BDSM Book Sales

Soft-cover non-fiction books on bdsm are now everywhere. I’ve seen shelves dedicated to them in bookstores and even grocery stores. While I love that people are more publicly expressing their interest in bdsm… I have yet to see a book on these shelves written from the dominant’s perspective.

I had to ask myself why this is. Why are all of the novels I’ve seen from the submissive’s perspective? Please note, my question is more about publishing sell points than anything. Yes I know there are books and short stories from a dominant’s perspective. But I’m not seeing them in print in stores. 

I’m going to try to not suck at explaining why I think the dominant perspective is not taking off as phenomenally as the submissive’s. I might fall on my face. I might imply things I don’t mean to. It’s unintentional. The roles we play in D/s relationships are complicated, and it’s not always easy to explain every little bit about them.

From a publisher’s standpoint, it appears the a submissive’s point of view sells better. Ok. So why is that? Is it because majority of those interested are interested in the fantasy of giving up control, being mastered, and/or living vicariously through the submissive’s experience of pleasure? Or is it that those writing from the dominant’s perspective aren’t doing it well-enough to be appealing to the masses?

I think it’s easier for readers relate with the submissive, to relate with the fantasy that these authors are selling. The passion, the release, the devotion of the submissive… It’s all a fiercer, more elaborate version of what many women (and men!) want in a relationship. People want to be shown they are loved; they want to express their own love, their passion, their dedication; they want to be able to trust deeply. I think that the submissive aspect of these books appeals to those who want all of these things and want to be able to let go of themselves and trust that someone else will catch them. Maybe they like the structure and the discipline that submissives have, too. Maybe they like the special way submissives are dedicated to their dominants.

With that being said, being a dominant might not be as easily relatable. It’s a different kind of expression of passion and devotion. The restraint and control of a dominant is a different flavor from a submissives. Yes, yes, submissives have to have control of themselves, but in a different way than a dominant must. And yes a dominant must trust their submissive, but in a different way! It’s this difference that is so very hard to put into words (for me at least) and to make it a strong selling point.

I also think it’s harder to sell the kind of anticipation and rewards a dominant goes through as they’re orchestrating scenes and other attributes in the relationship. How do I put into words the amazement of being honored with the gift of submission? How do I write how excruciatingly arousing it is to build up a submissive during a scene? To have that illusion of control? To have all that passion and love and devotion directed at me? All for me? How do I write how rewarding it is to successfully navigate and guide things? How do I explain the rush of that moment when I can finally let go of my restraint, of dictating when I do and the manner that I do it? How do I write how exquisite it is to be the conductor of the symphony of my bdsm relationship? How do I explain what it is like to play my submissive like an expert musician? What it feels like to be the one arranging, composing, strumming, plucking, stroking, doing anything and everything to bring out the beauty of my instrument, my submissive? And then, on top of that, how do I make all of this a strong selling point?

I think the populace has an easier time associating with being the recipient of the effort a dominant puts into a relationship. I also think they might have an easier time relating with the type of effort that submissives put into their relationships.

And just to cover my ass, I am in nooooo way saying that submissives have it easier, or that they have less responsibility, or less control, or less anything! I’m only clumsily trying to delve into why the way a submissive particpates and experiences a bdsm relationship is more of a sell-point than a dominant’s. 

Perhaps if I use an anecdote, it might help. When I masturbate, 99% I’m fantasizing about being the one fucking the brains out of the other person. From what is seems to me, most readers of erotica want to be the one getting their brains fucked out. See the difference? Both parties are putting effort into the act, but the kind of effort is different. The mindset of both parties is different. The experiences are different.

Does this make sense? Do you have a different opinion, or more to add? Hopefully I didn’t suck ass at trying to figure this publishing phenomena out.

For a dominant, there is nothing, nothing as incredible as receiving the gift of devotion, of mastering someone, of having someone trust you and abandon themselves to you with the phenomenal degree that submissives do. And yet, look, look! Even with the short story I have been writing, I began with the submissive’s perspective! Yes, I’m going to introduce the dominant and her perspective on things, but it still felt better to start my little story from the submissive’s point of view. To me, one of the most beautiful things in the world is when a submissive finds the dominant worthy of them and develops a working relationship with them. I think it’s because I am in awe that anyone can so fully trust and abandon themselves to the will of another. Maybe the public is in awe with this, too.

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