Patti Davis, Reagan’s little girl whose nude body graced the cover of the July Playboy, has finally settled down, gotten her act together—and written a novel about bondage. Yes, bondage. And it’s titled, well, Bondage. Discussing her book on the NBC Today show with interviewer Katie Couric, who noted that it’s about people “totally out of control,” Davis explained that she wrote this novel because she’s always wanted to write about—get this!—”trust within the context of a relationship.” Why? To examine: “What if that trust was so extreme, how far would someone go?”

Davis says her theory is as follows: “That if you could trust someone that much to get into that kind of sexual exploration, in this case bondage, that it would probably be the most erotic experience in the world—rather than the danger being the enticement, that actually that [kind of total] trust would be.” She admits, however, that one of her characters does “get involved” with another “who’s a bit more dangerous than those of us [?] would like.”

Why write about bondage? Well, Davis says she wanted to write a story about “dangerous people” because they’re “fascinating and very attractive and they’re out there”—which, indeed, they are. I mean, just check the nearest mirror, Ms. Davis.

But, says Davis defensively, the character who goes too far doesn’t do only bad things. No, he teaches the female character “a lot” about herself. Such as? Well, he “dismantle [s] her defense system” and gives her the “best sex” she’s ever had.

What about the “field research” Davis did for this novel? Not to worry, says Davis demurely: “Oh, I have not been tied up. I’ve never trusted anyone that much, actually, which is part of the reason this story was created. I think every novelist starts out with a ‘What if question, and one of mine was: What kind of person would it take for me to go, ‘Okay, I’ll do anything with you’?” The answer is, of course, a simple one: A crazy person!

In any event, for field research, Davis says she “picked the brain” of “a professional dominatrix”—which, if you must write about this kind of sexual perversion, is preferable to an amateur dominatrix. What she learned “confirmed” what she had suspected: that people within “the context of a relationship” (there’s that euphemism again) feel “very self-conscious about bringing their fantasies and deep, darkest desires into the relationship, so they go to someone like her [the professional dominatrix] who doesn’t have any judgment.”

OK. I understand. I mean, who wants to go to a judgmental dominatrix, professional or amateur? This would obviously take all the fun out of being tortured, right? Likewise, one sympathizes with those sickos who are reticent to reveal their “darkest desires,” their preference for sexual perversion.

Davis says, however, that seeking out a nonjudgmental professional dominatrix for tortured sex doesn’t actually “bode well for a relationship.” She thinks that “true intimacy” means “to share all of that stuff with your partner.” But, hut, says Davis, “We live in a society that’s not OK with that.”

Society is to blame for weirdos going to sex-torturers? Yep, that’s what Davis says, with—if you’ll pardon the expression —a straight face. The problem is this: “There is a whole sort of sexual underground because of the judgmentalism that exists in this society.”

Davis says that having exhausted her “treasure chest” of family memories, she is now in “a whole other phase” of her writing. Indeed. She says that in her novel there are two women who almost become lovers but don’t because of “sort of echoes in their heads of: So, what does this mean? What category am I gonna . . . “

Then, calmly, Davis “outs” herself, revealing, it seems, that she is a lesbian or bisexual, something her interviewer ignores completely. Davis says: “See, I don’t believe love should be that way. / don’t think love should be gender-specific [emphasis mine].” About which Katie Couric says nothing] She simply asks another unrelated question!

What is her relationship now with her parents, the Reagans? Well, “whatever it is, is OK,” says Davis, sounding like the 12-step nerd-nurturer Stewart Smalley who satirizes modern psychology on Saturday Night Live. But she doesn’t discuss her work with her parents because “it’s a huge button” that she doesn’t push anymore like she was once eager to do.

So, Patti Davis’s new novel Bondage features two almost-lesbos who have “sort of echoes in their heads.” No surprise here. Because, you see, heads that have “sort of echoes” in them are sort of empty, not unlike the head of the author of this book.