Fifty Shades of Real Life – Part 1

The way BDSM is portrayed in fiction is quite different from the way these relationships are practiced in real life. In real life there are agreements between play partners, Doms take responsibility for the sub, and people may do scenes with someone besides their lover. And the players may or may not have sex.

Take off Your Panties and Let’s Talk

Very often in fiction, the characters jump right in to some sort of BDSM relationship. In Power Play, the first moment the hero steps inside her house, he begins:

Power Play coverAs Sergio advanced toward her, she stepped back.
“No use backing away from me, Liz,” he said in a low voice. “You’re mine for the entire evening.”
She froze and lifted her chin high.
He looked her up and down, contemplating something. “Kick off your shoes,” he instructed.
She complied, and instantly he moved into her space. He stood above her now, her eyes level with his chin.
He slipped the jacket off her shoulders and onto the floor. Her padding gone, he eyed the bits of silk still covering her. “That’s a start.”
He took a handful of silk blouse and tugged hard. Losing her balance, she fell against him. As she righted herself, he unbuttoned her blouse and tossed it aside.


When two people meet for the first time in real life, the Dom often gives a command. If they are in a public place like a restaurant, stereotypically he might tell the sub to go to the bathroom and remove her panties, to gauge her response. But before they actually begin a scene, the Dom asks the submissive to spell out her (or his) limits, either verbally or in writing. The sub must clearly state which types of experiences are desired and which are not allowed, as well as any injuries or physical limitations.

Doms are Responsible

Certainly there are Doms who break the rules and abuse their power over their subs, but normally Doms understand the responsibility of that role and take great care of their subs. Someone interested in becoming a Dom would learn from others and gain experience at a club or play party first. Once the Dom is clear about the limits of his or her submissive, the Dom may lay out parameters for a scene (i.e. where and when they’ll meet, what the submissive should wear, etc.) The Dom establishes a ‘safe word’ that the sub can use at any time to end the scene. Within a scene, the word ‘no’ is never a safe word, allowing that word to be used in any context without abruptly ending the play. A common safe word is ‘red’ as in red light, with ‘yellow’ being used as a warning that the sub is not comfortable with the direction the Dom is going. Some submissives are not able to formulate words when in sub-space, or don’t know their own limits. It’s up to the Dom to watch the sub carefully and stop before going too far. If a Dom has pushed a sub in a way that had a big emotional impact, the Dom would check on the submissive in the days following the encounter.

Play Partners are not Always Life Partners

Even soul mates are not always all things to each other. In the BDSM lifestyle that is acknowledged, and people play with others outside their primary relationship. Sometimes one partner needs much more intense play than their lover is comfortable with. Sometimes a boyfriend and girlfriend are both submissive, and might look for a woman to dominate both of them. Sometimes a husband and wife discover that one of them craves BDSM experiences while the other is not interested in pursuing that. In all these cases, going to a BDSM club or party allows people to find play partners. And lots of people in BDSM relationships like to experience scenes with other people to discover new things about themselves.

Sex May Not be Included

In many situations, like at clubs or spanking conventions, there is no sexual intercourse. The sub may be partially or fully nude, and a woman may be experience an orgasm, but often there is no penetration or ejaculation allowed. Of course in private settings and some clubs and play parties, a sexual consummation can follow the play time.

Cured by Love?

In some books that explore BDSM relationships, either the hero or heroine is ‘cured’ by the love of the other, and abandons any of these practices. Most people who are attracted to BDSM encounters find it fills a need in them, and unless that need is somehow met another way, prefer to continue the practices that give them pleasure. Love by itself doesn’t do it. People who love each other work towards meeting the needs of both partners, as well as the needs of the relationship.

Who are Doms and submissives? What do they look like? And how do they see themselves? See Fifty Shades of Real Life – Part 2!

Also check out “What Six Words does BDSM stand for?”

Read “Power Play” on Amazon now!
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When romance and real life collide

Marriage proposalRight now I’m on my honeymoon, and hopefully relaxing on a tropical beach in far north Queensland – and yes, for those who’ve read PLATINUM PASSION, it is that beach! It was my turn to post at Sexy Romance this week, but as I’m far from a computer, I thought I’d leave you with an article I wrote for my own blog 18 months ago, about our marriage proposal:

This post equally could have been titled, “How the romance author got a lesson in romance”.

I consider myself a realist. I write about romance and the bigger-than-real-life heroes who sweep my heroines off their feet and into the best damn relationship of their lives because, for me, that is escapism from real life. Not a reflection of it.

