Thursday, August 16, 2012

Being a Sub Doesn’t Have To Be a Pain In The Butt

Post by Jan Graham

I often have discussions with friends and other people I meet about BDSM. It just seems to be a topic that comes up around me, especially now with some many people knowing about Fifty Shades. There are two statements that reoccur in many of the conversations. ‘I could never be a sub because I’m not into pain.’ and ‘I could never let a man hit me.’  

 Admittedly a lot of erotic romance does highlight painful pleasure and activities such as spanking. I include those in my novels as well, but the fact remains there are a lot of lifestyle practices that don’t include pain or impact play. For the sake of this post I’m sticking to D/s relationships as SM definitely falls into the pain category. In simple terms, Dominance and submission is about a consensual power exchange. How the exchange manifests is up to the individuals involved. Just like some subs don’t like painful activities, not all Doms like inflicting pain. Punishment doesn’t have to be corporal is D/s relationships and neither do sexual activities.

Acts that some people consider a little kinky are in fact based in D/s practices. Being bound, whether it is with a scarf or fluffy handcuffs and tied to a bed or having your body tied with rope in a shibari technique is an act of bondage.  It’s also an act of submission, giving control of your body and what happens next to a dominant partner. And what happens next doesn’t have to include, as some of my friends refer to it, being hit.

Sensation play with the use of feather ticklers, a pinwheel run lightly over sensitive areas of the body, the use of hot and cold substances like wax or ice cubes, being blindfolded and fed by your Dom all require trust and are forms of submission. If anything, these activities are far from painful and can be quite erotic. A Dom and sub engaging in orgasm control (i.e. a sub being denied orgasm, told when to orgasm or being made to orgasm repeatedly) is a popular practice in a lot of D/s relationships and can be achieved without inflicting pain.

 When it comes to discipline most people’s minds immediately go to spanking or other acts of corporal punishment. I like to explain the use of non corporal discipline in a D/s relationship as being similar to how a parent might punish a child without smacking them. The possibilities are endless. A Dom may command his sub to sit in the corner or on a punishment stool. Deny them something they particularly enjoy or require them to do something they don’t enjoy.
BDSM doesn’t have to be a pain in the butt and that’s something I like about Dominance and submission, the flexibility of it. There is something for almost everyone. It’s a lifestyle that’s as individual as all of us, whether you’re into pain or not.    
For those of you who’d like a titillating example of this form of D/s relationship some are included in my novel, Playing Jax. The books Dom, Steve takes great delight in resisting spanking Rhia, his prospective sub. Instead he engages in erotic acts of dominance to introduce her into the BDSM lifestyle before moving onto the more traditional spanking/impact activities. I hope you enjoy the excerpt below.

Excerpt from Playing Jax by Jan Graham.

Steve opened the wooden box and pulled out a razor, filling her with a sense of trepidation. She’d expected a disposable razor like she’d bought to use on her legs and underarms. The old- fashioned cutthroat razor looked like new. The steel caught the light as he unfolded it from the handle to reveal the blade.

“I inherited it from my grandfather.” Rhia gulped nervously, her eyes fixed on the shiny blade. “I will never do anything to endanger you, Rhia. Do you believe me when I say that?” He stroked her curls and tenderly ran his fingers along either side of her pussy lips.

Rhia’s heart pounded, a fragment of fear edging at her mind. She started into his eyes and glanced toward the blade and back again. “I believe you and I trust you. I was just expecting something plastic.”

He chuckled as he bent forward. He kissed her curls lovingly and whispered see you again soon against her mound. She closed her eyes as the razor moved between her legs. He trimmed away the excess hair, the blade never coming near her skin. She opened her eyes when warm water trickled over her sex as he moistened the remaining hair. The water soothed her skin, even as the heat of arousal began to build inside her. He applied the soapy lather to her skin using an old-fashioned shaving brush. Rhia moaned as his fingers moved gently over the area. The impersonal brush discarded, he massaged along the crest of her sex, fingers sliding along either side of her lips.

“You are so beautiful, baby, and so responsive, even to the gentlest of my touches. My cock is pounding in my jeans as I do this for you. It’s so damn hard.”

She watched him wipe his fingers clean of soap and once again pick up the razor. The skin pulled taught beneath his fingers and a shiver thrilled her spine as he removed the first of the hair. He shaved her effortlessly, like he’d done it a million times before.

She began to ache for him, moisture building between her lips. Her nipples peaked beneath her bra, and her breath became shallow as unfamiliar sensations flowed over her. She responded to everything he was doing, the water warming her skin, the creaminess of the soap against her flesh, the tickle of the brush, and then the coolness of the blade as it stroked over her.

“Oh my god, this is so…so…I don’t know what it is. It’s—”

“Erotic,” the word came softly from his lips.

“Erotic,” Rhia breathed the word and the blade of the razor once again slid over her taught skin. She heard the light scraping sound and wanted to sigh. “I don’t understand what’s happening. All you’re doing is shaving me.”

