Friday, July 13, 2007

Lust Bites Interviews Stephen Elliott

by Mathilde Madden

"I take responsibilities for these stories, for every sexual act depicted, many of which occurred when I was younger, before I made the effort to acquire the information I needed. I acquired scars instead. This is not a memoir, but it's damn close. And I'm okay with that. And I'm okay with you knowing that."

Stephen Elliott

*
Stephen Elliott is an ex-stripper, a political activist and the author of six books, including Happy Baby and the almost-all-true sexual memoir My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up. He is the founder of Progressive Reading Series which helps authors raise money and participate on behalf of progressive candidates across the United States and has written a book about the Democratic Presidential nominations. He has also edited a forthcoming collection of political erotic stories Sex for America – featuring Lust Bites' Alison 'Randy Little Bitch' Tyler among others.

It's 9am in Los Angeles and Stephen Elliott hasn't had any coffee. He says this means nothing he says can be relied upon, 'like sleep talking.' Meanwhile it's 5pm in Brighton and I have spent all day proof reading werewolf erotica by reading it backwards. I need a distraction, frankly, and what could be more distracting than a funny, kinky, political, extraordinarily talented writer. He's single, by the way, he told me to say that.

*

Your writing is very truthful about being a submissive man. Do you feel exposed by what you write?

It is truthful. It started with Happy Baby. When I was writing that I was still very much in the closet [about being submissive]. And then my friends read it and started to put things together. I didn't have to come out, people just knew. And I felt more free. I felt better with people knowing. Of course, there were a lot of dumb comments and questions and I got tired of explaining things to vanilla people. Especially if I didn't really think they would understand.

I was playing cards with some friends and we're arguing about something and one of my guy friends says, 'You don't seem very submissive.' And I was like, 'Fuck you.' This is a nice guy. A liberal. But they don't think anything of making fun of my sexuality.

Also, another thing about being open. I do a lot of political writing and organizing and I've been attacked because of my open sexuality. So it's had negative ramifications on my career.

But I think it's best just to be who you are. To be as open as you can be. My only limit to my openness are limits placed by my own lack of self-knowledge. And I'm working on that.

Some people find 'coming out' makes them feel stronger and more secure. You lose the fear of exposure
Right. Nobody can expose you once you're already out.

But it's hard to think of many submissive men who have outed themselves rather than been 'Exposed'
I don't know. I can't think of any.

God. Are they're really not any?
Open, submissive men. Must be some. I'm trying to think of public people, writers, artists, politicians, actors.

I just thought, oh yeah, there's that guy who wrote that book... and I was thinking of you!
Ha. I've cornered the market. That's why I'm rich.

Do you think writing about sex and being open about your sexuality is a political act?
Definitely. That was one of the reasons I published my last book. Which is very graphic, and very open. We have the Bush administration which is really waging a war against people that practice consensual S&M.

We have to be open about who we are and what we do. We have to force people to accept us. Otherwise we're going to be persecuted.

Would you describe yourself as an erotica author? A sex writer?
I would describe My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up as erotica. But I wouldn't describe myself as an erotica author at all. Or a sex writer. I've written six books and only one of them is erotica.

Happy Baby is a novel that deals with BDSM themes, but it's not erotica.

An erotica story is a literary story (which is to say character driven) where the primary activity driving change is the sexual act. That describes some of my stories, and all of the stories in my last collection, but not the bulk of my work.

I'm a literary writer who is open about his preoccupation with the BDSM lifestyle.

*

Eden attaches a clip to my nipple. 'Do you want another one?' she asks.

'Yes, please,' I say. And that’s how it goes, as my voice gets weaker and she lines my body with her clips, finally running a string of them down my penis. Every movement increases the pain.

'You’re being so good,' she says.

'I love you so much,' I whisper back.

She strokes my face. I keep thinking to myself how nice she is, wondering why she is so nice to me. It makes me want to cry. We have the whole day. Her husband said she could spend the night; her son is away from home at camp. My roommate is home in the next room with his music turned up. That’s the world around us. And then there is Eden and I and all the clips she’s decorated me in, her initials carved across my back, the bruises on my belly, the twenty-five stripes she cut into my shoulders. 'So pretty,' she says. She takes the clips off one at a time. We’ve been together over five weeks now. I see her four or five days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. We don’t always do this. We go to movies. We go dancing. We shop for fabric and groceries and I keep her company while she sews. I go to her house and I make her breakfast and sit on the floor next to her chair, working on my articles while she manages her affairs, her husband at work in the city. We do other things, but this is what we’re doing now.
Stephen Elliott
from Just Always be Good in My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up

*

Your work is so condensed and precise. Do you go through a lot of drafts? How do you know when you're done?
A lot of times I write the first draft of something in one sitting. If it's like a short, short. Or a short story. Then I'll spend the next three or four weeks rereading it, and it kind of breathes, getting larger and smaller, until I can't make any more changes. I have to read something a couple dozen times and not want to change a word to really feel like it's finished.

