Today my guest is the lovely, talented, and insightful Grace R. Duncan. She’s talking about BDSM from her perspective as an active participant, and why the difference between Dominant and sadist, hurt and harm, is so important to understand.
She’s also brought an excerpt from Deception (Golden Collar 2), which is (of course) wonderful! So I won’t keep you from it any longer…
First off, thank you very much to Charley for hosting me again! I really appreciate the opportunity to cause havoc spend time here!
A long, long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, I approached my husband with the idea of getting into BDSM. I was… fascinated by the things I’d read and learned and wanted to try some of it out. In the course of all of my research, I’d discovered that I was submissive and what that all meant.
Well, hub was, understandably, a little hesitant, but willing to try. He’s always been cool like that. He found he could, once he’d done some reading of his own, get into the Dominant mindset and work with it.
It is a mindset that I simply cannot adopt. I can understand it for the purposes of writing it, but for myself? Nope, not at all. I just can’t do it. Luckily, my (now) Sir is very patient with my incessant questions and is happy to answer them.
We played with the Dom/sub dynamic for a while, but there was one more thing I wanted to try. I hemmed and hawed over whether to ask because I had a feeling I knew what he’d say, but I also knew that holding back would not do us—either our marriage or our D/s relationship—any good. As with any type of relationship, communication is key and maybe even more so within a D/s relationship.
So, I spit it out and asked. I wanted to know how I took pain for pleasure (which is, as I’m sure the readers of this post know, quite different from other types of pain). The thought just made me nuts in a good way and I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
Sir reacted exactly as I thought he would. “You want me to hurt you? Have you lost your mind?”
I want to reiterate that he is a very open-minded person, Dom and husband. Because of that, he did what any sane, self-respecting Dom does and he researched. But still he hesitated, because he couldn’t quite get the difference between hurting me in the right way and harming me. And the thought of him getting off on it? Well, I might as well have suggested he take a walk to the moon. He was convinced he’d never do that.
He has since come to understand the difference between hurting me and harming me. And, having taken the flogger to my back on more than one occasion, he’s come to understand what he can get out of it, too. Which then helps me want it more and be better able to take it (if I know he enjoys giving pain, besides enjoying it myself, I feed the submissive in me by pleasing him).
Bathasar of my Golden Collar series struggles with this very issue. His exposure to someone giving pain has been very limited and, in fact, were no good examples at all. All he’d ever seen was everything not to do when it came to giving pain.
His father, Mukesh, was a sadist to the core. But he was also selfish and very uncaring about the person he was with. He was also mentally unhinged. However, Bathasar, with no real exposure to the right side of S&M, was worried that, should he get into it and like it, he’d end up like his father. Luckily for him, he had someone he could ask who understood pain much better than he did.
Bathasar appeared to consider it for a long time. “How do you know if you’re doing it right?”
Cyrus smiled. That was a question he could answer. “That part is easy, actually. If you’re doing it for them first and foremost, then you’re doing it right. There are still specific things to do, things to watch for, things to be careful of, but the why of it is the most important thing. The rest can be learned.”
Bathasar stared at him. “Have you done it?”
Cyrus nodded. “I have helped Salehi on many occasions, but… last year, when Jasim was gifted and it hit Nadir so hard…. Salehi gave us an evening alone. Because we didn’t have the luxury of grief, since we are slaves, he didn’t have the time to properly grieve losing Jasim. Remember, we thought we would never see him again, and in the weeks that Nadir and Jasim worked together—Nadir basically trained Jasim—well, they grew very close. They’d had sex very often and even been requested together a few times. So, it hit Nadir hard when Jasim was given away.” He took a deep breath, the memory of it still sharp, poking at old wounds. He’d let it go, accepted that Nadir had, for all intents and purposes, fallen in love with Jasim. It shouldn’t still hurt.
Shouldn’t and didn’t were two different things, and he knew it.
“Cyrus?” Bathasar asked, reaching out.
Cyrus shook his head. “I’m sorry.” He took a deep breath and pushed the pain away. “Anyway, that night, I knew that I needed to get Nadir to stop thinking. There’s a… place that he goes in his head when he is given pain the right way. It’s similar to the place Teman goes when he is denied for a while and lets go.” Bathasar nodded and Cyrus continued. “I needed to get Nadir into that place so that he could stop thinking about Jasim and bring himself back to where he needed to be. We didn’t always enjoy the people we were given to.” He paused to give a mirthless chuckle. “I would have to say most of the time, we didn’t, in fact. But thanks to our conditioning, we only have to pretend up here.” He pointed to his face. “But the state that Nadir was in meant that he couldn’t even do that. And if the malik—I’m sorry, Mukesh—requested him… well, we didn’t want to give the man the satisfaction of seeing Nadir miserable. But all of that aside, I wanted to help him move forward, get past it. I knew he wouldn’t get over his grief right away, but… if I could help at least a little….” He shrugged.
