I'm really distressed about something...

Discussion in 'General BDSM discussions' started by seth, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. seth

    seth New Member

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    Hi, I'm new.

    First, let me make things clear by saying that I am curious about BDSM, and for the past several months (since about August), I have been reading about it on the Internet.

    I have submissive sentiments, and for a good while, I was very excited to pursue my newfound interests (or identity, you might say) in the future. However, the deeper I've read into these topics, the less clear things have become. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm really confused...

    I'm the type of person who is overly analytical and scrutinizes everything. I want to know the littlest details of everything just so I can be informed before I "dive in" or talk about it. Yes, I have read the newcomer FAQ, but didn't find my answer there. And I realize it's probably because the answer is just inferred by 99.9% of people one way or the other, but this is really tormenting me, and I've realized I won't be at peace until I've gotten a straight answer. Please forgive me for rambling... I'm just super nervous.

    My question mainly concerns the D/s relationship dynamic. The idea of submitting to someone resonates with me; as I read about the lifestyle, I saw more and more that it just might be "for me," because that's how I would feel comfortable expressing my love to someone, in selfless devotion and (hopefully) reciprocated appreciation, feeling safe and secure under their domination. And I don't just mean in play. I thought maybe this would be a viable way of life to suit my personality and my emotional needs on a daily basis... 24/7 as you call it?

    I'm aware of the varying degrees of dominance and submission, the most extreme being the "Master/slave" paradigm, if I'm right. What I wanted to ask is, when entering into such a relationship, is any element of love, tenderness, or partner intimacy lost? Now, I realize "intimacy" is a subjective term depending on what you're into, but since I'm new to this, let me ask from a more "vanilla" standpoint:

    An important aspect of partner intimacy (as I've commonly understood) is sleeping together, and waking up together. However, as I understand, BDSM contains many elements and practices of humiliation and degradation that would seem contrary to this, such as caging and being made to eat or sleep on the floor, as a means of affirming either the domination of the Master or the submission of the slave.

    Apart from "play," in a 24/7 total power exchange (or any degree of a power exchange), is this commonly enforced? Is it considered "improper" for a slave to share a bed or dinner table with their Master? In keeping with their role, must the slave always remain "beneath" the Master, to affirm their submission and the Master's dominance? Is it any different if a vanilla couple "shifts" into this kind of relationship, rather than basing it on the principles of dominance and submission from the start?

    I apologize for my gross ignorance and for bothering anyone with such asinine questions, but as I said, it's bugging me like all heck, and I really need an answer before I proceed any further with this.

    I am truly grateful for your time.
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  2. Smallest

    Smallest Moderator

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    I'm just going to try and answer a few of these fast, before I go out
    -There is not less intimacy. If anything, there is more. Of course, there are some 'just play' relationships, but there are also 'just sex' relationships for vanilla couples.

    -The amount of rules enforced at a time depend entirely on the specific relationship. if you don't feel okay not sleeping/eating together, you won't be forced, and many dominant people would prefer it your way anyway.

    -I doubt it's too much different for transitioning vs not, other than the amount of knowledge available and that rules and so on are more likely to be set early on.

    -There are always periods of equality, at the very least in order to make sure the relationship is safe and satisfying for both partners

    -A kink relationship is what you make of it, you don't have to conform to any of the 'rules' you seem to see as normal within BDSM 'society'

    -Don't jump into a 24/7 TPE relationship. You wouldn't jump into living together and sharing finances in a vanilla relationship, and in both cases, it is difficult and can be dangerous.
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  3. seth

    seth New Member

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    Wow... thank you so much for your reply, Smallest. I feel sooo much better... ^_^

    I felt really stupid asking these questions, but you responded so... professionally. I truly appreciate that!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
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  4. RopeRanger

    RopeRanger Member

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    seth, one of the reasons I joined this group is because any question is welcome. We are all learning from each other. Ask anything here and you can expect to get an honest answer.

    It's been my experience that for BDSM relationships the intimacy level is geometrically increased. For a vanilla hook up it's pretty much all about superficial looks, and what body part is put where. For a BDSM encounter I need to learn as much about my partner as I can; hard limits, likes, dislikes, kinks, allergies, medical issues... the process is very involved. I learn things about them that they may never tell a causal lover...

    ....and aftercare is so much more loving than anything I've experienced in a vanilla relationship. cuddling after sex is a pale shade compared to bringing your sub back from subspace into reality
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  5. seth

    seth New Member

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    Thanks for the assurance, RopeRanger.

