My Treasured Tropes, #1: The Dubious Deal

Four reviews and a question.

I am starting a new series here that I’m calling My Treasured Tropes. Instead of reviewing one book or film, I’ll be gathering together several works that center around or include one plot device that I find fascinating or arousing. (Mostly arousing).

A trope is not necessarily a cliché. It can mean something that is part of a larger pattern within a genre; similarities. Familiarities, to regular readers. Every genre has them—the alluring femme fatale who is not so helpless as she seems in Noir and Mystery, for example.

In many erotic stories in which someone enters a new world of voluntary (or involuntary) sexual servitude, there is usually an objectifying, naked inspection; quite possibly an auction, also naked. The shaving of pubic hair, often for the first time (which is generationally becoming less probable?). That first painful punishment that is not so much for breaking a rule, as not yet understanding the rules. (I do love that one—so unjust.)

What I have always called the Dubious Deal, which I will be exploring here, is one of my very favorite tropes in erotica. It is a specific category of what is already a sub-genre of smut—what is commonly referred to as Dub-con, or erotic fiction containing dubious consent.

Dub-con stories are tricky. They play with (some) readers’ fantasies of helplessness and suffering, in ways that nobody would actually want in real life—yet they contain enough desire on the part of the protagonist that there is ultimately fulfillment, on some level or another.

The most popular dub-con novels, at the moment, begin as actual non­-con stories: the kidnapping or Stockholm Syndrome novel. Realistic or not, there are some beautiful ones. Such stories begin with pure fear, and no desire: the woman (it is almost always a woman) is kidnapped, totally against her will, by a man with sexual intentions. Sometimes she knows the man, sometimes not.

In real life, this is in no way erotic—this should not even have to be said. But we’re discussing erotic fiction, yes? In such stories, there has to be some attraction to the captor, along with some—usually lots—of internal conflict about those feelings. These novels are usually quite sadomasochistic (as opposed to properly consensual “BDSM”), which enhances the danger, the helplessness, the pain, the humiliation—especially the shame of the main character finding all this so arousing. It’s damn hot to read, for us fans—because it is in no way actually happening. In real life, these stories never, ever end well. That is why many people oppose such books: they feel they might influence those who would harm others, those who ignore consent—and there is enough of that in the world already.

Fans of Dub-con (and even non-con fiction, for that matter) understand this. Or at least I hope they do. I for one do not discount anyone’s experiences or preferences or tastes (well, tastes in this matter, at least). There are so, so many legitimate reasons why some fans of erotica do not want to read books containing limited consent. I believe in content warnings and trigger warnings in erotica—people shopping for the joys that a filthy book can bring deserve to know what is in it, and that its contents might be something they want to actively avoid. Who could argue with this?

But of course, what is in some of those warnings is exactly what many readers are looking for. And while I fully respect the preferences and opinions of those who avoid them, I cannot agree with people who think such books should not exist.

Personally, I’ve never felt that writers are obligated to teach moral lessons in their fiction, including writers of erotica. Writers of murder mysteries are never (well, rarely) accused of promoting murder, yet at times I have felt like we fans, and especially writers, of Dub-con are in a secret society even within erotica—we whisper our love of forbidden works that more mainstream BDSM writers would not approve of.

In the real world, we should be angered when consent is not fully respected. Something is wrong with you if you are not. But I believe that mature adults are able tell the difference between reality and fiction, and most know that readers won’t go off causing all sorts of mayhem just because they read it in a novel. Writers have to trust their audience, I think.

Dub-con has its place in this world. Some of us have darker thoughts, have always had them, which we in no way hope will actually come true—this is why they are called “fantasies,” a definition often misunderstood by both the more mainstream world and those erotica readers who like their stories to be explicitly consensual. We know it’s “wrong”—but so deliciously wrong. Dub-con fiction is a fun and sometimes thrilling way to receive and explore such fantasies.

