BDSM interviews: Lyss Em

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“Two things are important to any relationship, whether it’s kinky or vanilla: respect and communication.”

Lyss Em is on my blog today, talking about power exchange, fetish parties, and other interesting things 😉

What would you like readers to know about your new book Making It Better?

Making It Better is contemporary BDSM romance about two men who delved into kink when they were in college and made many mistakes, and who come together six years later to finally confront those mistakes. It’s an intense, boundary-pushing, angsty, and sexy ride. If you prefer to read about BDSM that’s completely by the book, you probably won’t like it. But if you like romances that get a little taboo while still dealing with authentic hardcore kink, you’ll enjoy Making It Better.

It looks like both of your main characters, Court and Lucan, are headstrong men. Is it a problem in a Dom/sub relationship?

No. Some people think in order to be a submissive, you have to be passive, but that isn’t the case. It certainly takes Court and Lucan a while to figure out how to communicate, though. Communication is key no matter what. It might even be better to have two headstrong partners so that one doesn’t end up agreeing to something they don’t want.

What do you find most interesting about a power dynamic between a Dom and a sub? In your opinion, what makes a Dom/sub relationship work—and what might be the ruin of it?

Power exchange is something that has always fascinated me; I’m not sure exactly why. I guess I find it interesting because of the amount of vulnerability involved and what a Dom/sub relationship promises: for someone to be open about liking something off the beaten path and to find acceptance of that desire with a partner who is into the same thing.

As for what makes these relationships work, in my opinion, two things are important to any relationship, whether it’s kinky or vanilla: respect and communication. Even if, for example, you’re degrading a person in bed, calling them all sorts of awful things (with consent, of course), you have to respect them. You have to want the best for them and want them to feel good. Communication is extra important in kinky relationships because they are inherently dangerous (not that vanilla ones aren’t). Many kinks can lead to physical damage, whether temporary or long term, and in rare cases, fetishes have led to death. It’s even easier for BDSM to cause emotional trauma. So it’s very important to establish boundaries and rules for play. In Making It Better, I pushed the boundaries of consent for the sake of fiction and entertainment, and some readers have responded negatively to that. But in real life, these things must be taken very seriously. As Court and Lucan discuss in the book, partners must establish safewords and limits before engaging in play, and partners must honor those safewords and respect those limits.

A lack of communication and/or respect can ruin a kinky relationship, but so can two people having kinks or preferences that aren’t compatible. I’ve seen this happen with partnerships in which one person wants to be monogamous and the other doesn’t. It simply can’t work.

Is it more fun to write about Doms and subs who know exactly what they want–or those who are at conflict about their desires?

Conflict pretty much always makes a story more fun to write—and to read. It’s interesting for me to write characters who are ashamed of their desires or have other conflicts about them, or who discover that they like something more than they expected. But it’s also fun to write about characters who know exactly what they want, especially when the character they’ve set their sights on are reluctant to let them have it.

Court and Lucan run into each other at a fetish party. Can you tell more about this, for those who have never been at one? What does a fetish party look like?

I’ve been to several, and it varies, honestly. Some of them have a ton of people—those are usually the more public ones—and some of them have only a handful because they are invite-only. Some of them center around a specific kink such as rope bondage or CFNM (Clothed Female Nude Male). Regardless, one can usually expect to find an area with various kink equipment in it: St. Andrew’s crosses, spanking benches, massage tables, bondage frames, etc. These items can be expensive, so usually, there are only a few. I used to go to one venue that had a bed as well. A lot of parties will also have a social space set aside where people can talk, and then have all the kink equipment in a separate play room or dungeon. Most of the parties I’ve been to were held at people’s personal residences because it’s not the easiest thing in the world to rent out a venue for such activities, though it is possible. I’ve attended kink events at hotels, a VFW, and a biker bar.

What is the kinkiest scene you have written so far?

Oh, boy. I’ve written so many, and to be honest, I don’t remember all of them. But it’s probably a toss-up between the cross-dressing scene in Escorting the Escort, the choking scenes in How to Love a Monster, and the breathplay scene in Making It Better. My readers might disagree; rarely are my sex scenes received in the ways I’d expect.

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