Today Governing Ana is thrilled to host its very first M/M DD author, Fabian Black! I stumbled upon Fabian, also known as Libby, in my search for DD authors who branch out from the typical M/F fare. I even put out a special call in a few venues, but the elusive M/M DD fiction was not easy to find. Imagine my delight when I found loving stories of discipline between two men! In the DD blogging world, F/F is rarely mentioned, F/M more or slightly less so depending on the context, and M/M nearly taboo. Be sure to check out this wonderful website and especially the new releases.
Please welcome Fabian Black! In honor of hosting Fika’s first M/M author, Fabian is offering one random commenter a book of his or her choice today, so be sure to leave your email in your comment.
In my opinion, which doesn’t stand for much I grant you, stories featuring DD tend to get less respect and have a lower profile than almost any other kind of fiction. It doesn’t matter what the pairing is, be it M/F, M/M, F/F or F/M, if it contains domestic discipline then it’s viewed with a faint derision. BDSM is considered the pinnacle of power exchange fiction. It gets a much higher profile and is somehow legitimised by its clear sexual focus and content, perhaps because society as a whole is more sexualised than it has ever been. Sex sells. BDSM has lots of sex. In comparison DD stories seem to be considered not just as a poor cousin to BDSM, but a relative so far removed they might as well be in exile.
It seems to me that a lot people don’t quite know what to make of DD as a genre of fiction. They’re puzzled as to what it’s about. In general, unlike BDSM and erotic spanking stories, DD stories (mine anyway) tend not to have graphic sexual content so can’t be used as a vibrator companion, if you’ll pardon the expression. It isn’t romance or at least not in a conventionally accepted form. It isn’t erotica because again its focus isn’t on overt sexual situations.
People, even spankophiles, struggle with the spanking as discipline aspect of DD rather than spanking as straightforward sexual arousal, cos spanking is all about sex, right? No actually, it isn’t, consensual adult spanking can be something other than a mode of sexual arousal. My angle, and I accept, as with anything else there is a multitude of angles, is that spanking isn’t exclusively about sex. Sex is a component, but it isn’t the sole component. Anyone who says spanking can only be sexual is failing to understand the complexity of the human condition.
In discipline fiction the spanking scenes aren’t usually a precursor to a sex scene. Pain isn’t a fix or sexual kick for the spankee. Spanking as discipline is about emotional release, mental relief and ultimately reprieve from something. The scenes also illustrate the willing submission of one partner to the authority of the other, and in that context is a form of power exchange, but in a more subtle way than in BDSM fiction.
I’ve been writing gay DD stories for almost thirteen years. I’m not going to justify why I write M/M because I don’t feel any need. DD isn’t exclusively a heterosexual preserve, and it never has been. Discipline has always been a strong aspect of gay culture. The reasons why gay couples might choose a DD relationship will be very similar as to why het couples choose one. It’s an aspect of intimacy and trust. It’s a desire for structure. It’s about security and comfort. It’s a symbiotic exchange where those involved each get what they need from the other. It serves emotional and psychological needs as well as physical needs and as such it strengthens the overall relationship. These are the concepts that lay at the centre of a lot of DD fiction, regardless of the gender mix.
When I started out writing I did so in an underground way via groups and forums where DD stories were shared and discussed. I had a large following, but the moment I tried to take my fiction out into the wider commercial world I was met with near silence. It continues to be an uphill struggle gaining wider acceptance for this style of fiction.
I’ve come to the conclusion that for many people DD stories are a guilty pleasure and while they’re happy to access such fiction surreptitiously, they’re less willing to buy it and be seen to read it because to do so is to lend legitimacy to something that is still taboo in some respects. They’ll happily sit on the train reading a copy of Fifty Shades or some other erotic story and not care a jot, because BDSM and erotica in general are kind of cool, edgy and now commercially viable, but DD, it’s just weird isn’t it? Of course not! Like almost every other kind of fiction it’s a reflection of real life human desires and needs across the board.