I know that sounds kind of pompous, but it's true.

But then I'll work differently on longer things. Like right now I'm thirty pages into a non-fiction, memoir-ish book. Though I guess the process is kind of the same.

In this book the sections are very open ended. Kind of building on top of one another. It's a very strange book

What is it about?
It's kind of about everything. But first it's about a murder. Then it's about another murder. One of the side plots is my addiction to BDSM.

When Alison Tyler set up this interview she said you were in one of her anthologies and she was in one of yours.
Alison is in my collection Sex for America. She has this amazing story in there. All of the stories are fiction, politically inspired erotica. For example, there's a story by Jerry Stahl about having an affair with Dick Cheney in the back of a gun store.

And I have a story in her book, Love at First Sting.

Which is best erotica or porn?
Hmmmm. That's a very tough question.

Erotica is not necessarily erotic. Really good erotica does not have to turn you on, and it should be good even for people that aren't into what you're writing about. But porn should always appeal to the viewer, reader.

Erotica is art and I would argue that porn is not necessarily art. So porn is better.


*

For more of Stephen's work visit his website for some excerpts and reviews. Naturally, you can buy his books online US/UK - or in real bookshops. And you can also be his friend.

One commenter today will win a signed copy of My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up. So speak up if you want to win. And please let me know if you can think of anymore *out* submissive men. There must be some. I'm thinking maybe rock stars… There must be one. Alison? Alana? Can you help with this one?

P.S. In honor of Stephen Elliott, for this week (from Friday the 13th through Friday the 20th), take 13% off any order at Extreme Restraints. Enter "elliott" at checkout to receive the discount.

73 comments:

Olivia Knight said...

What beautiful, quiet writing. Your definition of erotica is great and the distinction you make between erotica/porn is probably the most useful and interesting one I've found yet (although I still hold onto my view that it's a value judgement with a hefty dose of "one man's meat..."!)

Erotica is art and I would argue that porn is not necessarily art. So porn is better.
Mmm... better as in "more useful"? (Like a corkscrew is more useful than, say, a Rembrandt.)

Janine Ashbless said...

Loved your definition of erotica:

An erotica story is a literary story (which is to say character driven) where the primary activity driving change is the sexual act.

I'm going to quote that somewhere.
I love clever quotes. And clever men.

And Alison's links to eye-popping jewellery.

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Stephen,

A million thanks for letting Tilly grill you, and gracing this blog with your presence. I'm a bit star-struck.

The 'almost-true' is a fascinating idea. More than a memoir. I like the thought of forcing a reader to abandon the effort of working out what's real and what's fiction. Especially when the writing's this good.

I'm wondering - 'We have to force people to accept us' - is that possible?

And are there limits to that acceptance? The issue may be a little different in the states, where the political system seems to be more overtly moralistic and less secular than the UK. But then we do have similar issues brewing over here.

What would we do with utter freedom if we got it? Is part of BDSM's appeal its forbidden nature?

Like I said, I don't know. And I think I'm straying off topic now too. I'll get back in my cage.

Thanks again, Stephen.

Mathilde Madden said...

Hi everyone

This int was such fun to do. I had so much material. It could have run for screens and screens.

MxM

Kirsten said...

Great interview! And I love the extract from the book.

I can't think of any out submissive men, but that might be because most famous people don't tend to talk that explicitly about their sex lives.

Mathilde Madden said...

Yeah. Although you do see famous *women* in the media quite regularly saying they like to be tied up...

Janine Ashbless said...

I guess the idea of being submissive is still tied into being 'feminine' in the popular imagination. A man in the public eye who admits to being sexually submissive is compromising his masculinity in a way that he wouldn't actually be doing if he admitted, say, to being gay.

Which is a bit odd when you think that when submissive men do get Outed it's very often powerful politicians or businessmen.

As a species we don't like weakness. And we're still stuck in the Submissive=Weak mindset. We have very simplistic concepts of power and strength on the whole, and it's going to take a lot to change that.

Madeline Moore said...

Like Nikki, I'm a little star-struck. Is there nobody LB can't entice to our blog?! I heard about "My Girlfriend..." here at LB, bought a copy and puzzled over/was taken aback by/adored/read/absorbed the book. It's very likely a watershed piece of work, one which has already made its mark on my own writing.
Thank you for your visit, Stephen Elliot and more to the point, thank you for being both brave and talented. You make a difference in this world. (And good work, Ms Madden.)

Alison Tyler said...