As for me, I love a good (depending on your definition of “good”) women-in-prison movie with lots of rough shower room scenes, or a well-written kidnapping novel, or a Bilbrew cartoon in which the lovely captive does not look the least bit happy as the cruel dominatrix ties her (or him) up and reaches for the whip.

It might all be very dubious—but it’s not real.

*

But this is not the essay to deeply explore the whys of Dub-con’s existence and purposes. This is a survey of the variations that are possible within a specific subset of the sub-genre, a look at several books that convey that variety. (And hotness.)

The Dubious Deal is a story in which a transaction is proposed—sometimes by the person who knows they will get the worst of it—to trade sexual submission to avoid a pre-existing or alternative situation which is, simply put, worse. Technically, there is consent. But it exists under less than ideal circumstances.

When I was telling a friend about this essay, she expressed some discomfort with the phrase “because the alternative is worse,” and that does need clarified. This does not mean—as it might in a kidnapping novel—“Submit to me, or I will hurt you.” No—that would by definition be non-consensual (at least in the story’s early stages). In fact, it’s not even “Submit to me, or I will release you, yes, but to the marauding hoards storming our castle,” which is really the same: technically “freedom,” but actually strong coercion.

The Dubious Deal is more subtle, which is why it rides an interesting edge: frequently, in some of the best stories, the “worse” is simply the legal/justice system doing its upstanding job—prison for years, or sex slave for a month? Seriously, which would you choose?

There is often (though not always) a bit of the comeuppance story in the Dubious Deal, and as readers of comeuppance stories know, there has to be at least some questionable consent on the part of the perpetrator for there to be any punishment incurred—the tables turned on the cruel headmistress at the boarding school, for example. When it is the original perpetrator of a crime who chooses the less detestable punishment, which also happens to be the more arousing one… well, the fictional results can be absolutely scrumptious. Is there ever a hint of coercion to these stories? Good god, yes. There are heavy pressures behind their decisions; peril either way. That’s why they call it Dub-con—these are not stories of people falling in love on a sunny day and making sweet, sweet love as it begins to gently rain, enthused consent being asked for and given before each act.

No.

But the protagonists are, usually—though not always—free to leave at any time.

But do they want to?

*

Enslaved by Claire Thompson, (2012, Romance Unbound Publishing).

We begin with the simplest of premises: one man, one woman, in the simplest of work environments: he is her boss; she his only employee. Sam is a software entrepreneur gathering venture funds; Rae handles his finances. Throw in a past one-night stand in which the beginnings of restraint and power play were introduced with interesting reactions but which she has since regretted, and we have a more complex situation.

When the only outside character even mentioned in the book—a banker—informs Sam that the books seem to be way off from what he thinks they should be, we suddenly have an opportunity for quite the kinky novel.

When Sam confronts Rae, she at first denies her embezzlement, then rationalizes it even to herself as “borrowing” it—she has been moving his money around to cover a real estate debt of her own. She then admits it and apologizes profusely, offering to pay it back as she can—which she has always intended, so she says; so she’s been telling herself.

But Sam has another idea. In fact it comes to him in a flash—he makes her an offer, one that she is shocked by but finds very difficult to refuse: he can call the police, and let the wheels of the justice system proceed as they should, or… she can serve as his sex slave, in his basement dungeon, for a mere month; all debts to be forgiven.

I have not read a large percentage of Claire Thompson’s works—she’s written a lot—but I like what I’ve encountered. Her novels span the gamut from very consensual BDSM to outright non-con kidnapping novels, heavy on the S&M, and everything in between—where Enslaved fits quite nicely.

Rae does have the choice, here. Of course if Sam truly cared for her, it could be argued, he could work with her, find a way to work out a repayment plan; forgive.

