WRITING THE FICTION OF NON-CONSENSUAL WEAR
I read Jan’s essay on the fiction of non consensual CB wear around about the time I was tinkering with “The Chastity Belt”, my first published erotic novel (www.pinkflamingo.com). Jan’s deconstruction of the typical chastity belt fantasy made me read website postings a little more analytically. What I found set me to thinking, not about the boundary between fact and fiction, but between chastity belt fantasy and fiction, and what that meant for my novel.
I’d long ago noticed that most internet chastity belt fantasies are not remotely realistic – and why should they be? A fantasy is just a fantasy.
However, the revelation was that – for me at least - realistic fantasies were the least erotic. The reason? Well, I don’t know about you, but I like my chastity non consensual.
By “non consensual”, I don’t mean that somebody has to be forced into a chastity belt, just that it’s a turn-on if the wearer has no direct control over his or her release – the hero can hardly plumb the depths of frustration or reach the pinnacle of desire if he can just unlock himself, or reach for a handy power cutter.
True, you can fantasise about consensual chastity games, or being part of the S&M scene. But that’s rather like daydreaming about paint war games; fun and valid in real life – heck, I’d rather be shot back at with paint than bullets - but as a fantasy it doesn’t really scratch the itch compared to mentally reliving the OK Corral.
The problem with non consensual fantasies is that, for the reasons outlined by Jan, they’re inherently unrealistic. If somebody tries to blackmail you into wearing a chastity belt, then they’ve just given you something to blackmail them back. Similarly, anything that can be made, can also be broken, disarmed or defused, given time.
Of course, you can set up complex situations to justify the inescapable chastity belt – terrible crimes, fortunes at stake, complex technology, whatever. But that leads to two problems:
First, it limits the cast. The girl next door is unlikely to be an evil blackmailer, or have access to alien technology – and I think that the best fantasies are about the girl next door, or the boss, or the receptionist...
Second, the premise can displace the erotic element. A lot of online fantasies are like this – structured like an old fashioned horror story with chastity belt as the denouement, and no explicit content until that point.
In fantasies that’s fine. You can ignore these problems. But in commercial erotic fiction, you can’t. You must have characters of erotic interest to more than a few people, and you can’t spend three chapters building up to the erotic action.
Realising this, I wracked my brains. How could I handle the unrealistic elements? How could I have normal people in abnormal situations?
Then I realised that there’s already a literary genre devoted to asking, “What if something unlikely happened?”
In SF you put the unlikely thing – the “gimme” - upfront and justify it afterwards. The readers don’t need to be convinced that the gimme could happen, they just want to know what happens when it does. This is very different from other genres. For example, the thriller “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crighton had quite a big lead up before we ever encountered the dinosaurs (the gimme), whereas an SF version of the same story would have probably opened with the protagonists meeting a dinosaur.
When I revisited the online stories, I discovered that the stories I liked worked the same way: no real setup for the chastity belt... get the hero locked up and get on with the action. As the story progresses, we get more explanation to back up the premise, whether it’s technology, emotions or blackmail.
So, I junked my complicated booby trapped device and decided that the chastity belt in my story would be made up of Quantumite, an indestructible hi-tech material. I didn’t go into too much detail at the beginning – instead I decided to drop in references to military tests and quantum physics as the story progressed.
Then there was the problem of the people. What kind of girl would have access to that sort of technology? And what kind of man would wear it for her? It was doubly difficult because I didn’t want to write about people who were self consciously kinky.
Then I realised that, in SF, the people experiencing the premise aren’t always the people who created it. For example, in the film 2001, the protagonists are the astronauts, rather than Mission Control, or the alien intelligences. The same went for quite a lot of online chastity stories that were actually set in some sort of SF future.
So, I decided that the chastity belt could come from a third party: the Tough Love Corporation, paying money to male college students to test the device as a cure for sex addiction and compulsive masturbation.
Mark, the hero, could volunteer for the experiment for emotional reasons. Better yet, he now has a good, non-perverted explanation for why he’s locked into an indestructible jockstrap – an explanation that won’t scare off all the initially vanilla ladies.
Now all I needed was a plot. But that’s another story....