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Understanding BDSM : Swingers Discussion 186639101
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TOPIC: Understanding BDSM
Created by: stgalacouple
Original Starting post for this thread:
I've seen several people who share our interest in BDSM say that many people here don't know what BDSM is or understand it. So here's a start at explaining for anyone interested.

BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism, but these four words are not all inclusive as to the activities in which BDSMers participate. In fact, people who practice BDSM may participate in none of these. How can that be?

A sadist is a person who gets sexual pleasure from administering pain or being cruel. It is irrelevant to the sadist's pleasure whether the person on the receiving end consents or enjoys what is happening. Most dominants are not sadists. Likewise, it is irrelevant to the masochist's pleasure whether the person giving the pain enjoys giving it. Most submissives are not masochists.

While most BDSMers do bondage and restraint and/or impact play, so do most vanilla couples. Tying someone to the bed or using handcuffs, tried at least once by most vanilla couples, is just a milder form of some of the more extreme versions of bondage. Spanking is a less extreme (but not necessarily less painful) version of impact play. And some BDSMers may not do either of these.

What is part of most BDSM play is Domination/submission, or D/s (also written as D/S). D/s is about control or the power exchange. In D/s, one member of the couple agrees to accept power and control of the other, and the other member of the couple agrees to give power and control and obey. This is usually not an open ended agreement, but is done in the confines of limits/boundaries agreed by both parties.

A key to this agreement is an exchange of responsibility as well. With control, the dominant accepts responsibility for all that happens, particularly the submissive's pleasure -- and the dominant's own. The submissive is no longer responsible for what happens as long as she/he obeys the dominant. In return, she/he gets a pleasurable session.

Think for a minute of the dominant as the coach of a team, the director of a movie, the CEO of a business. They get to make the decisions about what plays to run, what scenes to cut, what products to make. If those things succeed, they did it. If those things fail, it's clearly their fault, and they and everyone else know it.

For a submissive, especially one who has felt or been made to feel responsible for things going wrong in the past, not being responsible for what happens, and particularly for the dom's pleasure, lifts a huge weight off the sub's shoulders and makes it much easier to enjoy the session instead of worrying about it. It also allows the sub to do something that he/she may have been taught to think is "bad" or "wrong" -- because he/she is not the one deciding to do it. He/she has no choice but to do it under the terms of the agreement.

I hope some of you will have questions, and I'm sure those with BDSM experience will have comments. D/s works only when it is erotic for both people AND when both people know the session is enjoyable for the other person. If that isn't true, those people shouldn't be doing D/s.

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Ghost,

Must be a regional thing. I don't think I've ever heard (tho often seen in print) the word "kinkster." I hear the kind of person your're describing called a "fetishist."

Your point about performing is apt. At BDSM events there are lots of demonstrations (usually formally organized) or performances (organized or ad hoc) that are often the point of the gathering. They're very useful for learning or refining various techniques and skills. And they can be entertaining. While people who have watched get to ask questions and discuss the demonstations with the participants after they're over, it's rare that they lead to anything else.

Kitty Hawk NC
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Ty kitten :)

East Fishkill NY
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Perhaps a small refinement in nomenclature.

Obviously we are both a full time D/s couple and swingers. In the BDSM world it's usually referred to as 'kinksters'. This can cover pretty much ALL the ground, but in practice it usually means a kinky person. They may like ropes or whips or bondage or crapping in pantyhose... They are most decidedly NOT D/s in any practical sense of the word, except perhaps as part of a scene. They could be into bdsm PLAY, but not considered a D/s couple.

A 24/7 D/s relationship in today's world is also a compromise every day. No, I can't have baby in garters and hose 24/7-we have a house full of teens right now home from school-but when the opportunity presents itself, well.... What it is NOT about is 24/7 sex play. I am 110% responsible for my love. Yes, we both bring income to the home, and Mrs keeps the books, but I am the one that 'runs' the family. When the kids get of the path, I'm the one that corrects. When baby has PMS and gets crabby, I'm the one that either takes her aside and calms her, or puts her over my knee (THIS is where that 'spidey sense' comes in) and gives her some 'attention'.