Wonderful interview... I've been on the edge of my seat for weeks in anticipation...

Just brilliant and breathtaking and other gushing adjectives I'm too tongue-tied to think of right this minute.

Thanks very much Mat and SE!

XXX,
Alison

kristina lloyd said...

Wow, what a smart interview. Thanks Stephen, thanks Tilly.

‘My Girlfriend ..’ is a stunning book. The writing is astonishing and I think Stephen is saying something really important. Because, to pick up on Nikki’s question, BDSM, from what I know, isn’t really about the thrill of the forbidden. It cuts so much deeper than that. Taking a stance against those whose morality or politics frown upon certain types of sexuality can be painful and demands guts. There’s more involved than the buzz of rebellion.

It took me a long time to come to grips with my own femsub sexuality because the disapproving voices weren’t so much the right-wingers and fundamentalists (heck, they’d probably approve, thinking it kept me in my place or it was the natural order or some such shit like that) but the leftist feminists I had lots in common with. I think many women struggle with this conflict. I’m probably slightly echoing what Stephen said about being mocked by a liberal friend. It would be so much easier if the ‘opposition’ were simply the ‘sex is bad’ brigade. And as Janine says, malesub sexuality is difficult for our society to accept. Femsub doesn’t have the same stigma attached to it – which, paradoxically, is really fucking annoying if you’re a feminist femsub. I do hope I’m not taking anything away from Stephen’s balls (?) in saying that. I’m not trying to set up a brave competition here.

Basically, I’m with Stephen: force people to accept (and, um, I like force). I don’t think we need worry about a world where they’ll be giving away free floggers with the Daily Mail.

Sorry this is so long - but, look, Alison's tongue-tied so I'm having her share of words today! That okay, Ms T?

Alison Tyler said...

What did you say, KL?
I'm reading the interview again...

Gwen Masters said...

Oh, God. I was entirely into this gorgeous interview...and then came the excerpt. And my mind went into all sorts of naughty places, and I couldn't make it stop.

I'll come back later, when I'm more coherent...

What fantastic writing!

Smut Girl said...

Wow. Great interview. I've been dying to get my hands on this book and now even more so after reading the excerpt. I sat and really tried to think of any out submissive men and can't think of a single one. Not a rock star, not a movie star, nary a one.

xo
SM

Mathilde Madden said...

Did I really just make Alison Tyler tongue tied?

I didn't know that was possible

MxM

Alison Tyler said...

Okay, whew. Done. Loved what you said, KL! Really, you describe things so well. And, MxM, I meant hog-tied. You had me hog-tied. Is that better?

XXX,
Alison

P.S. feminist femsub
First tee-shirt slogan of the day!

P.P.S. I, um, checked to make sure the discount worked. I bought this.

Mathilde Madden said...

I meant hog-tied

Oh. I knew *that* was possible

Nikki Magennis said...

Yes, Kristina, I get your point.

But I'm concerned about a very specific issue - the extreme pain/ actual and serious bodily harm thing. Plus what I was thinking about was more the legal aspect than the moralistic one.

I feel a little uncomfortable to say this 'cause I know most of the readers/writers here probably tend to the 'sexual freedom should be absolute' tip, but what about when disturbed people put themselves in situations where they could be seriously hurt?

Is that okay? Can someone who is seriously disturbed really give informed consent? (I'm by no means directing this at anyone in particular, I'm just curious about the possible scenarios)

It's hard for me to understand because I don't share a prediliction for hardcore pain. But (without judging anybody,) isn't there a question of protecting people, even if its from themselves?

Otherwise everybody would just be running around assaulting each other with soft fruits or god knows what.

Smut Girl said...

She bought my paddle! Damn! grumble...grumble...

Smut Girl said...

Well, my off the cuff paddle comment crossed with your rather intense comment, Nikki. Sorry. I feel like a doof.

I guess after reading your post, my question would be who would run around monitoring who is dong what in their sex lives and who gets to decide the definition of 'disturbed'? I'm sure there are people who might consider *me* disturbed because I do like pain. And then there is the definition of 'hardcore pain'. What is hardcore pain to me might be nothing to another person, or too intense to stand to yet another...

Mathilde Madden said...

I have never met anyone 'seriously disturbed' so I can't answer your question. I know some submissives and and masochists though and they tend to be far more thoughtful and considered about their sexual desires than most people.

Mx

Try these sites for more serious stuff
Spanner
Backlash

Mathilde Madden said...

Hang on, Backlash isn't working

Try here

Nikki Magennis said...

Hey, smut girl, all doofs are welcome here. : )

Yes, your points are excellent. I realise that it's not a cut and dried question and there aren't easy answers.

