Thoughts On The BDSM Spectrum

Well, this’ll piss a lot of people off.

Why? Because we’re all very protective of our kink. People get the idea into their head that their way is the way. Anyone else’s is therefore wrong. And if anyone dares to express their own views, well, all hell breaks loose.

So let’s be clear: This is my take on things. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m not questioning or criticising your views, your take, your instincts, or YOU. I’m not trying to tell you about your instincts, anyone who tries that is a fool. I’m just writing about my instincts, and the view from where I sit. (And yes, I’ve made the generalisation that Doms are Men and subs are girls. Again, just me.)

My regular readers will know, but just for the Googlers:

BDSM is a catch all title for Bondage, Discipline/Dominance, Submission/Sadism, Masocism.

Which sounds very simple and inclusive. One of the great things about “The Community” is it’s very accepting of different views and practices, which is just as well, because the spectrum is wide.

It runs from S&M at one end to D/s at the other. It’s worth being aware that few people sit at the far extremes of this range (at the risk of incurring yet more wrath, this time about “shades”) it’s all shades in between, with tendencies toward one thing or another, taking what fulfils you from elsewhere, and finding out what works for you.

At one end of the spectrum sits Sadism and Masochism. Sadists and Masochists are more focussed on themselves, one getting off on the fact he’s causing pain, the other getting off on the pain they’re getting. Both are objectified by the other as a tool to get what they want. Who’s with them is largely irrelevant.

This objectification allows for (although it doesn’t necessitate) a lack of consideration for your partner. It’s why you get sadists lending out their masochists to other sadists. Everyone’s happy with this arrangement, because it doesn’t matter who your painslut or top is, it’s not about the person you’re with, it’s all about you. It also enables labels and attitudes that reveal the objectification: “Sluts”, “Whores”, “Bitches” who get “Used” for their Master’s pleasure. It also allows for selfishness. You have a family thing today? So what, I have a task for you. You’re at work? You have to prepare things for the next day? That’s irrelevant, I want your attention now.

Your life becomes secondary, your whole endeavour should be focussed on your partner.

After all, I own you. Right?

S&M on these terms is extremely fulfilling for many people, and I don’t write this to do them down in any way. It just isn’t for me. Yes, much of the paraphernalia and the practices are lots of fun, fulfilling and enable expression, but within a different context: that of the D/s end of the spectrum.

At the D/s end, our focus is very different. A sub is focused on pleasing her Dom. She has a need to please, but it’s not a need to please just anyone, it’s a need to please Him. Because he has shown her he’s worth giving over her mind, her body, her heart, her self to by taking responsibility for her, and then always putting her needs ahead of his own selfish desires. A Dom is focused on his sub and her needs. Neither are objectified, because it’s about the bond, it’s all about the other.

This focus and responsibility doesn’t stop at the sex or the spanking, or the correction, or the discipline, it extends to putting her needs first in all things. You have a family thing? I’ll have planned ahead to make it as good as it can be – you like your family? I’ll make sure you’re refreshed and happy, unhurried when you see them. I’ll make sure there’s no nagging worry that you’ll have to deal with afterwards, nothing you have to leave to do, so you can relax and enjoy the moments you have with them. I’ll be here all along if you need me. You have work? I’ll make sure you have time to prepare, I’ll ensure you do that, I’ll make sure you know your travel times and you have everything you need to succeed, including my unstinting support. I’ll be here all along if you need me.

By me taking responsibility for all things, my sub knows that when we’re together I’ve taken care of the things she might otherwise have hanging over her. She knows she has time to be with me. She knows I’ll be aware of the time (apart from that one time we fell asleep, eep!) so she can give up her mind, her thoughts, her heart, as well as her body. I’ve taken care of everything. And by doing so I’m showing her not only that the needs and priorities of her daily life are taken care of, I’m also showing her that I can anticipate them and take care of them before they become a worry. So in play, she can be utterly confident that I can anticipate and take care of her needs there, too.

We still get to use all the lovely ropes, cuffs, chains, straps, belts, restraints, blindfolds, gags, paddles, canes, pinwheels, plugs, should she need them. But we don’t have to negotiate, we don’t need to spend time discussing consent, because she knows I know what she needs. She knows I know what she doesn’t need. She knows I know what boundaries she’s nervous about but would like to be tested. She knows I know because I know her better than any other, and I take care of her needs.

Now, again, I should say that naturally, I speak better of D/s than of S&M. But I’m entirely comfortable that many out there disagree and and find their way to be just as fulfilling. And that’s the rub: There is no right way. Just what’s right for you. Your way is the right way. Maybe not for me, but why should you care about that?

There’s one exception to this rule: Vanilla.

It’s my belief that BDSM isn’t kink at all. D/s particularly is the natural order of humanity. What we call “vanilla” is the perversion, where people don’t fully express their needs and desires because of societal “norms” imposed by thousands of years of patriarchal double standards about sex, more recently the feminist reaction against it (How dare you submit to a man, you’re a traitor to the sisterhood!!) and religious oppression of sexuality.


© Charles Rochester 2015

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12 thoughts on “Thoughts On The BDSM Spectrum

  1. I find I don’t totally agree with your point on “vanilla”. I think you’re forgetting – maybe not forgetting but not mentioning – that sex is a gift of ourselves that we make to our partner.
    Like in D/s or S&M you can have a connection that goes beyond sex – I guess more often than not we call it love – and each partner gifts their soul to the other in a way. Or in a purely sexual relationship the same objectification you mention can happen in vanilla relationship.
    Why should vanilla not be the right way for some people? Regardless of the reasons. Saying it’s not natural is putting a label on it in much the same way others are putting labels on BDSM.

    • As I say, It’s just my view. But I suspect strongly that most who enjoy a vanilla lifestyle do so perhaps in ignorance of the options, in spite of their nature, and as a result of the centuries of social conditioning and religious pressure.

  2. My ex fell towards the sadistic part of the spectrum. I was an object to him. He liked the idea of sharing me. And used a lot of those labels on me. Slut, whore, fuck toy.

    I am not a masochist. I mean, I enjoy pain, I get a lot of pleasure from it. I do not enjoy being objectified and used.

    I’m submissive. I did a lot of what he asked of me. In spite of a lot of misgivings. But mostly because of my desire to please him and try to make him happy. I was far too in love with this person.

    Interesting thoughts.

    I have yet to meet a Dom that I fit well with.

      • I don’t even think though that’s what I was trying for in the first place. I was pretty young when I started with this man. It was friendship that turned sexual. I didn’t really even know anything about bdsm. Very vanilla. We never agreed to be Dom and Sub. I just explored a lot with him and found a lot of things I liked and towards the end with him I realized my submissiveness. And then started talking to other people with similar mindsets and lifestyles.

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