Message From The Author

Author's Message


By Ann Jacobs

"You want me to write what?" I shrieked
at the screen as I stared at my editor's "suggestive" e-mail. Ellora's
Cave was asking me to pen a bondage novella for ENCHAINED, their upcoming anthology (out this month).

I write romantica—hot, graphic sex between couples with a strong emotional connection. I don't write stories about bondage. The idea of getting tied up and whipped doesn't do a thing for me. As
a matter of fact, if my hubby ever tried something like that, he'd find himself
in jail.

But did I really want to pass up the opportunity to share a byline with the
legendary Jaid Black and Joey? Hill, whose bondage-themed contemporaries
have won all sorts of acclaim. I wouldn't have to experience bondage to write about it, I reasoned with myself. After all, people who write murder mysteries don't go out killing folks for research.

I did, however, have to do some research—I imagined skimming triple-X-rated websites where whip-wielding masters pass along tips on how best to torture and torment one's cringing subs.

Fortunately, I was wrong.

It surprised and intrigued me to learn that bondage
isn't all ropes and chains and restraints but more about control: maintaining it and relinquishing it on the pathway to sexual fulfillment.

Many readers mistakenly associate bondage erotica with the political subjugation of women, even though it was long ago tacitly accepted by romance fans that there is absolutely nothing politically correct about romance novels.

Look at the popular presence of the alpha male in many successful romance bestsellers. We all know him. The powerful, take-charge guy who turns our independent, feisty heroine's knees weak every time he scoops her up to carry her off to bed or out of danger. He is a dominant male, so blatantly sexist that we'd take his head off in real life if we met him (no matter how good-looking he is), yet he's the hero we love when he shows up between the pages of a romance novel. That visual image of being swept away and taken over by a man who can handle anything you throw at him is a major part of the appeal of romance reading—as well as bondage romantica.

If you explore the bondage websites that cater to married and seriously committed couples, you will find that for every 50 women, there is one who prefers to be sexu-ally dominant. The majority of women on these sites prefer to be subs in the bedroom. Outside the bedroom, they are likely to be lawyers, doctors and engineers. They have high-powered careers and demanding family lives. They must have all the answers and make the right decisions. They are women who crave some small part in their schedule where they can relinquish control. We can't do that in most aspects
of our lives—finance, childcare, career, et cetera. However, with someone we love and trust, we can relinquish sexual control,
and it can even tighten the ties (no pun intended) in and out of the bedroom.

Carrying this theme over to bondage romantica, these stories explore the personal fantasies and desires of sexually healthy women. The dominant male archetype is explored in
delicious, enthusiastic detail. He brings our heroine to a powerful level of fulfillment by skillfully working all her senses on both the psychological and physical planes. He renders her helpless to her own desires and his hunger to have her in that state. Yet there is a deep, emotional give-and-take in such sexual play that can reveal the foundation of a committed relationship early in a story.

After investigating this topic, I realize there's a bit of the closet-sub—and probably a touch of the closet-
master, too—in almost all of us. What woman wouldn't occasionally relish the thought of abdicating responsibility for her own sexual satisfaction and turning that duty over to a dominant lover, trusting that he'll do whatever it takes to satisfy her? And who wouldn't turn around and lend her strength and power to a man at the times when he needs it most?

"Mastered" is my first bondage story, but it most certainly will not be my last.

For more on Ann Josephson's writings and "research investigations," visit her website:

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