Generally, if you ask a psychiatrist, self harm is accepted as a sign that there are problems. I think that applies as much to the sexual sphere as to the everyday arm-slicing sphere. Because, as we keep saying here, sex is part of life - why should the rules be any different for sex?

And sorry, the phrase 'hardcore pain' was vague. Personally, I'd be concerned about serious bodily harm - something that may endanger life or cause permanent damage.

(Tilly, off to look at spanner and whatnot. Thanks)

Alison Tyler said...

Um, now I'm confused. Do I make the teeshirt:

hardcore pain

Or

the definition of disturbed

Fuck it. I'll make 'em both.

Janine Ashbless said...

Mm. I get your concerns Nikki, and sympathise.

However, despite the costs and the risks, I don't think you can build a society around the weaknesses of the "seriously disturbed". Otherwise you'd have to ban everything that might influence the mentally vulnerable/emotionally stunted/immature/gullible/empathically unimaginative/dumb teenagers. So you'd start with all violent imagery in films, computer games, fiction, music: then you'd have to start coming into people's homes to tell them what they can and can't do...

A free society assumes that the average person is reasonably intelligent, responsible and moral. Some people just aren't and they will fall through the cracks, and there will be tragedies.

But the alternative is the Taliban - or some Christian equivalent - legislating to protect us from our own sins.

Nikki Magennis said...

This lifted from the Spanner site (UK):

'SM activity is an illegal assault if it results in marks or injuries which are more than transient and trifling. These words are highly subjective and open to interpretation.'

...it's the 'interpretation' problem again, isn't it? Same as with the obscenity laws.

As the saying goes, the law is a blunt instrument. Hm. I'm still not sure. I suppose the ideal way would be to look at every situation individually.

I still don't think that it's as simple as saying sexual freedom should or could or must be absolute. And I don't think you can 'force' people to accept certain things. They'd be just as entitled to force you to accept their judgement, by that logic.

(Good work in the T-shirt sweatshop, Alison. I'll keep waffling and you keep banging out new designs.)

Alison Tyler said...

Wait, wait, wait, I can't keep up!

I can wear seriously disturbed on Monday. dumb teenager on Tuesday, mentally vulnerable on Wednesday, emotionally stunted on Thursday, immature on Friday, gullible on Saturday, empathically unimaginative on Sunday.

But when am I going to wear the one that says hogtied by Mathilde Madden?

XXX,
Alison

P.S. I'll give you a cut of the profits, Janine. I promise.

Janine Ashbless said...

Man, I sound like a libertarian. I'm not. I do believe in some social regulation of public behaviour. It's just I don't think the baseline should be "Think of the children!" or "Think of the mentally ill!"

Mathilde Madden said...

But when am I going to wear the one that says hogtied by Mathilde Madden?

You can't wear it ever Alison! We'd have to go to prison! Or perhaps a home for seriously disturbed women.

Alison Tyler said...

No, no, wait. That's not right, MxM,
We'd have to go to a shed!

XXX,
AT

Nikki Magennis said...

Janine -

Excellent points. But is it okay that a reasonably balanced person causes severe bodily harm to another? Or consents to it?

Is that a moral judgement?

I just think that severe bodily harm is something to be avoided rather than celebrated.

So shoot me.

No, wait ...

Alison Tyler said...

KL, come back! Say this thing that I'm going to try to say in a smarter way than I can manage... I'm only really good a teeshirt slogans, and I steal them from everyone else.

But, hell, what is up with this "serious bodily harm" thing? I feel a bit like we're back in "Write Sex Week."

Really. Trying to be lighthearted here, but Nikki, it's feeling a bit judgmental. And this is coming from the "happy flower fluffy bunny" of sex editors.

Oh, wait, there's a teeshirt I missed:

reasonably balanced

Janine Ashbless said...

Ak. I'm totally woolly on the details, but there was a S/M case a few years back that set precident for British law wasn't there? Some guys were prosecuted and convicted for nailing other blokes dicks to planks of wood. The fact that the "victims" were completely consenting adults who did not want to press charges was considered irrelevant: under British law you cannot consent to actual bodily harm.

I've gotta say, Nikki, I wouldn't celebrate what these men did but I think the law was completely wrong in this case.

On the other hand, you get women consenting to genital mutilation because it's part of their culture and frankly I'd prosecute those perpetrators and throw away the key.

So I'm a hypocrite. Stick me in your cage and assault me with soft fruit, Nikki. (Please!)

Mathilde Madden said...

The thing about labels like 'seriously disturbed' is that it is one that the moralistic majority always uses to stop self expression that they don't like. It gives that nice little hint that you are being stopped from making your own choices 'for your own good'.

Gay people were classified as mentally ill until very recently.

The fact is either you believe people own their own bodies, or you don't

Nikki Magennis said...

