Entry
The Tribes
Multiplicity
Honouring Our Truths
Journey to Idia
Road to Recovery
Expression of Opinion
Art Gallery
Links
Journal
Contact Us







BDSM




BDSM, you might wonder why I am writing about this on a site about multiplicity, but this isn't exactly as site about multiplicity.  This is a site about us, the people of the Shire, and BDSM is a major part of our life, so we decided to talk about it here. It also raises some questions from survivor communities and the world in general, so maybe I will be able to address them, as I see it, in this.  For the record, there are 3 of us that are actively involved in the BDSM lifestyle.  Now normally 3 out of the 500-odd wouldn't mean it was a major aspect of our life, however, one of those three is generally the one that forms and develops relationships, and therefore those relationships tend to be BDSM focused, and as such our body, our community becomes part of the BDSM community and BDSM becomes our lifestyle.

BDSM stands for Bondage Discipline Sado Masochism.  It is the umbrella that all relationships that involve aspects of dominance and submission fall under.  Like most broad banners, there are about as many ways of being into BDSM as there are people in it.  Just as this site is about our personal views and experiences with multiplicity, this page is about our experiences and opinions on BDSM.  This is, in no way meant to be the derivative definition of the BDSM lifestyle.  In fact our recent contact with BDSM communities makes us feel on the fringe anyway.  However with that said, the Shire holds many strong opinions on a range of subjects, and BDSM is no exception.  We have been active in the lifestyle for almost 12 years and during that time we have developed and strengthened our views and opinions on this lifestyle.

A little history.  At age 21 we were living alone in London.  A night of drunken partying ended in an anonymous sexual encounter.  Probably because I was drunk and knew I would never see the man again, it turned into my first experience with BDSM.  It wasn't that great to be honest, it was awkward and not at all exciting.  It could of easily been my one and only foray into that area if I hadn't, a couple of weeks later, been invited to dinner by a colleague.  During that night it was discussed, and I mentioned that although  the fantasy was still appealing, the reality had been a let down.  Well, the Fates work in mysterious ways, for it turned out that this couple lived in a BDSM relationship full-time.  From them I learnt that my first experience had little to do with reality, it was about playing out a fantasy.  And fantasies never quite work when they become reality.  From this couple I learnt various forms of the BDSM reality, they became my mentor, helping me pick the reality I now enjoy.  They are wonderful friends and I learnt a lot from them, eventually I moved back to New Zealand, and for a while contact was hard.  Now I get to email them and chat occasionally, they will always be my friends, and their guidance in those early days is greatly appreciated.

This brings me quite nicely onto one of the topics I like to rant on.  Mentoring.  Over the last few years I have noticed that the concept of mentoring has been altered and perverted.  It has moved from being the guidance and aiding of someone entering the lifestyle, or aspects of the lifestyle, to a dictatorship powertrip, almost cult like activity.  I am not saying all mentors are like this, I still mentor, although not much now.  There are still mentors out there that see their role as passing information, advice and techniques to another to aid them to find the right space for themselves.  That will pass on information about safety, information about techniques, but will not question, or try to change someone's ideas of what is right for them.  However I see a lot of so called mentors, trying to create little carbon copies of themselves.  Phrases like "You HAVE to punish for that" and "Doms need to be able to use a crop" have been heard, and have sickened me.  This is not mentoring.  Mentoring is, in my opinion, more about saying "this is how I do it, this is the reasons I do it, now what do you think about the same situation"  It should always be put back onto the person or people you are mentoring, allowing them to think through the event or situation, to find their way.  If you just say this is how I do it, even if you have said your way isn't the only way, but not ask them what they think, they never get an opportunity to talk out their views.  With this said there are times that a mentor must step in and say something is inappropriate.  These times are about when one or both of the party will be harmed in some way if it continues.  This isn't just physical harm.  In fact emotional harm can be more damaging in the long run.  It is the mentor's responsibility to prevent this and to educate the party so it doesn't reoccur.  Mentoring is about encouragement and education, not about controlling another person, or making them in your image.