But that’s not a very interesting erotic novel, now is it? Even if his generosity prods her to reignite their budding, somewhat kinky sex life that she so decisively cut off. Because Rae is a very proud woman, but in denial about more than her stealing—why was she so adamant in refusing to play the submissive role, ever again? To return to her lonely, aloof, strictly professional existence—that she actually hated? Ever the woman in control, she’s told herself there was no way she would let down her guard again, her desire to be taken seriously… until it meant going to prison, of course.

Obviously, from the book’s title, you can guess which option Rae chooses.

It’s only a month, she tells herself—but she hadn’t counted on just how thoroughly Sam had thought things out, even on such a sudden whim of a proposal that he didn’t even think she’d choose. He intends a true discipline—no “playing,” no safewords. Actual slavery.

Is this the same as outright coercion? Well, yes and no. She is still free to quit and have herself turned over to the authorities, after all. She committed the crime, and it is her choice.

Is Sam kind in making this offer, this deal in the first place? Might he have chosen a more gentle and caring option? My friend, if kindness is what you’re looking for, you’re reading the wrong genre, the wrong review. These books are for those who enjoy tales of the exercise of sexual power over another, with the consent to do so iffy. That the more powerless character does have an actual choice in the matter, even if a bad choice, is what makes these stories so edgy—and so damned tasty. It’s much like predicament bondage, in a way: painfully hang by the wrists, or strain to stand on your tippy toes. Up to you; I’ll just enjoy the spectacle of the struggle. Sam has not framed Rae, created false financial records to force her into this. It was she, in this fictional world, who put herself in this position. What would you choose?

Hotness, and crises, follow. Rae must ask herself serious questions—about what she wants from life, who she is. She is going to have to learn to trust him, of all things, and Sam must do some self-questioning as well, after the main crisis. The book is labelled as “a dark, edgy BDSM romance,” so I will leave its ending for you to read, but that does give some hint as to whether it is a happy one or not.

*

The Erotic Dark by Nina Lane, (2012, Snow Queen Publishing).

This book is unfortunately so generically titled that it could be about anything—not a hint of the situation is given, which is too bad, because as far as Dubious Deal books go, it’s a pretty good one.

Its premise overlaps with that of Enslaved: a woman has committed a crime—embezzlement—and fears the legal consequences. A trade of sexual servitude for safety is offered, by a man who has long desired not just her body, but her submission, and, quite frankly, her suffering.

But there are important differences. In Enslaved, Rae has committed the crime against the man who makes the offer. In Erotic Dark, Lydia seeks the help of an old acquaintance who she knows has an excellent place to hide—and she will need to hide for a very long time. The Feds are looking for her in a nationwide search; Rae’s crime, on the other hand, was known only to Sam—her boss, her brief lover. There is another interesting difference: in Erotic Dark, Preston, the man from whom Lydia seeks shelter, is not the only male to inhabit the isolated Southern plantation that is offered to her for refuge—there are three men interested in this pending arrangement. Also, while Sam in Enslaved could probably technically be charged with extortion, Preston is merely harboring a fugitive: Rae is imprisoned by her victim/accuser; Lydia is offered sanctuary, protection—at a price, of course. Many sexytimes ensue.

The book is not perfect. Overall it is well written, but the tendency to reach for increased variation in terminologies for the various folds and shafts of genitalia does grow tiresome, silly even. This sometimes distracting language is not just a problem in itself, but the symptom of another: some of the sex scenes are over-described in endless detail—or perhaps I’ve just read too much erotica, and want to get on with things? I think that these unnecessarily lengthy sections created a demand for varied lingo to avoid endless repetition.

Does this mean that the sometimes-overwrought anatomical descriptions spoil the book? Oh, no—not at all. There are some fantastic sex and punishment scenes, here. One of the things that makes this all such a delectable ordeal for Lydia is that there are the three men in this house, rather than just one, as in most books. While they do make demands of her individually, there are many scenes in which all are present. This gives the effect of an audience, for whom she must display herself and accept their attentions and abuses, and there is something so much more intense about that than if there were simply one. To this reader, anyway.