I'm sorry, Alison. I didn't mean to be judgemental.

I like to argue the toss.

(That's the 'spanner' case you're talking about, Janine, hence the website Mathilde referenced.)

Alison Tyler said...

Here's the real thing... nobody can say what "hardcore pain" is from one person to the next.

But I will share these two tidbits of information. I have hardcore pain on my blog (hardcore to me). Whipping. Cropping. Beating. Thrashing. The only complaints I ever received about the content? When I included a tickling scene. A fucking tickling scene. That was torture.

The other? I wrote a story once called "Duct Tape Wishes and Enema Dreams." I thought it was the hardest core story ever fucking written. I was embarrassed even to include the piece in the collection.

And this is what a reviewer had to say about it (look at me, sharing a bad review in the name of science):

"Duct Tape Wishes and Enema Dreams" makes a story about eggs, an enema, and kinky shower sex seem like it could appear in the middle of a happy homemaker magazine at the grocery store checkout.

So who's going to judge?

Alison Tyler said...

P.S. I've been waiting for years to share that quote. If it had been written about anyone else's story, I would have cried laughing!

Smut Girl said...

*'SM activity is an illegal assault if it results in marks or injuries which are more than transient and trifling. These words are highly subjective and open to interpretation.'*

Well, despite the fact that I'll regret this and feel like a fuckwit, I'm gonna say something again. *sigh*

Let me throw this out there. I bruise extremely easily. If you bite me (feel free to if you like) I will look like the Count himself had a go at me. My um...sex 'injuries' do not appear transient or trifling. So, should someone be able to limit my sexual activities and/or requests because a genetic quirk makes it look as if I've been beaten with a sock full of quarters instead of just
a really good lay?

And in regards to the permananent/serious injury thing. I think a person requesting that *kind* of pain would have a hard time finding a partner willing to do that. And if they did manage, then we are pretty much dealing with *two* disturbed people. This is a matter of pain propelling or enhancing pleasure...not hacking off body parts or gouging out eyes.

In all areas there are extremes, so the people you wonder about exist, I am sure. But they are not (from my humble experiences)the majority...

Hmm. My delete finger is hovering...
oh well.
xoxo
Sommer the doof (who feels doofier by the moment and yet...cannot...shut up...)

Mathilde Madden said...

Thanks Sommer.

I think in some ways this follows on from the interview points so well. There is so much ignorance about what kinky people really do in bed that it only takes a couple of exchanges for the conversation to be all about 'endangering life' and 'serious bodily harm'.

I guess the only way to fight back against people who want to bring legislation into the bedroom is for us all to start bringing our kinks out into the open and show how normal and fun and nothing-to-fuss-about it really is.

Stephen Elliott said...

Hey. Thanks for doing this interview and for all the really interesting comments. I feel like Tilly made me seem much smarter than I actually am. There's no way I was that coherent that early in the day, pre-coffee. Anyway, thanks again. Also, all I want in the world right now is a t-shirt that says, Hogtied By Mathilde Madden. That is so sexy.

Smut Girl said...

*for us all to start bringing our kinks out into the open and show how normal and fun and nothing-to-fuss-about it really is.*

So, Alison, I need a tee that says:

Bite Me. No...really...Bite Me. Please!

Let me know when it's ready ;)

Alison Tyler said...

Also, all I want in the world right now is a t-shirt that says, "Hogtied By Mathilde Madden." That is so sexy.

I am sooo making that tee-shirt right now. I mean, as we speak... (I'm typing with my feet...)

Then I will have one.
And Stephen Elliott will have one.

And we will drink coffee together in San Francisco...and...

Oh, god. Did I just say all of that out loud?

XXX,
Alison

P.S. Sommer, you'll have to wait. I'll get to yours in a little while. I'm off in my own personal fantasy right now.

jothemama said...

I know where you're coming from, Nikki. But it's a really hard one to argue without appearing judgemental. Personally, I think we're all judgemental ( me specially!), perhaps about different spheres, and I think it's realistic.

It['s obviously a reality that people are going to find different things acceptable - there are plenty of dull but negative and self destructive relationships born out of people's psychological damage too - they're not really policed and we don't consider they should be.

In truth, I found some of Alison's more extreme blog scenes scary, but wouldn't comment on them as such as it's such a clear cut case of different strokes (snigger) for different folks - tickling is a topic I feel free and vindicated in being judgmental about, however! Aii!

I have issues with an I'm ok, you're ok' attitude to certain aspects of BDSM sex too. I found the damage done in today's extract more upsetting than erotic, personally, despite how positively framed it was. But, as I said before, I suppose there are plenty of aspects of any slice of life one person will find acceptable, others won't and who are we do dictate that?

