Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting the Kink out of the Fetish

For those who have been following my blog they will remember that I explored the use of toys, BDSM and fetish.  If you missed it, click HERE.

I find that it’s always good to revisit a covered subject from a different angle.  There are two sides to a coin, right?  Well, sometimes there are many ways to answer the same question.

A challenge for reviewers of erotic romances is in describing the content of their reviews when it comes to fetish or kink.

Marion-Webster defines kink as unconventional sexual taste or behavior.

As for fetish, the online dictionary has this to say:
c : an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression
2: a rite or cult of fetish worshipers

Those are the dry versions and strict interpretations and don’t really touch the reality.  All that the websites tell me is the psychology of a fetish.  But humans have taken the term and made it a lifestyle.  Since romance is all about living, loving and a state of being – that of being in love - and erotic romance explores the more graphic side of the bedroom, reviewers need to be aware of the difference.  

In the world of romances that push the envelope and for people who live the BDSM lifestyle, fetish takes on another more intricate and profound layer.  The object or bodily part referred to may be the focus of the moment but it’s a tool, a means to show another level of trust, of need, of experience and heightened sexual awareness – and of the person (the Dom) in charge of meeting that need, feeding that trust and controlling the experience to the benefit of the one being obsessed about (the sub) – there is a huge difference between that and kink.   To that end, toys are used.  As mentioned in the previous post, those toys are intrinsic to the experience and are wielded by a master.  They are not used a few times and forgotten.   They are expected, demanded and part of the whole.  They are part of a consistent pattern, with reward and punishment and the use of spanking, deprivation or overstimulation to enforce the pattern and/or the pleasure.

Kink, on the other hand, dabbles.  The couple or couples in question might do it in an elevator, in the dressing room of a department store, on the boss’s desk when he or she isn’t around or behind bushes where anyone who comes by might hear or even see them. (exhibitionism)  The heightened sexual frenzy from being so “naughty” ramps up the excitement and the protagonists experience the thrill of a lifetime.  The couple might even spy on a foursome engaging  in sex on a balcony in full view (voyeurism) and get really turned on.  They might try a little tying up of the hands with nylons or underwear, or spank a few times and find they like it.  They might even continue spanking on and off, but it’s not their lifestyle.  It’s a choice for the moment, an experiment or an exploration of what they like as a couple.  They aren’t going to suddenly start going to the clubs, buying the jewelry and have those actions and choices dictate to them on the outside world. It’s usually private, singular and just between them.  There is also the significant lack of the Dom/sub component.

 As for voyeurism, they can have perfectly fine sex behind closed doors without the stimulus of watching other people first.  It’s a take it or leave it thing but they certainly can enjoy it – a lot. But it’s still a kink.

Another aspect of kink is getting turned on by women in  F**me pumps,  seeing toes in brightly painted toe polish or seeing a man’s navel or pecs.   It snags their attention and hits their erogenous buttons. Like when a guy wants the woman to wear her 4 inch heels during's because he finds it visually pleasing, stimulating and increases his enjoyment. That’s kink by life’s definition.  It can be naughty, saucy and sensually arousing by the sheer unusualness of it.  It’s never dangerous, intrusive or degrading.   It is NOT because it’s a requirement to get off.

However, if it’s the psychological version- these same “fetishes” take on a very unhealthy aspect, making the person with the ‘fetish’ unable to perform, find satisfaction or function without it.  Case in point, a man will rob a woman’s home just to be able to smell her underwear and is so obsessive about it, he becomes a scary threat.   Readers will only find villains who go to that extent.  I hope.  The reason I include this type of fetish is for reviewers to be aware.  Do not use the label or tag of ‘fetish’ with this type of behavior.  If you do, readers will be expecting some fun BDSM scenes and instead get something nightmarish.

This whole exercise is to clear up any confusion between choosing to label actions in a story as kink or fetish.

A couple in a glass elevator getting their jollies from doing something sexual in full view of the public by the guy doing something sensually stimulating to the woman as he’s hidden from view behind her is a kink. 

A couple in a glass elevator where the male Dom orders the submissive woman not to orgasm while he inserts a vibrating dildo from behind and orders her to move ever so slightly like she’s  f**’g it , and as he croons to her, tells her what her punishment will be if she dares to orgasm,  is labeled fetish.  

Reviewers, please be aware of what the difference is between kink and fetish.  There are some readers that in no way want to read about elements of the BDSM lifestyle in their books but won’t mind a little kink.  The information you provide helps readers make the best choice for their time and money. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fish, Mice and Readers

What do fish, mice and readers have in common?


For the first two, responding to bait isn't a good thing. For a reader, it can be a rewarding experience.
What do I refer to?
The first sentence or first couple of sentences in a review.