Too many times, I think, people become interested in BDSM as a way to either be all powerful, or believe it means they don't have to take responsibility for themselves.  BDSM is not about abuse, it was never meant to be.  In fact most BDSM communities would be down on anyone that was abusive like a ton of bricks, they would not stand for their lifestyle, or kink being used to harm another.  BDSM is the mutually consented exchange of power, whether full time or during a designated period.  Both parties have to take responsibility for themselves and their own needs before entering into any agreement.  As a survivor of abuse, many see my activity in this lifestyle as suspect.  They often think that I am here because I have an unhealthy need to replay the abuse in my life.  Yes as a child, our grandparents regularly sold us as a sex slave to a number of sick individuals, the experience was horrific.  But this has little to do with the reality of the lifestyle, and anyone that is in it would be disgusted to think people were abusing children under the guise of BDSM.  What I lived through as a child was abuse, nothing more.  What I do now, as an adult, is about the consensual exchange of power.  The key word there is consensual.  I would never think I was more powerful than anyone else, that I had the right to order another person around, solely because of being a dominant.  Time is taken, to get to know a person, to discover their needs, and see if a connection and bond is formed.  From there the relationship is developed by the two people involved.

Many people when they think of BDSM, think of whips, of kinky sex, and pain.  These can be an element of someone's BDSM lifestyle, but they are not prerequisites.  There is a stereotype that submissives get off on pain and Dominants enjoy giving it.  However there are a lot of people that have no pain play in their relationship, their enjoyment comes from other areas.  Whether it is solely the mental dynamic, the bondage, or roleplay scenarios there is no right way to be into BDSM.  For us there is a combination of a number of areas of play.  I will admit to being "slightly" sadistic, I like giving pain, if the person I am playing with enjoys it.  That is why I say slightly sadistic.  I generally only enjoy giving pain when I know the receiving of it is something the person wants.  But for me, I need to first have there submission.  Impact play needs not be intense every time, the assumption that if I pick up a toy, a whip or paddle, then I will be hitting full force with every stroke is a mistaken one.  The fantasy is of a submissive, tied up, twisting in pain.  Impact play can be harsh and intense, but it also has the opportunity to be erotic and sensual.  It all depends on the mood and the needs of the people playing.  Many play without a level of D/s in their play, the top/bottom situation.  This is when the activity of play happens without the mental dynamic of dominant and submissive.  My take on this is that they are both purely after the physical sensations and enjoyment.  For me this is empty, there is no enjoyment to be found in these activities.  So I keep my play in the relationship I have.  In many ways I am properly a prude.  I do not play outside of a relationship, I do not find any pleasure in playing with a stranger.

For us, BDSM has always been more about the exchange of power, the dynamic of dominance and submission.  It indicates the immense love and care we have for our partner.  We can not dominate anyone that we do not have a relationship and feelings for.  We need that bond, and then for us, the dominance we give is about caring for our partner, guiding them, and helping them achieve the best for themselves.  At the root of our relationship there is deep love, caring and nurturing.  Probably the same basis that all relationships are formed on, just ours is played out differently.  It is this dynamic, the interplay between Dominant and submissive that drew us to this lifestyle.  This is not like the fantasy you see of BDSM, it is not whippings and groveling.  It is about the interplay, the small signs of D/s.  There is something so beautiful and appealing about being served a coffee from someone that is kneeling before you.  This beauty, for me, can only be seen, only exists when the person doing it feels the same way about the lifestyle.   If both or one of the people sees it as playing a game, does not get the same enjoyment, or satisfaction from the relationship, then there would be little point to being in participating.  The dynamic only exists when both parties are willingly participating.  The fantasy of forcing someone to submit to you is only a fantasy.

And fantasies, although wonderful in fantasy form, have a tendency to explode in your face when you translate them into life.  By fantasies I do not mean the desires that we express, the craving or wanting to explore aspects of our sexuality.  There is a place for those to be explored.  With negotiation, with preparation, people can find out intensely enjoyable areas of their life.  We as a society, especially the female half of society, are taught to suppress our sexuality, to fear it.  And, in my opinion, through the discussion of desires that people are able to find expression of their sexuality.  Fantasies are a good place to start.  My introduction to BDSM came through fantasies, the dreams of being dominant.  But the trouble comes when a fantasy is moved to reality without the discussion and planning aspects.  A simple example; if you have a fantasy of being tied up and spanked, what happens if, when you are playing it out, that you discover you don't like the feeling, that you are frightened, that it triggers something bad inside you.  Without discussion first, there is no way for it to stop, there is no safeguards set up.  The experience rather than being a safe venture into the world of BDSM can easily turn into a damaging one.  So I have always seen fantasies as the starting point, that when shared with someone you trust and care about, can lead over time, with work, to being played out in reality.  And well some fantasies should, in my opinion, forever stay fantasies.