But romance and real life are not mutually exclusive, and I, of all people, should have remembered that. So what does happen to someone like me when your own imperfect real life hero (you know, the one who snores REALLY LOUDLY, or the one who changes the TV channel 25 times a minute, or the one who walks over your just mopped floor with muddy shoes – and doesn’t even notice what he’s done!) bowls you over with so much romance that the situation might well have come straight from the pages of a romance novel?

You get speechless, is what happens! Me, a writer, lost for words? Yep. And I almost ruined the moment.

He wanted to go into town for the weekend. Right before Christmas. Are you joking? I kept asking. There’s too much to do.

Nope. He wasn’t joking.

He booked us in to a five star hotel – a room on the 23rd floor with the most magnificent panoramic views of the city. From the Melbourne Cricket Ground, up the winding Yarra River to the Arts Centre spire, and beyond, to the bay sparkling in the summer sun. It took my breath away. But that was only the beginning.

Melbourne city viewsHe whisked me off on a riverboat cruise, from Southbank over to Williamstown and back, then to Collins Street to buy me a fancy dress, then off to a French restaurant for dinner (wearing the fancy new dress!). I kept grabbing at his hand all the time – why did he keep reaching into his pocket instead of entwining his fingers in mine? Why did he seem so nervous?

I discovered why when we were finally back in the room with the city lights spread out before us in all their Christmas glory, and he got down on one knee and pulled a ring out of the aforementioned pocket. He proposed in such a romantic way, and with such amazing views as a floor to ceiling backdrop, that I became speechless. Literally. I was so shocked I couldn’t speak for five minutes.

His smile faltered towards the end, and he finally asked, “Well? Is it a yes?”

Yes! Of course it was a yes! He brought all the romance to the moment that I could possibly wish for or imagine, and I, the romance author, brought nothing but silence and big, goggly eyes.

But I’ve tried to make up for it since then, and hopefully he knows how much I appreciate the whole experience, and that for me his proposal will be one of “those” moments that are remembered always.

I love the romance genre, not least because the possibility of romance and real life colliding is always there in the back of my mind. For me, it is about living in hope that one day, such happiness could possibly be mine. I have been reminded in the most wonderful way that being a realist and being a romantic can, indeed, go hand in hand. And when real life and romance do collide… let the fireworks really begin. :)

Jennifer Lynne writes sensual and erotic romance including the popular GODS OF LOVE series. PLATINUM PASSION (GODS OF LOVE #1) was a Best Book of 2011 nominee in GLBT Fantasy Romance at The Romance Reviews. The recently released APHRODITE CALLING (GODS OF LOVE #2) is garnering great reviews at Amazon and Goodreads. Find out more at Jennifer’s website.

Five Smoking Star Review: Aphrodite Calling by Jennifer Lynne

When my blog mate told me she had written a book about a transgendered woman, I wondered how she would approach this highly charged and difficult topic in an erotic romance. How do you as a woman enter into the head of someone who has had a sex change operation from male to female and make it feel real? I was blown away by Jennifer’s ability to get into the deep point of view of the character and to keep it erotic and heart felt. The heart of the story is really about being lonely and wanting to be loved. Himeros, one of Aphrodite’s underlings, is at a crossroad in his life as a god. He’s jaded, seen it all. Gina has decided to go to her high school reunion, not as the male she was in her teens, but as the stunning new female she has become. She, too, is at a crossroads. At the reunion, she feels overwhelmed and ridiculed and silently cries out for help. Himeros hears her call and appears at her side, sweeping her away from the gaping crowd, to a penthouse made for love. No spoilers here, but I will tell you this is hot hot hot–and heartfelt. Kudos to Jennifer for taking up this challenge and doing a magnificent job in telling the story!

Prescription for Change

In my novella, An Inn Decent Proposal, which appears in my anthology, KILLER KISSES, the heroine, a gourmet chef who wants her own kitchen, and hero, an ambitious hotelier, have an opportunity to bid on a rundown inn and restore it to its previous glory. Along the rock-strewn way to achieving this goal, they discover they need to make some changes in themselves, too, in order to achieve their happily ever after.

After a frenzied year of work and leisure activities, including over-scheduled vacations, exhaustion can take its toll. In addition to our overbooked lives, many of us are working at taking care of both children and parents–but not ourselves.  Even if your parents are independent and your children are grown, it is easy to fall into patterns of caregiving that are unhealthy.