Why is that such a big deal?

That is where a reviewer has a chance to set the 'bait'.

Why would anyone want to entice a reader?

The purpose is to pique a reader's interest. ((Notice it's piqued and not peaked? That's a soap box for a different day ))

Ideally, bait gets a reader to read the rest of the review, to get interested in checking out the book further and in a perfect world, buy the book.

It's also called the 'Hook'. Yes, I've covered this topic in the past.  If you've not had the pleasure, sink your teeth into these past gems.


I'm pretty sure I covered it in depth but refreshers and reminders never go amiss.

The following are the first few sentences of a review which in my estimation are exactly the punch I'm talking about.

My fingers are still tingling from the erotic heat coming off this book. I was completely hooked after only a few pages and refused to stop reading until I had finished. This book had me captivated by its well written plot and titillating eroticism.

In a hurry, but need a quick jolt of sensual excitement and seduction? Hop right into this very steamy tale because each command, every quivering sigh delivering a breathy ‘yes’, will jump start a reader’s pulse into overdrive. Once again Ms. Alex zeroes in on what a woman likes to read that seduces her mind and her senses.

Proceed with caution when using Powertools, you just never know how hot they are going to get. Jayne Rylon’s fourth book in her Powertools series, Devon’s Pair, is smokin’ hot and exceptionally dirty!

Life is never easy, especially when you are the nerdy heavy girl in love with the town hunk. Maxine’s love for Noah has nothing to do with his looks and more to do with the man he is when only she is around

Garrett thought everything at home was just fine. He’d never been more wrong about anything in his life.

Love is a light that keeps the darkness of evil at bay. However, memories of fear in a dark closet and echoes of the words—God does not listen to bad girl’s prayers—rules Adriane Darcy’s response to many things that happen.

The preceding are examples that provide tantalizing information with words that make an impact in the first thirty seconds. Sometimes, that's all a reviewer has if they want to get their review read. Some readers will read it anyway because of the author or subject matter. But for readers who pop in just to check out reviews and to learn about new things they might want to try, those first few sentences that lead into that first paragraph are crucial.

Here's a comparison of the same book: Touch If You Dare by Stephanie Rowe
Reina is on a mission to save the life of her sister. She has failed to save her mother and seven other sisters, so she is determined to do whatever it takes. Unfortunately, saving Natalie’s life will involve killing and reaping souls. Reina works for Death, and he has offered her a promotion (with extra powers and tools) if she will kill the world’s most talented assassin.

She’s working hard on trying to be a reaper for death. He’s trying to stay alive and not explode from the hate and anger he carries around in him. Ideal couple, don’t you think?

The above two examples show the difference between a recitation versus an infusion of the reviewer's personal touch. The second offers a question which suggests a tone of cheek and sarcasm. When I read it the first time, the first thing I thought was "Oooh, a conflict of the sexes and that means trouble!" -- My reaction to the first example, was, "Okay - thanks for the info."

The next two comparisons I'm adding as a lark. Although the first line is a bit more grabbing, what follows is a bit of a downer. The second review's first line doesn't have any fire but the tone of the following review is much more optimistic and easier on the mind's stress level.

His Destiny by Diana Cosby
Secret keeping between the hero and heroine is always a problem when it comes to romance

Traumatic experiences in childhood govern the psyche of both Emma Astyn and Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder.

The last comparison between two reviews is focused on the very first line. Granted, the site I'm linking to has a different format, so I'm not too sure what a search engine would pull up as a "first line". In this case, I scrolled down to where the actual meat of the review started.

The book in question is: Sex, Lies and Midnight by Tawny Weber

Sex, Lies, and Midnight is the second installment to Tawny Weber's Undercover Operatives series.

I’ve been hoodwinked in the most delightful manner.

Which of the last two has more originality in it? It's the clearest, shortest example of my point.

The first sentence isn't supposed to be facts that a reader can get off of the blurb or the publisher's site. Certainly it's not supposed to be a statement of where the book lands in a series. B.O.R.I.N.G. !!

It's supposed to be the reviewer's own words, expressing something that condenses a thought or feeling about the book.
Proceed with caution

There are as many ways to grab attention as there are books to read. There is no official right way, but there are plenty of wrong ways. Putting a reader to sleep is a wrong way. Reiterating the outline of the story is too Dragnet - just the facts Ma'am.

This is about...
Character's name, is an orphan, a woman, a man, an alien, a slug
This takes place.....
This is the seventeenth adventure in a long line of adventures about a family with a lot of kids who get into a lot of trouble. ::sigh:
This is this, that is that.

Wake me up when you find a good one.