Monday Morning Fika with Fabian Black: Kudos and (M/M) DD Fiction

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.

Learn more about Fabian Black by visiting the website!

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.’

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49 thoughts on “Monday Morning Fika with Fabian Black: Kudos and (M/M) DD Fiction

  1. lacrimsonfemme says:

    I love reading DD and I still do categorize as a sub theme in BDSM. *shrug* We actually have quite a few people who love reading DD despite their discomfort with spanking as a discipline. For exactly the reasons you mentioned. I happen to be I guess one of very few who see no problems with spanking as discipline and not precursor to sex. *shrug*

    You would not be the first DD M/m writer I’ve read. I am pretty happy highlighted you today because now I have another DD M/m author to recommend (well, if I like your books…). We have a decent sized m/m readership in the BDSM group. And since we’ve started with the DD exploration, more readers are into it.

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    • Fabian Black/Libby says:

      Hi, lacrimsonfemme, thanks for taking time to comment 🙂

      I used to belong to a Yahoo group that focussed on DD fiction and there used to be some pretty angry exchanges about whether DD was related in any way whatsoever to BDSM. In the end the group owners banned any stories they felt even insinuated there was a link. Why, I’m not exactly sure. I think because they thought linking DD with BDSM even in a small way somehow delegitimised DD as a ‘serious’ practice and made it somehow less pure. I left. I couldn’t cope with that kind of fiction fascism, lol. I obviously love reading DD stories, but I also adore BDSM fic and have a penchant in general for stories exploring power exchange relationships in all their variations.

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      • lacrimsonfemme says:

        *rolls eyes* That group owners of the Yahoo! group were pretty stubborn I see. Interesting enough, I guess that owners felt and implied that BDSM is not a serious lifestyle/practice? I have several friends who live the lifestyle. A couple are even 24/7 TPE so I think they might take exception to the fact that what they live isn’t “serious”. lol

        Well, each person is free to feel how they do about what it is that they do. I like pretty much all of it so it gives me more to enjoy. ^_^

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          • lacrimsonfemme says:

            Or one of the most deviant. I’ve yet to meet another Dom/me who enjoys all my kinks. Even the ones who like to take a knife to my lady bits were a bit taken aback by some of my kinks. O_o Oh well. No wonder my poor spouse is flummoxed.

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        • Fabian Black/Libby says:

          I think perhaps the owners were a bit afraid of BDSM and didn’t quite understand its principles. People who don’t understand something often react by distancing themselves from it. Stories in that particular group had to adhere to the owners’ views on what constituted acceptable discipline or risk censure. For example a huge row broke out when someone posted a story where a man was spanked and made to stand in a corner with his red bottom on show. It was argued that this was degrading and abusive. The fact it was part of the fictional couple’s agreed discipline repertoire cut no ice. The author was told to amend the story or remove it. Like I said, fiction fascism. 😉

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          • lacrimsonfemme says:

            Sounds like it. I personally love those scenes. But then again, I love reading humiliation scenes and sometimes degradation scenes too. I also tend to read a lot of the hardcore ones which people are telling me it shouldn’t be classified as BDSM because it violates SSC and RACK. *shrugs* I call those BDSM fantasies for a reason. It’s the total non-con part which I revel in. Would I want it to happen in real life? no. But it’s pretty hawt in a story if done right.

            Although, to be honest, if I were to be spanked and then made to stand in the corner with my pink ass (red is a hard colour to achieve on me) showing…I’d probably be aroused. Even if it was a punishment spanking. Sigh. It really depends on my state of mind and who is doing the spanking…

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            • Fabian Black/Libby says:

              Mindset is all important. People often say that if you enjoy being spanked then spanking can’t possible work as a form of punishment, but it can depending on the mindset involved. Atmosphere and intent make all the difference.

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              • Jen Vieira Pinto says:

                Hey Libby, I agree with you about the atmosphere and mindset. I just recently read a DD story where the Brat/sub could slip into subspace and enjoy the pain of a disciplinary spanking. When his Top needed to discipline him he talked to him throughout the spanking to keep him in the present and keep the spanking as discipline. As long as the Brat/sub had to listen to and answer his Top the spanking remained a painful disciplinary action as opposed to a sexually charged endorphin rush. It just showed how clearly mindset is important in discipline, but especially so when your Brat/sub have penchant for pain.

