The difference to spanking stories is that although BDSM stories often feature some form of corporal punishment (including to the buttocks), this is not their main or central part. BDSM stories typically also feature "kinky", non-mainstream elements such as BDSM-style fetish clothing (e.g. harnesses, corsets, high heels, collars), BDSM-style bondage, BDSM-style dominance and submission, masters and slaves, as well as explicit or implicit sex.
BDSM stories can be consensual or non-consensual (fictional abuse/violence). Among the things they have in common with spanking stories is a strong emphasis on positions, rituals, settings, clothes, roles, and dialogue.
Influential BDSM novels
- The 120 Days of Sodom, Justine (1791) and Juliette (1797) by the notorious Marquis de Sade (maledom) all exhibit an extreme perspective that lead to the term sadism being created from his name.
- Venus in Furs (1870) by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch – A story of femdom sadomasochism based on his real-life experiences. Many of Sacher-Masoch's other works contain themes of female domination. The term masochism derives from his name.
- Story of O (1954) by Pauline Réage – To prove her love, the protagonist allows herself to be kept in a château and abused by a group of men, one her official lover. It was made into a film in 1975.
- Tarnsman of Gor (1967) by John Norman – first in a series of 27 erotic science fiction novels set on the planet Gor. The novels describe an elaborate culture of sexual master/slave relationships which have spawned a BDSM lifestyle subculture of followers who call themselves Goreans.
- The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (1983), Beauty's Punishment (1984), and Beauty's Release (1985) are erotic novels by Anne Rice writing under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure.
- The Marketplace (2000–2001), a series of novels by Laura Antoniou.