10 Things Most People Get Wrong About BDSM

Many people have found solace, fulfillment (sexual and otherwise) and even spiritual healing in practicing any or all aspects of the acronym- Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, Sadism/masochism. Here are some simple truths to put more spank in your spank bank:

1. The Submissive Has The Power. In a Dominant/submissive relationship the submissive is the source of the energy, while a good Dominant knows how to direct that energy towards the highest good. While it appears that the person submitting is taking or “enduring” pain to please the Dominant, in fact, a D/s relationship is a complex system of giving, receiving and allowing which does not happen unless the submissive consents, and is no fun unless they’re (at least on some level) enjoying it.

2. It’s Not The Task, Stupid. Often in D/s relationships a Dominant will assign tasks to a submissive that are not even sexual in nature, an example of this might be eating with their left hand if they are right-handed, sitting in the corner, or sending a specific photo that may or may not include nudity. What is important in these cases is not the actual homework, but the fact that the other person is willing to do what they’re told, even if it is uncomfortable, to show their dedication to the relationship and/or out of a desire to understand themselves more deeply.

3. BDSM is Magic. There is something spiritual and mystical about practicing BDSM with someone you trust as a means of surrendering defenses you may have built up in life, or access parts of your personality you have no other outlet for. Just like with sex, no matter how many years people have been at it, once you think, “you got this” you leave no room for the revelation of life-changing experience.

4. You Don’t Have To Be In The “Lifestyle.” The lifestyle may or may not include doing “scenes” at parties or clubs, or hanging out with likeminded deviants in a prescribed, formulaic application of all things D/s. While it is wonderful that venues and communities exist for likeminded people, as well as information about practices and protocols, BDSM is unique to each individual, and the fun lies in discovering how. One does not need a “dungeon,” expensive equipment or an audience (unless you’re an exhibitionist in which case, go for it!)

5. It’s Not A Game. The term “playing” with someone can be a misnomer; to get to the depths possible through seriously undertaking BDSM as either a practice or a way of life is to understand that the last thing you are actually doing is “playing.”

6. Protocol Is Important, But Only As A Means To An End. Protocol in the context of BDSM refers to rituals, such as calling someone “Sir” “Mistress” “pet” or whatever other perverted permutation you can come up with. It may also include daily assignments such as fetching the Dominant’s slippers or having to recite or write out a certain credo in a specific way. The importance of these customs is that they provide STRUCTURE that settles all parties into a comforting and gloriously unique routine. They cannot be given or carried out arbitrarily, mechanically or without heart or they lose their meaning.

7. It’s Not About The Ego. Show me a 23-year-old running around Los Angeles (or any other city) calling himself a Dom, and I will show you a confused egomaniac that needs to assert what he thinks of as “control” over women. Ditto the teen girls calling themselves Findoms (financial Dominatrices) who have nothing but a Twitter account and a desire to no longer work at Starbucks. While the hallmarks of Dominance can include hurling insults at someone and asserting your absolute dominion over them, the real thing requires intelligence, humility, and patience. (Ironically you have to have humility to effectively humiliate!)

8. A Submissive or Masochist Doesn’t Want To Be Abused. Degraded, used, humiliated, SURE… but wanting to be restrained, marked or ordered around in exchange for a carefully placed “Good Girl” or “Good Boy” is completely different to being in an abusive relationship where there is no intent for a higher good, just people unconsciously acting out their dysfunction.

9. Calling Someone Mommy or Daddy Has Nothing to Do With Your Parents. Trying to apply psychology, politics or social constructs to BDSM will always result in abject failure. Those who like it, like it, there is no more explanation necessary.

10. There Is No “Winning Vs. Losing” in BDSM. Forget everything you know about feminism, the “battle of the sexes” or vanilla roles; there’s no POWER STRUGGLE in BDSM, only a willing surrender to get to that place of complete peace. Remember- you cannot take power from someone who has not given it to you, that’s not being a Dom, it’s just being an asshole, and the world already has plenty of those…

Susanna Brisk is a Sexual Intuitive® who coaches clients and couples on how to get most of their needs met, most of the time. Email her HERE with a question, or to set up a Skype or IRL session. 

7 comments

  1. So interesting!! Glad you have the courage to put out information to help dispell stale thinking and provide fresh perspective. That’s a gift right there! Well done babes. Xo

    • I enjoyed most of this article. I like how you demonstrated the seriousness of the undertaking. The only thing I might add is that I believe at the onset the Dominant and Submissive are equal before they hash out the parameters of their relationship dynamic. We both need each other to tango. I agree its important to honor the submissive in the highest because its often overlooked.

      Master Scorpio

      • Thank you for taking the time to comment! It takes an enormous amount of strength and courage to truly submit, so yes this must be honored. It is fine to lay out limits but I believe that the concept of “negotiation” has become so common in D/s as to make it tantamount to “Topping from the bottom.” At a certain point the sub either trusts their Dominant to steer them right, even in directions that have been “no go” zones, for the sub’s personal development, or they don’t. The only time things like “cheat sheets” are needed, are when people are doing “scenes” and “playing,” especially in public where there is distraction and music, which makes it almost impossible to pick up verbal, visual and energetic clues. In a D/s relationship you may hash out whatever you wish, but it’s called a Dominant for a reason…

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