One of the staples of romance is the idea that the romance between the two characters makes each a better person. He overcomes something through her love and support. She overcomes something through his love and strength.
I don’t hate that. It has its problems, sure, but fine. Whatever. We’re social creatures and we like to have our romance blend with the positive aspects of being social creatures. I’ll buy it for a buck, or $0.99 on Amazon, and be done with it.
Yet Another Reason I Dislike 50 Shades
Fifty presents us with a man who is into BDSM not because of the sexual and personal fulfillment of it, but because he’s “broken.” Or, in the terms of the book, he’s “fifty shades of fucked up.” I think that was the exact quote. I understand the series goes through “fifty shades of …” something like infinity times. That, the inner goddess, and lip biting.
At the end of the whole story line, they’re out of the BDSM and everyone lives happily ever after in the suburbs with 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a pretty dog named Fido. I may be embellishing a few of the ideas, but you get the point. He’s brought out of the darkness of BDSM by her love.
BDSM Does Not Make You Broken
Do broken people practice BDSM? Sure. Broken people also practice medicine. I understand that a lot of broken people practice psychiatry. According to my husband, veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates of any other career. Don’t tell my husband I validated something he said, but this is actually true. Something about the career breaks them inside, and they cannot go on. Having had to put an animal to sleep, I have a very good idea of what that something is.
However, not every Vet is going to commit suicide, not every doctor is an alcoholic, and not every psychiatrist is insane. While stresses of the job can help drive someone to suicide, being a Vet is not an indication that you’re suicidal.
Being involved in BDSM is not an indication something is wrong with you. I hate stories that hint or suggest otherwise. BDSM when done properly – between consenting adults who show concern and care for each other, whether they are a couple or not – is a great thing. It is an incredible outlet. It is a very deep way to experience another part of yourself and someone else.
It is a great thing, and writers who do not understand this, acknowledge this, and respect this dishonor and disrespect the thing they are using to make money.
The Darkness Within
I like to talk about the darkness within a sadist when I write. I do this because I find the darkness of sadism attractive. I love it. I revel in it any time I can. When I write about it, I describe its sensuality and its allure. I hope that it is apparent that the submissive/masochist is a mirror, the light that has to exist for there to even be darkness.
There is nothing wrong with having a little darkness within ourselves. It is a part of who we are. Call it what you will, but it is there. When you find someone who can mirror it and reflect it in a way that is not grotesque, but is instead beautiful and musical, that is magic. The beauty of a Dom/sub, Sadist/masochist, etc is that each accepts the darkness and light of the other, building on them and reflecting them back in ways that compliment each other and strengthen each other. There is no “breaking down” the person. There is only acceptance and completion.
BDSM erotica should, in my humble opinion, reflect that.