Being a writer of romance, I am also a reader of romance. Recently, I read a story that had more than a hint of BDSM. I enjoyed the story overall, but some parts–you can probably guess which–made me shake my head in bewilderment.

I don’t understand the whole BDSM concept. Whenever something like this lands in my hands, I have to ask, “Does the heroine have no self-respect?”

Don’t get me wrong: I have no objection to consenting adults borrowing a little kink to spice up bedroom activities. However, the whole dominant/submissive thing spurs a consistent reaction from me as though I were the heroine (who’s always the submissive in these books) receiving an order from the hero (always the dominant): “Over your dead body.”

No, not over my dead body. His. Because I’d probably commit some heinous violence.

Discipline? Punishment? Flogging? What the hell?

There’s a significant difference between confident and controlling, dominant and domineering. The expectation and treatment of a woman as little more than an obedient doll used for sex and hijinks … ew … no. Just no.

“Present yourself.” Really? What convinces a woman to debase herself like that? Where did her self-respect disappear to?

The submissive holds the power. Come again? (No pun intended.) A human robot who’s become programmed to do whatever her master commands or submit willingly to punishment holds the power? The power to do what? Submit some more? Give me a break.

A good “dom” cares for his submissive’s needs. Give me a break. From what I’ve read, a good dom gets his jollies and then offers the poor woman a consolation prize of a brief cuddle. If he respected his submissive–or even granted her the basic courtesy of humanity–he wouldn’t treat her like a blow-up sex doll.

There’s a good reason why I avoid books like that. A good relationship requires sacrifice from both parties. It does not require that one party turn into a cipher or subsume her individuality and mind entirely to the other party.

BDSM isn’t a relationship; it’s abuse. And it’s time romance authors stop romanticizing it.

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