Erotica author Kyra-Ly Joy stumbled on the world of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) when she became a plus-size model for a fetish fashion photographer. Joy describes this moment as her “catalyst” and felt wearing this style of clothing evoked a persona within her that tapped into the changes occurring in her life.
“I was coming into a time in my late 20s and early 30s when you get to that age where you think, ‘I should be this, I should be that,’ ” Joy told the Star.  “I was never one for the ‘should bes’. I was always one to push against the boundaries so it allowed me to say, “No, this is who I am and what I am and I am quite comfortable with that’. ”.
Her experience entering the BDSM subculture was extremely “liberating”. Her background in sociology laid the foundations for the subsequent people-watching and observations that make up the stories in her recently published novel Catalyst: Stories of Awakening.
The book draws heavily on Joy’s own experiences of BDSM and focuses on 10 characters and their journeys in the fetish community. It explores “a variety of different aspects of kink,” Joy said. “Not just the mainstream heterosexual kink but your gay and lesbian kink as well.”
Sexuality is treated differently in BDSM culture, according to Joy, and is met with a great deal of acceptance.
“In terms of a male submissive, who would on any other day say ‘I am absolutely straight’, his fetish might be to be with other men. But he would only do that in certain situations. Being able to portray that part of himself is accepted in the BDSM scene. He probably wouldn’t go to a gay club and pick up a man. He would be more likely to do that within the scene, being directed to do so.”
In writing her first novel, Joy made a conscious choice to present more than the usual mainstream media representation of BDSM. Although she feels the public is becoming more educated about the subculture, she believes what we know of BDSM comes mainly from television programs such as CSI where fetish is often associated with violence.
“What I’m trying to portray in my book is that it’s not about violence but about love between people and where that can lead. For me the appeal is that I am free to be who I am,” Joy said.
“There are elements of me that want to turn around and say to someone, ‘On your knees, I want you to crawl around’, and in the right circumstances, assuming you already have a rapport with the person, it can be done. It’s about love and respect.”

info: Catalyst: Stories of Awakening is available at Sax Fetish in Sydney, Hares and Hyenas in Melbourne and Imprints Booksellers in Adelaide.

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