Unlike many of the authors who write about gay bdsm on Amazon, Hadrian Temple is a gay leatherman who has been exploring kink for more than a decade. He writes about sex and relationships the way gay men actually have them (with a healthy dose of fantasy, of course). He writes from the perspective of a dominant because that’s the role that appeals to him the most, and because so few other authors write from that perspective.
Adam Fassbender is an experienced leather dom living in San Francisco, but there’s something missing from his life, a permanent slave. When he meets a police officer who’s curious about submission, Adam realizes that Riley might be the slave he’s been looking for. But can Adam teach Riley how to overcome his fear of submission and help him become the slave Riley craves being?
I write kinky gay erotica, with an emphasis on the dominant point of view. My approach really draws on my own experiences and observations in a variety of ways. I’ve been consciously exploring the gay kink and leather subculture for more than a decade, and somewhat unconsciously exploring it before that. I was in my early 40s, fresh out of an 8-year relationship with a guy who had turned out to be more toxic than I had realized, and was very much in need of rebuilding my life. I had an experience that caused me to suddenly realize that the common theme in all my desires and fantasies was a need for power exchange and control. When that lightbulb came on, I started doing everything I could to learn about kink. I found a mentor—an experienced leather dom who taught me a lot about the basic skills of kink play and helped me discover the joys of leather. And I also did a great deal of reading about kink, both non-fiction and gay erotica and M/M Romance.
Along the way, I had the pleasure of meeting the late david stein, a well-known and important figure in the gay Masters and slaves community. david (who always preferred that his name not be capitalized) had a small publishing company that published gay erotica, and he himself had written some. One day we were talking and I observed that nearly all the kinky gay erotica I had read was written from the submissive’s point of view. I suggested that maybe he ought to write something from the dominant’s point of view. He replied that he didn’t know how to do that because, as a submissive, he genuinely didn’t understand the dominant point of view. Instead, he suggested that perhaps I ought to try my hand at writing erotica. I had, in fact, written some erotica years previously, and when I went back and re-read it, I was amused to find just how much it was about power exchange and kink, even though I hadn’t really understood that at the time. This has been a regular experience of mine; whenever I look back at my sexual history and things related to it, I see my need for power exchange sitting there, plain as day, but somehow invisible to me for decades.
Really, I owe my ‘career’ as a writer of gay erotica to david. He planted the seed, although sadly he didn’t live to see that seed blossom. But I like to think he would have approved of my stories and my approach. And let me be frank. Although I say that I write ‘erotica’, I only say that because it’s the industry term for what I write. But to me, ‘erotica’ is what bored middle class people read and write, using euphemisms like “his root” or “his manhood”. I write pornography. I write hardcore, very explicit stories in which the sex is center of the action. There’s an abundance of hard cocks going into holes. I’m a gay man, so I write what gets me off. Part of my journey had been finding my authentic sexuality and embracing it, and that includes what I write. I make no apologies for writing dick-in-ass porn.
I write from the dominant point of view because that’s what I understand best, and that’s where all my fantasies lie. One of the eternal issues in kink is that there seem to be vastly more submissives than dominants. People debate why that is, and I have a theory that one of the reasons is that dominants have a much harder time finding themselves because almost all the porn out there (both written and filmed) is sub-centric. It focuses on the pleasure of the submissive, and often features things that dominants generally wouldn’t do because there’s nothing in it for them. One of the standard scenes in gay porn, both vanilla and kinky, is the group of doms sharing a single sub. From my perspective, that’s boring, because if three or four dominants are using one submissive, at least one of those doms is gonna be on the sideline at any given moment just waiting his turn, while the sub is getting constant attention. So even though the scene is nominally about the doms’ pleasure, in reality that sort of scene is all about the sub’s pleasure. From my perspective, it ought to be the other way around. There ought to be porn in which multiple subs serve one dom. And yet there isn’t. (I once tried to explain to a group of experienced leathermen what ‘dominant-centric porn’ would look like to me, and they struggled to even visualize it.)
