After seven years and eighteen days, I finally finished my epic BDSM, non-consent Ægir’s Trilogy on @literotica. It has been a long and hard-fought journey as a writer, a feminist, and a submissive. It has included some of the most glorious experiences of my life, some of the deepest hurts, and most definitely profound revelations and deep growth.
For those of you, who may not be familiar with the story…
Kirsty is a young Occupational Therapist working with autistic children in London. After the breakup with her long-term boyfriend, she begins to read Poly/BDSM erotic romance novels and discover a hidden side to herself. She creates a profile on one of ‘those’ sites, mostly out of curiosity. She would never actually do any of that shit. Until she begins to correspond with Sven, a Nordic fisherman. She is fascinated and drawn to him.
With Sven, it is not that simple. For generations, their family has practiced the once common European tradition of bride-stealing. Yes, that means kidnapping and non-consent. But their tradition also has elements of BDSM…and is polyandrous. Meaning one wife shared by all the brothers.
This less common form of polyamory is not as unusual as we think, especially in areas with limited resources and where early death is run-of-the-mill with husbands. Both of which would have applied to this family. By sharing one wife, it limits the number of children produced and thus there is less dividing of the resources.
Frankly, with the overwhelming environmental and economic obstacles we face, this and other poly alternatives could and should be considered for future generations. But yes, it is incredibly complex. My two experiences with poly have proven that. Alan and I discussed and choose monogamy over poly. And I feel that is a discussion that all relationships should have.
But back to a different, but somewhat related topic of this story – BDSM and non-consent.
Those terms are supposedly oxymorons. All BDSM should be consensual. The BDSM community has a standard called Safe-Sane-and-Consensual. That phrase is pretty much self-explanatory.
Except the reality is that it is virtually impossible to meet that standard.
What is safe? Absolutely nothing in life is completely safe. Not even crossing the street. Hell, even sitting in your chair watching television, a tree could fall on you. Safety is a complete illusion. Granted one that most humans crave and psychologically need.
Now, get to the complexities of Bondage-Domination-Submission-Sado/Masochism and you enter a whole bailiwick. Is breathplay safe? No. Is flogging? No. Is a violet wand? No. Heck, even those blindfolds and fur-lined cuffs that the vanillas play around with…and frankly where most of the rest of us begin, even those are not completely safe.
The safe here is like all those silly government regulations and Health & Safety Guidelines. It is meant to minimize the risks and ensure that all parties understand them and accept their responsibilities.
But in legal and perhaps moral terms, that is utter and complete bollocks. If you are engaging in breathplay or choking consensually and something goes wrong, not even a video-taped or signed consent form is gonna relieve you of the legal or (I hope) moral consequences. Anymore than companies whose products kill people escape consequences even if they did due-diligence product testing before releasing them.
What is Sane? Certainly not me. And how can someone agree to something that not even the shrinks agree on.
In this context, sane is meant to refer to commonsense. In other words, you should not engage in activities that are ridiculously crazy and unsafe or with people you don’t know or trust.
Yeah, right! Ha-ha. Five minutes in any BDSM club in the UK at least and you’ll see this one blown to smithereens.
Consensual should be easy and straightforward, right?
No way. My first mentor/Dom was a married, online friend whom I never really played with, much the same as Kirsty begins her exploration with Sven, Mikael, and Bjorn. Challenges like not wearing any panties under your skirt or going into a shop and buying a vibrator, crotchless underwear or the bras with nipple slits, simple things like that.
He sent me a form with five pages of questions to fill-in before we did anything, even online. By the time I had thoughtfully answered that form, it ran to thirteen pages. I ran across it somewhere once and laughed at all the things I had said were HARD limits for me. If you aren’t familiar with that term, a hard limit is something that you as the sub absolutely, positively do NOT want to try. If a Dom does, then he or she has violated your consent.
The biggest laugh for me was pain. I am a masochist. A pain-slut. I get my release from it. When I am stressed, it is absolutely, positively the best way to relax. I have even self-medicated depression and effectively reset my brain chemistry with pain (not that I am recommending that to anyone). Even now, if I have overpeopled I will pick up a wooden spoon and hand it to Alan. The first time I did that he looked at me funny because no one cooks in my kitchen. I laughed and told him it wasn’t for stirring. He got the message and I got what I needed.
Now, if a Dom had not challenged that one, convinced me to give it a try, even though it was on my hard limits, and thus supposedly not up for negotiations, where would I be?
If all that SSC isn’t bad enough, there is also:
RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink
Basically, all those really dangerous things like breathplay are covered theoretically by this one. As long as both parties are aware of and accept the risk then all is cool. Not – at least not legally.
