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The Connection Between Sex and BDSM

an essay by Suzanne's slave T

There must be a connection, right? Isn’t pain usually applied to nude or semi-nude bodies, and don’t the ‘private parts’ seem to get special attention? And isn’t orgasm the goal at the end of it all?

Not so fast. Even if all the above were true, it wouldn’t prove that people practice BDSM to get a sexual ‘high.’ You could just as easily turn it around and claim that people let themselves be manipulated sexually because that’s the easiest, cleanest way to receive pain and suffering.

Here are some reasons why:

a) Pain is hard to administer through clothing, so nudity of the submissive (or bottom) is the efficient way to proceed;
b) The submissive mind thrives on being vulnerable, and nudity is a foremost way of producing a feeling of vulnerability;
c) The genital organs are among the most sensitive parts of the body, so they are natural targets;
d) Most external stimuli don’t reach beyond the outermost nerve endings, whereas genital stimulation has the ability to produce effects that go far beyond -- to the body’s electrical and chemical systems. Sex is the doorway to the body’s interior;
e) There are very many taboos attached to sexual organs and pleasures, hence violating these taboos is a way to create mental anguish.

So you see, regardless of how it first appears, sex is the means - not the end; it is by using sex and sexuality that the dominant or top can most powerfully create mammoth-sized impacts on the submissive or bottom.

What might these impacts be, that the bottom so keenly desires? As many who have written about BDSM can attest, the diverse practices of BDSM offer many tools for working through various psychological and spiritual anxieties.

No, we who practice BDSM aren’t crazy (though some might think so) - but the anxieties we are dealing with truly range from the frightful to the divine. It is amazing the range of needs that are involved here. For some it is dealing with the effects of sexual abuse, and for others it is escaping from responsibilities - at least for a while. For others it is getting a preview of death and dying.

There’s probably no end to list-making, but here, just as an example, are ten needs that can conceivably lead someone to the various practices of BDSM:

Guilt Related Needs

1. Guilt re: Sex, Masturbation - As sexual tension grows in teenagers, masturbation and sexual experimentation usually follow, bringing with it the awesome thrill of release. It also brings with it moral conflict, since parents and teachers discourage this potentially addictive behavior that can warp personality development. Pain that ‘accidentally’ causes a release lessens the guilt by making release seem less than voluntary and by combining the punishment with the ‘misdeed.’

2.Low Self-Esteem - If we feel worthless, it is only fitting that we are treated harshly.

3. Deflation of excessive pride - Some strong persons who are willful and insist on getting their way then feel guilty about that willfulness and seek to be humbled.

Coping Needs

4. Escape - Anxieties torment us, some people more than others. Pain and submission can provide the occasional escape from the anxieties and responsibilties of life, just as do alcohol and drugs.

5. Fear Factor - Proving our toughness in a world where the daily news is full of suffering, torture and violent death can lead to ‘practicing suffering’ - to convince ourselves that, should the worst happen to us, we can endure it, up to the process of dying.

Boredom Needs

6. Skinned Knees - As kids, we rolled in the dirt, climbed trees, skinned knees - felt our bodies. As we grew older, we insulated ourselves from these rough, sharp, prickly, hot, cold sensations, yet we need them. They tell us our bodies are part of us, and we’re alive!

7. Tired Sex Life - Bored with routine, we seek excitement and variety to rekindle sex drive.

Love Related Needs

8. Empathy/ I Feel Your Pain - For those whose life has gone well, nearly perfectly, the contrast between that success and the misery of so many others, moves one to willingly accept some suffering as a way to ‘even out’ life’s injustices.

9 Triumph of the Spirit - In a hedonistic/materialist world, accepting suffering and submitting to another says that comfort and self-seeking are NOT the top priorities of life - that the spirit world trumps the materialistic one hands down. Those who lose their life shall save it.

10. Hero/heroine Worship - We seem to have a built-in need to worship God - a being immeasurably more perfect than ourselves. Because this ideal is so abstract, it helps to concretize it through hero worship by submitting to a hero/heroine who exemplifies many of the noble qualities we attribute to God.

These needs have to do with people’s quest for happiness - from the most basic level of dealing with developmental problems all the way up to the quest for holiness and touching the divine. BDSM can help at every step of the way, even while it looks different to everyone who uses its practices. Hence the confusion that it’s all about, and only about, sex and, to those outside, perversions. It’s not, for most people; it only looks that way.


slave T's other essays...

World's Oldest Newbie

Submission Training

The Five Steps

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