“I’m doing more than that, sweetness.” He kissed her inner thigh. She couldn’t hold back the groan that indicated her overwhelming arousal. “I am tending to your needs. I’m touching your sex. When you look down at me you see me watching the most intimate part of you. Your body’s reacting to the combined memory of what we’ve shared together, my possession of this part of you. The way I’ve stroked you with my fingers, my tongue, and my cock and the pleasure you experience from those acts.”

Rhia felt like she might come just hearing his words. His deep, husky voice sounded so sensual and when he gazed up from between her thighs, his eyes, filled with heated lust, sparkled the deepest shade of blue sapphire. Her pussy clenched at the sight of him. Warm water on the soft washcloth eased away the residual lather that tainted her skin. He cupped her now-naked mound, stroked across her, his long fingers easing between her lips.  

Also available from Amazon and B&N.


  1. Great post... I agree that esp. now so many people think it's all about "pain", but it can be so much more!

  2. My my...Yes, I tend to fall back on impact play, especially in public clubs because it's easier to see results and something you're more likely to do in public than something like what you described above. You're right, though, there are tons of other activities a Dom and sub can partake in that have nothing to do with impact play.

    Great post and hot excerpt!

  3. A problem I’ve encountered with people I know is that they think SM is the only kind of kink. I get blank looks when I use the term BDSM, but mention SM, and everyone’s up in arms about women being beaten by their husbands.

    As the full acronym has been in use for a couple of decades now, I have to wonder why people are aware of one term and not the other (what, they experimented in the youth and then turned into nuns, so aren’t current with their terminology?!). I’m too young to have known it by anything other than the full name. :)

    There’re some people close to me – who have no idea about this part of my life – who I don’t even try to correct now. If a simple casual conversation about kink can make them steaming mad (literally), I don’t want them judging me if I explain why – yes – I actually do understand it better than they do!

    1. Great point, Basia. That was one of the reason I wrote the post, SM does seem to be the part of the lifestyle a lot of people describe when they discuss the topic.

      Fortunately for me, I have friends that are fairly non judgemental, they are more interested than steaming mad :)

  4. I stopped trying to explain any of this to the "vanilla" crowd a long time ago - a waste of time and energy better devoted to much more interesting things. (wink) Loved the Wylde Shore series. Sir liked Playing Jax enough that I have been the very happy beneficiary of some of his "experiments".

    1. I understand the not explaining scenario, there are some people who just don't want to know.

      I'm glad you and your Sir liked Playing Jax. It's always great to get feedback.

  5. Very, very sexy excerpt. Thanks for sharing. It's funny, when I think back to some of the sexiest BDSM scenes I've read, they haven't involved spankings. There's an awesome fire play scene in one of Cherise Sinclair's Shadowlands series. There are a few wax play scenes in several books... This is another great example. Adding this to my to be read list.

  6. I agree bdsm is about so much more than pain, be it sensual pain or otherwise. Although the both aspects of pain are a turn on for me. But the closeness, the bonding, the level of trust, and the art of submitting itself whether it is sexual or not is a beautiful thing. The way a Dom can make you melt with a simple touch or a single look is most heady indeed. Be it bedroom kink or full on submission D/s encompasses all. It is what you make of it.

  7. And this is a beautiful, accomplished piece of writing, Jan.
    Proud to know you're an Aussie writer. Way to go, lady!

  8. I've had the opposite problem from some other subs and Doms that I've met...they claim I'm a "poser" because I'm not interested in the pain aspect of BDSM. I love rope play and sensation play. I'm more interested in the eroticism and brain involvement.
    Thanks for the blog :)

    1. Unfortunately even some people in the lifestyle have fixed opinions. Keep doing what you enjoy Becki, as I said in the blog BDSM is an individual experience.


    Your explanation really helped me with understanding BDSM and about myself.

    I am not into pain and don't like it and thought it is an integral part of BDSM because as you said it is often featured in books.

    Thank you for explaining that you can be a submissive and want a D/s relationship without pain and corporal punishment.

    The bondage, sensation play and orgasm control are aspects that intrigue me and now that I know that you don't have to like or have pain/impact play in order to enjoy a D/s relationship it opens the door for me in a certain ways.

    After your explanation and excerpt I am DEFINITELY buying your book!

  10. "Taught" is the past tense of the verb, "to teach." I believe the word you wanted was "taut" - which means "Stretched or pulled tight; not slack" Hate to nitpick on you, but it jarred me out of the narrative.

    1. Wow, excellent pick up, thanks. After you read a book dozens of times the errors sometimes still evade you. I'm surprised my editor didn't pick it up either.

  11. Becki, that's dreadful. Sounds like you need to find some new people to talk to and play with. It's a strange thing with BDSM, that some feel the need to see themselves as better than others because of liking a different kink. Those into S/m may see the light sadomasochist as lesser , and those who play in public may see those who only play in private as less into kink. It's ridiculous, of course. This isn't some sort of contest.

  12. Mmmmmm! Definitely gonna purchase this book! i'm a sub who's not into the pain side of BDSM...definitely more into the bondage and sensation play.

  13. Great choice of post topic. I hear this all the time from the vanilla people who have read Fifty Shades and now think they know everything about the lifestyle. I explain that "kinky" includes every other flavor of ice cream out there and can't be defined by a single-flavor. Bookmarked this post to share. Thanks.