World of BDSM
I have been actively exploring the world of
BDSM (Bondage & Discipline / Dominance & Submission
/ Sado - Masochism) for over a decade. I think that the
most important thing that I have learned through my explorations
of this vast & kinky universe is that there is always
more to learn!
The world of BDSM contains a huge array of
activities, dynamics and people that enjoy them. Since this
topic can easily fill entire libraries with information
this is page is only meant to give a brief over view from
my own ever evolving perspective and growing knowledge.
I do not by the way claim to be an absolute authority on
anything but my own feelings and thoughts and those shift
almost constantly as my awareness of other people's perspectives
Whether you are a long time Scene veteran,
hesitant curiosity seeker or some where between the two,
I hope you find this page interesting and educational. ~
Technical / Instructional Note: For those
who are reading this with very little prior knowledge of
the terminology used here I have included an extensive glossary
with this site and have hot - linked many of the terms with
in this page and clicking these links will cause the glossary
page to launch separately from this one and bring you straight
to that term. I suggest that you shut off your pop up blocker
just for this occasion. For ease of use, I would also suggest
that you horizontally tile this page with the glossary page
so that you can easily refer to the terms as you read.
Players and a few Dynamics
So who does this kinky BDSM
stuff and why? The short answer is: a lot more people than
you think and for as many reasons as there are people doing
One common misperception that "vanilla"
folks have is that people that are drawn to this stuff are
sick and twisted individuals that are abusive to themselves
and others. While many of us with in"the
Scene" or Life
style smile and kid amongst ourselves that we are indeed
a bit "twisted" or are self proclaimed "perverts
and proud of it", the vast majority of the lifestyle
players are respectable and compassionate people that simply
have kinkier bedroom tastes than their more conservative
and less adventuresome "vanilla" counter parts.
I have met 100s and 100s of people that are
involved in one form of BDSM or another and most of them
lead perfectly normal every day lives, but their fantasies
and the way they express themselves and their love for and
with others can vary widely with in the Scene. I personally
dislike labels but they are often a necessary evil when
you are trying to express concepts such as this. So for
the purpose of clarification I am going to present a few
generic ones. Also please keep in mind that for the moment
I am trying to separate the people from the dynamics at
play and what drives them, which as you will see shortly
can be rather complicated.
Let's make the assumption that an average
consists of two people. Generally it can be further assumed
that there is a dominant partner and a submissive partner.
These people can be referred to in a variety
of ways and some of the generic terms for these individuals
Dom - Domme
- Sub - Bottom
However those labels often but don't always denote the real
dynamics with in the "relationship". I put relationship
in quotes here because the nature of that relationship can
range widely as well. It can consist of every thing from
from a simple play date for an evening between casual acquaintances,
to a deeply committed relationship as strong or in some
cases stronger than the average marriage, and everything
Now back to the folks in this hypothetical
scene. The "assumed" dominant partner, who I will
from here on refer to as the Top,
is many times the one holding the whip, tying the rope,
barking the orders etc. and is generally the one that is
controlling the scene. Most new people assume that this
is the person with all the power and control,
and will be the one that decides exactly what will or will
not take place with in the scene. In other words: what s/he
says goes and the submissive / bottom must accept it, like
it or not.
The truth is, in the majority of safe,
safe & consensual BDSM scenes the submissive partner
is often the one that is setting the scene parameters by
having informed the top as to what his or her limits
are during a negotiation
before the scene started, or at some earlier time in the
relationship. Most experienced and responsible Tops will
take into consideration the Bottom's limits, needs, and
desires and will craft a scene that will be enjoyable for
both of them. Yes, the Top is often still directing the
course of the scene but quite often he or she is doing so
in response to the Bottom's reactions.
That is not to say that the Top always does
only what the Bottom wants or enjoys! Quite the contrary,
a Bottom may actually become (or just appear to be) quite
distressed during a scene. Especially one that may involve
for an infraction or misdeed. However, if the Bottom reaches
a point that they feel they must stop or communicate something
to the Top, they generally have either a safe
word / signal or some other way to do so.
I myself, have many times witnessed scenes
public events that were not to my taste because of how
extreme they looked, and I am sure that some of my play
dates may look "out of hand" or even abusive to
onlookers who do know know the dynamics between the individuals
involved. However, I am generally comforted by the knowledge
that even in the scenes I have witnessed that appeared to
go beyond a Bottom's enjoyment level, that the activity
is still almost always consensual to at least some degree.
