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Thursday, June 16, 2011

BDSM: Non Formal Relationships

I'm heading to the train station in a few hours and then I'll be in Chicago in the morning. I'm going to model - demo bottom for Ms C's Shibari bondage class To Restrain Or Knot tomorrow night (Friday) at 8pm. Then Saturday I'm going to the Bondage Night Chicago Party with some kinky friends. Should be fun. Over the weekend I'm a get my hair cut and styled a bit more than what it is at the moment. My schedule is filling up already and I'm shooting video early next week with Xena and Maria the Purple Goddess.

I thought I would share my final paper I wrote for my Junior English class. It was to be a formal paper no longer than 7 pages. Includes listing, headings and be no more than 7 pages long.
It's called........


BDSM: Non-Formal Relationships

Abstract

In examining the sub-culture of BDSM (bondage, discipline, sado-masochism) this article analysis the distinguishing roles of its participants and the relationships found. Individuals who partake in BDSM are either a dominant or a slave. Depending on the environment and relationship outline the slave submits to a dominant sexually while also adhering to rules and guidelines. It’s strongly noted that individuals of both roles consensually agree to the relationships framework. It’s also important to note that slaves aren’t legally slaves and that they will often exercise free will if the situation calls for it.


Introduction

The sexually driven sub-culture known as BDSM (bondage, discipline, sado-masochism) entwines itself into the lives of many. For some it is purely sexual satisfaction from time to time. For others it is a lifestyle that encompasses sexual and non-sexual ownership and slavery between willing individuals. Those involved in the BDSM community continue to battle negative connotations surrounding their lifestyle choices. Non-the less, many partake in this taboo lifestyle worldwide. The relationships built within BDSM vary from person to person. With that said there are three standard relationships regularly scene, 1) 24/7 BDSM Slavery, 2) Part time BDSM, 3) Professional BDSM.
The road to BDSM is un-definable in that many can recount childhood memories while others come across it from an old sexual partner or word of mouth. It’s a lifestyle full of sexual thrills and it can also be a power exchange based on rules and guidelines outside of the bedroom. One person enjoys being in a dominant role while the other enjoys the submissive role. BDSM stresses consensual relationships between two or more willing individuals. The reason behind the power role chosen varies for each person. Much of it is a sexual stimulation that is difficult for even that person to explain. BDSM explores the human body and it’s capabilities through pleasure and pain.
One pain that many face is the fear of others knowing about their lifestyle preference. Many are secretly involved within BDSM and fear being outed similar to how homosexuals fear others knowing about their lifestyle preference, “In one recent survey of adult SM group members, 70% of the respondents reported they were at least partially closeted” (NCSF, 1998, p. 2). Traditional culture is misinformed and ignorant about BDSM with beliefs that it’s based on abuse and unhealthy relations. Because of this many have decided to lead double lives.  This article will examine the different relationships within the BDSM community and look to shed a light on a misrepresented sub-culture.

Terminology
            Individuals in BDSM regularly use the following terms. It’s a way of differentiating between varied interests, roles, and relationships.
·      BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sado-Masochism)
·      M/S (Master/Submissive – slave)
·      D/S (Dominant/Submissive-slave) or (Dominance/Submission)
·      Pro Domme (Professional Dominatrix)
·      24/7 (Someone who has BDSM involved in their everyday lives)
·      Kinky (Someone who partakes in BDSM)

Technology
            The boom of technology has greatly assisted the interconnectivity within BDSM. Websites such as www.fetlife.com allow people to easily find others who are also interested in BDSM. It allows for advertisement of local gatherings, classes, demonstrations, parties as well as self-promotion. A lifestyle that appears very taboo in person doesn’t seem to be quite so much on the Internet. The Internet allows for those who are new to the culture to educate themselves and get their toes wet prior to jumping in.