So my theory is that the fact that nearly all the porn caters to subs is discouraging potential dominants from recognizing their desires for what they are. We doms don’t genuinely see ourselves mirrored in the porn we consume. I’m trying to address that imbalance by writing stories in which the dominant’s experience is central and the sub’s in more peripheral. Sub-centric porn shows subs that doubt and uncertainty and struggle are a normal part of the sub’s sexual journey, while the dom is usually presented as all-powerful, totally understanding the sub’s needs to the point of being a mind-reader sometimes, and always confident of who they are and what they want. But none of that is particularly realistic, and it sets the bar for becoming a dom discouragingly high. My own experience has been that learning the skills of dominance takes time and practice, that being dominant often involves crises of confidence, and a slow process of coming to understand both what the dominant wants and what the submissive wants.
So that’s how I write my dominants, at least in my longer works. My doms don’t always know at first what they want, or they know what they want but not how to achieve it. They make mistakes, get upset, struggle with self-doubt, and occasionally have to apologize to their boys, because that’s what I’ve had to do over the years. Take Adam in Leather God Descending. He finds himself in a relationship with the slave of his dreams, and things are cruising along nicely, and then he screws up bigtime and does something that really harms his slave’s trust in him. He has to deal with the consequences of his mistake. He apologies and it’s not enough to save the relationship, so when he gets a second shot at making it work, he’s haunted by the possibility that it might all fall apart again. That’s not a story I’ve ever seen in kinky erotica, but I know it’s valid because draws off of a mistake I made years ago. It wasn’t exactly the same mistake, but the fallout from it really shook my confidence in my dominance for a while, and I had to work through that. So in a way, my novels are trying to model the dominant experience for readers who might be curious about power exchange but who haven’t yet taken the plunge.
Another problem I observed in a lot of the kink erotica is that it’s written by people (usually women) who don’t appear to have much actual experience in bdsm and who obviously don’t have experience with gay male sex. I’ve read some kink erotica in which implausible things happen, such as the dom who tied a sub’s wrists and ankles inescapably using only a bowtie. While that particular example is just amusing, other examples are more dangerous. A lot of people who don’t practice kink mistakenly think that dominants are actually abusive assholes and that submissives actually enjoy all kinds of pain. In one novel I read, the dominant slams his sub’s head against a wall hard enough to make the sub see stars, and the pain arouses the sub. That’s wrong on both sides. Randomly injuring a sub isn’t kink; it’s domestic abuse. Even the most pain-loving submissive hates to stub their toe, because most pain isn’t erotic or pleasurable at all. And of course the worst example of this is 50 Shades, which has taught a lot of casual readers to think that domestic abuse is appropriate and arousing.
So I realized that there was a serious need for bdsm erotica that was rooted in an actual awareness of kink play. When I write my stories, I ground them in my own lived experience as a dom, in my conversations with fellow doms and subs about what works and what doesn’t, and in my own reading on the subject. The sex my characters have is the sort of sex I have and that some of my friends have. If I don’t know about a particular type of kink, I either read up on it before I include it in a story so that I can depict it realistically and safely or I don’t write about it. My doms are concerned to get the consent of their subs. They pay attention to safe issues like not tying the ropes too tight or wearing condoms. They negotiate with their boys to set boundaries. They engage in aftercare. And if they don’t do these things, it usually causes problems they’ll have to deal with later on. I also try to depict kinky relationships in all their complexity. Subs may want to subordinate their lives to their dom’s wishes, but often circumstances prevent it, or they find that obedience is a lot harder than it seems on the surface. Doms and subs don’t always communicate well. And in general, kinky relationships take work, just like any relationship. A lot of novice kinksters think that because the authority lines are clear in a power exchange relationship, it means disagreements never arise, which is far from the truth. In Bull and Cuck, the relationship hits a crisis because the three guys in the dynamic have never had an open conversation about the dynamic of their relationship, and the bull, Brady, is too inexperienced at being a bull to realize that he’s never set any ground rules for what he expects from his cuck and the cheater. I hope that my novels, despite being fantasies, offer readers some insight into what it takes to make a kinky relationship work.