BDSM interviews: Kate Kinsey

aKateKinseyCovers

Kate Kinsey, author of the BDSM thriller Red, is here to talk about being a part of a BDSM community, the ways to come out as kinky, the difficulties of practicing with an 8’ single-tail whip in an average apartment, and other interesting things 😉

What do you find most appealing about BDSM books? What are your favorite kinks to read and write about?

The first kink book I ever read was Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. I was blown away to find that someone – anyone! – even thought about this stuff, let alone actually did it! It was amazing and comforting to know it wasn’t just me, that there was an actual name for what had always aroused me. I think that is probably the biggest appeal of BDSM books of all kinds: they let people know they aren’t alone.

Years later, when I first “came out” into the BDSM world, someone gave me a copy of Some Women, a collection of essays edited by Laura Antoniou. That book had a big impact because the essays were written by real women living the BDSM lifestyle. Some were positive experiences, a few were bad; but all gave me a look into how many facets there are to kink, and what it meant to be a woman in this world. Unfortunately, the book is out of print now, but I was overjoyed that I was able to get Antoniou to sign my battered copy a few years ago when I interviewed her at the SouthEast Leather Conference (SELF).

These days, I don’t actually read a lot of erotica, mainly because I don’t have a lot of time. I like to read more nonfiction that increases my knowledge in a particular skill, and in understanding the ways different people tailor BDSM to fit their particular needs.

As far as I understand, you are a part of a BDSM community. What misconceptions about BDSM (in books of other authors or in real life) do you find most frequent? What do you think is often missing from BDSM novels and why?

When I ventured into the real world of BDSM, I jumped in with both feet, into the deep end! So yes, I’ve been part of my local community for more than 15 years. I don’t participate as much these days simply because my life is full of so many other things. Also, I’m 57 now, and I can’t stay up much past 10 pm, which is when most BDSM events are just getting started, LOL.

The most frequent misconception in the “real” world is that what we do is all about pain and humiliation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of pain and humiliation when it’s safe and consensual! But it isn’t that way for 90% of the participants, at least not most of the time. Vanilla folks don’t understand that we’re actually having a lot of fun: that’s why we talk about “playing.”

Most people outside our community have no idea how much time we spend learning to do things as safely as possible. Nobody should just run out, buy a whip and start swinging it at someone. For one thing, you’d beat yourself up before you ever managed to actually hit anybody else! Most vanilla folk don’t understand that few people actually use an Indiana Jones-style whip.

Neither do they realize that we have marriages, children, churches and jobs in all kinds of professions. Newbies come to our events for the first time and are both amazed (and a little disappointed) to find we are really pretty ordinary.

As for what is missing from BDSM novels, in my opinion? First, real knowledge of the technical realities. I read a book once where a character was practicing with an 8’ single-tail whip in an average apartment. Most people would have no issue with that, but anyone who has ever held a whip or watched someone else do it would have snorted, “Yeah, right!”

Writing about BDSM is challenging, because while we want to indulge in our darkest fantasies, there is always the danger that someone might try something they read and actually hurt themselves and/or others. There’s a lot of kink fiction now that explores non-consensual acts, and while I’m the first to admit rape fantasies can be hot, that’s just what they are: fantasies. It is dangerous to blur those lines even in fiction, because consent is the only thing that separates what we do from criminal violence. A disturbing number of people don’t get the difference between what we can fantasize about and what we can actually do.

In your thriller Red, ‘vanilla’ characters act pretty harshly towards kinksters. In your opinion, what is the best way to come out as kinky to someone whose reaction you’re not sure about and to act if your kinkiness becomes known to someone who’s not supposed to be informed about it?

The best way to come out is to use popular culture as a way to start the conversation. These days we’re lucky that BDSM is becoming so mainstream. No matter what my opinion of Fifty Shades might be, it gave a lot of people that chance to turn to someone and say, “Have you read that book yet? I’m kinda curious….”

Being found out as a kinkster is much different for younger people today than for those of my generation. I talk to twenty-somethings and experimentation with BDSM and other forms of kink doesn’t carry quite the stigma it used to. But a surprising number of people really wouldn’t care as much as you’d expect. If you are outted, don’t panic! Make a joke, shrug, wink – if you act like it’s not a big deal, other people are less likely to think it is.

Of course, the exception to this is when someone is in position where their sex life can be used against them: custody battles, and people in certain professions. I would be completely and totally out of the kinky closet except for my job, because kinksters have no legal protection from discrimination. My company has a morality clause, and while I don’t think they would fire me for being kinky, the truth is I don’t actually know.

All we can do is look at our individual situation, decide how much or how little we want other people to know, and then be careful about what we put out in the world on our social media.

I don’t see your erotic series, The Totally Uncensored Kinky Adventures of Chloe St. Claire, Sex Slave, on Amazon. Is it available anywhere else? Is it more of a light read than Red? What are the pros and cons of writing BDSM with a complex plot, like Red, and pure erotica?

The Totally Uncensored Kinky Adventures of Chloe St. Claire, Sex Slave was pure smut, and while it succeeded as erotica, I got early feedback from readers who were disappointed that it lacked the kind of plot and level of writing they enjoyed in Red. When I looked at it again, I realized that the three books were just not very good. I’ve shelved them until I have time to take another look and consider if they are worth improving. I probably wouldn’t have been so harsh a critic of poor Chloe if I hadn’t been so proud of Red.

I have written mainstream fiction under my real name for years, and I only wrote Red because my agent made a joke that erotica was the only area of publishing that was actually growing. She knew I was kinky because I had pitched a non-fiction BDSM book to her before, so I thought, why not? I had written some erotic short stories. Red was supposed to be just a juicy, dirty book, but as I wrote, it turned into something else entirely: a damned fine murder novel. I’m disappointed that I can’t acknowledge it under my own name.

The con of writing something with a complex plot is that it is even more complicated than you think when you start out. I had to get a calendar just to keep track of who was murdered and when. The pro is that you really have a sense of satisfaction when you do it well. Erotica for me is much simpler, but I find it hard to write an entire novel of erotica without being sidetracked by a plot. Short stories are fun, novels are painful.

As for your non-fiction books, How to be a Healthy and Happy Submissive and What Submissives Want to Know: what do you think are the most common problems submissives encounter in real life? Are they addressed in fiction?

The biggest problem: finding a dominant, and then figuring out if the one they found is actually a good dominant worthy of their trust. So many of their letters ask, “Is this normal behavior for a dominant? Should a dominant ask this of me? What if I don’t want to do what he tells me to do?” Often, they are asking about a situation where their gut is telling them something is wrong, but other people (usually the dominant in question) are telling them that a “good” submissive wouldn’t rock the boat.

My job is to remind them that being a submissive does not mean they are submissive to just anybody and everybody. Everyone always has a right to say no. That doesn’t always come across in fiction. Too often, the fantasy dominant is perfect, and the fiction doesn’t address what to do when he isn’t. There are a couple of damaging books out on the market that only talk about how to behave in some perfect fantasy relationship that only exists in fiction. That was one of the reasons I wrote How to be a Healthy and Happy Submissive. I wrote a book that told my readers everything I wished someone had told me when I began on this journey.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about my work!

– Kate Kinsey
Katekinsey.com
8/30/2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s