One of the reasons I find BDSM romance more interesting than “vanilla” romance is that both parties have a responsibility above and beyond what usual couples deal with. A BDSM couple may move into risky or even dangerous territory, depending on how they play. There might be sadism, humiliation, emotional manipulation...of course, this is all desired by both partners, in my books anyway. But my characters never enter those kinds of emotional minefields without talking first.
[Cue trumpets] Negotiation! Okay, I will be perfectly honest here. I find this dance of negotiation very SEXY. In each of my books there is always that scene where the Dom and sub sit down across a table, or in a sitting room, or even a lawyer’s meeting, and spell out the terms of how they will relate one another in their power exchange dynamic.
Now, for someone not into BDSM, those kind of formalized negotiations probably sound terribly icky and non-romantic, but for someone who is into BDSM, it can be very sexy to listen in on partners as they negotiate their roles. There is always that subtle angling for power...What will he want to do to me? How much will she allow me to do?
Of course, there are times when, even though partners have negotiated previously, things go off the rail. Then they must go back and ask each other, What went wrong? What should we have done differently? What should we change going forward?
Of course not all negotiations go smoothly, and not all people are adept at them. In my books, the couples are never perfect, just as real people are never perfect. Things always go wrong at one point, but I think it’s important to have that, so I can show the characters pulling themselves together and rising above adversity.
When you think about it, maybe vanilla relationships would benefit from this kind of specific and ongoing negotiation too. It seems like the more a couple communicates, the better things go. Something to think about...