Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dominance and submission

Many of us write about shapeshifters that become animals with clear cut hierarchical dominance structures...wolves, cats, and even horses.

Usually though it's the male who is the dominant. He leads the pack or the herd. With my wolf shifters, I followed this "natural" dominance structure...mostly. In my world, though, females can be pack leaders. They can be alphas over males, but it's a tricky line to walk without emasculating the male character or making him appear weak.

This fine line can be handled well though. I haven't really read a lot of shapeshifter characters where the female is the dominant of the pair but I've read some awesome BDSM stories where the female dominant is strong (without being a bitch) and the male retains his strength. My favorite author for this is Joey Hill. I read Natural Law and was bowled over by her characters and how even though the male was the submissive, he wasn't weak or wimpy in any way.

Another author I've read recently who handles this well is Michelle Polaris. I read her m/m/f menage story Bound Odyssey and it blew me away. Mira is a strong dominant woman with believable flaws. The men, Roman and Jace were all strong and interesting. I loved all three characters and the complex relationship between them.

Do you enjoy stories that feature female dominants or do you prefer your males alpha and in charge? Do have have any favorite BDSM stories? Please share them with us!


Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Francesca, very intriguing. I like a dominance balance and battle between my heroines and heroes.

BDSM as a genre unto itself, doesn't really interest me all that much. Now if there are elements in the story itself of submission and dominance, and its a natural part of the story, that's different. Then, I'm real interested!!!

Ari Thatcher said...

I love Cherise Sinclair's Shadowlands series. I'm trying to remember if I've read any Femdom stories that I loved, or any at all, period. I apparently prefer alpha males. Too often when I set up a story premise I have to go back and make changes so she's a kick-ass heroine!

Francesca Hawley said...

Savanna - thanks for commenting. It's good to have a balance - and in a BDSM story I think that's important too. I don't like a submissive character that's a doormat (male or female).

Ari - thanks for the recommend. I'll have to check it out. I love alpha males, but a submissive guy has some appeal too. Especially in a well written story!

Michelle Polaris said...

Hey Francesca,
I'm so glad you liked Bound Odyssey. And although I particularly enjoy BDSM stories with women in charge, I think the most important issue in any story that addresses Dominance and submission is how the characters touch us and the way they show vulnerability in strength and strength in their vulnerability. That's why Joey Hill, who you mentioned as writing her kick-ass Natural Law story, can write both female Dominants and male Dominants so well.

Pat C. said...

I've done the alpha she-wolf character; she was the matriarch and ruled her pack with an iron paw. Her alpha son had to make her submit and take over the pack in order to marry the woman he wanted. Their whole relationship was a Dr. Phil show waiting to happen.

I know there are worlds out there where women rule and the men are big, tough warrior males who wouldn't have it any other way. For you Trekkies in the audience, I believe the planet Vulcan was a matriarchy. I wouldn't call Spock a wussie. The men who loved Buffy and Xena weren't nancy boys either. Half the fun of a romance is the push/pull dance of who's in charge before the couple figures out it isn't 70/30 but 50/50 that works best.

Francesca Hawley said...

Michelle - I really loved Bound Odyssey. You are so right though - the important thing (regardless of who is dominant) is that the characters touch us. And yes, Joey Hill rocks with her characterization.

Pat - I love that - a Dr. Phil show waiting to happen...LOL And I totally agree that the push/pull within any relationship that is the glue that holds the story together.

Cathleen Ross said...

Interesting subject, Francesca. Thanks for raising it. I find the alpha male very appealing but I also had a lot of fun writing a dominant alpha bitch. My heroine in Psychic Sex was tough but I caught flack on the lists because the American women didn't like her. Funny thing is I wrote one for Man Hunt which largely had an English audience and women really liked her. Does this say something about the country you write for?

Minx Malone said...

I totally agree with the push/pull aspect. Not sure what that says about but I love to see the two main characters banter and push against each other.

I guess I like conflict as foreplay!


Francesca Hawley said...

Cathleen - I think the country you're writing for has a huge impact on how the readers perceive the characters. Americans (in general) tend to be skittish when it comes to sex, nudity and strong women. I've not had a ton of experience with other cultures and their view though. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

Minx - Conflict as foreplay. I like that...a lot. wink...

ladybirdrobi said...

I'm not an author only a reader who has just recently started to read these types of books. However while reading excerpts at CTR's Spring Shower promo with Samhain publishing I discovered that submission isn't easy for me and I can only deal with one dominant male. While reading Training The Receptionist by Juniper Bell excerpt I found myself very uncomfortable, I think that it makes me somewhat of a prude and saying that I must also say that sometimes even sex scenes between M/F or M/F/M make me uncomfortable. I can't deal with graphic descriptions of M/M or F/F love scenes. I respect that there are different types of people out there and that we all deserve to be loved and to love another regardless of sex. I would read M/m or F/F if it just lightly touched on love scenes but I don't know who writes those types.


Anonymous said...

Just thought i would change my old methods of not commenting and say hello. Been around for awhile and have loved your posts