Kinky Valentine’s Week Book Giveaway!

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To celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, we’re hosting a book giveaway! You can win a physical copies of The Ruiner by Nem Rowan and My Lord by L. B. Shimaira – 2 free books! This giveaway is open internationally. Both of these books are kinky, romantic and explore different kinds of love between unique characters, so what better reads to pick up on such an occasion? You can enter the giveaway by following the Twitter or Instagram links above!

The authors have also written short articles about kink and polyamory to go along with the giveaway, so be sure to check those out! The first article is by Nem Rowan, which you can read below. The second by L. B. Shimaira will be posted later this week, so stay tuned!


Kinky and Trans

This will probably sound silly but I decided to write The Ruiner (or The Things We Hide At Home, in its original incarnation) after getting angry about 50 Shades of Grey. Yes, angry. Not because it is so badly written, not because of its misogyny or because it perpetuates a lot of really bad myths about people who enjoy BDSM (well, actually, yes. All of those things made me annoyed). I was angry because of its complete disregard for reality and the healthy ways to practice BDSM. I’m not angry anymore, since I wrote my own book about BDSM. And I intend to write more.

The Ruiner follows a trans man named Tenny; he is a Dominant, and he’s single and looking for a new partner. He meets David at the beginning of the story, and he’s incredibly shy and quite bookish, but also hopelessly in love with Tenny. Unfortunately, at the same time, Tenny realises he’s being stalked by someone who is out to make his life hell. And it gets scary pretty fast.

Aside from my main goal of portraying a happy, healthy BDSM relationship, I also had three smaller goals. The first was to show how transgender people are sexualised by cis people, how that can translate into a harmful fetish, and to portray a trans man in a Dominant role instead of as the submissive ‘receiver’. The second was to show how people ‘other’ disabled people, how they think negatively about introverted people, and to ultimately have the disabled character be the hero of the story. The third was that it had to have a happy ending, albeit a realistic one with no mental health issues magically resolved by ‘true love’. I hope that I have achieved all of these things! I suppose the only way to find out is to read it, right?

I’d like to talk a little about being in a BDSM relationship with a trans person and give a few anecdotal tips for anyone interested, especially trans men although much of it can apply to trans women and non-binary people too. Because we are a demographic that can be easily fetishised, it’s important to reinforce good practices that will help you (if you are trans) or your trans partner to be empowered in their identity (that is, unless being mocked for your identity is your kink, but we’re not going into that here).

Let’s counteract the 50 Shades of Nonsense with the following, which is a core tenet of BDSM practice: Safe, Sane and Consensual. There are a few other versions of these rules, but SSC is the most well-known and probably the most important. Stay safe, don’t do anything insane and always ensure you have your partner’s consent when taking part in any activity. Why is this extra important for trans people? Allow me to explain.

Identity is an importantโ€”if not the most importantโ€”aspect of what it is to be trans, and having your identity invalidated, especially by your partner, can be incredibly uncomfortable or downright upsetting. It’s important to discuss with your partner the chosen words, from basic pronouns to BDSM-centric titles, so that it’s clear what kind of language will be used when you play a scene. Does your partner want to be referred to by a title that shares congruence with their gender, for example, a trans woman being referred to as Mistress? Be clear with your partner about what language should be used in regards to the body, especially when it comes to sexually dimorphic attributes. Plenty of trans men don’t like their genitalia referred to using words commonly used for female genitalia. The same goes for other genders. This article from Lady Science talks extensively about the use of genital language so check that out if you’d like to get an idea on what kind of language can be used.

If you have specific language you use for your own body, or if you don’t mind at all, communicate this and be clear about it.

This might seem pretty obvious, but you’ll be amazed at how many people completely miss the mark. Using the wrong language can totally ruin the atmosphere and become an instant turn-off. This is an important aspect of being Safe; communication, understanding and remembering what was agreed with your partner (or partners) will help keep you all from harm, not just emotionally but physically too.

The second rule, Sane, should be pretty obvious too. Don’t do anything stupid or illegal, and make sure you’re not under the influence when you do it. Is your partner feeling hazy because they’ve just taken their anxiety medication? Stop right there. Are you completely drunk because you just got home from the club and think now is a good time to get it on? Please, just go to bed and sleep it off. If you or your partner are not in your right minds, now is not the time to do BDSM. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a glass of wine beforehand. I’m just saying don’t get totally off-your-face drunk or high before engaging in BDSM, because that is when mistakes are made.

If you are too incapacitated to keep count of how many minutes you’ve left a clamp on your partner’s body part, you’re drifting sharply into danger territory. If your partner is too incapacitated to give clear consent, you could be violating them. Just don’t do it.

How does this apply to trans people? Check out the statistics for sexual assault against trans people, here. “One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives.” That’s awful, right? If your partner isn’t in their right mind and can’t consent, that’s sexual assault/rape.

Which leads me to the third rule.

Consensual means you and your partner agreed to go through with it. This is the most basic yet most important of the three rules. If you need a primer on consent, there’s this great article from RAINN (The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). It’s important so read it up, because it applies to all forms of sexual contact, not just BDSM.

Consent with your trans partner enables them to have power over their own body (which is something many of us don’t have, especially medically), shows trust and compassion, and creates a safe space for you to explore sexuality together. At no point should anyone tell their partner how they should or shouldn’t handle their own body or gender. This rule can also apply to the smallest of BDSM-related things, too. For example, not automatically calling someone your Master/Mistress just because you really want that person to be your Master/Mistress. You would be applying a label to someone who has not consented to it and has not agreed to take that role with you. This is a bad habit, especially with people on internet forums where it is clearly viewable what kind of role a person prefersโ€”cis straight guys, I’m looking at you.

So, don’t just assume. Ask them first, and if they say no, it means no.

What it all comes down to is, treat your partner with respect (even if being disrespected is their kink), whether they are trans or not. But sometimes us trans people just need an extra layer, to ensure that everyone is on the same page and we’re not gonna get something unpleasant come out of left field.

Having said all that, there’s a fourth rule that I didn’t mention and that’s Fun. It might seem like there’s not much fun to be had if you have to adhere to so many important rules, but without those rules, the fun isn’t worth having.

Imagine how different 50 Shades of Grey would have been if the characters had followed these principles? Try reading The Ruiner and see if you agree with what a healthy BDSM relationship should look like.

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