Guest Post: Gender Identity and BDSM Roles by Joelle Casteel 5 comments


Joelle is a fellow BDSM Erotica author. Her stories don’t replicate the most often pairing of M/f roles, and neither does she. In this day and age of the slow acceptance of different gender identities other than male and female, and the ‘normal’ heterosexual couples being joined by homosexual, bisexual, and lesbian couples at the alter and on Main street, those in society who thumb their noses and spit upon those who refuse to be made by a cookie cutter are having to peddle their hate elsewhere. There is no normal anymore, so they’d better get over it.

front of shirt joelle  back of shirt joelle

Gender Identity and BDSM Roles

Let me start off with a story of something that pissed me off this morning – BDSM book group, someone posts about a couple (I forget if genders were mentioned) with sub being lead on leash and collar. One person in part (I didn’t read all, didn’t click on “see more” ’cause I was already pissed) talked about “vanilla” people didn’t consent to seeing that. Well fuck, I don’t consent to seeing large diamond rings on a woman’s finger, and in my area that solidly denotes a heterosexual, monogamous pairing. But that anger is based on the threefold way I understand my sexuality orientation – queer, poly, and kinky. Yesterday in my Dungeon Crawl post I talked about the polyamorous & kinky (IE BDSM) parts of me, saying I’d wait to talk more about the queer part here today on Jolynn’s blog.

I came out as bisexual when I was 15. It made sense to me. I enjoyed sex with men and I adored whatever intimacy I could enjoy with other women. Now this was 21 years ago, before I spent time in study about transgender and intersexed people, about lifestyle submission, about gender itself, just to name a few. I also became an active Unitarian Universalist (my religion) in there; they are one of the religions that make an active effort to be welcoming of non-heterosexuals. There’s still a long way to go in being welcoming, especially for those who aren’t L or G or add multiple sexual minorities as I do. But then simple labels don’t work for me; even the threefold sexual identity doesn’t adequately explain my identity- yes, I’m used to educating, answering very personal questions, after I define my sexual/relationship reality. It was UU that finally gave me the language of “queer” as an identity that was more encompassing of my reality.

I live my orientation in two ways- what it seems people see based on how they treat me and what I know to be my truth. I don’t wear a wedding ring even though I’m legally married to my Master; I wear the stainless steel collar He put around my throat when He was able to acquire it. When it comes to anniversaries, I think on January 2001 (when our poly triad with my ex-husband ended), not “March whatever 5 or 6 years ago” (that date is written on our marriage papers and in my mother’s date book), when we were able to get married. I think if Shaman (my Master’s nickname) had The Queen’s riches that He would have found another way to protect myself and my son than using the benefits built into heterosexual marriage.

Talking about that 1st way, what people interpret from what they see, occupies a large portion of my thinking, writing, and talking time. When I kiss Shaman in public, do people perceive it to be the act of a heterosexual? I certainly don’t feel heterosexual, whatever feeling that even means. It matters and it doesn’t. While I’m ambivalent about the feminist notion of “privilege,” I have seen some ways it can work. Being able legally to marry Shaman has allowed for insurance in certain employment situations for me, has eased taxes, estate planning etc. Socially, when asked if I want a store’s credit card, I can say “my husband and I discuss such things before making decisions,” and most people don’t question it.

Of course there are the places where the legal relationship does not help me. In church services, where others will happily talk about husbands/wives/partners etc, I sit with “I don’t want to call Shaman my husband; I want to call Him, my Master, maybe my dominant at best, but that’s likely to make people uncomfortable.” Remember that I said even as a UU, parts of my sexual minority status make me an outsider. A piece of irony- the last bricks & mortar UU church I attended, I was only “out” as a lifestyle submissive to 10% of people, that most commonly cited statistic about LGBT people. I know attend an online UU church and the percentage to whom I’m “out” is even less than 10%.

Shaman likes to joke that I’m a lesbian except for Him. When He says that, He’s talking about the fullness of my sexual interests, desires, experiences, fantasies, behaviors. That “fullness” is an important thing. If *you* only look at the fact that it’s been years since I’ve had intercourse with anyone but Him, the fact that I’ve engaged in some form of sexuality with over 100 male-identified people, whereas the number for female-identified people hovers only around a dozen, my sexuality looks quite the opposite of the reality which His joke recognizes. He tries very hard, in the context of our BDSM relationship, to allow me chances to engage with women. He has not done the reading on gender that I have and thinks from the gender binary that I question now. I probably over-make up for His disinterest in thought 😀  As I write this, I’m spiraling between it, an article on intersectionality, and Pat Califia’s “Public Sex” (second edition). And I have my statement shirts. Never want someone to think I’m straight and monogamous if I can help corrupt their assumptions. Consider the pictures of the homemade shirt I’ve shared. I’m inviting conversations, questions whenever I wear this shirt. I want to disrupt what looks like (to some others) a straight, monogamous life because that isn’t my lived reality.