I think the taboo aspect of DD and people’s discomfort with it stems from perceptions and anxiety about intention. BDSM is seen and understood (by those with broad enough minds) to be a mode of consensual sexual activity, whereas domestic discipline is haunted by the spectre of abuse and in itself is a loaded term. People are afraid of anything that appears to condone domestic violence. In particular M/F domestic discipline suffers from associations with the ‘biblical’ concept of a man having a God given right to rule his wife and chastise her as he sees fit, whether she wants it or not. He doesn’t. Real life domestic violence is a serious issue that affects people in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships and is not to be tolerated. No one, be they a man or a woman, of whatever persuasion or religious calling, has the right to bully, victimise and beat their partners. When it comes to spanking and domestic discipline consent between adults is the key word just as it is for BDSM and general SM practices.
I think DD fiction deserves the same kudos as other genres. It has so many aspects. It can be romantic, touching, adventurous, passionate, thought provoking and even funny! It might be that the term DD needs to be revised and changed to something less steeped in abusive insinuation. I have in the past been cautious about using the term domestic discipline to describe my fiction, simply because of its loaded nature. I prefer to call it discipline romance or discipline partnership fiction, which I think conveys the slant of the stories, confirms its consensual nature and also covers all the gender variations whereas the term ‘domestic discipline’ is something that tends to have almost exclusive M/F connotations.
I also believe DD fiction suffers from a lack of categorisation. Take a look on any general ebook site and seldom will you find a separate category for DD themed fiction. You’ll find lots of different romance genres and sub genres, but nothing for DD in its own right. Over time I’ve written to site owners asking them to consider adding a specific category for DD to their listings. The answer is always the same, if it contains spanking then it comes under BDSM or erotica and they see no need to list it as a separate category. I disagree. While spanking and discipline is an aspect of BDSM, BDSM is not always an aspect of DD either in fiction or real life relationships. Lumping DD in with BDSM is like giving someone a sardine when they’ve asked for cod and saying well it’s all fish isn’t it.
I don’t consider myself to be a writer of erotica, and maybe there are other authors of DD that feel the same way. I write literary fiction that just happens to feature elements of discipline and while it has some sensual elements it doesn’t fit the recognised criteria for erotica and certainly not for BDSM. If a reader finds a book listed under BDSM or spanking erotica then they’re going to expect certain things, such as leather scenarios along with whips and chains and other toys, and sex, lots of it, in amazing detail. BDSM is sex oriented, erotica is sex oriented. My stories don’t fit in those boxes because they don’t focus on sex and nor can they be crammed into the straightforward vanilla romance box, because of the discipline element. DD is kind of out on a limb. It’s a shame. There’s BDSM, there’s erotic spanking and then there’s DD fiction. Each has their own merits, but they’re essentially different things and deserve their own niche.
Simon Putney has never been in love and it suits him just fine. He likes life and relationships to be simple and straightforward, no ties, no emotional complications. There’s friendship and there’s sex, what has love got to do with it?
A move to a new apartment in what had once been a bakery brings him into contact with the eccentric, but sweet Dee-Dee Walters with whom he strikes up a friendship.
Dee-Dee’s unconventional upbringing has influenced his ideas about love and what constitutes the perfect relationship. What he wants is an old fashioned alpha male to watch over him, someone strong and no nonsense, but with a heart of gold beneath his stern exterior.
Simon thinks Dee-Dee is looking for something that doesn’t exist beyond the pages of fiction. When Dee-Dee decides to launch a quest to find his perfect mate he warns him he’s likely to find only disappointment.
Fabian Black is a UK writer whose stories feature elements of consensual discipline between male partners. She’s a staunch supporter of GLBTQ Rights and Marriage Equality. She believes love is an important aspect of the human experience and its free expression should not be denied to anyone.
She also writes a comedy drama series called ‘The Stardust Diaries’ under the pen name Tarn Swan and is author of the hilarious ‘Jack and Danny Chronicles.’