I think the self-cutting is a good expample - I have a friend who has done this in darker moments, and argues vociferously that it's an acceptable outlet - better to hurt yourself than someone else. This REALLY pisses me off, I have to say, I don't feel particularly sympathetic. Would she one day share this fabulous method of pain release with my daughter, or encourage her to do it? Is it ok just because she says it is, when as far as I'm concerned, it's clearly something that is born of whatever her particular troubles are?

I'm not saying this equates to a need to 'fix' anyone's sexual preferences, I completely see the offensiveness of a concept like that. And yet, I see Nikki's point that just because somebody wants something, doesn't mean it's ok to ignore the reasons why...

jothemama said...

Alison, your T-shirts make me think of 7 Dwarves I never want to meet!

THat wasn't meant to be taken as a dwarfist comment, btw.. ;))

Alison Tyler said...

Hey Jo,

Well, I guess you'll be pleased to know that "T is for Toys" rather than tickling. But you weren't the only one who wrote to me to say, "Stop it! Stop the tickling!" And yet, so many other people wrote and said the opposite. "Tickle me more. Tickle me now!"

XXX,
Alison

P.S. Look everyone! I can be scary!
I found some of Alison's more extreme blog scenes scary
And extreme! I'm so pleased...

Alison Tyler said...

Wait, I have to say something else. Because clearly I can't stop talking...

The boyfriend who said I was sick in the head for wanting to be spanked caused me so much more pain (long term, mental anguish) than the one who first put me over his knee.

Now then. Back to work.

XXX,
Alison

Nikki Magennis said...

Oh, look, I meant when people slice each other up - knife play - or the cannibal in Germany - or yes, Operation Spanner, when the men nailed their cocks to things. When I said 'extreme', I mean like 'draws blood and screams'. I do have a very vivid imagination and I was arguing extreme hypothetical scenarios.

I didn't mean bruises or whippings or spankings or canings - that's why I kept using the phrase 'serious bodily harm' - though I guess you could say the underlying issues come to the same thing, no matter the level of pain.

Maybe.

Fuck it, I don't know. I like a good flogging as much as the next girl, and I don't think I'd usually be categorised as part of the moral majority. I suppose all these definitions like 'vanilla' and 'kinky' are relative.

In any case, thank you all for being willing to talk about it without any hair pulling.

Shit!

Mathilde Madden said...

So why are we having a conversation about the ethics of, um, cannibalism. I mean, really, what has that got to do with anything?

It might have been nice to talk about the writing.

Alison Tyler said...

Oh, yesss, the writing...
Well, the writing is unbelievably good.

So I stayed close, as close as I could, and when I got close enough she reached out and grabbed me by my belt and pulled me forward so I was dancing over her leg and she put her hand on my ass and whispered, "I think you and I might have some things in common." Then she pinched my earlobe and I let out a quick yelp.

In her room she was very formal. There was a dresser and a black case and a window with the curtain pulled. She didn’t ask what I liked which was good because I had no idea what I liked or what I was into or what I wanted to do or wanted done to me. "Take your clothes off and put them in the corner. Come on." She snapped her fingers beneath my nose. She seemed to think I had been through this before, but I hadn’t.


From "First Things First" published in "Love at First Sting." (*cough*shameless plug*cough, cough*)

Smut Girl said...

I personally *never* eat other people. But I do love to write. And I do so love that story Alison just...um...plugged (blush)

Ally said...

Hello Stephen Elliot,

Thank you for visiting with us here.

Thanks to you too Tilly for that wonderful interview.

My first glimps into BDSM was when I read,
The Story of 'O'
I was enthrawled at the boldness and I must admit it gave me feelings I had never experienced. I would like to read your book now, you've got my attention.

Alison, can I have 'The definition of disturbed' T-Shirt, on hands and knees... begging. I also like "Empathically Creative"

The thing I wonder about labels like 'seriously disturbed' is... "am I"?

I've been writing things in my novel that I know most people I know, would consider it smut and nasty.

Does that mean they are going to think of me as 'disturbed' because I am a confessed 'Bipolar' writer?

I've had my days of self harm, but that is separate from allowing someone else to harm you. They are two separate deeds, two separate feelings are being released. Niether are the same at all and should never be combined.

Just like BDSM, mental illness will continue to carry a stigma with it till the masses accept that this is just the way things are for some people.

Those who are seriously disturbed are hospitalized and istitutionalized, at least in Canada they are.

Sorry, I don't wish to step on anyones toes. Nikki I think your great. But I had to comment on a topic I am so well informed about from first hand experience.

Thanks for the great article and what an amazing debate it spilled out from us all.

Alison Tyler said...

I think this is where I came in yesterday...

Plugs? Is that a dare, Sommer? Is that a...dare?

