Passion Undiminished

This is the first dom-sub book that really makes me question the human condition.
"Okay, so you're saying that you would do whatever the woman you've submitted to wants, and treat her like a Goddess? Like foot rubs, and breakfast in bed? Why would you think I might not like that? I'm not really seeing a downside here." Lisa laughed.

I smiled. "You know, I've talked with several women who are in these type relationships, and there are some downsides. Most submissive guys aren't really the type to sweep you off your feet. While we might be romantic, we probably aren't going to just grab our woman and ravish her. Some of these women miss that.

My first feeling after reading that, and I shall probably take some criticism but I am being honest here, is revulsion. Hear me out, because this is leading to some larger psychological issues that have relevance with the review.


Is equality important in a relationship? For me, it is. Do I think it is kinky and desirable for a woman to have a submissive slave-man at her beck and call? A part of me says yes, that is a fantasy of mine.

But another part of me says no.

There are times when I want to be swept off my feet. The book acknowledges this, and wins major points with me in exploring the same exact feelings I have about dom-sub relationships. Do I want to get into a relationship with a guy who has a "needy man syndrome?" I know that sounds like a terrible way to describe a submissive, but if you think about how a dom-sub relationship can break down - that exact and quite stinging description hits one of those "stress points" I would feel breaks up relationships in a dom-sub world.

A woman gets sick of being the dominant side, and walks away. The man, well, he feels too needy, too dependent, it is always his need to be dominated and she gets little out of it, and the magic is gone.

The book hits on that feeling, and again scores major points with me again. I have never seen dom-sub so wonderfully crafted with these sort of normal and human hang-ups before, and I was floored.

Now, don't get me wrong - I may be totally missing the point, but my reviews are more "these are my feelings and then make up your own mind" than a letter grade system or "X out of 10." For a book to break down my 'understanding' of dom-sub is an eye-opening and wonderful thing, and right now, I love the fact I am in this Twilight Zone of uncertainty with these characters. In fact, that is where you often want a reader to be, because you can then take readers on that journey of rebuilding their understanding as your characters work their way back to a point of resolution.

You may think, "She is having everything done for her at her beck and call! How could she get sick of it?"

Being a "dom" is a lot of work, because you are now responsible for pleasing a submissive with all sorts of various demands. You screw that up, you say, "You know, let's just drop this game for a while and just be equals," and you are throwing a monkey-wrench into the entire relationship. I can see how someone would get tired of it, because the "dom" can actually be the "sub" when it comes to playing these games.

Great dom-sub books get this role reversal and the "dom tax" on the person's soul and emotions. I have read this in one or two great dom-sub books before, that the dom is actually the sub because of the care and control needed over the submissive's personality - and being a slave to the submissive's needs.

Hence, yes, if you wanted to criticize the dom-sub relationship you would call the submissive's role a "needy man/woman syndrome." But it does more than criticize I feel, it highlights the stress points in such a relationship and helps us understand why these things fail - therefore we can deal with these emotions and stresses better as people.
"I want to hit you Tom. I want to hurt you. I don't understand it, but I feel it so strongly. I've never felt anything like this before. I want to take the paddle and mark you, bruise you; I want to make you cry."

Tears began to roll down her cheeks. "Somehow I think that it's important. I think it will prove to us both that you are mine, and I am yours.

"God! This doesn't fucking make any sense, and I know it. I just need to beat you Tom, but I need you to want it as well. I don't want it if you are only doing it for me; I need you to want it for yourself. You have to be honest with me. Please if you truly love me don't lie. Do you want to suffer for me?"

Our eyes were locked together, my heart overflowing with love, I understood her.
I was both shocked and delighted to see this exchange, and this was right before a spanking scene that really wasn't all that horrible as this played it up to be - but in this relationship, this was the first time so it was wonderful to see them wrestle with these feelings. Spanking. Punishment. Submission. A cost of deviating from the master's or mistress' will.

Not for the dom's pleasure - please note this - but this punishment feels like it is for the sub's benefit.

That is such an important point I will let it sit out there all by its lonesome. Now, reverse roles and play the role of the "dom" here. You have to punish someone because that someone needs it for their own good. You have to spank someone, and you may be completely against spanking, because that person needs it to have a functioning and pleasurable role in a dom-sub relationship. How have to inflict pain on others, even if it is against your moral code, because that person's emotional needs demand you do so.

Now, who is the dom and who is the sub?

I sit here reviewing this review to update it and I am struck by how behind the times it all seems. Here I am talking about things that today would be criticized as some sort of emotional violence, sexual abuse, and abhorrent behavior in this brave new me-too world. It feels like the whole of the Fifty Shades phenomenon was somehow terribly misunderstood and misused by those who would prey on females (and males) for sexual power over others when the entire point was something entirely different.

Fifty Shades of Gray was not a instruction book on workplace sexual abuse.

