Are you actively involved in BDSM? If so how do you identify yourself? Dom(me)/sub? Top/bottom? Switch?
I don’t really love labels, although I will happily cop to being kinky. It depends on the context and who I’m with, though I’m probably more naturally inclined toward the sub/bottom side. I am also pretty particular about who I play with, so there are some people I have done more with in terms of BDSM exploration than others, and some activities I would only do with certain people.
Is there one area of BDSM that you tend to write about more? Why do you think that area creeps into your writing more than some others?
I probably focus more on the psychological and emotional side of BDSM than the physical. They are both present in my stories, but to me if you don’t have the former, the latter won’t hold up so I like to get into the mindset of the characters, especially some of the seemingly opposing feelings that can take place within a scene, like fear, and being turned on by fear. I try my best to differentiate my stories from each other and one way to do that is to get into the mindset of the characters. For instance, I wrote a story called “Stranded,” about a kinky couple where a woman is left alone at a restaurant without a phone or money to “work off” her meal, all by arrangement of her dominant lover, and was inspired by a real-life non-kinky story of someone getting stiffed for a check.
Do you write BDSM/kink erotica based on what you find interesting or sexy, or do you write more for your audience?
I write primarily out of my own self-interest, but I do try to write stories that audiences will appreciate. I hope that, even if you’re not into whatever kink or activity is in the story, if it’s told well, you can still appreciate the writing. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy editing erotica anthologies, because I can offer a range of writing styles and scenarios, and especially a range of more light-hearted to rougher BDSM scenes. I don’t think you need to be into a given activity to write or read about it, and often when I’ve pushed myself to write about something that isn’t my personal kink, I find a way in by figuring out how my experiences as a person and sexual being can be portrayed via that particular character.
What have you written in the past that you think your BDSM/kink fans might find interesting?
Anything for You: Erotica for Kinky Couples offers a range of scenarios and types of couples, so there’s a lot of variety in terms of their experience with BDSM and how they approach it. My anthologies Please, Sir and Yes, Sir (on female submission/male dominance) and Please, Ma’am and Yes, Ma’am (on male submission/female dominance) are more strictly themed, so if you want to focus on just those types of stories, check those out. My story “Your Hand on My Neck” in Please, Sir is a favorite of mine because choking is something I think a lot of vanilla people don’t understand or are scared of and I try to get into the connection and explain why I find it erotic.
What is your favorite fetish? Why?
I don’t know if I’d call this a fetish, exactly, but I love spanking, both giving and receiving. I like that it can be sensuous or playful but also extremely intense physically and emotionally. I like that it starts even before the actual spanking takes place because usually someone has to turn or bend over to get into a position where they can be spanked. That’s the moment that I adore. I also like that you can spank or be spanked with a hand or any number of instruments, traditional sex toys as well as household items. It’s so versatile, but most of all I love the way it makes me feel and the headspace it puts me in. I sometimes get so lost in giving or getting a spanking, I feel like I could keep doing it for hours.
What might be something of interest to your fans that you don’t think they know about you?
I love to travel, and in 2012 alone have been to Honolulu, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Martha’s Vineyard, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Dubai, Long Beach, Houston, Austin and Scottsdale. I get so many ideas when I travel and any excuse to stay in a hotel is wonderful by me. I find hotels both erotic and relaxing and great places to get story ideas, whether from eavesdropping or people watching. I was inspired by a sketchy come-on in a Milwaukee hotel bar to write a story in which the woman being propositioned is rescued by a hot couple! I’ve edited two books of hotel erotica, and Suite Encounters, and hope to edit more, because hotels are such rich settings for sex and erotic stories.
At this point in your career, do you think you’ll write more BDSM/kinky erotica?
Definitely! I think BDSM and kinky erotica offer so many premises for stories, and the inherent power dynamic and often mix of emotions it can bring about from the top and the bottom make it ripe for all sorts of stories. I especially want to write more from the top’s perspective, because it can be more challenging to explain sadism than masochism in erotica. I find that’s true in the submissions I get for my anthologies and in my writing, because if you’re describing the submissive or bottom’s point of view, you can accurately share why and how they experience the pain or humiliation or whatever the topic is. You can go into detail about how they eroticize things we’re not taught are “erotic,” but to explore how sadism works psychologically can be trickier. BDSM erotica also allows you to use so many senses and get particularly creative with planning and setup and outrageousness.
If someone new to your work is going to start with a story, which one would you recommend they read first?
I like “Belted,” which is in my anthologies Orgasmic (orgasm-themed female erotica) and Surrender, a book of female submissive/male dominant erotica. It’s an extremely intense story of a beating with a belt, but also has a poetic quality that I enjoy, which I’ve noticed when I’ve done readings from it. It’s about the physical pain and sensation but also the trust, and it’s as much about the wearer and owner of the belt in question as the belt itself, because in the context of that story, I don’t think they can be separated. There’s a level of intimacy in that story that I strive for in all my erotic writing and one of my favorites. I may be cheating here, but another story I love, because it’s told in the third person and offers both parties’ perspectives, is “A Slap in the Face,” which is in Sinclair Sexsmith’s anthology Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. It started with a single scene of a fantasy I actually told a lover about, involving wanting them to walk into a bar and slap me across the face (something we’d done in private), and grew from there.
Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) is an author, editor, blogger and event organizer. She has edited over 40 anthologies, including Cheeky Spanking Stories, Bottoms Up, Spanked, Anything for You: Erotica for Kinky Couples, Please, Sir, Please, Ma’am, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am, He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Orgasmic and others. She is the Best Bondage Erotica and Best Sex Writing series editor and her anthology Surrender: Erotic Tales of Female Pleasure and Submissionwon the 2012 National Leather Association Samois Anthology Award. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture, edits the weekly sex diaries at New York magazine’s Daily Intel blog, teaches erotic writing workshops, and has written for Buzzfeed Shift, Inked, The Frisky, Glamour, Penthouse, Salon, xoJane, The Village Voice, and other publications. Find her online @raquelita on Twitter and http://lustylady.blogspot.com.
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