Not only do we become spread too thin, but also we begin to stop enjoying things we once loved to do. When having sex becomes just another chore on your to do list, you need to take serious stock of your life. Sex is one of the great gifts of being alive at any age. Taking control of your time and life can re-energize your bedroom activities. My gift to you on the cusp of planning back-to-school, back to work, back to the hamster wheel, is to share this with you in the hopes that you will begin to take better care of yourselves, too.


Step One: Admit that you have needs, too. We cannot be Wonder Woman all the time. If you crash, you can’t help anyone. Accept the idea that you need to take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will be useless to your dependents. It is not shameful to take care of yourself. You have needs, too. One of them is a healthy sex life.

Step Two: Write down what you need, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Get thee to a doctor. Get your regular checkups. Inform your personal physician if you are a caregiver when you go for medical appointments and inform your doctor of any special stress or issues you are facing. Ask what you can do to improve your sex life.

Step Three: Write down what you will do about getting your needs met. Henriette Klauser says, “When you care enough to write down your goals, stand back.” Writing your goals down makes them tangible and your subconscious continues to work on them, even when you forget about them. Make a contract with yourself to change unhealthy behaviors and to start new healthy ones. When you write your goals down, they are more likely to happen. Set goals and stick to them. Tell your family and friends what you are doing–and ask for their help. “I have a quit date for smoking. I need your help.” Or, “I want to get more exercise. Could you please come over and watch Mom so I can get out for a thirty minute walk?” Quitting smoking, eating healthy, getting exercise improve not only how you feel, but how you feel about your attractiveness. It also revs up your sex drive.  

Step Four: ASK FOR HELP. People may think you WANT to do it all. Allow others to help you. We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to asking for help. We feel as if we ought to be able to do it all, that it’s shameful to ask for help. If a friend or neighbor volunteers and says, “If there’s anything I can do, let me know,” say, “Yes, I would love it if…” and you fill in the blank. Of course, you should be reasonable in your requests. It is okay to ask for help, too. The worst thing that will happen is someone will say no. More likely, they will say yes. Perhaps you have trouble letting go of control? Delegating not easy for you? Maybe family and friends want to help, but are waiting for you to ask them. ASK!

Step Five: Take action. Do what you say you will do for yourself. Don’t keep putting it off. Let go of non-priority tasks and take on activities that make you healthy, physically and emotionally. Have a date night. Spend time with your partner and make it pleasurable. Go to dinner, watch a romantic movie, light candles, take a shower or bubble bath together. Turn on the mood music and get out those special massage oils.  Make an appointment for you and your lover and keep it. Do NOT fill up that space with something else. Put it on your Google calendar with lots of reminders.

Step Six: Write about how you feel about your actions. Journaling has been found to be an effective tool for stress reduction. Keep a diary to record and track your emotional status. Sometimes we try to tell ourselves everything is okay, when it really isn’t. Denying your feelings of loss, sadness, loneliness, or being overwhelmed does not make them go away. When you put something in writing, it forces you to acknowledge your feelings and can motivate you to do something to improve the situation.

Step Seven: Start OVER again with Step One. Over time this will become natural, but right now, it will feel awkward.

What tips do you have for taking care of yourself and your sex life?

While you think about your answer, here’s an excerpt from An Inn Decent Proposal, which appears in my anthology, KILLER KISSES

 Now do you admit that my cooking makes men weak at the knees?”

He crawled to her chair, reached up and pulled her face down to his and slanted his mouth over hers. “Yes,” he breathed. “You have made my knees—and other parts of my body weak.” He pressed his lips against hers and she responded, opening her mouth. She tasted like pomegranates. He wanted more of her flavors. Now.

He ran a hand down her neck and found a hardened nub awaiting his touch through the thin lace. He lowered his head to her breast and sucked at the cloth, pulling her into his mouth until she moaned. Then he moved to the other breast, but pulled the blouse down, exposing a claret-colored nipple the size of a silver dollar. He licked and sucked at that large, lovely rosebud until she clutched at his hair.

“Stop.” She panted. “We still have dessert.”

“You’re my dessert.”

“I’m not too fat for you?”

He looked up into her eyes, his tongue longing to return to sucking on that big bud. “Skinny women don’t turn me on. I love your curves, your hips, your big beautiful ass, your full, delicious breasts, and your sweet, succulent nipples. I want to explore every inch of your luscious lovely thighs, right up to your—”

She pushed away from him, stood and took his hand. He tried to pull her back but she shook her head, smiled, and dragged him down a hallway. Illuminated only by candles, her bedroom contained a queen-sized bed, large pillows, and red satin sheets. A cooking cart with a chafing dish stood ready to serve.

She turned to him. “Get undressed.”

