Mon
Apr 2 2012 2:45pm

BDSM: Role-Playing in Erotic Romance

Handcuffs and a Heart by Jason Clapp via FlickrAfter scratching the surface in BDSM: Spelling It Out in Erotic Romance, I wanted to further explore the world of BDSM in an attempt to understand this alternative lifestyle and its appeal. There are many nuances to it that proclaim is as a culture all its own, including role-playing.

Role-playing is not exclusive to BDSM, but it is an important aspect in the lifestyle. Role-playing is the changing of one’s behaviour to assume a role, either unconsciously or consciously, to act out an adopted or social role. In BDSM, sexual role playing is an erotic form of role-playing. It involves power roles and form part of the Dominance and submission aspect. Roles can be general designations of power positions, or very specific, detailed fantasies. The controlling player is often called the top or Dominant, while the controlled individual is called the bottom or submissive.

The sexual fantasy itself plays an important role in determining what a couple may indulge in and how far; the content and goals of the sexual fantasy vary greatly between individuals and are subject to personal desires. These fantasies range from the mundane to the bizarre, and a person may have none to a full desire to carry out an imagined act. Fantasies allow people to imagine themselves in roles they do not normally have, such as power, innocence, and guilt. Many couples share their fantasies to feel closer and gain more intimacy and trust, or simply to become more aroused or effect a more powerful physical response.

Willing Victim by Cara McKennaThe most common role playing scenarios are as follows:

Ageplay – is a form of role playing in which an individual acts and/or treats another as if they were a different age.

Animal-play – where a player is treated as an animal; such as a dog or pony.

Master-slave – where a player is treated as the property of the master/mistress.

Torturer/Captive prisoner – where one player is a captor who abuses the other.

Kidnapped fantasy – The submissive player is bound and gagged, then teased before the sexual act.

Authority figure – where a player takes on the role of an authority figure and blackmails or humiliates his or her partner into sexual activity.

Gender-play – where one or more players take on roles of the opposite sex.

Medical fantasies – involving doctors, nurses and patients.

Uniform fetish – one participant dresses in uniform while the dominant participant plays an authority figure. (naughty school girl and principal).

Rape fantasy  where one player feigns being coerced into an unwelcome sex act.

Owner/Inanimate object – being human furniture.

Prison fetish – Role play using a prison scene. Given that real life prisons are same-sex communities, this fetish does lend itself to male on male or female on female activities and settings. Opposite gender play is also possible between inmates and guards. Prison play is also an expansion of the uniform fetish.

As always, no BDSM partnership, even sexual role-playing, should be entered into without the full consent of all participants, even if the fantasy is of a nonconsensual nature. Never enter into a fantasy with someone if they refuse to allow or respond to safe words. Safe words are for everyone’s safety. To coerce someone into a sexual situation without consent is a breach of trust and as I have stated before, a major button pusher for me.

What She Needs by Anne CalhounIn erotic books, I have a hard time enjoying a storyline where the woman or man is threatened, coerced, or forced into a sexual relationship against their wishes—especially a BDSM relationship. Even if the hero or heroine later redeems themselves, the damage has been done in my eyes. Being a Dom/Domme is not an excuse to be an arse, and being a sub is not a free pass to be rude or dismissive of your partner’s wants and needs. Even in fiction.

While enacting your fantasies, please do not forget these are just fantasies.You must know what is fantasy, what is reality, and what can be realistically brought to the scene. When the scene is done, the fantasy ends, and you must be able to understand and accept that. Also, while you may have fantasies about walking your partner as a dog through the dog park, you must remember this is your fantasy and not the general public’s. They may not be receptive to your and your partner’s kinks.

While sexual role-playing is categorized under BDSM, it is far more common than you think. Ilona Andrews takes a stab at it in her Kate Daniels series—Kate explains why her bff Andrea enjoys pirate bodice ripper romances and uses uniform role playing as an example. In Nora Roberts’s Carolina Moon, one couple jokes that they are going to find a cheap motel on the highway and play “traveling salesman.” Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series has a couple of books, including the just released Bear Meets Girl for example, that plays around with sexual role-playing.

Of course, many erotic books write of this lifestyle. From lightweight to hardcore, the story lines cross all lines and boundaries as they introduce us and our couple(s) to the delights of sexual role playing. I believe the popularity of them is the ability to submerse ourselves into the scene from a safe distance without being judged as weird or deviant. Are you interested in reading more about this spicy lifestyle? Here are a few authors and books that will have you fantasizing about the interesting and erotic world of BDSM:

Cara McKenna’s Willing Victim is a popular role-playing BDSM story. The heroine Laurel spent most of her life caring for her mother and now drifts along, avoiding the responsibility that was forced on her as a child. When she meets rough boxer Flynn, he introduces her to rough sex and the two of them embark on a relationship that revolves around rape role play fantasies. Eventually, we realize that Laurel is the one in control and Flynn only follows her lead, giving her what she asks for. Completely consensual, we are left with the feeling that both parties were able to exercise some deep-seated demons and that an HEA is quite possible.