Also, at most sizable public events or clubs
there is a Dungeon
Monitor or DM who is assigned to watch over all the
play during their shift and determine if and when intervention
is deemed necessary for safety reasons. If you witness something
at a play party that gives you reason to be concerned about
either the Bottom's safety or the Top's sanity, the DM is
the person you should locate and ask to check the scene.
They are also usually great people to ask general safety
questions of because most DMs are either very experienced
players or have under gone a training class to make them
qualified to do the job.
But let's back up for a moment and take a
closer look at the players and what makes them tick.
Control vs Sensation
The majority of the life style players that
I know enjoy weaving both aspects of control
into their play.
Looking at these elements separately for a moment:
The key dynamic in Ds
(Dominance & submission) based relationships is
control. One leads and the other follows. In most a healthy
consensual Ds relationship this does not involve tyranny
or abuse since the subjugated partner or submissive is voluntarily
giving that control to the Dominant and generally has a
voice in determining how much control is given and for how
long. This is a very individual thing and the extent power
exchange is often a shifting and evolving aspect of their
relationships that needs to be readdressed and renegotiated
as time goes on.
It is up to both parties to determine through
negotiation, how much control is to be given up by the submissive
and accepted by the Dominant and over what aspects of the
submissive's experience. It can range from just telling
the submissive how to behave for an evening of play to micro
managing practically every aspect of the submissive's life.
Submissives that enjoy giving much greater degrees of control
to their Master or Mistress are often referred to as slaves.
The submissive can give up the control for
merely the duration of a scene, several hours at a time,
an entire weekend, or even for contracted
periods of time. This is usually done through negotiation
in the beginning stages of the relationship or before a
scene between new play partners.
During the negotiation phase both parties
will often discuss important factors like medical conditions,
hard and soft limits and things that they both enjoy so
that they can determine if they are suitable play partners.
Many dominants will have a submissive partner fill out a
pre scene check list prior to play like this one: Pre
Putting the Dynamics into Perspective
While most most do combine both these elements
and dynamic into their play, not everyone enjoys them in
equal measures. I attended a class once with Fetish Diva
Midori that used a chart to make this concept exceptionally
clear and was a very useful and informative tool even for
a scene veteran such as myself.
Let's take a look at my version of it for
Vanilla / Night Off
Receiving Dominant AKA "Control Top"
Masochist AKA "Pushy Bottom"
So on one axis you have the element of Sensation.
Sensation doesn't necessarily mean pain by the way but it
can. It can also be light teasing touches with feathers
and bunny fur, or tingly electrical play or the impact of
thumpy heavy floggers.
On the other axis you have the Control dynamic which determines
who the one at the helm is, if anyone.
In order to determine where you best fit in,
and who would be your best match as a play partner, the
things to consider is which party likes to give / receive
sensation while taking or giving up control, or neither.
A dominant sadist for example will not be happy with a submissive
that does not enjoy strong sensation and vice versa.
As a switch, I have been in all of these spaces
at different times in my journey and sometimes in several
through out the course of an evening or even a particular
scene depending on my mood shifts and the person or people
I am playing with. To illustrate this better I will use
some of my own experiences as I describe these spaces in
Let’s begin at the top left corner and
presume that if you are not really into giving or receiving
sensation and you really aren't interested in experimenting
with the power dynamics of control you are either vanilla
or taking a night off from play. (And most likely you won’t
be reading this article.) <grin>
If you very much enjoy giving and or receiving sensation
play but only in equality based situations then you are
more of an Egalitarian
Sadist or Masochist. In this situation neither partner
is interested in the control dynamic and simply wants to
play with sensation or other activities as equal partners.
I play this way with several of my friends
who either enjoy bottoming or topping for it’s own
sake without the Ds dynamic or when I am introducing someone
to a particular activity such as a single tail. At a demo
for example, I may use a whip on someone just to let them
see what it feels like outside the context of an entire
scene. I have also bottomed to others for the purpose of
teaching them a new skill while giving helpful feedback
to them on their technique.