As he ripped his shirt and pants off, she released her hair from her ponytail and peeled out of her lace top and slinky pants. She wore no underwear. He swept his gaze over her large breasts, full hips and the red triangle of hair he wanted to sample next. He stood at complete attention, pointing straight at her. He reached for Genie, grazed a breast, and she shoved him back onto the bed. “Lie down.”

He complied, shivers running up and down his spine.

Hair draping across her face, she stood over him and drizzled warm chocolate sauce on his chest, belly button, hips, and erection. Then she dropped dollops of whipped cream in swirls along the same pattern.

“Just so you know, this is all homemade.”

Bending her head over her work, she quickly licked from his neck down to his belly button, and then in a slow, deliberate pace, continued downward. He groaned and grew harder and thicker with each lick.

He grabbed Genie and pulled her onto the bed. “I’m hungry, too.”

A dish in each hand, he drew wild patterns with chocolate sauce and whipped cream across her lush curves. After eying his handiwork, he licked his lips. “I think I’ll start with these two delicious mounds topped with these bright, red cherries. Then, I’ll follow the chocolate trail down to here.”

He slid a chocolate covered finger into her moist folds, sliding across her center, flicking her until she wriggled and arched her hips upward. He smiled, withdrew his finger and licked it. “Delicious.”

Between gritted teeth, she gasped. “Tease.”

“Look who’s talking. You’ve been driving me wild all evening.” Jim licked his way down the chocolate path. The pool of sweet brown liquid in her navel and below required extra attention to detail, and he lapped up every drop, first licking lazy circles on her soft thighs. She grabbed his head and pushed him to her silky triangle. His tongue probed her saucy folds, then nibbled at her hard nub until she moaned, screamed his name, and clutched his hair.

“I want you inside me.”

He crawled on his elbows, maintaining skin contact with each upward movement. He looked deep into her eyes and slid inside her. She rose to meet him at every stroke, urged him onward, and let him know with her touches exactly what she wanted: harder, deeper, stronger thrusts. She shuddered and screamed his name, he couldn’t hold on any longer. He came with a shout and fell on top of her.

She looked him in the eye. “Ready for the cheese course?”

Review – The 90 Day Rule by Diane Nelson

Who says love and romance is only for the twenty-something crowd? I’m a firm believer that there’s no expiration date on a woman’s heart, and THE 90 DAY RULE by Diane Nelson proves the point.

Jes’s story is one far too many women have lived. At an early age, her dreams fell under the bus that was her husband’s career, relegating her to the subservient role of token wife in charge of nothing but raising the perfect child and projecting the image of the perfect family. It’s all about keeping up images, until she catches her philandering husband in bed with a woman/girl young enough to be his daughter.

Fresh out of options, Jes is sleeping on the sofa in her daughter’s college digs while she tries to knit together a new life with tattered threads from the old one. Help comes from an unexpected source, but like most gifts, it comes with strings attached – play the devoted wife for ninety days, long enough to get her husband re-elected, in exchange for a quick divorce complete with a financial settlement that will allow her to resuscitate her dreams.

This is a wonderfully refreshing read jam-packed with real emotion and realistic conflict. As a reader well past the twenty-something mark, I appreciate a mature heroine with mature issues. Can she pick up where she left off all those years ago? Are the dreams of her youth no longer attainable or realistic at her age? What, exactly, does she have to offer the world? What is she to do with unexpected desire, and the important question in any romance, can she dare to love again?

I loved Jes’s journey from lost and broken to grounded and strong. The transformation isn’t easy, but real life rarely is. THE 90 DAY RULE is honest, and real, and fabulous, as well as refreshing, bold, and well written with layers upon layers to make a reader think. I give it five stars for originality in a genre that too often takes the freeway when a side road might be more interesting.

Diane Nelson’s Website

Purchase The 90 Day Rule



What Six Words does BDSM stand for?

BDSM Means SIX Things? Now that’s Kinky! The term BDSM actually stands for 3 interrelated but separate relationships. It is also used as an umbrella term for other types of kink, like fetishes.

BDSM Abbreviation

BDSM is actually an acronym for six words, with the D and the S each being an abbreviation for two words: Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. In an encounter, any 1 or 2 or all 3 of these relationships can exist. Also, the terms Top and Bottom can be used to refer to the participants in all three of these scenarios.

