It was okay to like that stuff, because in the fantasy I wasn't a party to it, it was forced on me. It was okay because it wasn't my idea. I wasn't a bad person, just an unfortunate victim of circumstances.
I started buying historical romances by the packing box full at library book sales. Tales of slavery and seduction and love and always, the dreadful communication between men and women which seems to be a staple of romance writing. The situations though, I found intoxicating, and the 'evil' parts especially so. The ones with actual slavery were especially fantastic for my needs.
These types of books had deals where you fill out a card, send it to start a subscription to the books, and you get a free box of four books and a glass. Yeah, I don't know why the glass. Then you pay for each monthly shipment of books after that. I would start the subscription with different publishers and cancel it after the second shipment, getting 8 books for the price of 4. I was young, I didn't have much money, you know. But one of those shipments contained this:
The book was interesting for me on a number of levels. The woman was married, and though the family had fallen into political disfavor, she had far more power than did the man, who was her slave. I learned a lot about history from historical romances, and this one definitely taught me a lot about ancient Rome.
Anyway, there's a scene in this book in which the lady and her slave-lover trade roles for the Saturnalia, and it. was. so. fucking. hot. That scene was my first indication that these things can be entered into by choice, and it can still be okay in the end. She gave him her power and for the duration of that scene, he dominated her, but didn't degrade her. He told her what to do and she did it and it was hot.
I had this indication, but I still had the niggling doubt that I was a Very Bad Person. I mean, slavery is BAD. Surely being turned on by someone having that kind of power over you is also BAD.
Anyone noticing that these first two stuck-in-my-mind books have the words "Captive" and "Bondage" right in their titles, amongst other books with names like The Raven and the Rose? I didn't at the time. I had just become a little more "me," though.
To be continued...