The men, of course, have differing and even opposing personalities: Preston, the owner of the plantation, is by far the cruelest. He has wanted Lydia since they were teenagers, when she rejected him. This is his chance not only at control, but revenge, under the guise of providing her safety. Gabriel is kinder, though still enjoying her torments and using her freely—he’s just not as into her humiliations as Preston is. And then there’s Kruin, who Lydia cannot quite figure out. In charge of the mansion’s security, he is actually the scariest (and most generously endowed); he is cold and aloof except when dispensing penances, yet in some ways she has the most raw attraction to him. These men have tensions and alternative agendas between them, not to mention a power structure that Lydia does not initially understand.

As with Rae in Enslaved, Lydia is a strong and independent woman, not used to submitting at all—her personality is opposed to it, in fact; even more than Rae’s. Because while Rae was an employee of Sam, Lydia was a boss, a highly critical and demanding supervisor who oversaw some fifty employees. Her will was Law.

This is the other nice thing about this book—her internal conflicts. As with Enslaved, as with most Dub-con, actually, Lydia is vexed by her opposing desires—to tell them to fuck off, to simply leave, to resist; and to submit, to beg, to kneel, to endure every punishment and to receive every fucking with wholehearted enthusiasm. She hates it; she craves it. Which side will win?

I will say that as tensions rise, the story sometimes veers into slightly implausible behavior. Things are said and done that don’t always make perfect sense. Some scenes add less to the story than to shoehorn in a certain kink, just because. The “fruit” chapter made so little sense I nearly gave up on the book, but I am glad I did not. Not only did things move in an overall proper direction, with some memorable hotness, the book had what I felt was a refreshingly satisfying end, not at all where I was afraid it might go. I ended up quite liking this book. There is a sequel that take place after she leaves the plantation, but thankfully this one does not end in a cliffhanger.

*

The Pink Flamingo Publications cover; far more evocative and less cheesy than the Chimera Press one. The book is no longer available in print; a sad development.

Owned and Owner by Anneke Jacob, (2003) Chimera Press; (2009) Pink Flamingo Publications.

Ah, this book—one of my very favorite works of erotica. It is beautifully written, though not for everyone. It is, to say the least, harsh. Its discipline is so severe, its power differential so radically high, that when I first read it six or seven years ago, I thought the author must surely be a man writing under a female pseudonym—these must be male fantasies, yes? Surely women don’t have this level of masochistic thoughts?

That was before I got to know women who do have such intense thoughts, and who write and publish them. The book also has many enthusiastic reviews by female readers, as does Jacob’s other, equally harsh novel, As She’s Told. I have suspicions of who Anneke Jacob might be, but I do believe she is a woman.

Owned and Owner is a very different creature than the previous novels I’ve described so far. For one thing, it is a science fiction novel, and is thus allowed far more fantastical situations than more contemporary, realistic books might have. This, then, makes the extreme differences in power of the main characters more possible, more believable—because we’re already suspending our disbelief on a grander scale. Also, the mechanism of the dubious deal itself is, in some ways, reversed from those previous stories.

The book’s underlying premise is a bit far-fetched, yes, but bear with me:

It takes place in the (very) distant future, after humanity has colonized the entire galaxy centuries or even millennia beforehand. In the distant past, relations between the sexes on the isolated planet of Henth became so strained that the women all left and settled on the nearest star system’s only habitable planet, Raniz. Artificial reproduction on both planets got figured out, and their cultures began to diverge, though they were in such isolation from the rest of civilization that they have maintained a minimal contact, one diplomatic/trade voyage per year. Their languages evolved, as did their mistrust of each other. The women of Raniz particularly demonized the males, and the men, blessed in their easy-going homosexuality on the more luxurious of the two worlds, seemed to forget that there even were female humans (perhaps the least believable aspect of this story, since their animals breed naturally).