Because I have twisted plugs...

And vibrating plugs...

And plugs for playing games

But damn, there isn't a shameless plug in the bunch! I must be typing the wrong words into the search engine.

XXX,
Alison

P.S. Thanks for your thoughtful words on the subject, Ally. Teeshirt is being made right now!

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Fascinating stuff and entertaining comments. I do actually know a man who has admitted to me that he enjoyed being spanked. Now he's not that famous and he said it to me privately, telling it as a story from childhood, as a conversation starter. But there it is, a genuine admitted male submissive. But if you pay attention to the culture around Shadowlane, you'll soon realize that there are a lot more submissive and switchable men than there are women who would like to spank them. Thus the market for pro dommes. Personally I think there's not such a big difference as to which end of "the stick" you enjoy being on. As we learn from Alison's blog, even the most confirmed submissive can learn to dominate under the right circumstances. In fact, it's looking to me (and Alison has alluded to this in her blog as well) as if the road to authentic dominance is through the straits of submission. You don't give orders well if you haven't first learned to take them.

kristina lloyd said...

Jeepers. I pop out for a spot of recreational rape (I was asking for it) and return to find the blog’s turned tabloid. Since when was Lust Bites a place where sexualities got demonised? Because isn’t that what we do when we make such a quick transition from one man’s declaration of his kinky subself to conversations about mental illness, murder and mutilation? Shifting the focus like that is a classic scapegoating tactic. I guess this shows how scared we often are of what we don’t understand. I’m glad there are people out there who aren’t scared and that they’ve commented today. Because I can’t help thinking there’s a bit more at stake than ‘arguing the toss’.

Here’s my story: when I was in my late teens, at university, I suddenly found myself accepted by the two coolest women on the course, Jill and Fiona. I was sort of stunned that we were hanging out together. They were brainy, lefty, hip, confident, great fun and all the things that I, awkward nerdy bookgirl, dreamed of being. I still remember one afternoon, chatting in Jill's room about sex and I said (and I'd never said it before) that I liked rape fantasy. And these two fabulous women looked at me, completely aghast, and there was the horriblest silence. I felt like the sickest creature that ever walked. This was 20 years ago and the info and understanding we have now wasn’t available – to them or to me. It was many years before I could make the admission again and start learning some sexual self-acceptance.

Personally, I'd be much happier if my ‘stuff’ wasn't out there on display. I'm mainly a shy, private person. But I do it to try and make other people accept it, hoping that those struggling with similar stuff will maybe feel okay about it and not be cowed by the louder, cruder voices who would wish us otherwise.

Plus, I like writing about hot, dirty sex.

And to talk about the writing: in Stephen’s ‘First Things First’ (in LAFS and My Girlfriend) there’s a line which comes after a pretty damn scary (yet strangely tender) BDSM scene. Stephen, new to it all, is crying and writes ‘I was comfortable. I don’t think I had ever been comfortable before.’

It’s incredibly moving.

I could look at Stephen’s sentences for a long time. They are full of space and yet they carry such weight.

Nikki, I hope you get chance to read My Girlf. I think you’d like it.

Now somebody (Alison!), please make that man his T-shirt. Hell, I think he’s earned it.

Alison Tyler said...

I'm working as fast as I can, KL.
It's not easy making t-shirts when you're hogtied.

Mathilde Madden said...

I'm glad your stuff is on display, KL.

I am staying out of the whole hogtied thing. I am scared I might get arrested if I don't get all the t shirt recipients psychically assessed first.

Are you of sound mind, Alison Tyler?

Alison Tyler said...

Am I of sound mind?

I'm the one who put up the photo of the butt plug with the curly pig tail. And I'm the one who put up the butt plug with the ring toss game, and the vibrating one, and the photo that blinded Sommer yesterday...

Damn. What was the question?

XXX,
Alison

Mathilde Madden said...

I don't think either you or KL are of sound mind. What with your love of serious spanky bodily harm and all

In fact I think you should be locked up in St Brutus' psychiatric hospital. You know with the restraints on the beds and the burly bastards in white coats and latex gloves...

Smut Girl said...

*the photo that blinded Sommer yesterday...*

Honestly, I'm still having some issues with my vision...

Alison Tyler said...

First you hogtie me, and then you start talking trash about my gloves.

I love my gloves!
I fucking love them....

Ally said...

LMAO

kristina lloyd said...

The St Brutus hospital? Where men in white coats strap me down and perform all sorts of degrading experiments on me?

No, no! Please don't send me there! I beg you, ple -

Oh, okay then. What's the address?

jothemama said...

Alison - 'for those who enjoy poking and prodding' - tittering out loud!

Janine Ashbless said...