Would I turn baby over to another 'dom'? Well, the overwhelming majority of 'doms' are pure bullshit. The majority of the rest are poorly 'educated' in the 'arts' or impatient and aloof. For every submissive that finds her 'One' there are legions that do not. THESE are the submissives you are likely coming in contact with. If they are attached to a dom, it's usually temporary or a relationship of 'convenience', often for both of them. To be frank, I have enough of a time keeping Mrs safe at a SWING event, I'm not even getting close to some sort of bdsm thing...

A caveat: I HAVE entertained the idea of 'performing' with MrsMuir. We have done so informally. I would even consider LIGHT bondage with another submissive. It would have to be a woman I knew, in the biblical sense (I'm not one who separates sex and BDSM, I believe they are intrinsically linked) and likely more than once or I just would not trust what little empathy I would have...

Hope this was somewhat useful.

/rant_over

East Fishkill NY
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Jason,

The key to what you're missing is what you've posted in the "Difficult to find swingers who are also interested in BDSM" thread. The fact is that the kind of "topping and bottoming" that you wish would happen generally doesn't.

For a submissive to allow a dominant to do anything to the sub that's not outside the sub's limits (and know that she'll enjoy it) takes a huge amount of trust. Likewise, for the dominant to do things to a sub that would be considered felonies in other contexts takes a huge amount of trust. As a result, the kinds of meetings you would like to have happen are pretty rare. BDSM usually happens between committed couples (domming and subbing) or in controlled environments where the sub wants to experience something never before experienced (shibari? the quirt? the violet wand?) safely with no commitment (topping and bottoming).

Others' experiences may differ, but we've been to lots of BDSM clubs and to weekends with groups we know fairly well. There is no wholesale swapping of partners for BDSM or for sex. Honestly, would you turn your sub over to a dom you don't know while you go off to session his sub? And if you're trying to keep an eye on that dom while he's sessioning your sub, you're not going to pay adequate attention to how his sub is responding to what you do to her. Road map for a disaster.

Do trusting relationships form between D/s couples? Of course, but not nearly so often as you apparently hope. Those relationships take a long time to nurture and grow.

When you post on this forum that you are awash in partners who want to combine swinging and BDSM with you and you just don't have time to session with them all, then I'll be happy to entertain your ideas on topping and bottoming. But I won't hold my breath waiting for that post.

Kitty Hawk NC
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If you are a thinking man and a quality Dominant (in My humble opinion) you actually develop a 'spidey sense' for your pet.

i love that! that is an awesome description, and the way it should be. ~kitten

Philadelphia PA
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Thank you new4u :) I do try...

As to your 'wish': The Buddhists believe that the more you 'covet' a thing, the farther is recedes from you and your life. They believe that the balanced approach is to 'place yourself in the path that your dreams travel'. In other words, go to school if you want to be a doctor. DO the best you can, learn like it was water to you-and when you do, your dream will find you.

It's the same energy needed to find your 'One'. Put yourself out there, be the best you can be, don't covet. Get good enough that you are so busy living that you 'forget' that you are looking for that great Dominant near you.... The moment you TRULY do, your desire, your dream, your goal will find you.

It's how I met MrsMuir (on OK Cupid-we both highly recommend it ;) and how every thing of good significance has ever found either one of us too.

Best of Everything to you

Oh, and you know DAMN well that I am the lucky one ;)

East Fishkill NY
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Hello stag, I have never heard those distinctions made about topping being used in that limited context. I would think topping and bottoming can occur at anytime between players who are not in a dom and submissive relationship. I've always understood that you can top/dominate another bottom or submissive and it had no relationship to how long, or how much they knew about each other. Long time friends can top and bottom to each other. I'm not sure what I am missing here.

