Monday, February 4, 2013

Why Not Technology?

I'm not a fan of technology or devices as a means of power fantasy. I've always felt much more drawn to characters who have innate super powers. Even when using magic, I greatly prefer characters who can just point at something and shoot a fireball, rather than those who have to use chants or reagents or magic rituals (unless those things can be used as a plot hook for something). This traces back to my preferences with superheroes, wherein I'd always prefer someone like Spider-Man or Superman over Iron Man or even Batman. I like all those characters, but in terms of thematic powers, I prefer the former to the latter. Robots like the Transformers and such are the exception, and I think that's only because the machines themselves are the characters, and thus have a soul to them, and their tech abilities hence feel like super powers.

However, on occasion, a reader will bring up the idea that they much prefer technology to magic, and wonder why I don't use devices such as chastity belts or special futuristic body suits or nanomachines that would do all the things I write about, except instead of magic and psychic powers, it would be technology. Heck, one person basically outright said, "You should do everything you already do exactly as you do it, but you should just say it's because of futuristic nanotech instead of magic." Sorry folks, but I'm not going to do that, unless I get into one of those moods where I just do something I normally wouldn't for the sake of doing something different. Obviously, taste is subjective, and I'm not knocking people for preferring technology to magic and psionics. However, I'd like to explain my reasoning for it, nonetheless.

Now, the primary motivation for the tech preference seems to be twofold. Firstly, basing it in technology helps some people better pretend that it is real, because technology is real and currently advancing at such a fast rate, that in theory, super sex devices could become a reality, and some cases, do already exist. Even at its most basic, everyone can indulge in a chastity belt even if they don't have a mistress or master to hold their keys.

However, that element of it has never really impressed itself upon me. I guess I prefer magic and super powers, because when you get down to it, those superhuman abilities are simply exaggerated expressions of the innate power a human being already has, and thus, using superpowers to enhance sex is a means of further enhancing intimacy. Sex Mages fascinate me as a concept, because it's taking everything that is naturally powerful about a woman and ramping it up to superhuman levels. The Sex Magic lets women directly manipulate men's libidos and body, because a woman can already do that, and this is an enhanced expression of that. Her power reaches into him and overwhelms his senses because she is funneling part of herself into him, knowing his every intimate secret, and directly tugging on his strings to make him move and feel the way she wants. Even if she's playing the ice queen, sitting across the room with arms and legs crossed, and a bored expression on her face while her man is thrashing in ecstasy on the bed and she's holding back his orgasm, she's doing it by extending her power into him in a direct connection.

With the use of tech and devices, in my mind, it creates this disconnect, it takes away from the intimacy, and thus dulls the excitement and connection to the character. Sure, in real life a woman can just strap a vibrator on a man and leave him tied to a bed that way, and while some may find it hot, it doesn't do much for me if she's not in some way getting directly involved. It's just the guy and a cold, unfeeling machine mindlessly stimulating his genitals. At least have the woman cuddle with him, straddle his face, make him suck your toes, taunt him in a sultry voice, masturbate in full view of him, or something! Which is not to say I don't enjoy sex toys. A good vibrator is always a fun time. But storywise, its just not the same as a woman using telekinesis to give a man a handjob, even if she's on the other side of the city from him. Incidentally, this mentality is also why I despise chastity devices, and much prefer the idea of magically making a man unable to masturbate while his cock swings hard and free and desperate in front of him, ready to be played with by his mistress.

The second aspect is the illusion of a male being able to escape his device somehow creates a deeper thrill, because a woman having all the power with no hope for the man to escape is too boring. The possibility of escape means either the man still has some fight in him or there's the illusion that the woman still isn't quite in control and still needs to do more work to fully break him.

Well, okay, I'll admit, the woman being absolutely overpowering kind of what I like, so that even as much as the man may struggle, there's no chance for him to break free. That's just how I like it on a fantasy level, and it ties back to the intimacy thing. However, this also touches on a rather significant pet peeve of mine in fiction in general. Yes, with the chastity belt, there's a chance the guy could escape of his own will. But he won't. In every chastity-based story I've ever read, through whatever means, the man remains belted, and even though he may be teased with the idea of its removal, it only comes off and stays on at the woman's discretion. Even if by some miracle, the man gets the belt off, he either gets caught and it's put back on, or he ends up being so under the woman's control he submits to being belted again.

I get that for most people, this is an effective psychological element, but for me, it completely fails to interest me, because I know story wise it's a fake out. It's very much like in superhero stories wherein the superhero loses their powers and is forced to combat the villains or overcome a trial without their special abilities. Whenever I see this type of story, it always irritates me, because I know that regardless of how much the hero struggles, they pretty much cannot fail without their powers. This is because losing their powers means they gain super-special-plot-armor that protects them to an even stronger degree than when they have abilities, because point of the episode is to show how bad-ass the hero is or to hammer in the moral lesson that "even people without powers can be special!" I have never been able to buy into the illusion of greater danger because I know the hero is going to somehow bullshit their way to victory even when it should be impossible. In this same fashion, the whole element of "but he could escape the belt" holds no water for me.

You then might say, "Well, but then, its not true submission when the woman just overpowers the man with mind powers." I would also say that's not true; in my stories, the men do struggle, and they submit to the women, because that's the point of the story. We all know this. That's what we're here for. But this is also why I've never been a fan of mind-control stories that actually do erase or overwrite people's thoughts. Even against impossible odds, there is still a thrill in seeing someone struggle against power. In most stories, we like to see them succeed, in domination fantasy stories, we like to see them give in. You'll notice most of the time, the women in my stories leave the minds of their men intact, to fully appreciate what's happening to them and submit of their own free will. In the stories where that doesn't happen, it's usually because a supervillain is just using sex as a means of mind control for a greater plot beyond being merely a cocktease.

So, that's pretty much that. I can see why people might get bored with the women being so powerful and why magic is too out there to suspend disbelief, but this is where I come from on the matter.