But a few men, who could afford to escape the local isolation and see the galaxy, did know of women and liked what they saw, and a few of them were interested in the sadomasochistic subcultures on these exotic worlds.

Garid is one such man, and he desperately wants to possess a woman of his own. The mandatory consent required in off-planet BDSM scenes has left him dissatisfied, pretend possessions, but he is also too moral to partake in the few non-consensual slave-owning cultures out there. If only he could find a woman who wanted to be truly owned…

Meanwhile, on the all-female planet of Raniz, Etrin has been an unhappy, delinquent girl her entire life. Rebellious and destructive, she spent her youth in detentions and therapy. But one year in school she came across a reference to an old punishment for the most serious crimes: the option of sale to the men of Henth.

She could not believe she’d never heard of it. It was an actual option for sentencing but no one mentioned it, let alone chose it, it was so horrible: the giving up of all rights, all personhood, and rather than accept the far more logical—yet unbearable, to Etrin, anyway—banishment or confinement with its endless, well-intended lecturing, a woman could choose to be transported to the planet of men where she would be auctioned to the highest bidder, never to return.

It’s an epiphany. This awful deterrent is what Etrin has been missing, yearning for—misbehaving for, without even knowing it. She commits an act of vandalism so grand she is arrested yet again, and, to the courtroom’s horror, she chooses to be sold as chattel. To men!

Fortunately, all this backstory does not take up much of the novel. Just go with it, and enjoy the ride—and a very rough ride it is. Garid is not the only man on Henth who desires to own a woman, and, as Etrin learns after some time, she is not the only woman who has made the same choice. There is a small community of owners and slaves on Henth—they are regarded as perverts; are women not mere animals?—and they are not an especially gentle crowd. (Interestingly, there seems to be no homosexual S&M scene on either planet.)

Garid, even among this group, has especially harsh desires. He wants not just a slave, but a completely controlled and owned woman; she must feel it in her bones. Entirely obedient, no learning the Henthian language beyond a few commands, no independent thought at all. Conditioned, and harshly. Poor Etrin has stumbled onto the one owner who wants a woman who is not just objectified, but dehumanized.

The book has lots of my favorite tropes: an auction (she is told to strip before the spaceship even lands—she is allowed no possessions; she is the possession); pony training—the owners are fond of racing their women with sulkies; and innovative artistic uses of female bodies as household decoration. As I said, the discipline is severe. No one would want this level of submission and pain, outright pain, in real life. (…Would they?)

So how does this work as a dubious deal? Etrin becomes a total slave, with no hope for escape, no going home, no one to ask for help. No safewords. This is now her home, her new life. Is this complete non-con? Garid can—lawfully, let alone by his mere will—take her any time, any way he wants. If Etrin does not want (though she always, always does; he keeps her in a state of perpetual arousal and denies her orgasm for months, at one point), is it rape?

In the real world, of course it is—good luck trying to defend that in court. So how is this a “deal”? And how is this merely “dubious,” besides the fact that this is her lifelong fantasy, and she is in a constant state of extreme heat?

Because this book is an unapologetic fantasy, silly. And if you think any would-be rapist is taking his cue from this book, then we should be more worried about the malleability of the human mind than any potential influences of dub-con science fiction novels.

As in the other books, Etrin goes into slavery to avoid what would be her legal sentence. What is different is that rather than committing a crime and going to such (perhaps secretly desired) lengths to avoid prison, she actually engages her agency to purposefully direct her entire life toward this goal: to be a true slave to a man. Once she discovers this strange and overwhelmingly alluring option, she commits higher levels of crime to be given that choice, and then grabs it.

Another difference is that once this decision is made, there is no turning back—there is no time limit or statute of limitations on her servitude. She is made fully aware going in that her life will no longer be her own, forever. Yet she still chooses it.