“Did it?” Bathasar asked.
Cyrus nodded. “I helped him focus. On serving, on giving, then put him in that place that he needed to go to be able to separate himself from the pain. When we woke the next day, he’d managed to handle a lot of it.” He smiled. “He even apologized for letting it bother him as much as it did.”
Bathasar chuckled. “That sounds like him. What… what did you do?”
Cyrus’s eyes unfocused for a moment as he thought back. “The first thing it takes for Nadir to get into that place is to take control away from him. Of anything—everything. Bind him, anchor him in some way so he can’t move—or can only move a little. I make sure he knows he is giving pleasure, so I had him pleasure me with his mouth, but again, I controlled it. Eventually, I gave him the flogger and paddle as well.” He smiled at the memory of Nadir’s face. “He’s… beautiful when he’s in there, that place in his head.”
“I can imagine… pretty well, actually.”
Cyrus looked up. “Yeah, I guess you can.”
“Um….” Bathasar paused and sighed. “I….” He glanced over to Teman and Nadir, and he watched them for a long moment as Teman pointed to something in a book and said something they couldn’t hear. “I don’t want to be my father,” he finally whispered.
It was so quiet Cyrus almost didn’t hear it. He’d never quite expected that. He blinked and stared at Bathasar for some time before he managed to shake his head and drop his gaze. He frowned, puzzling over how to approach it. “What… what makes you think you would be?”
“He liked to give pain,” Bathasar said simply.
“Ah.” Cyrus nodded. He gave himself a little bit of time to consider his words carefully. “When I had Nadir alone last year, I… recognized something about myself.” He paused to think it through, then continued. “It had been there—I’d noticed it while helping Salehi a few times—but I hadn’t quite been willing to recognize it. Though why that should be, I can’t really tell you—I don’t know why I hesitated.” He shook his head. “But… I liked giving that pain.”
Bathasar blinked at him but said nothing.
“Do I… behave like your father did?” he asked, though he knew the answer.
“Of course not!” Bathasar was quick to assure him.
“The thing is, you may not even like it….” Cyrus began but paused at Bathasar’s look. “What?”
Bathasar took a deep breath. “I… I don’t know, I think I might.”
“What makes you think that?” Cyrus tilted his head in consideration.
“I like when he hands control over to me. Tying him down, teasing him, denying him.” He blew out a breath. “I think…. I mean, the idea… well….” He shook his head. “It… it’s arousing, to be perfectly honest. So…. But… how is that different than what my father did?”
Cyrus smiled. “Do you remember what I said earlier?” When Bathasar frowned in thought, Cyrus asked, “Why would you be doing it?”
“Because he wants… ohhhh!”
Cyrus grinned as Bathasar’s face cleared in understanding, and he nodded. “Exactly.”
“I’m still not sure I won’t turn into my father.” Bathasar sighed. “I don’t…. I don’t know what made him that way.”
“I don’t think anyone could know, Bathasar. Perhaps that’s just how he was? I don’t think he got that way because he gave pain. Salehi would have a long time ago, then, wouldn’t he?”
Being a Dominant and being a sadist—liking to give pain—are not inherently inclusive. It’s a difficult concept for those not in the BDSM lifestyle to understand. They often do go hand in hand, but it’s not a requirement. Bathasar learned that bit. But when he started to realize that his partner wanted something more, he struggled quite a lot with it.
BDSM is often misunderstood and pain is even more so. It gets labeled “abuse” often by people who don’t understand it. I’ve been told a number of times that readers of BDSM don’t necessarily want to read the safe side of it. While I am afraid I’ll have to disappoint them (because I refuse to glamorize unsafe BDSM practices), it does make me wonder.
Do you as readers like to read the Safe, Sane and Consensual portions of BDSM? How do you react to reading scenes that are obviously not the way BDSM should be? Could you learn to accept it for your own partner?
* * *
Cyrus and Nadir first met as hungry orphans on Behekam’s streets at twelve years old. They became friends, then partners in the thievery that enabled them to survive, and as they passed their days together, they fell in love. When they are both taken as pleasure slaves in the opulent palace of the Malik of Neyem, love becomes more complicated.
Rumors of an attempt on Malik Bathasar’s life put Cyrus and Nadir’s relationship to the test—they must pose convincingly as intimate slaves to the young malik as part of a plan to lure the assassin into the open. Teman—Malik Bathasar’s real personal pleasure slave and true lover—was once trained by Cyrus for the same duties, and the attraction and care Cyrus developed for him then still remains. The Malik of Neyem proves an easy man to love and Nadir’s feelings for him grow while they’re pretending to love each other.
Cyrus and Nadir care deeply for each other but they’ve forgotten the first rule of love: communicate in honesty. Their love remains strong enough to weather the changes—if they have the courage not only to face the coming dangers, but to put aside deception and find their truth.