It is like a "how to make love and relate to your partner" book written by Martians from Mars, and we Earthlings completely misunderstand the entire fucking thing and create a cannibalistic religion around something which was supposed to equate dependency with emotional slavery, physical punishment with the emotional, and reflect on neediness which we place on each other and the overbearing stress of emotional overload.

I read books like this and I feel a tinge of embarrassment that I shouldn't. How could I be reviewing this? Power over someone in a relationship? Physical punishment? Emotional scars? One-sided dependency leading to a relationship based on the shifting sands of regret.

And then it strikes me.

The things which I mentioned above are real. To not write about them would be living a life of secrecy and shame. To say others cannot read about them would turn back the clock hundreds of years to times where ideas and words were equated to witchcraft and heresy.

We cannot self-censor ourselves into some intellectual dark age because we fear upsetting others. Positive social change only comes through honesty and a willingness to upset the established social order. Upset is the key word here. If we are not allowed to upset anyone, we are then not allowed to change anything. If we cannot change, we can never improve.

Beware the comfortable, static, monolithic, conformist social order which the priests of this new digital age preach. They create an order which prioritizes low customer service costs and conformation bias over free speech and the exchange of ideas.

Our words must be free.

Books and words are the last bastion of free thought.

But not for long, I fear.

Back to the book. The book scores more major points from me for hitting on the points of which I previously mention, and then having a relationship break down because of these types of feelings. Wow. I am simply floored.

There is a secondary thought floating around in my mind that goes like this. Humans have an innate desire to be in a submissive role for certain parts of our lives. Once religion is removed from a societal structure, we find other ways of submitting to "higher powers" such as political correctness, environmentalism, conservatism, liberalism, the media de-jour of our choice, or even the role of government in our lives. We may be "doms" in certain parts of our lives (personal freedoms and choice), but in others we are "subs" and actually crave (and need) the punishment and control of higher powers or outside groups.

Think about that. You may not agree, but I read a book like this and I wonder about the human condition. For a book to bring up such thoughts in me is a magnificent thing.

Thank you for pushing me into my deep thought zone.
We arrived at the harbor a few minutes before seven. Once parked, I hurried around and opened Lisa's door. Locking the car, I offered her my arm, and led her along the pier.

It was cooling off, the air smelled wet and briny. Far to the West beyond the bay, a bank of fog was visible, a line of gray between the blues of ocean and sky. Terns and seagulls were wheeling about overhead, a brown pelican stood placidly atop a piling not more than an arm's reach away as we walked past.
The book takes place in San Diego, and that city holds a special place in my heart since I did a writer's retreat there to finish my erotic thriller Bowlarama. There is a magic in that city that transcends to this book, and it gets a lot of the 'great points' right. The alternating cold and warm days, the fog, the sea air, the changing weather, the beach, the random jumbled and laid back nature of the city - the book captures those moments and lets us savor on them like fine food delivered in a small bay-side restaurant that we love. Those moments become a part of us, and us a part of them.

Part of that place is in me, and it is in this book, which I feel brings an authenticity and sweetness books written from reference instead of experience lack. The setting here is just as much a character as the two leads are, and that is a wonderful thing to behold.

The book I feel has some misses. ALL CAPS text. A flashback section told entirely in italics. A "she told me later this happened" scene where I felt we saw too much, and I wanted that detached perspective so we could worry along with him more. A character description in the mirror scene. They are there and I feel they distract from the experience. They don't take away from the greatness of the book, but I feel they are artificial storytelling constructs that attempt to communicate a feeling, information, or emotion through mechanical (rather than natural) means. Witness:
"I'M COMING!" I screamed.
I screamed. "I'm coming!"

I felt my body spasm and every nerve in my body became aware of the secrets of the universe.

I came so hard I pulled the bed-sheet's corners off and left fingernail scratches on his back.
I prefer expressing these thoughts and feelings through the experiences and emotions that directly connect with someone else's soul. To me, I feel ALL CAPS is a mechanical construct where we are trying to communicate the power of a moment through holding down the shift key. I would rather search for a moment and action to describe that feeling rather than rely on typography to communicate my ideas.

Bet this relationship and its challenges haunts me. It challenges me. It forces a woman into a dom role and we see her break down a little. We see the stress a "sub" puts on his beloved "dom" and life breaks down. Love fights against these destructive forces, and we wonder if this is all going to work out. I sit here at the end wondering if these two would be happier together without the whole dom-sub thing going on, they have wonderful chemistry and a connection deeper than what feels like a role artificially imposed by the man in this relationship.

I sit here wondering, what's in it for her?

I sit here wondering, why is he putting her through this?

Isn't love enough?

I can't help thinking the sub is being extremely selfish with her, and I may be 100% wrong here, but I have not had that feeling in a long time. Wow, I am floored you brought these feelings out of my subconscious. Thank you, and this is a special book for doing so.

Highly recommended, and a book that is going to stay in my thoughts for a while.

An amazing work.