The Pain Game

Woman ChainedFollowing up on Liz’s post from yesterday, let’s talk about pain in erotic romance. This is a topic from which some will run away in fear, so it’s particularly suitable for today since it’s Halloween.

Hollywood “erotic thrillers” have explored this topic thoroughly in several movies, good, bad, and forgettable. The first thing that comes to mind is the pretty wretched Body of Evidence, starring Willem Dafoe and Madonna. I don’t remember much about this movie (thankfully), although one thing that did stick in my mind was the candle wax scene. If you haven’t seen the movie and are interested in the topic of pain as erotic pleasure, rent the DVD and fast forward to this scene. For all the slams the movie has gotten, seeing Madonna pouring burning hot candle wax onto Willem Dafoe’s stomach may be worth your time.

Turning next to choking, I’ve got to confess that this one doesn’t do it for me. There’s a bizarre scene in the movie History of Violence in which Viggo Mortensen’s character has rough sex with his wife, played by Maria Bello, and part of it includes him choking her. Now to be fair, I personally have issues with anything too tight around my neck, including clothing or jewelry so the choking thing is a tough one for me to swallow (ha! I had to say it). But trying to keep an open mind and think about it in an erotic way . . . ummmm no. Nicht. Nein. Perhaps it’s the fact that going over the edge with this can lead to really, really bad things. Hot candle wax might give you a nasty burn, but it doesn’t kill you. Choking on the other hand . . .

OK, moving on. The big association of pain and erotic pleasure comes most obviously via the BDSM culture. We’ve got to give it to Fifty Shades for bringing this topic out of the dungeon and into mainstream living rooms, but BDSM fans have of course been mixing their pain and pleasure for a good long time before Fifty Shades was even a nugget of an idea. There are a lot of quite good erotic romances that explore this subject in interesting ways. I recommend checking out Shoshanna Evers’ Chastity Belt or Punishing the Art Thief, Tiffany Reisz’s The Siren, or Jennifer Probst’s Dare Me. The list goes on and on. There are many more really good BDSM romances than I can recommend in this post. I’d love to hear about the ones you love, and why the element of pain and erotic romance work for you.

Also remember, we’re giving away First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost for the best comment of the day.

Happy Halloween!

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