I adore reading romantic scorchers like Beautiful Bastard and Sylvia Day's Crossfire series. Step right up and then free fall into hot romance. Breath stealing antics of these men filled page after page. Boy was that a slice of heated heaven during the read and even afterwards…the glorious me-more-rays. Or better deemed, the ultimate sign of well-crafted erotic fiction. Swooning aftermath.
What is hotter than hot in romance?
I think I found it and am sharing. EDGEPLAY. Heck, even the term sounds provocative.
In Blood Brothers and the trilogy Playing the Edge (Taken, Swoon Romance 2014) there was a definite linear drive into pushing limits. Hard limits of characters. Farther than I'd traveled in prior books and I hope readers who “come with” are well-informed. Because seriously, that’s what edgeplay is all about if we aim to stay…protected.
When erotica glides into the BDSM hot tub, an author must know how far a character can be pushed in terms of where boundaries exist fictionally and in reality (i.e. Safe, Sane Consensual) to stop from crossing a demarcated line between kink and abuse.
The duality of pushing limits is presented in Blood and Taken. Some readers may pick up on the pair of doorways offered in these stories. Both books feature yoga practioners. And both books explore the world of BDSM. Two realms with limits. Hard and Soft. Risks are taken, but there is a fork in the proverbial road, in the characters’ worlds and ours.
In yoga, what I study, explore, and practice is used to inform my writing. A practioner pushes his or her limits by "playing the edge." In yoga, this playing your edge means taking your practice to the point where your experience and ability are being pushed a tad farther to permit growth. There's a definite feel when you're there. For me, mastering a handstand, the inverted balance came over time or even now, holding a pose longer, stronger. But one must show up again and again. And yep, again. In yoga, awareness is so much part of mat play, and it's a rush to be at one's edge. Adrenaline for sure.
In BDSM, pushing limits is also a doorway and edgeplay is super serious business. Hard limits are defined prior to sexual connection. And edgeplay, if it lacks carefully constructed terms, opens the seekers to risks or worse, harm. Edgeplay is explored in explicit terms in Blood. So please, this book isn't for you if you're looking for urban fantasy wolf shifter and/or vampire tales involving a chase and some mating action.
Blood Brothers explodes within the world where two lovers are hard core ex-military and pain is what they've known as marines in active duty. Without the means to express (articulate) their fears, they search for release in pushing limits in dangerous situations. For Tristen it's in the realm of work/business, doing what needs to be done without backup. For Fin release is sought in the bedroom. Fin’s hunger entwines his lover delivering him past the of his ability to withstand physical pain. Difficult to define because this point is woven with seductive pleasure. Fin doesn’t want protected edgeplay. He wants it cutting and spontaneous. This type of by-the-seat-of-your-pants eroticism has already gotten both these lovers in trouble.
So, we step back. How to go forward when lovers are stuck, one wanting more emotionally and the other wanting to break boundaries for the wrong reason? Fin and Tristen simultaneously stand at a couple of edges.
Within consensual kink, I had to give the men constructed boundaries where the inherent risks were addressed. And that isn’t just in fiction. Edgeplay (in serious BDSM cultures) is discussed and defined. Bondage, discipline, gear used, force exercised, who plays, how long, when to pull back. Not alluded as we can do in fiction.
In Blood Brothers, these characters skate the sexual edge of dominance and submission, and step back. And frustration sets in for Fin, driving him into action. Fin and Tris arrive at a sexual stalemate.
What's required is some objectivity in the form of a third person. For more than just aspects of an erotic ménage encounter (although, there is that sexy factor). Yet in edgeplay, as presented in Blood Brothers, it is Santo who represents what is found in the some BDSM communities as informed consent. Sounds bureaucratic. A rule based system can taste, smell, feel like a bureaucracy and that was an eye-opener for me in how rule-based and structured BDSM is in so far as some sex clubs and sexual scenarios in private (as deeply explored in Taken). Santo is a type of force and presents an edge for Fin and Tristen, representing the idea of risk must be tempered and agreed upon.
In BDSM, the connection is driven and derived by control. And the person in the submissive position has a majority of the power. The dominant or commanding partner acts on the desires of the one who lays it all out there. If may not seem that way on the outside. I found out fast it is where defining the logistics in fictional bedrooms. The strength of the bottom's wishes became evident on this side of the page. In BDSM scenarios, hard limits are defined in terms of structure, and the focus is upon what is desired. Riding the line of edgeplay packs on the tension in a place to explore sexuality. Fictional and real life.
In writing Blood and Taken, the challenge was to push the characters and yet hold back, That push-n-pull dynamic was played with over and over. Scenes were written, then rewritten, contemplating where to draw the lines based upon the psychological needs of the characters present within scene(s).
In playing the edge and edgeplay, as a writer I learned to turn and torque the heat while the characters strove to blast across boundaries. Seem impossible, it's not. In writing romance, the story can become akin to a runaway train. Reining in romance, requires distance. And that’s not always easy when dealing with personalities that seek adrenaline saturated risks.
Same thing in life. To play the edge or edgeplay, there's a point of no return and one must know where it is, to ride a searing point without getting burned.
I hope you come too, finding an edge to play. Namaste.