Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wednesday Writing - Fictional BDSM versus Real Life BDSM: the Dom/sub 'look'

This week’s post on fictional BDSM versus the real thing is on the Dom – and sub - ‘look’:

In fiction I generally find that the Doms wear leather, usually black, sometimes a suit or at the very least dark jeans, maybe teamed with a black t-shirt. Often with very short hair. Basically this is ‘power’ dressing. They need to show they are dominant, in charge, the person in control. And this works well.

I was quite surprised therefore to learn from my American Dom that, in real life, while many Doms do wear clothes of this sort, many also have the markings of a sexual Dom, eg, lot of tattoos, pierced genitals, facial hair, etc. I guess these are other ways of showing dominance but I personally have this image as the sub being the person with the piercings and tattoos. (I’m not getting into the Domme look as this is not my area of interest but suffice to say black, red, basques, very high boots with stiletto heels come to mind). Personally if I read about a hero/Dom with facial hair it would be a complete turn off as facial hair does nothing for me (similarly with piercings). I am fine with tattoos, but not too much.

So what does the sub look like in erotic romances? Well, taking the female sub perspective, they are certainly expected to wear short skirts – sometimes denim, sometimes leather, tight clothes, see-through or revealing clothes, basques, skimpy tops, virginal white or maybe red, high heels (or barefoot) or even be naked. I don’t think I’ve read one book yet where she arrives in a floor length skirt with flat pumps and a blouse done up to the neck and hair back in a tight bun! Although there is scope there for the ‘buttoned up girl to turn into a sub’!!

In reality more confidant subs will go panty less, crotchless, assless, tits exposed, etc. This is taken as a sign that they are "open for business". The idea of the sub being ‘partially clothed’, in particular exposing sexual areas, is somehow more blatant or ‘sluttish’ than the thought of someone being naked in my mind.

But what about above the neck? I asked if people wore masks to hide their identity in case it got out that they were involved in the BDSM lifestyle as it could affect career or family relationships. And the answer was that it is indeed very common for the Sub or Dom to wear a mask.  There are a lot of underground individuals who take on a masked persona – but it is more or less for the people that they are unfamiliar with or in public. If ‘playing’ at a private party where everyone knows each other, then that is a different matter.

Of course, the most common element identifying a sub from a Dom is a collar which implies that the Dom and sub have a strong commitment to each other (although there are ‘training’ collars and the sub could then go onto another Dom when trained). 

The leather dog collar style is the one you most often see in shops/websites selling BDSM gear in the UK, but my American Dom says that is more of a private thing.  A lot Subs prefer the more elegant gold, platinum or jewelled collars.  These collars tend to be worn 24/7 as a mark of ownership.  The public usually just assume it is a fashion accessory and do not think a lot about it.  Or some people will have a ‘day’ collar that is less obvious and can be worn at work/in public/around family and friends without anyone thinking anything of it before wearing the fancier one elsewhere.

There are collaring ceremonies that people look at as the ultimate BDSM commitment and is often the finale in a story – usually because they have fallen in love and it is a metaphor for ‘the wedding ring’! In reality, it’s because they wish to commit to the other whether in love or not.


This is the last post on this topic. I have enjoyed writing them and many, many thanks to my American Dom for his patience in answering my multitude of questions.

I may do more posts in the future as topics occur to me. If there is anything you would like me to comment on, do leave a message.

Jen

10 comments:

  1. A very interesting article.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all.

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  2. You know I might just have to write a buttoned up sub. Sounds like an interesting challenge, lol.

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  3. What a great set of articles this is. I happened on them by chance when the last one appeared on my Facebook page and after reading it, I looked up the other five. You covered many things that had been questions in my mind recently, so I was quite amazed to suddenly have them answered or at least discussed.
    Many thanks for as very informative series, it has certainly helped me a lot.

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  4. Jennifer, these have been a great series of posts, and thanks for sharing them with us. It's very interesting the difference between real life and fantasy, and as authors we always script our plots by what we want to read ourselves, or indeed, what the publisher is willing to print!

    Jan x

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  5. I have really enjoyed reading what the American Dom has to say. Thank you for opening my eyes to the difference!!

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    1. Thanks, babe. Glad you liked them. :)

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