                This was a great article, Libby and I agree with your viewpoint. DDRs really do get the short end of the stick in the fiction world. They should have their own category because they are not BDSM. You can’t have scenes without safe-words, but in DDRs there are no safe-words to stop a well deserved spanking. It’s all about absolute trust; it’s even more so than in BDSM because of the lack of a word to call a halt to whatever is happening. You really have to have deep and abiding faith and trust in your partner to make a DDR work. Without that trust there is nothing to build upon.

                It’s a very complex relationship that most people can’t be bothered to really understand all the subtle intricacies that make the foundation of a DDR successful. If people did take the time they would clearly see the line that delineates a DDR from a BDSM relationship. That is aside from one of the biggest differences; in BDSM there is the option of “playing” with many different partners in scenes, whereas a DDR is for life, at least that has always been my understanding of a DDR.

                Thanks Libby for taking the time to share your views and to help others understand the differences between DDRs and BDSM. ^_^

                Like

                • Libby says:

                  Hey, Jen, and thank you for such a wonderfully thoughtful and detailed comment. I enjoyed reading it. I think the most consistently agreed point when it comes to DD is the part played by trust. It’s an essential component. 🙂

                  Like

      • Ana says:

        Fiction fascism LOL!!

        I like the way you eschew diagnoses and are more interested in letting stories be what they are.

        It’s also true that DD tends to be the poor cousin, as you say, of BDSM. I’d like to change that.

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  2. Minelle says:

    You hit so many perfect points regarding DD fiction. I agree that it is difficult to separate BDSM from the spanking fiction genre and often it is complicated purposely. I think that is why word of mouth becomes more important when you are searching for spanking fiction. Yet it is obvious that so many people love what this fiction brings to the fantasy- or real life loving relationships. That is why certain book sites are now so popular. It is about the human condition searching for love. It doesn’t matter if it is MF, FF, MM or FM. I haven’t read any MM fiction so far but I would enjoy it the way you appear to write the stories.
    Thanks Ana and Fabian Black/Libby!

    Like

  3. Cara Bristol says:

    “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.” Well said, Fabian.

    Like

  4. jadecary says:

    Welcome, Fabian. Great post. To me the line of demarcation between DD and BDSM is so clear. And yes, we get marginalized into this place where we are advocating abuse, which I admit non-con will take you. But I am a non-con fan. To me, it’s just more…exciting. It is ultimately about intimacy and trust.

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    • Fabian/Libby says:

      Hi and thanks so much for taking time to comment, Jadecary. 🙂 Non-con can certainly be exciting to read. I’ve never, as yet, written a fully non-con story and don’t know if I ever will, but I’ve hinted that some of the relationships I write about may have begun with a non-consensual spanking, in ‘Moving On’ for example (she plugged) 😉

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  5. reneeroseauthor says:

    so great to read about M/M DD and I also seek to distinguish spanking from BDSM fiction. I find sometimes that BDSM readers don’t “get” discipline.

    As a spanko, I find it strange to hear that there are spankos out there who struggle with discipline vs erotic spanking. I’m way more turned on by discipline, but that’s the funny part isn’t it? I’m more *turned on* by it, so there’s pretending it isn’t sexual.

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    • Fabian Black/Libby says:

      Hi Renee, glad you dropped by, thank you. 🙂 I think an undercurrent of sensuality charges most DD relationships giving rise to the question of whether discipline and spanking can really be non erotic. It’s something I look at in my forthcoming book: ‘Spanking Dee-Dee.’

      If I may take the liberty of using a quote from it:

      “The fact that punishment, or the potential for punishment is connected in some way to sexuality doesn’t mean the discipline is any less real or any less effective, so there,” said Dee, poking out his tongue as a post script.”

      Like

  6. pao says:

    I agree that DD should be in a category of its own. Context and intention of the discipline sets the stage for play or punishment.

    I always think of DD fiction like fiction in other genres just with discipline in it. Being a rather new reader, I’m unaware of these issues. I enjoyed this Fika 😀

    Like

  7. katherinedeane says:

    Hey Fabian and Ana. Sorry I missed this one yesterday (strep has invaded our house).
    I have never read M/M of any kind. (Then again, I had never read F/F before, either. Thanks for expanding my horizons, Ana)
    But I do understand, agree with what you are saying. There are some very clear lines between all of it. And there are some grey’ish ones.
    Sometimes I get disciplined, sometimes I get rewarded. Both are spankings. And sometimes, both include sex afterwards (depending on our moods).
    And as hypocritical as we all are, it is hard to remember, that just because we deem something “right”, does not make someone else’s beliefs “wrong”.
    I prefer the “what works for you” approach.
    I am a Christian, but my friend is Jewish.
    I like being led by my HOH husband in a M/F LDD relationship. But my spanko friends are equal and the guy is a switch.
    My friend likes Justin Bieber. Ok, she is just wrong. 🙂
    I respect the people that dare to cross the line.
    But I am too much of a people pleaser to purposefully push the envelope. (OMG, say that line three times, fast!)
    So I will stick with the approved M/F DD spanking romance novels. I am SURE there is no one out there that will judge me or my stories. 🙂 It is socially acceptable, right?
    Happy writing, Fabian! I would love to hear more about your story. Even though I don’t quite understand M/M dynamic, I do understand the top/bottom dynamic. I am a bottom.
    (ok, I have been interrupted three times while writing this. If I missed something, or miswrote, sorry. I will edit later.

    Like

  8. Kaelah says:

    It’s always lovely to see M/M featured on a spanking blog which isn’t exclusively for gays only. I don’t know how the situation is when it comes to DD, but, as I wrote in a recent post, I am of the opinion that the (erotic) spanking community has a saddening tendency to exclude M/M.

    The discussion about BDSM – erotic spanking – DD is also a very thought-provoking one. Thank you for bringing it up! I am into erotic spanking / CP and I am one of those who feel closer to the wider world of BDSM than to the world of (real life) DD. Instead of posting an extremely long comment here, I have decided to write a whole post on the subject and to explain my personal view. I’ve quoted some excerpts from your post, Fabian Black, and your comment, Renee Rose. I also referred to the post about DD and feminism written by you, Cara Bristol. I hope that’s okay with you all.

    And I hope it’s okay with you, Ana, when I post a link for those who want to read the post. You can find it here if you like.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      How great, Kaelah! Really wonderful. I will go and read it soon, and I am sure it will be wonderful (as all of your posts are wonderful). Can’t wait to read it!

      Like

    • Fabian Black says:

      Re Kaelah…
      Meant to add, before my crappy Internet connection dropped me out, that I always like reading different points of view, especially when as superbly expressed as yours, even if I don’t always agree with everything said. I believe we all have the right to express and explore our interests in ways meaningful to us as individuals. We all have different life experiences and different needs. 🙂

      There was one reply to your excellent article that did rather concern me. The writer of the comment assumed from your use of my comments that I was a particular type:

      She said and I quote: ‘Borderline “my kink is better than your kink-” type, in my opinion.’

      If anyone else reading my post here on fika has also gotten this impression then I can only apologise with the utmost sincerity and humility. I am utterly horrified and embarrassed to think I may have come across as the arrogant ‘type’ who thought along the lines of ‘my kink being better than your kink.’ It certainly wasn’t my intention. I’m beyond mortified to think I may have come across as putting down or being dismissive of other people’s beliefs and choices.

      I don’t think my kink or my writing preferences are better than anyone else’s. I have the utmost respect for other people’s kinks, predilections and lifestyle choices. As I said, I believe we all have the right to explore and express ourselves in ways that are meaningful to us as individuals. I may not write erotica or BDSM fiction, but I have a great deal of admiration and respect for the authors who write it well. If anything I said implied otherwise then again I am sorry and can only beg pardon.

      Like

      • Ana says:

        Oh please, Libby, don’t feel bad. There are many different ways of looking at things and thinking about things. Fika is a place for people to come together who wouldn’t necessarily have talked otherwise. Naturally, we may not agree on certain things…but everyone has a chance to talk from his or her perspective. That’s what you did. Absolutely nothing to apologize for in any way.

        Like

      • Kaelah says:

        @ Fabian Black / Libby:
        Thank you very much for your kind comment!

        As Ana already said, don’t worry about having generated a wrong impression. As I wrote in my reply on our blog, maybe it is the excerpt from your original post which I have chosen that generated the wrong impression, because it focusses very much on your sadness about the in your view low standing of DD fiction in comparison to erotic BDSM fiction. If it was the excerpt which I selected, I am sorry! Or maybe it was just one of the little misunderstandings which often happen when it comes to written texts and their interpretation. Fortunately, these things can easily be solved through an additional comment. Thank you very much for having taken the time to write such a comment which absolutely clarifies your position in my view!

        And I definitely agree with you, it is very interesting to discuss and to learn about different approaches and points of view, even if one doesn’t always agree. 🙂

        Like

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