If you prefer to stay in control of what you will or will
not experience during the scene you most resemble the Dominant
Masochist category. Too often people with these desires
are given negative labels like Pushy Bottom or Smart Ass
Masochist or said to be “topping from the bottom”
like it is a bad thing by other players that do not know
understand or want to play under those circumstances. I
feel that a bottom that can be quite clear about what they
do and do not want to do should be applauded for their ability
to communicate and stand by their needs rather than treated
like second class citizens. However, a bottom with dominant
tendencies is best off seeking out a service oriented sadist.
Oriented Sadist is someone that very much enjoys meeting
the needs of their partner, especially if that partner craves
bottoming to sensation. They do not necessarily need to
control their partner or require that they act submissively
to them in order to enjoy the play. For example, when I
work professionally with clients, my focus is not usually
about getting my own needs met but rather it is on fulfilling
their fantasies and needs.
This is very different from when I play with
my personal slaves, since that tends to be far more about
what I want and need to do for my own enjoyment. When I
flip into a Dominant
Sadist space I want not only to exercise my sadistic
demons but also to enjoy the power dynamic of having my
partner be submissive to my needs. I generally will only
play this way with a submissive masochist however, since
they are best suited to meet the needs of a dominant sadist.
masochists enjoy being under the dominants control while
experiencing sensation. Most of my most personally rewarding
bottoming experiences have been when I have been with a
partner I could trust enough to allow to take control and
experienced enough to take me to new heights in sensation.
A truly magical combination.
Then there are those that want to simply explore
the Dominant & submissive dynamics without any element
of sadism or masochism. I find quite often those that find
for it’s own sake most rewarding fit into these categories.
I have a sissy maid for example that loves to dress up in
an adorable little outfit and clean my house and do chores
for me. Kristine is not a pain slut by any standard but
she loves to be of service and I enjoy having her take care
of my household chores for me. She is quite a blessing to
I have also felt how rewarding service can
be while giving a foot massage to a domme that I admire
greatly, not because I wanted anything in return, but simply
because I knew she had been on her feet all day in those
exquisite heels and I wanted to give her lovely feet a break
and a bit of pleasure. Also, when I am in service to Master
R at La Domaine and things need to be done either in readying
the chateau for guests, cleaning and preparations etc as
well a serving dinner or attending to his other needs, I
get the satisfaction of a job well done as it’s own
reward. Although a pat on the head and a smile from him
also help make the hours of sweaty work seem even more worthwhile,
I enjoy knowing that I have made his life easier in some
small way by my service.
Note On BDSM Sexuality
Some people find it surprising to discover
that there are many instances with in the community that
BDSM play has nothing to actually do with sex or sexual
For instance when I play professionally with people, it
does not include anal oral or vaginal sex with me, (except
for maybe me wearing a strap on).
Yes, there have been many times when I have found my clients
to be very sexy and or attractive, but I usually manage
to maintain a professional decorum and behave myself whether
they wish I would or not.
It is not uncommon for example for a dominant to play with
someone of the same gender or opposite gender as they are,
and have it have nothing to do with the gender they are
sexually attracted to.
To clarify this point a bit, there was one evening when
I was very much in the mood to bottom and the only person
at the club I was at was a gay male friend of mine who also
identifies as a bottom. I asked Tim if he would do me the
honor of playing with me and although he has absolutely
no sexual interest in me what so ever, we proceeded to engage
in a wonderful scene together.
He very much understands, as I do, that connection,
sensuality and intimacy can be deeply shared between people
who are not physically or sexually attracted to each other
He also understands about breath work and how it can enhance
the experience. Our scene together was extremely enjoyable
for us both and it strengthened our bond of friendship even
further. Afterwards, we were amused and gratified to learn
that several people that watched the scene thought that
he and I were a couple because of the depth of intimacy
that they witnessed and felt coming from us.
I have also many times engaged in personal play with people
that I care for very deeply and although there has been
mutual attraction and a lot of sexual and erotic energy,
we have opted to not complicate our relationships by becoming
sexually intimate. For me at least, there is a huge difference
between playing sensually and enjoying the building, and
sharing of erotic energy with someone, and actually having
sex with them and I can totally enjoy play without sex.
Sometimes the foreplay is the best part.
The Yin / yang dynamic
– A thing of the Past?
Within, the confines of a Ds relationship there are generally
rules or protocols that a submissive / slave must follow.
But, well mannered & experienced Tops also have protocols
that guide them.
What is subspace
and how do I get there?