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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Three ways the BDSM Scene misleads (unless you are part of it!)

The BDSM scene is an awesome
achievement... but...
The BDSM scene is an awesome achievement; all those people getting together to safely and consensually do stuff that's supposed to be bad, wrong, "unhealthy" or just demeaning.

And they've been doing (mostly) safely it for decades!

However, what comes out of the scene onto the Internet is misleading for wannabe kinksters.

BDSM is all about activities (Wrong!)

Sometimes it seems that the BDSM Scene exists to output kinky educational material: how to do bondage, how to whip, how to brand, how to... and so on. If you look at Fetlife profiles it's often the same: a list of available activities and skills.

It's not deliberate, it's just that some stuff gets - needs - more coverage and is easier to write about than other stuff. So you're more likely to get a three page tutorial on suspension, than on simple domestic service.

This is great for doing kink safely. However, it can obscure the fact that underlying all those kinky activities is a dynamic, and underlying that dynamic is a relationship of some sort: whether play only or something deeper.

If you're not in the Scene, especially if you are part of an established couple, then you'll usually have to work from the relationship, to the dynamic, to the kinky fun.

Dominatrixes are Monster Aliens (Wrong!)

Dommes are real people...
When you glimpse the scene online, it's all Lady This and Mistress That and Her Divine Will etc. It's as if these women lived in Gothic mansions with latex sissy maids at their beck and call.

What's actually happening is that you're either not really seeing the Scene - these are pro-dommes rather magnificently weaving a fantasy for prospective clients - or else your attention is being drawn by the more flamboyant scene personas projected by dommes.

In both cases, the public image is not necessarily false as far as it goes, but it's part of the fun and definitely not the whole story.

The reality - if you stop to read blogs and twitter feeds, or have any real-life BDSM experience - is that dommes (and pro dommes) are real people just like you: ordinary people who experience boring first world problems, get sick from time to time, have complex relationships with their families, and non-kink hobbies such as Dungeons and Dragons.

This is important because outside the Scene, you're likely to encounter your future domme in street clothes drinking coffee in Costas. Don't lose hope because none of the women you like wear thigh-length boots to work.

BDSM is all about negotiation, consent, and aftercare (Wrong!)

...when your dominant is mostly or originally vanilla,
the real challenge is to get them to
do anything kinky at all! 
Since they're hard to get right and reasonable expectations are subject to discussion, the Scene generates a lot of online material about negotiation, consent, and after care.

To confuse things further, some dominants make themselves feel better about their preferences by talking as if that was what BDSM was really about - one lady, for example, described herself as a "consent fetishist".

The reality, of course, is that the Scene is about the BDSM action. Negotiation, consent and aftercare are vital, but only because they are what makes that socially and ethically possible.

The misconception - that it's about these - can be unhelpful in two ways:

First, when your dominant is mostly or originally vanilla, the real challenge is to get them to do kink at all!
...aftercare at home need be nothing
more than snuggling up in
bed together.

Anything that makes things even more complicated for them is likely to make the kink go away. So outside safety issues (including psychological safety), you're pretty much going to have to take the rough with the smooth if you want to get any kink whatsoever.

Second, it encourages you to apply the most stringent standards designed for relative strangers to what should be a comfortable relationship based on underlying trust.

Yes of course two strangers need to establish affirmative consent when doing a flogging scene in a club ("I'm going to hit you with this? Are you OK with that?"). However, if it's part of your routine and nothing has changed, then at home with your partner, it's probably OK to agree that the whipping will just happen (still subject to safewords).

Similarly, aftercare at home need be nothing more than snuggling up in bed together.

The BDSM Scene is the only place to find BDSM (Wrong!)

 ...there are plenty of kinky people
who never go anywhere near
the Scene
Finally, when people in the Scene talk about dating, they normally talk about dating in the scene because that's where they live. For the same reason, when somebody asks for advice about finding a kinky partner, they instead offer up advice about getting involved in the Scene, going "poly" if necessary.

This is not usually realistic for middle aged married people, or for single but otherwise conventional people - the Scene does not necessarily look like a good place to find a mainstream monogamous relationship.

It's also unhelpful because it encourages wannabe subs who are single to only look in the scene, where churn may create poor odds, or to give up if they are not comfortable with munches and clubs.

In reality, there are plenty of kinky people who never go anywhere near the Scene, perhaps because they are private people or not joiners, or are only found around it's edges because they are geeks or Goths.

It is also unhelpful because it encourages people to think that once they have kink in their relationship, they should rush and join the local BDSM Scene. This is pretty much the equivalent of persuading your partner out for a Sunday ride on a bicycle, then insisting you both join the local cycle touring club.

Make no mistake. The BDSM Scene can be an amazing place, 
and it's full of amazing people. Just don't 
let its online shadow mislead you...

Learn how to how to walk the same Femdom path with your partner! 

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