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23.11.07

BDSM... Brynn style

BDSM

It’s all about being tied up, right?
by Brynn Paulin

No, it’s not.

After writing several BDSM books and including aspects of BDSM in all my others, I’ve gotten to learn a few things. The lifestyle, whether scene-by-scene or 24/7, isn’t all about being tied. In fact, these can play a very small role in a D/s relationship. What is D/s you ask? Let’s start with a few terms.

D/s: this is Domination and submission. It can also be used to signify Dominant and submissive.

Dominant: The man or woman in charge. He or she is also called the Master/Mistress, Dom/Domme, or Top.

Submissive: The man or woman not in charge. He or she is also called slave, sub, or bottom.
BDSM: this is an overlapping acronym that stands for Bondage Discipline (BD) Domination Submission (DS) Sadomasochism (SM)

Power exchange: Power exchange is when a submissive willing surrenders their control to a dominant during sexual encounters. They may also surrender their partial or full control over their daily life.

Scene: An episode of BDSM. ‘The Scene’ is one way to refer to life within the BDSM community/lifestyle.

SSE: Safe, Sane and Consensual. These are the three tenets of BDSM. This signifies that those practicing BDSM are doing so by their own choice and practicing it safely.

Vanilla: Relationships or scenes with no BDSM aspects.

Safe, Sane and Consensual

Most people who start into BDSM do so because they want to add spice to their current ‘vanilla’ lifestyle. They want something more. This can be very confusing since society teaches us that were all equal. It can even leave a person feeling guilty since it is so different from what we’re taught growing up. Who really wants to do these things?

Lots of people. So where should someone start? Number one is communication. Partners should be open about what they’re feeling and what they want. They need to respect each other’s needs and trust one another. This leads naturally into safe, sane and consensual. Anything that is done in BDSM should be done with the consent—primarily of the submissive since he or she is the one who will generally be on the receiving end in a scene. The Dom and the sub should discuss personal likes and dislikes as they enter into a relationship. What’s okay? What will need further discussion? What is absolutely off limits? What will the safe word be if a limit as reached and/or the sub is scared or hurt?

I cannot stress enough that discussion of these things is needed at the onset of a pairing—with clear heads and clothes on. Going over a checklist such as the one at BDSM Education site. Trust me, there are things you’ve never even thought of… Whatever you do, keep safety in mind. No one wants to harm their partner.


Lifestyle v. Scene

One of the arguments about BDSM is what is true BDSM. Is it a 24/7 relationship and are those who only practice it in the bedroom playing? Is one better than the other? It’s different by relationship. None is better than the other. There is no set amount that suddenly validates it.

There are essentially three levels of BDSM. Bedroom, D/s and Master/slave. I find that most people fall into the first category. That’s where they feel safe and it satisfies their needs. The second, D/s, stands for Dominant/submissive. They live in a somewhat 24/7 relationship where there is a power exchange between partners outside the bedroom. This power exchange encompasses more than sex. It gives one person decision making power to one person—it’s not always overt but each person knows their place (personally, I know plenty of married couples who follow this tenet but would be outraged if their relationship was ever compared to a D/s partnership). Finally the Master/slave relationship. This is perhaps the most difficult to understand. In it, the slave gives over total power to the Master. Often in this the slave sets no limits and does not have a safe word. The master is given complete power over the salves life, from sex to eating to sleeping to behaviours. Those involved in this type of relationship have an innate need to serve or be served. Strangely, this is one of the most written about BDSM interactions, yet it is the most rare.

In any case, there is no competition. Each person should find the level comfortable to them.

Pain

Why would anyone want to introduce pain into sex? Ever tried it? Pain can be quite arousing and freeing. There is a point where it stops being pain and morphs to pleasure. A spank, a pinch, an abrasion of nails heightens nerve receptors. You’ve heard of the endorphins that kick in when exercising? They kick in here too. They take away the pain of exercise and make you feel good. Same concept here. Spanking, whipping, etc. are used for both discipline and pleasure in BDSM. I’ll focus on the pleasure.

Floggers, whips, paddles and crops: Oh my! These come in as many varieties as there people in the world.

Floggers are multi-tailed whips and come in different weights from light to heavy weight. A light weight flogger feels soft and caressing across the skin. It can warm the flesh with out any real pain. Light floggers are often comprised of light leather, deerskin, silk or velvet. These can be used all over the body because they don’t easily leave marks. Care should still be used in delicate areas. Medium weight floggers have more of a bite. They can leave a mark or leave a bruise or even a welt, depending on the strength of the strokes. These can be found in leather, nylon, rubber and knotted rope. Heavy floggers have a sharp sting. They are primarily made of heavy leather with thin tails. These can easily leave marks or bruises and even cut the skin. Many people never use heavy floggers because they do not want that level of pain and this type of whip takes great skill to wield.

Like heavy floggers single tailed whips or bullwhips require a great deal of skill and are often avoided in the scene. They can easily injure the recipient.

Paddles also come in many varieties—all in different shapes, sizes and materials. They are used solely on the thighs and buttocks because these areas are more padded than other parts of the body. This is necessary because the paddle has a heavier weight than the flogger and strike harder. Paddles are usually made of wood, leather, plastic or metal. Some are smooth, some have holes in them, some have studs or raised edges.

Crops come in different sizes, too. The head of the crop is what is used to strike the skin and has a tip often called a slapper. These tips can be wide or pointed, floppy or stiff, and are generally made of leather or plastic. A square head will inflict less pain than a pointed head. A crop can be used in most parts of the body, but how hard the blows will be should be taken into account. Harder blows should be confined to buttocks, calves, thighs and feet.


