelling: the rigidity of hierarchy, a time when masculinity was honorable, pride in service to a monarch, the romance of a knight carrying a lady’s favor, trial by combat, the ordeal of knighthood. So many stories have been written about this, a horde of fantasy, romance and legend that feeds this archetype of submission. I’ve read (and loved) a bunch of them myself.
These stories and this archetype obfuscate the realities of medieval feudalism, and ignore the complexities of the ways power was working at the time. For example, the concept of honorable knighthood ignores the historical role of knights in colonialism. And, I was recently informed by a medieval historian that current historical scholarship shows that relationships among folks of the same class were so much more important in people’s lives than the class hierarchy that is often romanticized.
Fantasies of knighthood are refracted through desire and wishes for a redemptive masculinity, a way of being powerful in submission, a way of enacting kink with honor. Many of the folks I know who evoke knighthood or chivalry in their kink (and there are a whole host of Dominants who do this as well), do so out of a desire for an ethical framework, a way to enact power that feels honorable and consensual and romantic. These are often folks who know what abusive and oppressive power and masculinity are like, and are attempting to craft a way to play with power and gender that does not reproduce abuse.
So when I was imagining a time travel story about a Dominant finding his way back to submission again after giving it up for many years in the aftermath of an abusive D/s relationship, it made sense to take him back in time to a fantasy of medieval feudalism. To create an opportunity for a cathartic scene that would give him a framework for choosing service again, through an ordeal of knighthood.
“My Will” is told from the perspective of that Dominant. It begins with him meeting a man that he can’t stop thinking about kneeling for, even though he gave that up long ago. They talk kink ethics for hours, and become friends. Then Preston (and yes he is named after John Preston, in homage to the way these two characters are enamored of old school leather) offers a scene for his birthday, and he cannot resist trying submission again, rationalizing that it’s for a limited time, kind of like a vacation.
For the first half of the story, you witness this Dominant kneel for the first time in fifteen years, and fall back in love with submission, again. He reclaims his own desire, and revels in the beauty that can be D/s dynamic. You get to savor the intensity of a deep D/s dynamic, slow and languorous and drawn out in full deep strokes that reach into his heart and hold. Preston is ruthless in his expression of Dominance, and that’s exactly what he aches for, is so sublimely what he needs that he is so overwhelmed he passes out, and is transported back in time, to face a knight’s ordeal.
Just as Preston pushed him to admit his desire to be under his boot, so does the priest require him to verbalize his desire for service before entering the ordeal. That is a theme throughout Show Yourself To Me, scenes where submissives are required to own and verbalize their desire, and both of these choice points are essential in “My Will”. The title is based on that moment of choice, the question he faces: “Is it your will to pursue service?”
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Get the book:
Ebook and print copies at Go Deeper Press: http://godeeperpress.com/projects/show-yourself-to-me-by-xan-west/
In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.
Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.
Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.
Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.
This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.
Join the blog tour — see schedule below, or go here for a list that will have updates.
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Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, a recent transplant to Oakland from Brooklyn, who has been doing community kink education for over ten years. Xan has been published in over 35 erotica anthologies, including the Best S/M Erotica series, the Best Gay Erotica series, and the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Xan’s story “First Time Since,” won honorable mention for the 2008 National Leather Association John Preston Short Fiction Award. Xan’s work has been described by reviewers as “offering the erotica equivalent of happy ever after” and as “some of the best transgressive erotic fiction to come along in recent years.”
Xan refuses pronouns, twists barbed wire together with yearning, and tilts pain in many directions to catch the light. Xan adores vulnerable tops; strong, supportive bottoms; red meat; long winding conversations about power, privilege, and community; showtunes; and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds. Find Xan’s thoughts about the praxis of sex, kink, queerness, power, and writing at xanwest.wordpress.com.
Show Yourself to Me blog tour:
In preparation for Xan West’s blog tour, which starts today (see previous post), I did some reading on Xan’s blog. Xan does an excellent job of explaining something I’ve thought about many times and posted about rarely. I recently touched on the subject on PD Singer’s blog.
The first part of Xan West’s post explains much of why Xan is one of my favorite authors. The appeal of specific of erotic themes — of which there are many — is secondary.
Xan will post here on Oct 6. There’s a complete schedule at the end.
Run, don’t walk, to Queer Kink Praxis