Leftover candy canes, anyone? Image source: Down the Rabbit Hole blog.
OK, let's get this out of the way: by FAR the biggest thing to happens in the realm of bondage, ebooks, erotic fiction, romance fiction and arguably publishing itself was "Fifty Shades of Grey." I've already written at length on the topic, so I'll keep it brief. The thing that made "Fifty Shades" special wasn't just that it was a book featuring scene of bondage and dominance, but who read it: it was women, mostly, lots and lots of women, and not just young Goth girls looking for something to read while getting a skull tattooed on their butts, but older women: "soccer moms" which is THE prime demographic for many, many advertisers.
The news that soccer moms like to read about women in maledom/femsub relationships did not surprise me at all: I RP in SL Gor, where women outnumber men almost two to one, and all a guy has to do to find a naked slavegirl chained to him is stand still long enough for them to find him. But I think the news that ordinary women like bondage set the mainstream back on its heels, even though the romance genre of which erotic fiction is a subset has always had more than its share of "bodice ripper" stories.
Nothing else that happened in 2012 that I know of had anything LIKE the impact of 50 Shades of Grey on the bondage community/industry/whatevs (though having said that, I am totally prepared to find history proving me wrong).
Another trend I am liking is honest, straightforward blogging by women who are either real life submissives talking about their lives like the author of Down the Rabbit Hole, or sex industry pros like bondage model Cherry Torn and former prostitute The Honest Courtesan, who are talking honestly about THEIR lives and interests instead of just using their blogs as marketing tools.
I think it's great that these voices have found expression online, and I hope they become more popular, and teach everyone that people who are submissives or who work in the sex industry are not mysterious others who can be marginalized and ignored, they're people, just like anybody else. Soccer moms who took the dare their subconscious minds made with them, perhaps.
People call this the "mainstreaming" of BDSM, as if it were merely the inclusion of BDSM topics in mainstream media, but I see it as something more profound, or at the very least, I HOPE it is something more profound, a sort of cultural maturing about matters sexual, a recognition that sexual power fantasies can be acted out in real life, that does not make them any less fantasies, nor justify treating people as the object of such fantasies without their consent.
Now, would somebody please call the prudes and the prudo-feminists and let them know we have this matter all hashed out?