24/7 BDSM Slavery
            A relationship of 24/7 BDSM slavery involves a set of rules and guidelines that the slave consensually agrees to live by 24 hours a day and 7 days per week. These sets of rules expand way beyond sexual servitude and serve as a structured outline on how the couple will interact with one another at all times. The slave is by no means legally a slave; the term adheres to a role within the relationship dynamic in which the individual chooses.  The framework of the relationship changes in different environments. When the couple is alone the slave may follow certain orders like: always asking for permission to eat, only addressing the partner as Sir or Ma’am, or asking for permission to use the bathroom.  Many slaves are responsible for the majority of household domestic duties as in cleaning the home, cleaning the dishes, and cooking dinner. The slave identity in BDSM relationships is not gender or age specified, “An online questionnaire was used to obtain responses from individuals who self-identified as slave. 146 people participated, 53% female and 47% male, ranging in age from 18-72” (Dancer, Peter L. 2006).
            When the couple is in a public environment the framework of the dominance and submission still exists. At the same time there are societal rules that must also be followed. Due to this, the submission is passively presented but still recognized between the couple. The slave may always wait for their dominant to eat first or they may only walk on one side of their dominant. These actions may come across as useless to an outsider but what this really does is exemplify a 24/7 BDSM relationship. More importantly it shows commitment and respect between the couple.
            The emphasis on sexual relations is the core of BDSM. A person who has sexually submissive tendencies will begin to explore their role as a slave to a sexually driven dominant prior to entering into the realm of 24/7 slavery. The sexual thrills of BDSM are relatively the same whether one is in a 24/7 BDSM relationship or an occasional BDSM relationship. The dominant will subject the slave to sexual humiliation, bondage, discipline, torment, chastity, body worship and more. The roles of dominant and slave remain during sexual relations in a 24/7 BDSM relationship. In fact, this is the greatest essence to the core of their existing relationship. The structure and guidance that BDSM provides was too great for those involved in the 24/7 lifestyle that they couldn’t only partake in it on a part time basis. Those who live a 24/7 lifestyle only represent a small portion of those involved in BDSM, however it provides an organized template that sexually and emotionally satisfies their relationship needs.

Part Time BDSM
            For some this is the gateway to 24/7 BDSM slavery and for many others it is the perfect combination of sexual desire and everyday life. It allows for a couple to engage in fantasy, role-play, and dominance/submission while they mostly still maintain their societal roles. They may engage in a school teacher/ student role-play for a couple hours. Or they may want a larger influence of BDSM in their lives but only on a part time basis. This could be long weekends of strict BDSM between the couple the way 24/7 slavery is outlined or they may agree to add a few BDSM based rules into their relationship.
            Part time BDSM allows for the greatest amount of fluctuation because it’s an on again - off again structure. These relationships tend to have a heavier focus on BDSM sexually. This structure allows for the couple to explore fetishes together. One partner is usually more dominant where the other is submissive but there is a greater emphasis on satisfying one another as opposed to pleasing the dominant first and foremost seen in 24/7 BDSM relationships.

Professional BDSM
            It is here that sexual pleasures of BDSM combine with a professional career. It is predominately male clientele that choose to see a professional dominatrix (pro domme). Professional BDSM is a business that is mostly controlled by women.  More than anything it is an outlet for submissive clientele to enact upon submissive fantasies in an accepting environment.
            Pro dommes only offer BDSM activities meaning that a client will not engage in any direct sexual relations with the person they’re serving. The client chooses the duration of time they wish to serve with an hour being the commonly known minimum. The rates of pro dommes tend to be between $200 and $300 per hour. Pro dommes charge these rates for a couple of reasons: 1) Pro dommes are paying a rental fee on the space being used. 2) The equipment and outfits used are expensive. 3) They are providing services in a niche market that clients are willing to pay for. 4) Clients are paying for the experience and knowledge of a pro domme.  
            Pro dommes are generally trained by someone with extensive knowledge and experience in BDSM. Professional domination provides a safe haven to clients who are unsure about their own fantasies. Even in a changing Westernized culture many men feel uncomfortable submitting to a woman in any capacity. Submissive’s who are closeted about their BDSM desires with family, friends, and or partners are often professional domination clients.  The relations between the pro domme and the submissive are strictly professional based. Pro dommes generally enjoy their work and in many cases consider themselves to provide a therapeutic environment. A field research study by Danielle Lindermann of Columbia University found that, “Respondents repeatedly characterized themselves as ‘therapists’, speaking about their work as a form of psychological treatment for their clients” (Lindermann, Danielle 2011). Professional BDSM is equally gratifying for the client and pro domme. It allows for occasional standard societal role deviation and that in itself provides a comfort that neither can find elsewhere.

Conclusion
            BDSM isn’t for everyone. Just as athletics or video games aren’t for everyone. BDSM is an outward expressionism of oneself sexually, physically, and mentally. Those in BDSM come to terms with their bodies desire for satisfaction. In some cases it’s a taboo fetish and other times it’s their best opportunity at personal freedom. It can be freedom from societal norms, freedom from family obligations, and or freedom from career expectations. BDSM can be captured in a moment or over the period of a lifetime. BDSM is a consensual agreement between individuals to explore the pleasures and pains of themselves together.
            There’s no questioning that it’s a different lifestyle than that of one that any person is born into. Differences are what make the world we live in. It is what keeps life interesting and what makes us curious about what is around the corner. BDSM is what separates many but also brings together many more. It is sub-culture and a community. It’s full of people you love, admire, dream about and it’s full of people who care and inspire. BDSM is a part of someone, it’s not who they are. If BDSM encourages self-expressionism, self-understanding and most importantly self-acceptance then we as a larger society must accept BDSM individuals based on the qualities that make a good person, just like everyone else.  

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