Am I into BDSM because we were abused?  Probably.  I know that might annoy other survivors that are in this lifestyle, since most have had to defend their choice, explaining they are not there to replay the abuse of their past.  But my point is this, the choices we make now are usually effected by our pasts.  Each experience, each choice we make helps us choose future paths and directions.  So is my choice to be involved with BDSM a symptom of being abused, and something that I need to change.  Well let me put it another way.  As I child, neglected and abused, I discovered books, reveled in them, would escape reality by hiding out in their pages.  Books became my friends, my family the only good thing in my life.  And now as an adult I read obsessively, and spend a fair bit of money on buying new books.  My love for books is a direct result of being abused.  So is it a bad thing, something that needs fixed.  Most people would say no, would say its something positive in my life.  BDSM is the same, but because it is associated with sex, and sensationally linked to violence people therefore think it is something unhealthy for an abuse survivor.  But for us, BDSM is about a close bond with another person, it's about taking care of my needs, and then taking care of the needs of my partner.  It makes us happy, it, like all relationships, allows me to feel needed, to feel the love of another person.  I did not just get into this lifestyle because I was abused.  If I didn't find beauty in it, enjoyment and a sense of connection and love with another I would not be here.  If I was here to play out my past, or get revenge, then I would not be writing this today.  I would not be involved.  It would be no different than the person that used to walk the streets in the early hours of the  morning wanting to be raped.  It would be about abuse and we would be working to re-educate ourselves to know we didn't need that in our lives anymore.

Being a multiple in this lifestyle adds extra dimensions.  There are issues that other couples don't face.  Safety issues for us and our partner that need to be worked out.  When I think of the years I was in the lifestyle with the multiplicity being denied I cringe wondering what damage was done.  Now I have taken control, taken responsibility for my and others actions.  Rules have to be in place and safe guards against accidental triggering or dangerous incidents.  I have to be responsible for not only our safety but the safety of another person.  So time has been taking to work out the best options for us as a multiple.  As the Dominant there is not as much chance of me being in a situation I can not stop if a switch or trigger happens.  I personally do not need a safe word to get the play to halt.  But I believe any multiple submissive should have a system safe word, a word everyone knows that indicates another person has come out, to let the person playing with them know immediately this has happened.  It would prevent any harm coming to anyone.  I am lucky that I am in this point of my recovery.  The Shire community has a good level of cooperation.  This means that if I decide to play then some discussion has happened beforehand, to let those that would be frightened or upset by me expressing my sexuality, to not come to the surface.  However I still feel it is important that I have precautions in place.  I seldom use bondage in my play, because if I switch out, then my partner is unable to take care of themselves until someone releases them.  Although it is unlikely that they will be in danger from us, there is no guarantee how long they would have to wait for someone that knew how to release them.  Three hours tied alone on the bed may not be so much fun.  Within BDSM play there should always be negotiation and discussion, it just means for me there is an extra element to discuss.  My partner knows I am multiple, we have talked about our triggers, things not to say, things to avoid doing.  Knowledge of your partner, regardless of whether they are multiple or not, is always beneficial, with us, it is essential.

Finally, for me, BDSM isn't about kinky sex, it isn't about replaying my abuse, it isn't about being able to beat someone.  It is solely another form of relationship.  A way of expressing the love I feel for another person.  It may not be conventional, and a lot of people would probably see it as sick and perverted.  But it is the relationship that makes me happy, that fulfills me as a person, and the person I am with has the same feelings.  I am Dominant in my relationship, but I am not some power hungry person trying to make everyone submit to my will.  In fact I think I am the less Dominant looking and behaving person I know, actually i have been told by quite a few people that I don't look like a Dom (whatever one looks like).  The simple fact is that this type of relationship works for me and my partner.   It is consensual and not hurting another person.  What more can I say?

Kat