Bondage and Discipline

Bondage and Discipline  (B & D) can include any situation where one person is bound, from simply having his or her hands tied together, to being handcuffed, to being bound to a chair, bed, cross, large web, etc. and then ‘punished’ in some way, such as paddling, caning, or flogging. Sometimes the focus is on just one of the two terms, such as in ‘spanking’ scenarios. Other times the bondage is the main goal, with the ‘punishment’ being playful and teasing. This ‘light’ bondage can be called ‘sensual bondage.’ Here is an example from my novella Power Play:

BDSM book cover showing BondageSergio stopped in front again, rose to his full height. Threading the silk tie through his hands, he contemplated her. She saw fire in his eyes, mixed with something else. Maybe a hint of uncertainty. What was he planning to do to her? The instinct to run tugged at her insides, and she jerked back a step.
The decision solidified in his face. “You like my power tie?” he asked with a sly smile.
The humor was clear, but there was an edge to his voice. She giggled nervously.
He spun her around, grasped her wrists and bound them behind her. Liz gasped, her blood racing through her body in tremors of anticipation.
One quick tug on the tie ensured that her hands were secured.
He whirled her back to face him and inspected the results. Liz felt off-balance and her breasts jutted out.

Dominance and Submission

Dominance and Submission, typically written D/s, is all about the transfer of power between two (or more) people. In taking control of a submissive, a Dominant must be certain of the sub’s comfort level and personal limits, so before beginning any scenario or play time, the sub lists which activities are acceptable and which are not. This can be in writing, or discussed verbally, but it is definitely a consensual agreement between them. The Dom is responsible for his or her sub’s physical and emotional well-being. Here’s an example of a power exchange from Power Play:

“Lock it,” a voice demanded in her ear.
She clicked the lock, turned, and found herself engulfed in his space.
Everything in her training and experience told her to take control. But everything about this sensual man had her wanting to give it all to him. “Look, Sergio. I just want you to—”
“Take off your clothes.”
The whispered command wrapped around her like a silk net. Her heart raced. She instinctively side-stepped to escape him, but his arm flew up and blocked her escape. He must have known she’d try the other way, because he immediately put both hands on the door behind her, his arms caging her in. As she considered ducking beneath them, he rocked his pelvis forward, his erection pinning her body against the door.
Her knees weakened and she could hardly catch a breath. If she’d been wearing a corset like women did in the old days, she’d have swooned. Her arms and legs were free, but with that one point of contact, she was captured.

Sadism and Masochism

Sadism and Masochism, S/M or Top and Bottom, are when the relationship includes pain (and perhaps humiliation) as a key part of the interchange between them. Typically there is a D/s power exchange, and the Top uses various devices to create sensation and pain for the Bottom. The Bottom can experience extreme highs as the endorphins convert pain to pleasure. There are strict rules of conduct in the BDSM world, and their credo is “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.” Here’s a snippet from Temptation’s Edge by Eve Berlin aka Eden Bradley:

Her body was simmering, a low, steady beat of desire. A thrum of anticipation so strong it felt like electricity in her veins. An acute awareness of Connor standing behind her, as if he were almost a part of her body, so that knowing he was there did nothing to pull her back out of herself, away from this inner exploration.
She felt beautiful. Turned on to an almost ridiculous degree. Lost in need.
She let out her next breath on a long sigh. And before her lungs had emptied there was a sharp snap in the air and an even sharper sting on the left cheek of her ass.
It was followed immediately by Connor moving in to cup his big palm over the sting.
He didn’t say anything, just stepped back after a moment and hit her again.
This time she was less surprised by it. More able to let her body sink into the sensation. A small crop, she thought, from the light weight of it on her flesh. He hit her again, a little harder this time, and for some reason it made her smile.
Oh, this is where we really get into it.
It was what she wanted. Needed.
Another stinging rasp, then another. He was picking up the speed, working in a criss-cross pattern over her buttocks and thighs. With each stroke pleasure rose, as though embedded in the stinging sensation itself. She was squirming just a little, just enough to absorb the impact, to ride out the surges of pleasure.

BDSM and Fetishes

Although fetishes are separate types of kink, there is a lot of overlap between them and BDSM practices, so they are lumped together under that term. Fetishes are extreme fascinations or obsessions with something like shoes or leather, or a particular part of the body, like a foot fetish.

BDSM and Sex

Although sensual and sexual in nature, many people engage in BDSM scenarios without having sex as a part of it. Often these scenarios take place with someone other than their spouse or lover, to fill that different need. Others extend this type of play to include sexual relations, or use it as foreplay for ‘vanilla’ (more traditional) sexual activities.

Buy Temptation’s Edge on Amazon
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Read “Power Play” on Amazon now!
Read “Power Play” on Barnes & Noble now!