PRICK – Personal-Responsibility Informed Consensual Kink
This one was new to me. While DS is who we are, Alan and I are not active in the community…for many of the reasons you may read in this blog. I have seen and done too much. So this one, which I absolutely love the acronym, by the way, is completely new to me, I discovered it while researching and reminding myself of SSC. Bottom line, this one really does seem like a prick, in that it wants to shift blame to the sub. Yes, technically, I above all people know and believe that subs are the strong ones. But there is too much abuse in the community and this one, at first glance, seems like blame the victim thing.
CCC – Committed Compassionate Consensual
Another new one to me, this most closely resembles the model that Alan and I follow. It is ended for people like us in 24/7, long-term, and power exchange relationships. But it does not really fit us either. In that this type seems to place the power more in the hands of the Dom with the sub only defining ‘unwanted’ activities. The Dom decides what and when he or she wants. Obviously, handing Alan a wooden spoon would not meet this criterion. By the way, when he took the crazzy BDSM quiz, it said he was only 11% sadist. Not!
Which is the point! BDSM is like any other relationship. It is about what I call HURT:
Honesty – You have to communicate. Openly. Honestly…as far as you know yourself. And you have to keep doing this 24/7 for the rest of your lives.
Unconditional Love – Okay, so obviously this one does not cover those casual or short-term D/s activities. But this alternative to CCC means that needs and responsibilities are shared more equally. When you love someone unconditionally, you want what is best for them. That means that you too bend and compromise, you try things for them because you love them.
Respect – is a two-way street. One of the big problems in the community is that too many d-types think that respect is something that each and every sub owes them because they choose to call themselves doms. Respect is earned, folks. Curtsey is not, it is due to all, be they Dom or sub. And especially in this type of committed relationship, respect one another is as important as loving each other. Maybe more so. Marriages can survive without love, but they become toxic without respect.
Trust – is the flip side of respect and built on that foundation of honesty and unconditional love. Trust should, like love, grow over time. But conversely, once trust has been violated, it must be earned back. And that is not always possible.
Do Kirsty, Sven, Bjorn, and Mikael fit any of those standards? Does even Olaf and Rachel, who have been together for over four decades? No. And neither do I and Alan. Or you.
Relationships are complex and ever-changing. They, like the issues we face today, are not simple. They cannot be boiled down to a two-minute sound bite. A bulleted list. Or a silly acronym (although PRICK is cool). They involve two or more profound and mutable people. This is one reason why poly is so challenging, and why Alan and I choose monogamy. It is hard enough to manage all this with one person. Let alone three as Kirsty discovers.
But some of these are pretty good goals or fuzzy guidelines to follow. Honestly, each of them has its merits. Of course, H-U-R-T is my personal favorite. Then again, Honesty, Unconditional Love, Respect, and Trust aren’t bad standards for vanillas, either. Certainly, many in the community would consider me and Alan to be vanilla, or almost. But what we have works for us, and that is all that matters.
Yes, Ægir’s trilogy has been a long and hard-fought journey of self-discovery for me as a writer, a feminist, a submissive, and a person. It is over two-hundred-fifty-thousand word voyage of self-discovery and personal growth for Kirsty, Bjorn, Mikael, Sven, and their friends and family, too.
As David Foster Wallace said:
It is my humble hope that those who take this complex and perhaps overly long journey with Kirsty, Mikael, Bjorn, Sven, and the others will find something to both comfort and disturb them. There is nothing more a writer can want.
Oh, if you have not read my Ægir’s trilogy, and are curious now, the correct order is…
Ægir’s Woman – Kirsty’s Story – this is the prologue, the reader’s introduction to Kirsty and what makes her tick. I actually wrote this later, much later than the original short story. I wrote it primarily in response to readers’ comments about how unrealistic and abusive this story is. It puts into context why it is more much than Stockholm Syndrome that motivates Kirsty to give this unusual situation a try. Sometimes when you are deeply unhappy and lost in your present life, it is worth taking a chance on the unknown. I am certainly glad that I did with Alan.
Ægir’s Captive – This one focuses on her kidnapping and relationship with the youngest brother Bjorn. It is the one story that is most non-consent as she struggles with herself, as we all do, to come to terms with the difference between what we want, or think we want, and what we really need.
Ægir’s Bride – puts the spotlight on Kirsty’s relationship with the reluctant and deeply wounded middle brother Mikael. Like all brides and grooms, this one is about learning one another and how to live together, exploring what is your boundaries, and forming the bonds of a real relationship.
Ægir’s Wife – is about Kirsty coming to terms with who and what she is. It is an intensely painful journey for all of them, primarily due to her relationship, or lack thereof, with the profoundly flawed eldest brother Sven. This one highlights that sometimes love is not enough, not without that honesty, respect, and trust. And sometimes, subs do have to drawback to protect themselves.
I plan to release the PDF files of the edited versions here later this year. And to also publish the ebook formats to Kindle and others for 99¢, simply for the convenience and to cover the cost of the artwork.
Oh, and on Friday I may retell the story that inspired this series…and my WIP, work in progress.
Until then, goddess bless and keep you all,