My daily life might not speak to the truth of my identity as a queer woman always. Right now, my Master is limited by a torn Achilles tendon and a blood clot. What might otherwise feel like service more often than feelings like care giving. He can’t easily walk to the kitchen and get Himself food if He’s hungry; I have to be extra attentive to when He eats. He might end up nauseous if the balance of food and medicines isn’t maintained. Going to a store is complicated; even with His fracture cast and cane, He moves slowly and He is too much bigger than me for me to be off any help. So where we’d have amusement of strangers thinking He’s my dad (we have an age difference, but not that much :D), now I’m not sure what it even looks like.

Then there’s my inner world. Tomorrow on my blog, I’ll be engaging in fantasy, and with a woman. You see, between medicines, pain, messed up sleep schedules from medicines, I often go to bed by myself. It’s lonely in that big bed all by myself. So I’ve started inviting my characters (mainly from Vala’s Story) into bed with me. More often than not, it’s the women. That was weird making love with Vala, experiencing the ways in which she isn’t me. Then Iona, Vala’s beautiful domme. My dream domme, that’s Iona. The female dominant that I never met, part of why my dominant is a male-identified person, instead of the woman I once wished for. I think this inner world is one of the most difficult for me. As a writer, just as the person I am, I don’t keep most of this inner world secret, private. In a way, I’ve taken the feminist phrase “the personal is political” to heart, even as I’ve repeatedly felt unwelcome in most “feminist spaces” over my life because of various parts of my identity, BDSM being one of them, sure, but not the only.

What does all of what I just said really mean? My identity is complex, too complex for any reductionist notion of “a female submissive involved with a dominant man.” And I prefer it that way.

Please join Vala’s world. http://joellecasteel.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JoelleCasteelAuthor

http://authorjoellecasteel.tumblr.com/ and on

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10571043-joelle

You can also buy her books for something to read this weekend.

Author’s Note: This novel is meant for open-minded adults. Activities described include a wide range of BDSM and sexual activities, some of which are male/male, male/female, consensual slavery, oral/anal/vaginal intercourse, bondage. The story also covers some sensitive topics in characters’ backstories, such as drug abuse.

Out of the Night: Book One (Vala’s Story) print edition
available at Lulu.com’s Market Place
or
available on Amazon.com

Out of the Night: Book One (Vala’s Story) ebook
The friend succeeded with picture formatting so now you’re just waiting on me to get the ebooks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’m still so gratetful for KISS Ebook Formattingby Elijana Kindel- the only thing it didn’t help with was a tricky html code issue that I needed specific help on.

Out of the Night: Book One (Vala’s Story)- Smashwords- multiple formats- https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/417778 . First 20% available as a free sample.

Out of the Night: Book One (Vala’s Story)- MyAwesomeFans.com. Mobi and ePub.
http://fanstore.myawesomefans.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&view=productdetails&virtuemart_product_id=54&virtuemart_category_id=116&Itemid=263

Gates of the Garden: Book Two (Vala’s Story). My editor finished with this book. I’ve done my work and beta readers have enjoyed it. After professional formatting on “Night,” it’ll be “Gates”‘s turn. Thankfully the cover art is done- did you catch the reveal! Again I will offer print, Nook, and Kindle editions.

Joelle’s Chaotic Collection of ScrewingI decided I wanted to give my readers this collection of short stories, story excerpts, and even an erotic poem for free. After much searching, I found I can use Google Docs to allow readers to download the book for free. Please remember, even though it’s free, I do hold the copyright and I ask that if you know someone that would enjoy the book, ask them to download the book for themselves. However the Google Docs wasn’t a perfect fit and I ended up engaging a friend to format it- with his help hopefully Vala’s Story will start coming out faster. Now you have the option to download (and review please) the book at Smashwords.


Joelle’s Chaotic Collection of Screwing: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354635


About JolynnRaymond

Writer of historical paranormal romance, kinky historical romance, and BDSM Mistress and Sex Blogger. I hold the position of being one of Kinkly's Top 100 Sex Bloggers. Two of my books, Taken in Hand A Guide to Domestic Discipline and His Lordship's Wayward Wife, have been nominated as best BDSM Non Fiction and Best BDSM Historical books of the year. The awards ceremony will take place at the BDSM Writers Con in New York City this August.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

5 thoughts on “Guest Post: Gender Identity and BDSM Roles by Joelle Casteel

  • JolynnRaymond Post author

    You are very welcome. I’m glad to have you here. When I started this series of guest interviews and posts, it was because I wanted to open people’s minds to things that perhaps they weren’t completely comfortable with. Forming opinions about people’s sexuality, the kinks that are thought of in a more negative light, and practices that may seem distasteful or wrong is easier when you only see and hear about what’s on the surface. Education and reading what a real person who is pretty much like anyone else aside from their sexual habits. forms of recreation, and gender identity is how we break down bigotry and stereotypes.

    • Joelle Casteel

      very true- I put my pants on the same way as anyone else, one leg at a time. When I bother to dress that is lmao. Although I like to point out that “bother” 😀 Yeah, partial nudist, or whatever label might work, but what I wear or don’t wear isn’t something my Master generally worries His head over.

      It can be so easy to make assumptions based on labels. Like I struggle around eating. For a lot of years, my Master had to fight against ingrained notions of mine from what I’d read that said I should never eat before Him- well, I’m hypoglycemic so whether one thinks He’s thinking as my Master or my husband, it behooves my Master to have me eat first.