This is a term known as “consensual non-consent,” used in other novels, particularly Laura Antoniou’s Marketplace series—though even in that world, there are rules placed on what abuses individual slaves will take. On Henth, there is no governing body, no recourse for the mistreated slave to appeal to: Etrin is registered there as a pet, not a citizen.

In real life, this is not always such a good idea. Even lifestyle slaves, practitioners of 24/7 D/s, have negotiated limits and safewords. Consensual non-consent does exist, as a thing, but it is rare, and risky. Trust matters. In fact, many wise practitioners advise against such ideas to start with—talk about an avenue to abuse. But as (such beautifully written!) fiction? Consider my trigger—the fun one—tripped.

*

In one way, Devi Ansevi’s Schooled to Obey: Lily’s Training (Book 1) (2015, self-published) differs from the other three even more: it is simultaneously by far the gentlest story of these four, and yet has the most manipulative and least consensual premise—a lovely contradiction, oui? In correspondence with the author, she told me that she was feeling nervous and even a bit guilty about the mechanism by which her protagonist submits. I replied, “That’s what I like most about it!” Of the four, it is the only story that lacks either the deliberate choice to lose choice, or that certain comeuppance aspect that so many dub-con stories have, especially these “deals.”

Schooled to Obey is a fairly short novella. The first in an intended series, the author has apparently not seen fit to continue since its publication seven years ago, which is too bad. Such are the dynamics and economics of the erotica world today; I do understand. While the historical story’s setting could use a bit more filling out—I’m not sure exactly when the story takes place—it is quite well written, and is pretty damn hot.

Lily is a young governess who has climbed up from poverty to a respected and educated position, teaching and taking care of the wealthy Lady Montgomery’s offspring. But the children in Lily’s charge are now old enough to attend boarding school, and Lily’s poor mother, who sacrificed so much to get her the education needed for a better life, is ill. Lily will soon face a diminished income, unable to provide for her mother’s care, unless—oh yes, unless—she accepts the offer from her boss to trade a far more… personal… type of service. In return, Lady Montgomery will pay for the relocation of her mother to a cottage on the estate’s grounds, and a nurse to care for her.

For Lady Montgomery, you see, is into women—but not in any kind of equitable way.

Examining this from a morality perspective, this is obviously not cool. Coercing—though not forcing—someone into a subservient, submissive, and homosexual relationship by holding their mother’s health—life—hostage, is to say the least problematic—in real life. I’ve seen similar premises in fiction—a woman submitting herself to a gang of men to erase her father’s debts, is one example. It’s evil; it’s wrong.

…So deliciously wrong…in fiction, of course. Especially if, as in Lily’s case, she digs it. But, this being Dub-con, she at first doesn’t know she digs it. She’s never been attracted to women, and she’s never even considered being a sexual submissive. But what choice does she have?

None. Lily agrees. I personally love that tension—that pressure—to go along, to submit, to obey, to accept new forms of discipline far beyond her experience in the workplace. To go down on another woman.

To say that she enjoys her days of training, despite herself, is an understatement. It does seem odd, I have to admit, that Lily is taken to a male trainer, the incredibly masculine Lord Harcourt, to learn the ways of both discipline and “Sapphic Love” as they called it then. Why this manly man, other than to give us some hot M/f chapters? Because Lord Harcourt is simply the best at what he does, in this kinky, aristocratic world. None but the best and most thorough training for Lady Montgomery’s slaves!

He commences to put Lily through the wringer, and a wonderful wringer it is. Yet unlike Etrin in Owned, Lily loves every moment of it, even as she is shocked at her own arousal. (All four protagonists in these novels are shocked by their own arousal; this is the very heart of Dub-con.) The torments and punishments are thorough, but on the whole much lighter, more pleasurable, than what poor Etrin must endure. Lily is mostly embarrassed.

