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Monday, August 27, 2012

BDSM: A Normal Person's Guide

Hello Cherished Otherbeasts!

BDSM: A Normal Person's Journey
(The only thing that's normal is that there is no such thing as normal.)


Stay with me here. What if I were to describe a relationship to you using this paragraph,
"Two people in a relationship utilizing communication, trust, and respect to strengthen their bond through tenderness, attentiveness, and kindness. This in turn spices up their romantic life, satisfies their needs, and they enjoy the company of one another much more immensely."


Sounds pretty ideal, right? Sounds like a great relationship. Would you believe I'm talking about BDSM? No? Well, news for you: I am talking about BDSM.






Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking, "BDSM?! People just beat each other, how is that normal, much less pleasurable!" And you probably see lots of leather, chains, and whips in your mind right now. Well, hold on there Vanilla, I'm gonna open the doors wide open on this culture for you.


In fact, a lot of folks engage in BDSM in some form or fashion everyday. Ever brought a toy into the bedroom? Maybe a feather tickler or some fuzzy handcuffs?

 Well, my friend that's a form of BDSM. You might be thinking, "How?!" Well, handcuffs force the wearer to be submissive to the other partner. That's one of the things that the S in BDSM stands for. Not to worry, you're not a freak! No matter how strong the trust is with partners, it's normal to still have feelings of disbelief or even feelings that you can’t believe you like something perverted, kinky or dirty. Your own doubts can bring about fear, sadness and loneliness. You could even question why you are into BDSM to begin with. Again, very normal.

First, it isn't just people beating each other for the hell of it. BDSM stands for: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (a combined acronym often used as a catchall for anything in the kink scene). Yes, those words conjure up a startling array of images such as ball gags, crying women, handcuffs, and straps...

 (If this is what you're thinking, you're dead wrong.)

However, most BDSM relationships are tender, respectful, and even romantic. In order to be in one you must, MUST, trust the person. Respect is also integral to BDSM. The reason so many people are engaging in this "fetish" is because it offers a fabulous release of endorphins. Endorphins = Happiness.


When neither trust or respect is adhered to in a BDSM relationship, then it just becomes torture or rape. If you don't have a tender, attentive partner then BDSM turns into a horrible nightmare. Without proper techniques such as "After Care," the time after a BDSM scene or play session in which the participants calm down, discuss the previous events and their personal reactions to them, and slowly come back in touch with reality. BDSM often involves an endorphin high and very intense experience, and failure to engage in proper aftercare can lead to "subdrop" as these return to more everyday levels.


("Sub Drop" can come in many different forms. Sub Drop is the emotional and physical affects of the release and drop of endorphins in the body after a play session.  Most of what you read online are the physical aspects; the fatigue, sadness, aches and pains and recovery from marks. There is a more intense side of Sub Drop that gets very little attention because for each person it is different and describing how to recover can take many forms. If not cared for, you could go into depression just from one play session. The endorphins and other hormones released during play leave your body in such a way that it takes time to rebuild the balance of hormones in your system. You could feel like you have a hang over or partied too hard the night before, you could feel lost and depressed for hours or days. You may just want to sleep it off. These are the more extreme forms of Drop. Some people recover in a matter of hours, but others could exhibit signs of Sub Drop for weeks after an intense session. (Source and Citation: Click.))
Now when you think of whips, that's a form of impact play and part of sensation play, dealing with impact such as whips, riding crops, paddles, floggers, etc. A lot of these toys are "soft" meaning not to inflict pain, but rather to excite and stimulate the skin and senses.

The "hard" toys are ones mean to issue "good pain" ( Good pain and bad pain refer to perception of pain as pleasant vs. unpleasant. Sensations that non-practitioners imagine to be painful are instead perceived and described by BDSM practitioners as pleasurable or a good form of pain, in much the way that muscles after a workout at the gym may be sore, but in a good way. The transition of perception from "bad pain" to "good pain" may require a warm up beforehand.) Toys meant to cause "bad pain" are ALWAYS used consensually and agreed upon by both participants before a session ever begins.

 One extremely important aspect of any sort of play is having a "safety word." This is a word that is uncommon and would not be used in everyday conversations, such as "Oklahoma" in order to be used by either participant - particularly the submissive - if there is an emergency or if something is wrong or a threshold of uncomfortability or pain has been reached.


I never intended to get into the BDSM scene and I still consider myself pretty vanilla but the original intention was a one-time session for the purposes of alleviating guilt. I had been in a three year relationship and despite me being a total schmuck by cheating on the man and lying to him, he never - not once - became angry with me, yelled at me, or called me names. He literally killed me with kindness through the entire breakup and I was carrying around this massive weight caused by guilt. You see, if he had gotten angry, verbally lambasted me, and called me every name in the book, I could have have shrugged it off with, "Whatever, he's a jerk showing his true colors." But no, he remained so civil, so kind, never issuing any sort of "punishment" for my actions that it drove me to the brink of insanity. I had this need to get the guilt out of my system and it was then that a friend of several years suggested at a physical expression of the inner pain I was feeling - I know it sounds twisted but hear me out. It was then that I discovered that my friend had been in the BDSM scene for over a decade and was a practiced Dom (a person who exercises control - contrast with submissive).


Initially, I was hesitant because I considered myself very decent and proper; I wasn't some sort of pervert or freak that had kinks... that was for weirdos. I ruminated on the subject quite a bit, waffling to and fro when it dawned on my that there just wasn't any other way to relieve my burden of guilt. Now despite me being conservative, I have an open mind, and so I figured I would try it once - I had nothing to lose and only happiness to gain. My friend - we'll call him V - explained everything to me in full details: what the boundaries were, what the safety words were, how it was going to be carried out, what to expect, how I would feel, etc. It was a very good thing that I had such a knowledgeable person at my disposal - to whom I would soon be at the mercy of - but the biggest crux of this was that I trusted and respected him.


