But the words in the title of her powerful and highly informative post don't come from one of her books. They come from her real life. Those dark days of over a decade ago are long gone, and she is now blissfully happy with a different man.
But there's more to it than that. A lot more. PJ Fox now gives us a fascinating insight into her Dominant/Submissive relationship.
I can remember it like yesterday: the day he hit me.
“He” was someone I was seeing at the time, and fairly casually. We were out on a date, when I said something he didn’t like; the next thing I knew, I was seeing stars. I walked out on him, even though I barely knew where I was.
A police officer found me on a park bench, sobbing, some time later. He gave me a fight talk about how the right man would never hurt me, and drove me home.
I’d been home for about ten minutes, just enough time to brew a cup of tea, when my phone rang. Calling me was the man who would become my husband; a man with who, at the time, was just a friend.
He gave me the same fight talk, though: about how I deserved more.
Shortly after that, we began dating.
Today, over a decade later, we’re blissfully happy. We do all the things other couples do, especially couples with children: vacuum the carpet and change nappies and pay our bills. Admittedly, though, I’d rather put petrol in the car with my husband than do something “fun” with someone else. So what, then, separates us from “normal” couples? For starters, my husband likes to tie me up and flog me, or cane me, or paddle me.
I am a submissive and my husband, the best man I’ve ever known, is my dominant. Usually referred to, in shorthand, as D/s, this is a type of relationship where power is exchanged between two (or sometimes more) people. It is consensual. It is not, despite what you might’ve seen in films, about whips and chains, or about emotionally crippled people using their kinks as an excuse to remain emotionally crippled. A D/s relationship, like any healthy relationship, is based on a solid foundation of trust; and trust comes from communication.
My husband, unlike that long ago date, has flogged me (again, with my consent) until I’ve had trouble sitting down. But he’s never made me doubt his respect for me, or his commitment to our relationship, for even a second. In every aspect of our lives, he treats me like a queen.
BDSM is not violence. I chose the anecdote I did, to open this piece, to illustrate precisely that point. There is no relationship where failing to respect boundaries or, God forbid, causing fear or even harm is okay. Those of us who choose D/s, or some seemingly “alternate” relationship dynamic, are doing it so because it works for us: because it helps us to be our best selves, and to feel loved as our truest selves. There is no one in the world that I feel safer with, or trust more, than my husband.
I asked him, when I was first brainstorming for this piece, for his input. One thought he had, which I thought was extremely important, was this: D/s can bring you closer to your partner, in that it helps you to explore two things. First, who you really are and also, second, how you want to relate to them.
You can’t control the outside world, but you can control your relationship with another person if you trust each other and work in tandem. Now, what that work is going to look like from the outside, and what it’s going to involve on the inside, that’s going to vary from couple to couple; there is no “right” way to pursue this—or any—kind of relationship.
So what does D/s look like in our relationship?
First, yes. There is sex. But sex, to me, is part of any healthy, functioning marriage. We happen to like certain things, in the bedroom, yes, and some of those things definitely aren’t for everybody.
The most important thing I can say about our sex life, without getting into too much detail, is that it helps us to bond, and re-bond, emotionally, and to express our love for each other. Within the world of BDSM, an important phrase to remember is safe, sane, and consensual. Good sex always is.
Outside of the bedroom, I’ve given control over certain aspects of my life to my husband in that I’ve made the decision to trust him to know what’s best for me. This doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no discussion; on the contrary, we talk through everything. Sometimes over and over again.
Recently, for example, I asked him to put me on a diet. I wanted to lose weight, weight that I’d gained during a difficult time in my life, but didn’t feel that I had the willpower—or self-esteem—to conquer the challenge on my own. My husband, in response, has been preparing my meals, and reading books and articles on healthy eating with me, and telling me every day how proud he is of my commitment. I don’t feel like this is something he’s forcing me to do, or like I he has all the power and I have all the accountability but, rather, like this is an adventure we’ve embarked on together. I feel better than I have in months, and I’m already down several sizes.
My husband is also who encouraged me to start writing. Growing up, the only feedback I ever got, from anyone in my family, was that my stories were “stupid” and it was “selfish” of me to try to waste anyone’s time with them.
My husband, on the other hand, thought my creativity was thrilling. He has been, and still is, my biggest cheerleader; and I think that’s a vital part of being a dominant, if not the most vital part, helping your submissive become their best—and happiest—self.
My thirteenth novel, Fallen, is coming to Amazon and stores on 18 April. Fallen, like all of my books, has strong elements of horror but is, like all of my books, at heart a romance. Not in the Mills & Boone sense, but in the sense of Dracula. True love is messy and sometimes the hero, the real hero, can be difficult to locate.
As a little girl, I never dreamed about Prince Charming; rather, I dreamed about a dark prince of moonbeams and snow who remained loyal only to his own truth.
If I weren’t so completely in love with my husband, I think it’d be nearly impossible to write romance—of any kind. I’d end up comparing him, unfavorably, to the men I’d created in my mind. But he, and our relationship, inspire me every day. Indeed, to some extent, I’ve ended up basing several of my male leads on him. Not purposefully, but writing I find tends to mirror life. Even when one is writing fantasy. Alex, the guilt-ridden scion of the Raj from Book of Shadows, is a good example; my husband being several hundred years younger notwithstanding!
As far as finding my books at the bookstore, I write in five distinct commercial genres: dark fantasy, horror, romantic, suspense, and erotica.
Yes, there are relationships, of different kinds, in all of them and yes, there are strong themes of BDSM. Not necessarily because I plan this out, but because I, like all writers, do best when I focus on what feels most authentic. My childhood was a traumatic one and I’ve explored themes connected to that as well.
Overall, though, my goal with every book is the same: to create characters that feel real, in a story that feels immediate.