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Monday, September 10, 2012

The Mental Side of BDSM

*Shields eyes and squints* Wow - this is rather new... *shuffles uneasily, bites lip and holds hand out infront of me* are you sure that spotlight needs to be quite that bright???

Ah!! Hello there! *waves* I didn't see you for a minute, um, thanks for inviting me, I spill my thoughts here right? Well. Ok then! Welcome to my musings - and my first post for NNP. I thought this particular topic would perfect to explain where my ideas for my stories come from. Although it's a little something I wrote a while ago, this post is full of ideas and questions all gleaned from my experiences and research - so I believe it's still relevant now. Please do feel free to let me know what you think, I do so adore a good debate! So, here goes - the Mental side of BDSM.

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BDSM is all about pain right? A good whipping, spanking, flogging, lots of bruises and marks as a badge of honour? For some yes – but there’s more. Much more than just the focus on pain. Through my conversations with those in the lifestyle, I have come to realise that at the core of everything BDSM is the intense mental connection between partners. It’s funny really as my stories have been labelled as ‘soft BDSM‘ due to my focus on mainly the mental and emotional connections that are forged between my protagonists. I agree, whilst I do not write about hard pain, the mental and emotional power exchange between partners, is for me, a much more potent marker of what BDSM represents.

Power exchange happens every day in so called ‘vanilla’ life but it is seen as acceptable if it is even noticed at all. Bullies try to enforce their dominance on people without their consent, others dominate in more subtle ways, and naturally submissive people happily work away to the commands of others. When I realised I was one of these natural submissives a lot of questions about my happiness slotted into place. For example the jobs I’d found most difficult, most stressful, were the jobs where I had no one to please. Making decisions, giving orders and planning wasn’t the problem for me as I am a very organised person, but if I was just managing my own workload, I became unhappy, depressed almost. And then I realised what was happening. I went back to being a PA, and the more people I had to look after, going just that little bit further to make them happy – I was happy. Deliriously so. So where am I going with this line of thought? Dominance and submission within personalities isn’t essentially a sexual thing. It is a marker of our innate characteristics, it is only when we exaggerate these characteristics that the sexual boundaries are explored.

Quite often I feel that the first four terms of BDSM are forgotten in favour of the more glamorous, perhaps salacious and more gossip-worthy last two. Bondage and discipline. Dominance and submission. Where is the beating and whipping and bruising in that? Pain is involved in the Sadism and masochism. Just because pain isn’t involved does not devalue or nullify an experience. I’m not in the lifestyle 24/7. I do not profess to be – but I would point out that astrophysicists do not have to experience the affect of a black hole first hand to know what effects they cause. I observe. I research. I dream. I am a big believer in free choice and keeping your mind open, and through my research I have found that the powerful mental connections associated with bondage, discipline, Dominance and submission are so strong that I am amazed there is so little mainstream written about this.

I have a feeling this debate will carry on in many forms. Anything but pain and severe markings will be nay-sayed as true BDSM, and then there will be those who live a vanilla lifestyle who can’t understand why they don’t feel whole, why there’s something missing from their lives who suddenly find BDSM but can’t understand why it seems right but they don’t have the urge to whip or be whipped… What’s the answer? There is no easy answer – I just have a theory, the start of a theory, it appears to be the answer for me and I explore it in my writing. Some readers have said that what I describe is realistic, and I’ve been asked if I write from experience. Conversely, others have said what I write bears no resemblance to reality. All we can do is explore different perceptions of what the lifestyle means to each of us, and more importantly than anything, continue to learn. To educate others to the diversity of practices that constitute BDSM so that each person can safely find their way to what is right for them. Maybe one day a choice to participate in BDSM will be seen as a respectable life decision, not perceived as an underground, secret and sometimes feared lifestyle

1 comment:

  1. Great post Tessa I really enjoyed reading it and learning a little more about the BDSM lifestyle, s I have virtually no clue about what it entails except from what I have read about.

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