30 Days of Kink – Day 21: Literary Influences

Day 21: Favorite BDSM related book (fiction or non-fiction.)

I actually misread this when I started writing it (my bad for not putting the question at the top of the post immediately.)  So I answered this as if the question was what BDSM-related book has most influenced me. It took too long to write the first time, so sorry about that, but my answer is going to have to stay. I will answer the initial question briefly though. I don’t read a lot of kink, except blogs, but the one series that stands out in my mind is the Kushiel series.  Smart, literary, complex and with the kink as an integral part of the world, not just added “spice.” If you haven’t read them, go and do so. You’ll be happy you did. Anyway, on to my initial (wrong) answer…

I read my first kink book at a very young age. I think I was 13 or 14 when I found my older sister’s sex book stash, which included The Hite Report and one of the Sleeping Beauty books written by Anne Rice, writing then as Anne Roquelaure. I think it was the first book, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.  The Hite Report was actually probably more important, because I learned to masturbate by reading it, but the Beauty book was the first time I had run across a story with (fictionalized) BDSM in it. I didn’t know what BDSM was at the time, and of course I couldn’t know exactly HOW incorrectly it portrayed what the body is physically capable of, but that didn’t matter.  It made me hot as hell (and worried because it did, since I had no idea why, and I was fairly certain that getting turned on by it was a BAD THING and made me a FREAK OF NATURE.)

That didn’t make me stop reading though.

But even so, it wasn’t actually the book that had the greatest impact on my sexuality.  That would belong to a mainstream, historical romance.  What we term a “bodice ripper.”  The first time I encountered love, sex and passion that made me hot, made me wriggle, made me uncomfortable, was in an historical romance called Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. I had read many romance books up to that point (I think I was about 12. I was a young and voracious reader.) But this wasn’t mainstream, vanilla sex. This was rape and plunder and kidnapping; dashing heroes and damsels in distress, heaving busoms and yes, ripped bodices – violent sex at its very best, very scariest, most non-consensual and its very hottest. And I LOVED it. I wanted sex just like that: violent and lusty and a little bit scary, with a hero that controls and dominates and OWNS me, that compels my submission and my passion.

I know (and heard and read) what the feminists of the time said about allowing young women to read such “trash.” That reading it was causing us to desire sex and love that was unhealthy.  In looking back I am convinced that this was just not so. I read DOZENS of sweet, gentle romances, with lovers that were passionate but respectful, where the lines between sex and violence were never blurred, in which lovemaking was just that: making sweet love to each other.

And they just didn’t do it for me.  It wasn’t that reading the likes of Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers made me look for violent sex in my reading and made me crave that in real life, it was that I was already wired that way and I just found someone else that “got” it when I found their books. Of course then I didn’t know all that.  It is only now that I can look back and see that those books/the kind of sex that was depicted in them wasn’t really an “influence”…reading them was more a homecoming and a revelation: a peek into what makes me, me.

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