Anne Calhoun writes some steamy erotic role play stories that not only explore BDSM but add a fulfilling emotional aspect—that’s important for romance fans, like me, who don’t want to just read about sex. Liberating Lacey is a favorite; Lacey is an older, successful woman whose husband just divorced for her a younger woman. When Lacey decides to try her hand at a one-night stand she meets Hunter. Hunter, a sexy younger cop, knows this scene isn’t Lacey at all, but he decides to give her a night she won’t forget. Soon, the two embark on an affair that addresses the issues of age and money in a realistic manner.There is a certain “bad cop and resisting arrest” scene that makes the whole book a must buy. *fans myself* Calhoun’s What She Needs also tells of a steamy role play call girl/slave fantasy between a married couple who want to spice up their love life.

To Command and Collar by Cherise SinclairCherise Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands series flirts with role-playing (master/slave) which is evident in her To Command and Collar. Even though I do find some books in this series enjoyable, hardcore is not my kink and I always warn readers that certain situations presented in this series can be potential triggers for some. Especially this one. To Command and Collar tells the story of Master Raoul and Kimberly. Determined to find the human traffickers preying on Shadowlands’ submissives, Master Raoul gets himself invited to a small slave auction. To Raoul’s shock, one of the slaves is the kidnapped friend of a Shadowlands sub. She has a scarred body…and an unbroken spirit. He can’t leave her behind, so he buys her.

Kimberly’s freedom has come at a devastating price. Desperate to help the Feds locate the big auction, she agrees to pose as Master Raoul’s slave. Wearing a collar again is terrifying, she was horribly abused as a sub, but under the powerful Dominant’s care, Kim starts to heal and then to blossom. This is what she’s been drawn to—and fled from—her entire life.

So tell me, what are some of your favorite sexual role-playing fantasy stories?

Heart with handcuffs image courtesy of Jason Clapp via Flickr

 


Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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8 comments
MinnChica
1. MinnChica
The new writing duo of Katie Porter (Carrie Lofty and Lorelie Brown) are coming out with new erotic romances in a couple months. The first book is big on the role-playing with uniforms. It's dirty and sexy and VERY GOOD!!
Tori Benson
2.
MinnChica-Going on the "must have now" list. :)
MinnChica
3. Janet W
I thought of another Nora Roberts -- well, actually J.D. Robb -- Roarke is always trying to get Eve to don fabulous thigh high leather boots and black leather accessories as a "reward" for his help in some of her cases. Pretty funny ... their convos leading up ... but of course, the actual "scenes" are in the fade to black category.
MinnChica
4. Rose In RoseBear
@Janet: I think they've played with Eve's restraints, and a sex toy he lifted from a crime scene ...! (laughing) He even threatened to tie her up once, and she freaked. And Peabody's admitted to playing cops and robbers with McNab!
Jessica O'Brien
5. JLOBrien
Even though for some it would probably be considered "vanilla" I loved Lorelei James' Cowboy Casanova. It really spelled out for those who aren't aware that in a D/s relationship it is actually the sub who has most of the power..because it is all about what gives them pleasure. Bennett really spells that out to Ainsley, who is new to the lifestyle and isn't sure why being dominated is such a turn on for her. Plus I enjoyed the emotional interaction between them..the curiousity, the caring, the anger and the love. Plus he is a cowboy..with a rope. Swoon!

I am also getting into the Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black. Throw in a few men in uniform...or used to be in uniform and I am a happy girl.
MinnChica
6. e_bookpushers
Great article! I really liked reading it and again wish you had written this years ago when I read my first book containing role-playing. I also agree with your examples and Double Down as mentioned by MinnChica.
MinnChica
7. Ozarkgirl
Though I appreciate your research and attempt to understand BDSM I found it a bit offensive that you titled what I do 24/7 as "role play". I fully understand that the four letters of "BDSM" can in no way encompass all of the nuances of the Lifestyle. More interaction with those of us that live this as more than just kinky sex in the bedroom may give you a better understanding and hopefully avoid in the future offending someone when I am sure that was not your intent.
MinnChica
9. Torifl
Ozarkgirl-Hi. It was never my intention to insult. This article merely touches on those who choose to adapt a different persona for their sexual play. Those who choose to maintain that persona 24/7 are of course not role playing and I actually am in the process of doing an article on that lifestyle.
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