Green Bay WI
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Jason,

Let's clarify some terminology here. "Topping" and "bottoming" have traditionally had specific meanings within the BDSM community, and those meanings are, IMHO, worth keeping.

Topping and bottoming are used to describe roles in one-time sessions when the participants don't know each other well (or even at all), have no relationship, may never session together again, and conduct only the briefest discussion of limits and what will be done during the session. Topping and bottoming most often takes place at dungeon parties. It's not risky behavior because of the presence of others during the session, particularly dungeon masters/mistresses.

So while I don't disagree with what you say if we mean it to be how things should work between a dom and a sub (who do have a relationship and have built up trust over time), it really doesn't relate to tops and bottoms in the traditional sense.

One reason that it's a good idea not to use these terms interchangeably is that it does confuse the distinction between swingers and BDSMers that has be the topic of some discussion in these forums lately. Swingers are often (but not always) the vanilla versions of tops and bottoms -- meet at a party, do your thing, go your separate ways. That's generally not what BDSMers are looking for.

Kitty Hawk NC
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I learned that negotiation is crucial when playing with a new person. The dom needs to know about medical issues, hard limits, soft limits etc. Leading a new partner is the responsibility of the top. submissives are often too compliant to speak on their own behalf. An experienced top should have some knowledge of the bottom before beginning and when working with a new person or beginner should always proceed with the submissive in mind. The top should create and control the scene and a good top will strive for an outcome that is good for all parties. Tops are only in control if the can control the outcome. Leading a submissive too far or in the wrong direction is, in my mind, a lack of skill on the top, not the submissive. After all, who is in control?

Green Bay WI
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Actually I beg to differ...

The ONLY reference point you will ever have that is reliable is yourself. This is Dom 101 in my book. Using toys on oneself is not so that you can enjoy the pleasures as your submissive would. I would find that highly improbable for the reasons you enumerated as well as others. No, the reason you will do this are, why one SHOULD do it is so that you will always have a reference. If I pick up another Dominant's tools (not my choice normally but often unavoidable) a few quick lashes against my hand with a flogger or a tap or two of a crop along my leg as I approach a sub will tell me volumes about the tool I'm about to use. Because I have been making leather for these uses for more than 30 years-and testing them accordingly-I have built up a mental 'catalog' of leather types, weights and what really amount to 'a feel' for the material.

Now, as a Dominant you know that if fetish is the fat of the BDSM steak, the mind-fuck is the real muscle. Your knowledge of your submissive is something much more complex and nuanced a thing than any single skill. If you are a thinking man and a quality Dominant (in My humble opinion) you actually develop a 'spidey sense' for your pet. Imagine if that also included a deep knowledge and understanding of the materials of your tools?

For instance: I make a several different floggers. They vary in shape, size AND leather types. If you know floggers, you know that they all pretty much have the same effect. A little more of this, or less of that. Some heavy some light. But sub always knows it's a flogger, right? lol Now I mix in different TYPES of leather with different finishes. Stiffer with untrimmed edges? It's going to actually cut the skin if used hard. Newbie with a low threshold? Soft kid glove leather oiled well with saddle soap will not frighten her on her first time out. But how would you know ANY of this if you have no point of reference? Flogger slut with a high threshold? Larger falls and stiffer leather.

It permeates your entire way of thinking. Know what one of the best paddles in the world is? A Home Depot LARGE paint stirrer! Sure, you need to sand the edges a bit, but for dramatic 'air' sound, satisfying SMACK and easily controlled marking, it is the best free toy you will own in my opinion! Found out one day waiting for paint...and smacking my hand....and well, how does it feel on my leg? *tap tap tap. Hmmmm...

Now, I just got a new cow hide in (a wonderful latigo black tack leather) and several print rabbit skins. MrsMuir has a birthday coming up and she has earned her own personal working collar, cuffs, and shackles.... busy busy busy ;)

Peace

East Fishkill NY
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TOPIC: Understanding BDSM