BDSM interviews: R. Phoenix

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R. Phoenix is on my blog today, talking about her kinky stories 🙂

What would you like readers to know about your book Want?

It’s some of the best writing I’ve ever done. It’s dark, it’s dirty, it’s fucked-up, and it challenged my limits to write. It contains the taboo and the kinky along with combining elements of dubious/non-consent. So you have twincest, age play, ABDL (adult baby diaper love), daddy kink, humiliation, and more. It seems like it’s just smut in the making, but when you follow that up with its sequel, Take, you have what I think is my best writing. Period. It may be perverted dark erotica, but the storylines I’ve woven into the books and the level of intensity I think I’ve captured in the writing make those a part of the books while also bringing in other elements. There are a lot of kinks, but they’re only a part of how the story is told.

So I’d like them to know that if it seems just a little beyond your comfort level, but you’re interested anyway, I’d love it if you gave them a shot. (And Want and Take are both on KU.) One thing I’ve really come to realize while writing this sort of taboo content is that you have a lot of freedom with the plot. You can start in a bad place and find redemption, and it challenges the characters on so many levels. I like asking questions and leaving things open because nothing is simple.

tl;dr: If you’re curious about them but you’re worried they might be beyond your limits, I hope you’ll take the plunge. (If they scare the hell out of you, then, um, you probably still want to pass.)

What was most challenging about writing it? Did you have to do any research – and if you did, what was the most unexpected thing you discovered?

One of the most difficult things was the knowledge that “age play” is a bit of a, well, turnoff for a lot of people just because of the name of it – but a lot of this is because they aren’t familiar with what it is. Authors like M.A. Innes have begun to introduce age play and ABDL (adult baby diaper love) in ways that explore the sweetness of the taboo, and she’s great at it. If people want to get their feet wet before plunging into Want, I definitely suggest checking her out. (She’s also my co-writer of two books so far with a third on the way, so I am totally unbiased in recommending her…)

Some people think these are about pedophilia, but age play has nothing to do with that. It doesn’t have anything to do with actual children at all, and that’s one of the most difficult things to explain. I write a lot of dark and dirty, but I do have my limits, and this is one bridge I will not EVER cross. So with that vehement statement, there may be people who are asking, okay, so what IS age play? What’s the appeal?

Imagine having no responsibilities in the world. Imagine only having to think about when you’re going to wake up and go to sleep, what you’re going to eat next and what you’re going to play with next. Imagine getting to ignore bills, work, and everything else that’s going on in the world. That’s the appeal of age play. Those who are drawn to it are drawn to the idea that children live purer, simpler lives, and they can escape by letting someone else take care of them for a little while. They put themselves in the hands of someone they trust, who takes care of them while they drift. If you can get into that sort of mindset, it makes a lot more sense.

I did do research, because it wasn’t one of my kinks. I got curious about it because of one of M.A. Innes’s books, and I started to read more about it. I read a lot on Archive of our Own (AO3), which is a fanfiction site where you can spend a lot of hours reading dirty—Um. Well. Let’s just say I did a lot of research. The most unexpected thing I discovered was that when people set aside what they thought age play and ABDL were, they were more likely to enjoy this book and others.

What kink was the most interesting for you to write about so far – and why?

I have a scene with a dildo-mounted rocking horse. Seriously. Think about that for a second. I don’t even know what kink that qualifies as, but it’s hands-down the most interesting scene I’ve written so far in the trilogy.

But beyond that, the most interesting has been the ABDL (Adult Baby Diaper Love) element because it’s not something I connected to at first. The idea of wearing a diaper again was just a bit too far in the “zero responsibilities” realm of things for me, so I had to really go in deep on this one. I had to look at the kink and figure out why it was appealing. Again, it goes to the age play, but it goes deeper and there are more elements to it. You have utter trust on some levels, knowing someone else will take care of your needs. You also have the opportunity for complete and utter humiliation and degradation. Some of these kinks are simply a means to an end for people who like humiliation.

For me, that was where it clicked and where I really enjoyed started writing it. It wasn’t about wearing the diaper. It was about the helplessness and the frustration and the dependence and the humiliation and even the level of trust inherent in their use. Once I connected to that, the story started to come together even more. It’s one element of many, and it just happens to relate to the others.

As you’ve mentioned yourself, the kinks in WantTakePuppy and Alpha are not exactly representations of real-world BDSM kinks because they’re dubious consent at best. I came across a few disputes on whether stories containing dub-con and non-con should be considered BDSM or a separate genre. What do you think?

I haven’t seen that debate before, so this one is especially interesting to me. I do still consider those books BDSM even though I warn that they aren’t real-world representations of the kinks, and the reason for that is because they still contain the elements of the kinks at their core. Let me see if I can explain this adequately, because this question threw me for a bit of a loop. Even though they’re not quite consensual (or outright non-consensual), they’re still BDSM. Yes, BDSM should be safe, sane, and consensual, but there are reasons that’s a notation: not everyone views it in the same light or interprets it in the same way.

I’ve read “sweet” BDSM books where the “Dom” is downright abusive, and that bothers me more than books that are appropriately labeled. Call it dub-con or non-con and make the differences clear, and I’m fine. But if someone just calls it BDSM based on a culture of toxic masculinity where overbearing wealthy men who don’t know how to take no for an answer are the epitome of manhood, there are problems. So obviously, that’s a greater issue, but my point is that I think they all have a place under the BDSM umbrella as long as they’re identified and labeled properly (within the bounds we as taboo writers have to work under to keep Amazon and other distributors happy).

Speaking of dub-con and non-con stories, whose perspective is more difficult to take – the evil side or the victim’s?

Where do you come up with these questions? Your very own torture bin? 😉 This is another complicated one, and I’ve written and rewritten the answer to it about a billion times now. (Okay, like five, but even so.)

You’d probably think I’d have a hard time with this in general, as a survivor of domestic violence, and you’d be right. At the same time, I think those experiences are part of why I’m so drawn to writing these scenarios. I constantly go back and forth in my mind about “why” and “how,” and it’s cathartic to get deep in the headspace of either the perpetrator or the victim. The simple truth is that there aren’t any reasons that will ever be sufficient enough to explain, and it can be a little jarring to write a scene from the “evil” side, so to speak, without hesitation.

I think that’s more disturbing to me than writing as the victim. I understand what it’s like to be there, but knowing that I absorbed more and I understand more than I realized is not always a pleasant thought.

In Anticipation, Kieran plunges into BDSM (and a threesome) without knowing much about it, simply for the sake of his lover Romi who likes rough play, while Romi’s other partner seems to be very skilled in what he does. Is it more fun to write about someone who isn’t sure what he needs yet – or someone who knows exactly what he wants and goes for it?

Generally, I am not a person who knows what she wants and goes for it, and I think that reflects itself in my writing sometimes. Kieran was my brainchild, and I was primarily responsible for writing him, and a lot of his doubts and hesitations and fears come from my own – as well as that natural curiosity and that desire to please. It’s actually terrifying to write confident characters! I wonder how they’ll come across, or if they’ll be arrogant, or what other flaws they’ll have. So I have more fun writing about those like Kieran because they’re more familiar to me than those like Romi.

I try to write outside of my comfort zone, and Morgan Noel and M.A. Innes/Shaw Montgomery have done a spectacular job of making me do just that in different ways, but I do have a soft spot for the characters who are more familiar. I like seeing where they’re going to go.

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