There are complex and valid reasons why female readers may choose to fantasize about a range of non-consensual scenarios in romance novels, from the classic “kidnapped into a sheik’s harem” to the currently popular “fated to be an alpha werewolf’s mate” and “met a billionaire who won’t take no for an answer.” But I feel it’s very important to distinguish between fantasy scenarios and depictions of real life. While the lines that are crossed in fiction may fall in a different place than they do in real life, acknowledgement that lines and boundaries exist is the first step. Where will our kinky heroes of the future fit in the pantheon of romance archetypes? These fantasy archetypes are “safe” fantasies for women to indulge precisely because they are NOT real life. Where will our kinky heroes of the future fit in the pantheon of romance archetypes? And when it comes to real life BDSM, how do those archetypes present themselves in dungeon role-playing? In the real BDSM community, doms who come across as pushy assholes or stalkers rarely last. When asked what qualities they valued in a dom, subs I surveyed used words like nurturing, competent, and loyal. We’ll discuss the many flavors of dom and the many types of romance heroes whose kinky sides can be explored.
Susie Bright says Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature.” Her BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance. Her books often explores sex, sensuality, and sexuality, among them: Black Feathers (HarperCollins), White Flames (Running Press), and Edge Plays (Circlet Press), The Prince’s Boy (Circlet Press), and The Hot Streak (Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and tons of other places. Tan was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010, was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2004.