Given that the original post contained the line "Her initials carved across my back," I don't think that Nikki was shifting the focus unreasonably - nor was she demonising anyone's sexuality. She was simply discussing issues raised by the quote.

If you want us just to say "Ooh, lovely," everytime someone posts then don't pick contentious issues.

I'm doing a very sensitive and troublesome subject later in the month and frankly I'm anticipating getting the shit kicked out of me. but that's better than nobody
daring to speak.

Mathilde Madden said...

nobody daring to speak.

Hmm, strangely, never my biggest concern.

I have to say thought that I think there is a huge difference between 'ooh lovely' and suggesting that we criminalise sex acts between consenting adults

Elizabeth said...

What a great interview. I love how it lives up to the "talking sexy and smart" tagline for the blog.

I haven't read anything by Stephen Elliott, but I'm off to Amazon now to fix up that oversight.

Raw honesty about sexual desires is beautiful. Combine that with intelligence and talent, I can't wait to read it.

Alison Tyler said...

Hey Janine,

It was this line (sorry Nikki) that got my blood up:

Is part of BDSM's appeal its forbidden nature?

I felt that was like saying, "Is part of homosexuality's appeal the ability to wear the cool clothes?"


Made it feel (to me) that being hardwired to like spanking, flogging, being tied down, what have you, is a personal choice. For me, it's not.

I had a discussion with my friend TJ once who said he'd known he was gay before he knew there was a word for it. Well, I've known what I liked since I was a kid. Just known. Known there was something different about the way I responded to images, to stories friends told. That shiver inside me whenever the right buttons were pushed.

I waited to feel different. To grow out of it. Never happened. The absolute misery I went through in my early twenties trying to conform to what people are "supposed" to like was enough to make me want to drive my car into an underpass. It was utter hell.

Nikki didn't say she was talking about cannibalism or what have you until way down in the discussion. So even if that's what she meant, my own knee-jerk reaction was that she was talking to me. To my desires. I can't be the only one who felt this way.

SE said in a previous interview that he felt he was hardwired into his desires. Same thing for me. Same fucking thing. Sometimes just knowing other people are out there, other people who are like you, can set your mind at ease.

Now, seriously, off to make some kick-ass teeshirts.

XXX,
Alison

P.S.And I know what topic you're posting on. Gird your loins, woman. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

Alison Tyler said...

Look!
Just look!

Mathilde Madden said...

*hides under desk*

Stephen Elliott said...

Sweet shirt! We have to do a photo shoot.

Nikki Magennis said...

Morning all,

I'm sorry if I upset anyone with my questions or comments on the post. That wasn't my intention. I certainly wasn't trying to be judgemental or demonise anybody, and I was quite taken aback that my words were taken that way.

I was genuinely curious about a subject and community that I know very little about. So again, apologies if I upset anyone.

kiki said...

janean mentioned this line:
"Her initials carved across my back,"

it doesn't take much to carve anything across my back or anyplace else - i have dermographic skin. that means that by just using a dull fingernail, i can have initials carved in my back - or little words.

just saying. i know i'm late in the game, but i just wanted to say that.

Anonymous said...

The words "transient and trifling" leave me a bit confused, especially as they seem to be interpreted by BDSM communities. In my particular case, from time to time I want to exchange a consentual black eye, and like any other technique, I've become quite adept at bruising without producing additional damage.

Still, this sort of play squicks out people who wouldn't bat an eye at branding, scarification, needle piercing, flogging to produce welts, and a whole host of other practices that can lead to life-threatening complications if handled poorly. Why is the thought of a black eye so affronting?

P.S. Kudos to Stephen Elliott for specifically including this particular subject in "My Girlfriend"

Alison Tyler said...

Why is the thought of a black eye so affronting?

Hey, anon, I think it's because people tie the image with abuse. My extremely vanilla, not-into-BDSM-of-any-kind ex-fiance once gave me a black eye in bed. That's what we decided when I woke up with a black-and-blue shiner. Slept through it. Totally uninentional. But he took me to the hospital—as the eye looked worse throughout the day.

In minutes, several doctors had started counseling me on how to break my addiction to the abusive relationship I was in. And while I was being counseled, others were accusing him flat-out of abuse. I was 18, and even though I protested that he hadn't hit me, that I might even have hit myself, it took hours to make the staff believe me.

So that's my guess, anyway. That the look of a black eye is tightly linked in our society with unwanted pain, totally different from the look of a hot, red, well-spanked ass.

Oh, and Kiki, if you don't mind terribly, I'm going to steal your phrase "demographic skin." :)

XXX,
Alison

P.S. Violet Blue had some amazing/disturbing "fight club" style pictures of herself on her site once. And I'm usually really good and finding stuff on the web. But I can't find the link right now.