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TOPIC: Understanding BDSM
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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.

Kitty Hawk NC
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TOPIC: Understanding BDSM