What are we talking about when we talk about BDSM

BDSM couple

Last week’s post about the philosophy of aftercare was remarkably successful on the various social networks, earning lots of enthusiastic comments I am very grateful for. Then there were the criticisms. Fortunately they were not that numerous, but almost all of them focused on one complaint: «what you wrote is very nice indeed, but it only applies to longstanding or deep BDSM relationships».

Uhm.

Yep, that’s it – in fact, I had actually pointed it out in the article itself. But those observations suggested a possible key misunderstanding about extreme eroticism, and maybe it is worth addressing it.

So: BDSM, just like any sort of good sex, consists of at least two persons committing their bodies, minds and skills to exploring various types of pleasure. Let’s not consider what those types are for now: we can actually get a better focus by just thinking of “normal” sexual intercourse, all right?

If we do that, you will all probably agree that the quality of the experience changes between occasional partners and steady couples. If in the first case the excitement of discovery, of exploration and the lack of inhibitions of “not having nothing to lose” prevail, with time the fun becomes maybe a little less pyrotechnical, but generally much more pleasurable exactly because people who are intimate know perfectly well how to give each other maximum satisfaction. I am referring to – it might be worth noting – serene and happy couples; we can deal with the others some other time.
No matter how proficuous, this loss of spice does carry some weight anyway, and it is the reason why so many slightly bored couples get into exploring new games, and just as many people cheat on their otherwise wonderful partners. Some adrenalin junkies even develop the so-called Casanova syndrome, becoming a perpetually unsatisfied serial seducer to whom the excitement of hunting new prey becomes stronger than actually catching them.

For the rest of us, let’s admit it: having a steady person you can have sex with anytime you like is great, especially when compared to the misery of being single and obsessed with seeking suitable and at the least adequate bedfellows. After all, should the call for fresh meat really become unbearable, you can always go looking for it together with your partner – a pretty fun game in itself.

Now, all of these observations apply just as well to BDSM, which as a matter of fact is not a separate world but an expansion of the severely cramped confines of vanilla sex. With one important difference.

Exactly because of this widening of the playing field, domination and submission games involve countless more variables than the common fuck. It is a bit like going from the hellish recorder you played in primary school to a grand concert piano: all of a sudden you can play previously inaccessible sublime compositions… but you first have to learn where the keys are, how to press them and when.
Metaphors aside, this means that in order to have great BDSM knowing your partner’s body and their two or three basic fantasies isn’t enough. You can only reach the best by being well aware of all of their dreams, their past, the way each centimeter of their skin reacts to dozens of different stimulations, what certain words or tones can elicit in them, where their limits lie… Not to mention the technical aspects – anyone can put one part into another and slide it back and forth, but learning how to correctly use the many instruments of extreme eroticism requires hundred-pages long manuals!

This is why when I’m speaking about ‘BDSM relationships’ I spontaneously think of ‘longstanding or deep relationships’ indeed: simply put, this is a field where unless you have a very deep affinity with your partner, you don’t go very far, and you are bound to keep chirping into that fucking recorder. Still, this introduces two equally spontaneous new issues.

The first: as things stand, does this maybe mean that you can’t play erotic domination games between strangers or occasional partners?
Of course not, as the very existence of playparties, prodommes and themed motels attest. And yet, going back to the similitude with vanilla sex for a minute, that is the equivalent of a quickie, of a nice variation. There’s no beating around the bush: somebody loves it, it even offers unquestionable benefits, but the toilet of a plane can’t hold a candle to a nice, proper boudoir. Technical skill and expertise count a lot in BDSM and they can make even a makeshift session very fun and exciting, but deeply knowing each other surely brings your game to a whole different level.

The second question is even more insidious. If this chemistry is so important to enjoy kink to its fullest, how comes most practicing couples are formed and dissolved so quickly, or only live it with occasional partners and lovers?
I believe there are many answers for this, beginning with that falling in love with roles instead of persons whose ethology I discussed sometimes ago and which also is the basis of the questionable idea of aftercare that started this whole discussion. Other causes are the religious-romantic legacy for which «love and sex are two distinct things» that prevents lots of people from exploring “forbidden” games with their life partners; the absurd shyness and fear of fully opening up to the very people we love the most; more in general, the habit of assigning moral (and, most importantly, immoral) values to private pleasure acts that actually have nothing to do with morals.

Whatever the reason, at the end of the day casual BDSM is so prevailing that it obviously let the alternatives fall off many radars. As those comments mentioned in the beginning attest, many people are so used to the concept of disposable kinky couples that they consider it the norm, while steadier relationships are seen as “strange”. I promise I’ll keep that in mind.
However, since we are all here among fellow explorers of extreme eroticism, let me remind you one thing: the norm should be different. No quickies, but serious (even if founded on domination and submission) relationships – which may be quite more challenging, but which I guarantee are also much more satisfying.

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