In the BDSM scene collars are used several ways but the main one is to distinguish the roles - if you're wearing a collar you're usually the Submissive. Collars are also used as signs of "ownership," but that's a whole other ball game. The collar is also used to convey when the "scene" is beginning and remains on throughout the session until it's over and the collar is removed; it's a way of reminding a person that they are not the ones in control of a situation and that what is taking place is a mutual agreement, in a safe environment, and to separate it from everyday life. Yes, I did wear a collar so that I could distinguish the scene from "real life" and let myself go; one of the hardest things for me to do was relinquish control but I needed this catharsis. Another part of giving up control was having my wrists in restraints above my head whilst standing.
This was never intended as a sexual act, and it never became one, there was absolutely no eroticism in it. V used Impact Play on me - floggers, crops, whips, switches - and always monitored my skin; if one area became to sensitive or inflamed he would gauge my reaction and move to a different area of my body. Through out the scene I was asked very often if I was all right, if I was feeling fine, and that everything was okay - this is why having an experienced person is so integral for the right outcome - V always checked my skin and my emotions. Before we had entered the scene I requested that while he was employing Impact Play that I needed him to verbally abuse me, call me every rotten name in the book, and really say some nasty things that would hurt anyone's feelings.  He obliged and did just that.

I would say I help up pretty well - there must have been a lot of guilt I had been holding on to - and the session was quite a long one but V knew what he was looking for. He made sure I wasn't going into "sub space" (where emotions shut off and pain becomes ignored) and probed to find the chink in my armor that would produce emotional reactions. Once he found that soft spot, it was only a matter of time before my emotions caved in, I began to sob, and my body sank into relief against the wrist restraints. Once V saw this reaction he immediately took off the restraints but left the collar on so that I wouldn't emotionally shut down (I had explained to him my situation with having DID and a kill switch), he then pulled me into his arms where I sobbed for at least 15 minutes. That was the hardest I've ever cried in my entire life - not because I was in pain - but because he had broken down the walls I had built up and a flood of emotion was finally being let go. The sobs wracked my body, I was choking on air in between swallows and tears, and it gradually subsided to just tears streaming down my face. V held me the entire time, comforting me, reassuring me, making sure I was physically okay. It was one of the most tender things I've felt, especially being in the extraordinarily vulnerable state I was in. Though the markings on my skin looked bad, not a single one left a scar.


After the tears stopped and V's shirt was soaking wet, he pulled me back to talk about out session: any residual feelings I might have had, discuss the previous events and my personal reactions to them, and to slowly come back in touch with reality. Once that state was achieved, the collar came off and we were right back to being equals. The drive home was a painful one as my body was sore and I was emotionally drained, but I was exhilarated - I felt free - all the weight had lifted from my heart and it was like I could finally breathe again. I didn't just feel free, I was free.


And that's my story on how I first became exposed to the BDSM scene. From there I explored a little into it but nothing really interested me and so that's where my story stops. However, it certainly shouldn't be where yours stops. The BDSM scene isn't as nefarious as you think it is, and it actually requires everything - and possibly more - than a "normal" relationship does.



There are a lot, and I mean A LOT of different reasons for involvement in the BDSM community from catharsis to eroticism to just having platonic fun. Your next door neighbor could be a "kink" but still go to church every single Sunday. The woman dressed conservatively in front of you at the checkout stand could be a Domme (woman who exercises control (see also Dominatrix). Often associated with a particular brand of traditional femininity) on the weekends, and that handsome executive you always see could be on FetLife this very minute. It's like Battlestar Galactica and Cylons you never can be too sure. Some people are very comfortable with letting their freak flag fly, but no one says you have to announce your preferences on national television; it's as public or as private as you decide it should be.
Like I said previously, if you've ever used fuzzy handcuffs, feather ticklers, or anything else in the bedroom that wasn't your body, you've explored the lighter side of BDSM. Yes, there are extreme people in the scene - just like any genre of interest it has light and heavy, say games for instance, you have someone that plays solitaire on occasion versus a gamer that spends 18 hours a day playing World of Warcraft - there are numerous shades of grey in between the black and white. I urge you to do your own research to see what interests you - always keeping in mind that there is nothing to be ashamed about (assuming it's legal) - and open your mind to a different stance on BDSM. Remember that not everything is sexual and a lot of "play partners" have very close and intimate relationships full of tender, loving care.


This could be your next step into spicing things up in the bedroom, discovering new things about yourself, and generally being more satisfied with your life. It isn't to be taken lightly though, really do your research and become knowledgeable on the topic if it interests you. There is nothing to be afraid of when you start exploring. Remember EVERYTHING should be communicated and discussed, and if you find a partner that is unwilling to do that then you have every right to find someone who can control themselves and not take advantage of your vulnerability whether you're male or female.


There are some fabulous references out there like:
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BDSM
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_BDSM
  • http://www.nlacolumbus.com/global/smmyths.html
And fabulous communities like:
  • https://fetlife.com
  • http://www.bess-md.org/newcomers/faq.shtml
  • http://www.dailystrength.org/groups/bdsm

Remember, you can take it as fast or as slow as you want to, you are able to communicate what you are and what you're not okay with; the BDSM community is not a scary one, but it's an intimidating one at first. I know you may be thinking of the worst possible things right now that you've seen or heard of, but I suggest you throw out all that garbage and find out for yourself.
Always do your own research.


Now that you're not so "Vanilla," have fun exploring, opening your mind, and trying new things!






Until Next Time,
<3 Shade







7 comments:

  1. a very superficial view of BDSM
    living the life and experiencing it in passing have little comparison....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. This was a "cliff notes" version.

      Delete
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