Roni Lauren did a blog on Riverina Romantics entitled:
"BDSM 101-What it is and Why It's So Popular in Books"
Below is an excerpt of what she posted:
...here are some basics:
BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism (some of the letters do double duty in the acronym).
Bondage – Physically restraining a partner in some way (tying someone down, handcuffs, etc.)
Discipline – Giving physical or psychological punishment to control behavior.
Sadomasochism -- Sexual sadism is deriving pleasure from inflicting physical or psychological pain on someone else. But it’s not the same as pure sadism. A sexual sadist (especially the ones we write about in romance novels) only enjoy inflicting the pain because the partner is a masochist and derives pleasure from receiving it. It’s an exchange of mutually pleasurable activities. (As opposed to a sadist who would get pleasure from torturing an unwilling victim. That’s a different thing altogether.)
Dominance/Submission (or D/s): This is the power exchange between partners, whereby one partner (the submissive) gives over all the control to the other (the dominant). This may be only in their sexual relationship or it may be in all aspects of the relationship. Also, don’t assume that the submissive partner is always the woman. Though that’s the more popular theme in romance, men can be submissive too. (Read Joey W. Hill’s Nature of Desire series if you’re interested in reading some great female dominant BDSM romances.)
SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) or RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) – These are the cornerstone philosophies in BDSM play. All activities must be consensual and safe (or risk-aware if both parties are engaging in the edgier stuff).
Safewords – A word is given to the submissive to signal “stop everything right now”. The words “no” or “stop” aren’t typically used as safewords because sometimes in BDSM play, someone may say “no” as part of the scene. So a word that easily sticks out like “Waffles” or something is chosen. When the sub says that word, everything stops immediately, no questions asked.
Subspace – This is the trancelike or euphoric state for submissives. I won’t attempt my own explanation of the science since Wikipedia does a better job:
“the intense experiences of both pain and pleasure trigger a sympathetic nervous system response, which causes a release of epinephrine…as well as a dump of endorphins... These natural chemicals…produce the same effect as a morphine-like drug, increasing the pain tolerance of the submissive as the scene becomes more intense. Since the increase of hormones and chemicals produces a sort of trance-like state, the submissive starts to feel out-of-body, detached from reality, and as the high comes down, and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, a deep exhaustion, as well as incoherence.”
I thought she gave a very good primer on the sub-genre and wanted to add my own thoughts as to why these novels intrigue me.
Like Roni, I relish the occasional escape from the "I-am-woman-hear-me-roar" world we currently find ourselves in, and I love imagining the act of entrusting myself into the controlling hands of a man I love and utterly trust. A man who is devoted to keeping me safe, even when I think I am already safe. A man who desires nothing more than to ensure my happiness, well-being and sexual fulfillment. A man who seeks to make me a better person.
Given those qualifications, what more could any girl want?
Um, as to the whips, chains, collars, cuffs, plugs, etc. - I'm not into those quite so much. But hey, each to their own, right?