Smut Vault Combo: B.J. Black and the world of BDSM

Fuck 50 Shades of Grey.

It feels good to finally say that. I’ve been gritting my teeth and just “dealing” with the mainstream consequences of erotic fiction that the book series and films have produced. While the novel’s influence on erotica awareness and popularity is one thing, its influence on the realm of BDSM is a bigger bone of contention to my mind. BDSM is an umbrella term for many aspects of sexual relationships, and I won’t claim to be an expert on the subject. However, public perspective for better or worse, tends to revolve around the “dominant/submissive” characteristics of the lifestyle, and with that, comes the erotica. For this week’s Smut Vault installment, author B.J. Black supplied us with a pair of stories, both filed under the sub genre of BDSM. Thanks to Mr. Black’s generosity, I was able to bring in the legendary Nelson Rockingham for a “his’n’his” BDSM combo special. Let’s break out the leather gimpsuit, figure out our safewords and go on an adventure…

Matt’s Story, a male/female BDSM selection

From Darkness, Bliss-Part 1

Hi again, still Matt here. After a coin-flip, this was the story that was assigned to me, From Darkness, Bliss-Part 1: Submitting to Domination. For this selection we meet Jack Jenkins, reading from the perspective of his personal journal over the course of a few days. After making love to his wife, Jack is doing some contemplation. Jack’s marriage to Stacey is a happy one, however something seems a bit off…particularly in the bedroom. After consulting with a friend, Jack is given the contact information of a mysterious service provider, Toni. Showing a surprising amount of boldness, Jack reaches out to Toni, sets up a meeting, and begins to learn the role of being a dominant…by first being a submissive.

Overall, the concept for this story is interesting. There’s a level of pleasurable uncomfortability from a vanilla married guy getting all mixed up inside a crazy BDSM initiation that keeps the pages turning. What’s not quite so pleasing however, is the execution. I’m not sure if this is the author’s first story, but there’s a few of what we call “rookie mistakes” that need addressing. First, from a writing perspective, most of the dialogue fell a bit on the robotic side. The pacing and ideas are clearly communicated, however the characters don’t speak to each other in a way that feels natural. This is one of the more difficult aspects of writing, and in this context, it’s not a dealbreaker. Moreover, this style actually made for pretty entertaining out loud reading, as the characters became even bigger caricatures of themselves with my amusing voices.

Another rookie mistake that concerned me was the story’s concept of BDSM itself. Jack is from the school that believes everything in the bedroom should be 50-50 equal, just like personal conduct out in the real world. Through Toni’s “teaching” however, Jack learns how he should be treating his submissive wife. Jack’s syllabus is filled with crop whipping and cunnilingus from the dominatrix he just met (and which he paid a healthy sum of money for), and Jack learns that Stacey’s pleasure will come through her service and submission to her husband. Unfortunately, this diagnosis comes not only without Stacey’s consultation…but without her knowledge that Jack is even doing this during work hours. Beyond the fact that safewords, limits, or anonymity aren’t discussed, Stacy’s feelings on the matter are never really taken into account. In fact, she barely comes up inside Jack’s journal at all! Given the information I’m presented with as a reader, I’m not convinced that Jack knows what he’s gotten himself into, or if he’s even much of a dominant person to begin with.

Verdict: From Darkness, Bliss is a controversial BDSM introductory short that raises questions about the culture and the people that look to participate. I don’t like Toni, and I frankly hate Jack as a person. This isn’t to say that author’s doing an overall poor job, but in my opinion his works struggle to fully characterize women. This story is actually giving two antagonists and creating a sympathetic hero that was barely even mentioned in the short at all, which takes talent. As B.J. Black grows as a writer, it’s going to be an interesting ride to see which side of the envelope he pushes going forward.

***

Ok, Nelson’s turn. This is my first foray into the “Male/Male” style of erotica, but I’m hoping I give this my best shot…

Nelson’s Story: M/M BDSM

Workout Buddies: Part 1 – The Bet begins when two friends, Larry and Dave, make a gentleman’s wager on who (whom? sorry, I’m not a writer or anything) could gain the most muscle on their 40-year-old frames in just one month’s time. Initially, the bet was set on an anti-climactic “round of drinks” at a local bar, but Dave could not accept defeat. Larry, trying to spare his friend’s feelings a little, chooses to extend the bet an additional month with the new prize being the more open-ended, “You’ll have to do something for me, TBD, sometime in the future.” Hello! Blank check! Dave agrees to the new terms, and much like Germany in the early 20th century, follows up one stubborn defeat with a second.

It’s at this point where our story takes a dramatic turn from humdrum to “hot damn!” Dave comes over to Larry’s house one Saturday to pay his debts. Through some subtle manipulation, and with the help of a STRONG Irish coffee, Larry makes it known exactly how Dave is to pay off their wager: be Larry’s submissive sex slave. This might seem out of left field, but it is a role Dave apparently played back in his college days with an old roommate. Larry was tipped off that this might be something Dave would be interested in after he caught Dave staring at his dick hungrily in the showers at the gym. With very limited reservations, Dave agrees, and the two consummate their new relationship. And then again, and again, etc.

Here’s a curveball for you though (I know, that’s two baseball metaphors now, I get it, no one likes baseball anymore, just let me have this): Dave has a wife. Helen, an absolute dime in her own right, and Dave are apparently a happily-married couple with multiple children between them prior to the events of this story. On multiple occasions, Larry seems to show an absolute disregard for Helen and Dave’s relationship. Hell, at the beginning of their fooling around, Larry claims that what he and Dave are about to do doesn’t constitute infidelity because Larry isn’t a woman. Well I think the title characters of Grace and Frankie would disagree, sir. Later in the story, Larry begrudgingly agrees to limit his commands as Dominant in a way to not adversely affect Helen and Dave’s children. Such little consideration for Helen’s opinion on their new hyper-sexual relationship, or for Dave’s desired discretion all seems to paint Larry as a no-good-very-bad dude. Part One ends with some heavy foreshadowing that Larry wishes to get Helen involved in their shenanigans. Is this for purehearted interest in sexual gratification? Or is Larry going to try to drive a wedge between Dave and Helen? We’ll have to wait and see in Part 2 and beyond how this emerging sex triangle develops.

Overall, this short story is pretty well done. This type of erotica is far from my own personal interest, but I think any fan of Dom/sub, Bi-Male fantasies would feel right at home here and thoroughly enjoy themselves. There were a few times where dialogue felt inorganic, and perhaps some of the exposition was clunky. A variation in word choice and sentence structure from line to line in a few spots could probably help with these minor hiccups. That being said, the story moved quickly through these moments, and so they were difficult to get stuck on before you were back knee-deep in sex. And yes, there was almost an EGREGIOUS amount of sex in Part One alone in this story! I’m not sure how men in erotica novels can sustain a half-dozen successive hard-ons while cumming literal buckets each time, but I can honestly say I’m glad I cannot do that. Seems more like a curse than a gift to me. So if all of this sparks your interest, I’d recommend that you go out and grab a copy of Workout Buddies to read all about Larry and Dave’s devious acts. You might also get to find out just what part the luscious Helen has to play!

A special thank you to B.J. Black for supplying two review copies of his work and giving us a chance for a combo review! Follow him on Twitter and consider purchasing his works here.

Follow Matt and Nelson on Twitter, and shoot us an email with book review recommendations!

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