BDSM Erotica: "All He Desires"

It can be difficult for someone in the BDSM lifestyle to find erotica worth reading, as most of it is focused on the sex aspect of a D/s or M/s relationship.  Or it tends to be rather "rapey", with a woman suddenly realizing she wants to submit sometime after a man has already pushed past some pretty hard boundaries.  The lack of realistic BDSM fiction is unfortunate and leaves me mostly disinterested in the erotica market.

This is why I love the All He Desires series by Erin Lark.

As someone living this lifestyle, I cringed at the 50 Shades phenomenon.  On FetLife, many of us just shook our heads and wondered how long it would take that series to dredge up a whole bunch of kinky wannabes.  The unfortunate fallout of the series is when people think you can just wake up one day and decide you are a Dom or a Master... or a submissive or a slave.  And then someone gets hurt.

Generally a person does know if they have these tendencies, but like any facet of one's personality, it takes time to understand and accept it.  And a D/s (Dom/sub) or M/s (Master/slave) relationship is not about sexy fun and games.

Being a kinkster or a fetishist is about the fun, sexy stuff.

But being one half (or third or even fourth) of a D/s or M/s relationship is more complicated than that.  There are three vital components to these types of relationships: trust, respect and communication.

Sounds like a "normal" marriage or relationship, doesn't it?

That's because, for all intents and purposes, a D/s or M/s relationship is normal.  What sets us apart from the norm is the control dynamic between the people involved.  While many of us freely explore kinky sexuality, the sexual aspect is merely a part of the relationship - just like sex is a part of a marriage.  Yet it does not define the marriage.

The collar I - or others - wear, for example, is like an extension of my wedding ring.  It reminds me that there is an emphasis on "obedience" in my relationship.

And this is why I am such a fan of Lark's All He Desires series.  The Invitation (#1) and The Proposal (#2) bring readers into a realistic BDSM world.

Yes, there is kneeling, flogging, and kinky rope play... but what the main characters really focus on is building trust.  When we talk about this lifestyle in our community, we use the words "safe, sane and consensual" - everything 50 Shades is not... and All He Desires wants to promote.

When you meet Kira and Jake, you meet two very realistic characters.  Jake is a true Dom in every sense of the word: his goal is not just to get laid.  It's to respect, cherish, protect, and care for Kira.

As I had the very good fortune to preview the final two books of the series (this is a four-book series), I can tell you Kira grows through her submission and develops a strong sense of self-confidence.  This is as it should be.  Submission should fulfill a person, not just in their desire to serve (if they are that kind of sub - there are layers and layers of submission, and not just one 'type' of sub; also, subs and slaves are slightly different, but this is not the place for me to explore those differences.  I journal in greater depth about these topics on FetLife).  Submission should also fulfill a very personal need. 

Once a person is strong enough to acknowledge they need to have a submissive role in a relationship, their Dom is responsible for helping them meet that need.  In D/s, the sub actually has more control than they might realize.  This is another aspect Lark explores - the fact that Kira is the one who determines just how far Jake may go with her.  A Dom is not a taker, but a giver, and Jake exemplifies this quality.

M/s or Master/slave, as with my marriage, is slightly different, as a slave has no say, and often no safe words; thus, the respect, trust and communication are even more vital here.  Once again, protection of the slave and helping him or her grow in confidence is also paramount.

It is incredibly refreshing to see BDSM erotica that is both sexy (reading the series gave me some hot dreams - thank you for that, Lark!), and true to life.  Kira is determined to make her own way in life, and does not want to rely on anyone.  When Jake comes along and makes a startling offer, she finds he is not expecting some plaything to run around naked 24/7.  He wants a partner and a lover, someone who is intelligent and ambitious, as well as confident in her sexuality and her submission.

For Kira, this is a new and enticing world.  She and Jake take it one step at a time together, as anyone in a new relationship should.  Those steps are simply different than dinner and movie dates.  Jake recognizes Kira's potential as a sub and gently coaxes it out of her, giving her time to make sure it feels right.  He is firm, but not demanding.

Whether you enjoy erotica and romance as a genre, or are interested in a genuine BDSM series - and perhaps a better understanding of the lifestyle - I highly recommend this series.  While the sexual play explores just a few of the fetishes out there, it does it in a safe, sane and consensual way: with a sense of trust and respect, as well as ongoing communication, between the characters.

This is a beautiful series with a sweet ending that left me in tears.


Copyright (c) 2012 Wendy L. Callahan