The Appeal of Bondage

In purely psychological terms, Freud was a nut.  In 1908, he declared that, “a happy person never fantasizes, only a dissatisfied one.”

Fortunately, a great deal has changed since those uninformed days with such experts as psychologists Harold Leitenberg and Kris Henning doing extensive studies on peoples’ sexual fantasies.  Their conclusion: only about 5% of people don’t dream up sexy romps.  In fact, it’s now considered pathological not to have such fantasies.

Whew!  Good news for me because my erotica banks on readers’ need and desire for the aforementioned.  But it isn’t enough for an erotica writer to simply open the bedroom door wide and call a pussy a pussy.  There has to be a reason for the pussy to get into the act, like a plot to go with the sex.  Many times I decorate my plot around bondage.

Good choice because psychiatrist Ethel Person of Columbia University reports that 51 percent of women imagine being forced to have sex and another third get off on pretending to be a slave who must obey a man’s every wish.  Yep, I’m in good company, something I didn’t know back when the muse (or my carnal imagination) compelled me to write my first Ellora’s Cave capture story, Forced.  In it, a downsized lady cop gets pegged to go undercover to expose a slavery ring.  Unfortunately—or fortunately—the first step calls for her being taught what it’s like to be a sex slave. With every like-themed book, I kick up my own fantasies another notch and judging by reader reaction, I’m on the right track.

So why do scenes full of ropes and chains touch so many people’s hot buttons?  For the answer, I went back to the shrinks.  According to Leitenberg and Henning, “Women who find submission fantasies sexually arousing are very clear that they have no wise to be raped in reality.  In their fantasies, women control every aspect of what happens.”  According to the article, “Power, Desire, and Pleasure in Sexual Fantasies” by Eileen Zurbriggen in the Aug, 2004 Journal of Sex Research, women who fanaticize about submission have a more positive attitude about sex and are less sexually guilty and more open to a variety of sexual experiences.  Female submissive fantasies may be one aspect of an open, positive, guilt-free sexuality.

Why is that?  Blame or credit the brain.  The brain is as potent a sexual organ as the genitalia.  As a result, our imagination allows us to safely explore our sexuality without waiting for Mr. Right or Wrong.  No one is going to judge and criticize our thoughts.  We can let them run wild—or handcuff and hog-tie them if we so choose. 

I’ll choose the handcuffs, thank you very much.  And throw in a blindfold and dildo for my helpless, writhing, and over-the-top excited female captive while I’m at it.  And, most important, add one (or more) male hunk who can’t keep his hands off her helpless body because real women get off on being desired.  As Leitenberg and Henning put it, “Women tend to envision something being done to them and to concentrate more on their partner’s interest in her.”

In his Psychology Today article, “The Safest Sex—Sexual Fantasies”, Peter Doskoch maintains that men have Playboy to prime their pumps while women turn to the “cookie-cutter” Harlequin romances which always include an emotional, passionate romance for mental and otherwise stimulation.  Well, guess what.  Those vanilla romances aren’t enough as witness by Ellora’s Cave’s phenomenal success. 

Women readers want and deserve and are now getting more, a hell of a lot more.  Their pumps are primed because erotic bondage (and its relatives) include emotion and passion, in spades.

In other words, it’s a short step from book to bed.

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