    Just so I'm clear on this... typical "vanilla" gestures of intimacy (kissing, holding, caressing, etc.) are not necessarily forgone in favor of, or replaced by rituals in BDSM such as kneeling or spanking, are they? I'm aware of their inclusion in aftercare, but might there just be times in everyday situations where the dom and sub are close/affectionate in such a way, absent from play or aftercare?
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  6. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    Seth, welcome. The most important thing to understand is that there is no single perfect paradigm for master/slave relationships anymore than for any other type of relationship. For example, how the couple chooses to frame their power exchange matters a lot. What metaphor or flavor they want the relationship to have will shape things a good deal. All of the following could offer a model for TPE (total power exchange):

    owner/chattel slave (such as early American slavery or Roman slavery)
    abbot/monk (remember, in theory, monks owe their abbot total obedience)
    50s husband/50s wife
    commanding officer/grunt soldier
    parent/little girl

    As you can see, these are very different models and they would possess very different dynamics. A 50s wife might very well sleep in her husband's bed, while a chattel slave might only do that if his owner wants it.

    In practice, many master/slave couples are impossible to classify so easily. They might look very much like a conventional relationship except when an important decision needs to be made or when they have sex. Others are impossible to mistake for a vanilla relationship--the sub is naked and collared at home, sits on the floor, and eats from a dog bowl. It's really a question about what works for the couple involved. And in fact I might have different types of TPE with different subs, because one sub might want a lot of traditional romance while another wants complete humiliation and loss of dignity and privilege.

    What this means is that if you want a lot of emotional intimacy, sharing of the bed, and so on, you need to make your submission conditional on such things, or at least make it clear to your dom that you need those things to be really happy.

    It might help to get a copy of David Stein's Ask the Man who Owns Him. It's a very interesting book that surveys more than a dozen different gay master/slave couples. Each chapter is basically an interview with one couple, asking them to describe their history, the nature of their power exchange, and what their lives look like. What Stein does very effectively is demonstrate the enormous range of master/slave experiences. I found it very helpful in visualizing what a real m/s relationship could be.
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  7. seth

    seth New Member

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    Thank you for your insightful input, sebastian.

    All along, I've had trouble grasping the fact that each relationship is different. I guess it's because I've done so much reading on traditions and rituals that, indeed, I came to have a view of BDSM as a "society," with rigid structure and protocols to be followed. And perhaps it's in keeping with my so-called "submissive" nature to desire guidance and satisfaction in conforming to accepted standards.

    Years ago, before I began taking BDSM seriously (or even knew there was such a large, organized community behind it), I read that a couple involved in BDSM could appear to be the "most affectionate" couple on the outside, in apparent contrast to any sadomasochistic activities they might engage in. Of course, I've been enlightened to the whole "Inner/Outer Layer" concept of BDSM thanks to this forum's newcomer FAQ, so I understand that such practices are often an expression of love between the participants.

    So yes... I suppose I'm one of those who would desire more "traditional" romance/affectionate gestures in addition to the power exchange dynamic (still unsure if "total" or not). I know this is crazy, but my concern was that my "taste" in BDSM would be "too vanilla," and hence not accepted as "actual," "full" or "real" BDSM, if that in fact makes any sense at all.

    Again, thanks everyone for your input. It can be hard to realize such things about oneself and even harder to accept them, and I really appreciate your help. I hope I can go back to being excited again, and look forward to the future.

    If anyone else has any insight they'd like to offer, I would be grateful.
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  8. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    One of the things Stein does in his book is he asks each person in each M/s couple whether love is involved, and the results are surprisingly complex. In some couples, both say yes; in others only one does. Most commonly in the couples he interviews, slaves love their masters without the master loving them back, but even so the masters are committed to the slaves. One master loves his wife but not his slave. The message here is that each couple works out the dynamic that fits their particular needs.
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  9. SubIA

    SubIA New Member

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    Hi, Seth.

    Sebastian has done a great job listing the different styles of a D/s relationship. It sounds like you have an idea of what you want, now just make sure you know what you DON'T want and don't settle.

    I used to belong to a group that had parties and munches. There was nothing worse than seeing a submissive who wanted to be in a "little girl" relationship when the Dom wanted to be a Master. They would muddle through things and eventually there would be a break up and it wouldn't be pretty.

    You're probably not going to change the Dominant if they want a different rapport to te relationship and you will be miserable if you give up some of your core requirements, such as affection and togetherness at the table or in bed. I know there are some checklists out there, that may give you a jumping off point.

    Keep reading and I hope you find a group or partner who will work with you.
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