How to Research an Erotic Novel for Under $150--Flogging Included

What I needed, however, was first-hand knowledge of what paying for pain entailed. So while in NYC for The Romance Writers of America Conference, of all things, I made a date with a Dominatrix.
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In New York City, a $120 can't buy you a lot--20 frappuccinos at Starbucks, six hours at a cheap hotel, or seven seconds of decent parking in Manhattan. Last June I discovered $120 could buy me a beating and an orgasm. As a woman, I don't usually have to pay for my orgasms. But I'm an erotica writer and I was on a mission--find a dominatrix in New York City and let her kick my ass.

The main character in my book series THE ORIGINAL SINNERS is a woman named Nora Sutherlin. She's an erotica writer by day and a Dominatrix by night. I've done kink for years but only in the privacy of the bedroom. I'd submitted to sadists and dominants, even topped a time or two. I had all I needed by way of personal experience to write my male characters--my sexy sadistic anti-hero and a whole cadre of Underground kinksters. What I needed, however, was first-hand knowledge of what paying for pain entailed. So while in NYC for The Romance Writers of America Conference, of all things, I made a date with a Dominatrix.

In the state of New York, exchanging pain for money is blessedly legal so finding a Dominatrix only required a quick Google search. I found a dungeon that advertised online. Their mission statement reads, "We believe that a submissive, masochistic, and/or fetish-inclined gentleman should receive a good session with an attractive skilled domina possessing a proper fetish wardrobe, in a safe and clean facility for a reasonable fee." I didn't really qualify under the "gentlemen" rubric but I thought they'd make an exception for a writer on a mission. Two dominatrixes were on staff that night according to the online calendar. I could pick either one. My fictional Mistress Nora is petite. I like to put big personalities into small packages. The dungeon's website included pictures and bios of the dominatrixes on staff. One of the ladies stood almost six-feet-tall. I picked the five-foot-three shrimp, Mistress J.

A friend escorted me to the dungeon's location. After getting buzzed in, I took an elevator to the seventh floor (not everyone keeps their dungeon in the basement). As soon as the elevator opened, I was greeted by Mistress J. She wore exactly what you imagine a dominatrix would wear plus perfectly coifed Bettie Page-esque hair and the reddest lipstick in the entire history of the color red. Once inside the dungeon, I was instructed to pay upfront. We discussed what I was looking for. I told her "pain and bruises." "I knew I liked you," Mistress J said. "A lot of my clients don't let me leave marks. They can't show their wives." As a matter of safety, I was instructed to take all my clothes off to prove I wasn't packing my own riding crop (or gun or knife) before leaving me alone again for a minute to prepare myself.

During that minute alone, I forced myself to relax through deep breathing. But I didn't merely breathe and go Zen. $120 had only bought me half an hour and I wasn't about to waste a second. In my book, I describe Mistress Nora's dungeon. Having never seen one before, I could only use my imagination. Luckily I have a very good imagination. Rows of riding crops, coiled rope, single-tail whips, and floggers lined the room. A huge leather table with spikes around the edge lined one side of the room. On the opposite wall hung a massive mirror. In front of the mirror sat a leather kneeler like one would see at an old-school Catholic church.

When Mistress J returned, she tied me up with my arms crossed behind my back, bent me over the kneeler and proceeded to flog and cane me. There might have been paddling too, but it's all a blur now. One quickly forgets one is on a mission of credibility when one is getting one's ass kicked by a tiny goddess of sadism.

After the beating ceased, I was lead to a hulking wood and leather throne, bound tight to it with my legs open wide. With the world's most powerful vibrator, I had the world's quickest orgasm. Blissed out, sore, and tired, I got dressed, tipped Mistress J a Jackson, and grinned like an idiot for the next four hours. Over a week later, I still had the bruises.

On May 1st, my first full-length novel THE SIREN came out in ebook. It releases on August 1st, in paperback. So far reviewers have applied the words, "un-PC," "shocking," "controversial," "subversive," and "blasphemous" to it. But at least no one has called it "unrealistic."

Mission accomplished.

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