Which is exactly what makes this book such a delightful read. If she did not like it—if she had neither latent homosexual nor masochistic/submissive tendencies—it would be a very different story. Not necessarily a bad one—if done right, with careful examination of her mental and emotional processes, and yes, hotness even in unwanted yet agreed-upon scenes, it could be a fascinating thing. But it would be different; a much darker read.

As it is, it’s a happy and delightful novella. Lily’s flowering, so to speak, balances the bleak reason for her agreement and the coercive nature of it. It’s all fun. I’ll admit I wish Ms. Ansevi had taken a bit more time to fill in some of the details. A more thorough account of her thoughts and senses working overtime as she is ordered to navigate a hedge maze while naked and blindfolded, for example, could have been a deep and cathartic scene. As it is, it’s hot but quick and to the point, a way to get to the tent in the maze’s center where the sex scene will occur. But it’s a great sex scene.

*

In these changing times, I wonder if Dub-con fiction is perhaps feeling more and more “wrong” to more and more readers. Does it resemble real life too closely, in certain ways, or at least mentally connect with things that are finally being more publicly talked about but are no less unpleasant?

But Dub-con has been around since the writing of porn itself, and it’s always been considered wrong, by so many. Will Dub-con fade away, as a sub-genre, as new generations avoid insensitive narratives?

I hope not, and, truly, I doubt it. And I know I am not alone. After all, it should be remembered, the primary point of the Dubious Deal story is that the ordeal purposefully chosen by the protagonist is actually the path that ultimately leads to a deeper level of fulfillment. It might not be the one you’d choose, and it would likely not all fall into place so perfectly in real life—but that’s the joy of it, yes? That it is outside our more mundane and less intense daily experiences—which is fine with me, and probably you. There will always be a demand.

The subtitle for this little essay is “Four reviews and a question,” and here is my question, for any well-read and knowledgeable readers out there: Does anyone know of a Dubious Deal story, especially a novel, which features a male protagonist, forced (“forced”) to sexually submit in return for safety, to avoid a more severe alternative? I know of none, although I have seen stories of men submitting when they are behind in their rent; there’s virtually every gender combination out there with that particular trope (which is a form of the Dubious Deal) in not just written erotica, but visual porn.

All four of these stories—and thrilling stories they are—feature women submitting, bargaining their freedom and free will. In all but the last, they agree to submit to men (and even then, she is trained by a man).

I certainly have nothing against this M/f format. I love it, even, and I wish I had more space to explore the particularities of that dynamic. Female submissives are my favorite protagonists in erotic literature, generally speaking, and this gender arrangement dominates erotica, for both female and male readers and writers. Sometime, I hope to take a deeper look into why.

But I do enjoy a good fem-dom story, and I’m wondering: are there no gender-swapped Dub-con books out there? Fem-dom Dub-con? Fem-dom Dubious Deals? Or for that matter, a male trading submission to another man, or more than one? Are there no fictional males, finding themselves entrapped in some unpleasant situation of their own making (or not of their own making), desperate to agree to a less-than-perfect, though better-than-the-alternative period of pain and sexual submission to escape it?

Surely there’s something, well-written and psychologically fascinating, out there.

Anybody?

 

  2 comments for “My Treasured Tropes, #1: The Dubious Deal

  1. July 20, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Male/male dubious deals: Danny Boy by Ben Cassidy, and Counterpoint by Rachel Haimowitz.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Danny Boy. Innocent gay teenager gets taken advantage of by his father’s boss, his university instructor, and then one hustler after another. It’s dubious consent all the way; he can’t really say no if he wants a place to live. I also love the Master/slave books the author has written under another name, Thom Lane, but those don’t count as dubious deals because nobody asks slaves to consent to anything.

    • LN Bey
      July 20, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      Thank you, Yingtai! These are exactly the kinds of examples I am looking for: “he can’t really say no if he wants a place to live.” Gives me the warm fuzzies. There has to be some quality F/m and F/f examples out there somewhere; I’ll keep searching.

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