Screw The Roses, Send Me The Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism by Philip Miller and Molly Devon, has a diagram of the body and shows the proper places to strike. It also shows the marks made by different toys on the skin.

Spanking

Almost everyone is familiar with spanking, but most people leave it behind with childhood. They see spanking from only a disciplinary standpoint. However, it can he highly erotic—with no extra equipment involved. Spanking can be done with the hand, a paddle, a strap, etc. and is done in a variety of positions.
The most popular position is over the knee. In this position the sub to lay across the Dom’s lap with his or her hips on the side of the Dom’s stronger hand. The Dom’s other hand is over the waist of the sub to keep them from falling and keep them in place. Another position which is similar places the sub between the Dom’s legs. The sub bends over one thigh while the Dom closes his legs to trap the sub between them. This will keep the one being spanked from kinking or interfering with the spanking.
Other positions to consider: Laying flat with hips elevated. Bent over, grasping ankles. Bent over a table or chair or other piece of furniture.
The sting from a spanking can last after the session, but it is not the strength of the blows which dictates this, it is the duration. Light strokes for a long period of time actually have a longer effect than a heavier, shorter session. Also, for more sting, fingers should be spread for more airflow. Remember for safety, only spank the thighs and buttocks.
One reason that spanking is erotic is because like in flogging, endorphins kick in taking the one getting spanked to a lovely high. Also, the heat from the spanking spreads into the pelvic area, arousing the recipient. Of course there’s the naughty feeling afterward when the one spanked squirms in their chair, remembering what happened hours earlier.

Bondage

Bondage is used by a Dominant to immobilize or restrict the movement of his sub. It can be a time of punishment, training, teasing or pleasure but leaves the sub in a vulnerable position that can be dangerous. The Dom must always be vigilant, because he has complete control over his sub and her safety is fully in his hands. It’s a good idea to always have scissors nearby.
A variety of restraints are easily available through a local adult bookstore, the internet and even in-home sex toy parties. Any restraint should be comfortable but restrictive. There should never be restricted blood flow since there is never a need to bind the sub in such a way that body parts ‘goes to sleep’. If this happens, loosen the restraint. Whatever you do, keep in mind that you should be able to remove the binding within one minute if need be. Beginners should never play with anything around the neck, even the stereotypical collar and leash.

A good way to begin in bondage is gentle play. For this wide, soft findings should be used. Try a spread eagle position on the bed. The softer material will protect the skin from abrasion and are less apt to dig into the bound area. Anything soft will create an erotic sensation while still pleasantly restricting movement.

Common restraints used in bondage are:

Ropes. These are the most common items used and would include stockings, neckties, and scarves. They are used to bind hands together, behind the back or over the head. Feet can be bound together and apart. Ropes can also be used to bind a submissive to a piece of furniture or anything else that will keep them secure. Similar to ropes are straps which are usually nylon or leather with leather being the more comfortable. They are more difficult for the sub to escape than ropes and more restrictive.

Cuffs and shackles. Cuffs are for wrists and arms. Shackles are for legs and ankles. Like ropes, these can be used to bind a sub’s hands or feet together or bind them to other objects. Cuffs and shackles are usually made of leather, metal or nylon with Velcro closures. When thinking of cuffs and shackles chains often come into play. Chains should be used only in conjunction with cuffs and aren’t generally directly placed against the skin because they can cause injury. And thinking of chains leads to collars and leashes. Collars for bondage (and not symbols of ownership) are made of nylon or leather like the cuffs. They can be used with chains to restrict arms and legs. As I mentioned before beginners should never experiment with collars or anything around the neck.

Bars are used to spread the arms or legs. They are usually 2-3 feet long. They ends of the bar are attached to cuffs or shackles. A bar, like other bindings, restricts movement but bars also give the Dom great access his sub’s body.

For more on bindings, toys, and floggers check out TEB’s earlier post on this subject.

Aftercare

When participating in any BDSM scene, aftercare is the last step. The worst thing a Dom could do is take their sub to the edge of their limits and then roll over and go to sleep. Cuddling, stroking, compliment and discussion of what’s just happened will go a long way to build intimacy and strengthen trust and respect. It’s not uncommon for the Dom to apply soothing lotion or to bathe their sub. A good Dom treats his sub as a treasure not as a disposable item which is discarded after use or easily replaced. Even in the most tame of relationships where BDSM is only spice added to otherwise vanilla activity, partners need to engage in this aftercare. If aftercare is done well, it will increase the impact of what has already taken place. Don’t allow the real world to return until aftercare is complete.

Anything I’ve mentioned can be brought to a light level for beginners. When starting out, focus on pleasure and arousal. Slowly introduce new activities. As I’ve said, always always always discuss what you’re going to do before you do it. Know what kind of relationship/interaction you want and make sure your partner knows it too. Communicate. Before and after. Find out what your partner liked of didn’t like. Make a note of what to repeat and what to try next time. If the Dominant or submissive wants more they must say so. Both parties must be honest for this to work. Partners can make a BDSM that works for them. Be safe. Be sane. Have fun!

See you next time ~ Brynn










Brynn Paulin

5 comments:

Carol Lynne said...

Thanks for the useful tips, Brynn. Now, if I could just get my husband into those shackles...

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Brynn, this is an excellent primer on BDSM - well done and thanks for the tips!

Amarinda Jones said...

I don't understand the appeal - but as Lady Astor once said "As long as they don't frighten the horses..." do what makes you happy

LynTaylor said...

LOL! I think I'm with you on that one Amarinda :D

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