4 critical guidelines to follow before you explore erotic dominance and submission.
Before the movie Fifty Shades of Grey unleashes another tsunami of sexual curiosity and exploration across the globe, I want to talk about how to consensually, potently and consciously release your and your partner’s Sexy Beasts via Erotic Dominance and Submission.
Fifty Shades of Grey has over 100 million in worldwide book sales and a hyper-anticipated movie coming this week. What this indicates is that Kink oriented sex is not only on the map, there is a global explosion of interest arising in all manner of alternative sexual expression.
I have not read the books, but it seems the general consensus from anyone experienced in conscious engagement of real time Dominance/submission and BDSM ( bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) is that the depictions of D/s-BDSM in the relationship context (D/s) and the taboo sexual context (BDSM) are generally unsafe, abusive, non-consensual, immature and unconscious interactions between the partners.
Whatever you feel the truth about the books might be, the point here is to emphasize how critically important it is to engage in D/s-BDSM in a risk aware, non-abusive, consensual, mature and conscious manner.
As someone with over 15 years living the lifestyle of a 24/7 Fetishsexual as het male Dominant, it is clear these principles are absolutely imperative to engage my partners with trust, care, intensity, love and passion.
As a fetish-positive therapist, educator, author, work-shop presenter and public speaker I have taught thousands of people the principles of consciously engaging their D/s-BDSM desires. From this vantage point, I want to both encourage and caution you in your own beginning exploration of D/s-BDSM, if you are in fact, so inclined.
There is nothing more exhilarating and intimate than diving deep into the Erotic Wildlands with a trusted partner. And knowing the pitfalls and cautions in advance can greatly enhance your experience of this authentic and valid dimension of your sexuality.
Exploring your Fetishsexuality, aka Kink, D/s, BDSM, is like uncovering a mythic erotic gold mine, buried deep within the psyche. It is a rich treasure chest of vivid sensation, intense emotion, epic tales, alluring personas, taboo sexual ecstasy and empowering psychological depths.
Fetishsexuality is also the most vilified, feared and misunderstood dimension of our sexual nature. For centuries, religion, cultural morality, and family, have tried to nullify all but the most rudimentary dimensions of our sexual nature. These dogmatic and ideological moralities project their own superstitions and fears onto any sexual expression that deviates from their narrow definitions or normality.
This has driven many people with lifelong or recently discovered Fetish desires, to suppress, hide, or deny the truth of this critically important dimension of their personality. This imperative of secrecy also leads to people not researching, practicing, preparing for, nor understanding how to consciously and honorably engage their Kink. Not doing so can add significantly to the physical and emotional risk encountered in your initial explorations instead of explosive sexual ecstasy, empowerment and intimacy with your partner.
Unfortunately, our culture offers very few safe places for someone to discuss and learn about how to safely explore this aspect of their desire, or get reliable sex advice. Not only do we deny our teenagers sex education in our schools, we do not even offer sex education on the broad range of sexual possibilities to adults!
If you are inclined towards an alternative sexuality from the mainstream, the culture at large to the greatest extent, would like you to simply… not be that way! This is similar to the inane thinking about gays and lesbians, before they finally organized as a community. They fought for and demanded their civil rights to be who they were sexually, and in all other ways, starting just 60 years ago. Fetishsexuality is just beginning this journey to be accepted, honored, respected and normalized!
Wouldn’t it be great to consciously explore and express your kinkiest sexual desires without being held back by fear, shame, secrecy and harsh self-judgments!
Here are 4 Key Points to Consider to consciously engage your D/s-BDSM desire
- Negotiate thoroughly
Negotiation – clear, direct, and thorough, both sides with full equality, voice and advocacy, is the place to begin. I would discourage ever engaging in D/s-BDSM with someone you just hooked-up with in the bar or even your own ongoing partner if you have not already come to a complete agreement on all fronts of engagement. The potential for misunderstandings, perceived or actual consent violations, resentment, mistrust or emotional or physical harm are excessive when there has not been a clear negotiation. The point is to feel empowered, connected and exhilarated after engaging your deepest desires, not wounded.
Start the negotiation with an intention to make a deep, heart-felt, human to human connection before you enter into any level of D/s-BDSM. The foundation for exploring these powerful depths of our sexual desires is trust. Each side needs to know they are safe and ultimately cared for while revealing and expressing vulnerable and often scary parts of their sexual desire…even if this will be a casual or one time connection.
- Honesty, Transparency, Safety
Conduct your negotiation in as honest, transparent and revealing a manner as possible. This is critical. Be clear about intention. It is important to clarify your intentions, boundaries and expectations during and beyond the initial encounter. If you want to enter the encounter with no expectations afterward, state that clearly right up front. Make sure they understand. Press for a direct response that they understand and agree. If you do not wish to engage, without there being some sense that you are both considering a relationship or connection beyond this one engagement, be clear about that. Hold your boundaries firmly if a potential partner says they are looking for casual only, and you seek more, and vice versa.
Discuss clearly what may be involved in an initial engagement with your partner in terms of props, toys, roles and intensities. Get clear about safe sex practices to maintain, and sexual history.
Start slow and keep it simple if you are just beginning. Get clarity about options for what to do if something unexpected comes up during the engagement. This would include usage and agreement on safe-words.
Some issues that may arise as you engage may just need you to pause and check in with each other, and then continue. Others may require you to come to a complete stop, and check in about what has come up and what one or the other needs most in that moment. Sometimes, even with clear negotiations, there are things that can present unexpectedly.
The best thing to do in these situations is to pause, breath, stay calm, ask, listen and shift your presence to full compassion and care for the partner needing support. These occurrences will likely be rare if ever, with proper preparation. But by considering them in the initial negotiation, the trust this builds will actually reduce even further the likelihood of unanticipated disruptions. If you start with a simple engagement plan, and move forward at a reasonable pace, you can have a compelling, intimate and deeply erotic journey with your partner.
Even for a novice, a wide range of BDSM play and toys are able to be engaged, with a common sense level of safety, communication and pace. These could include spanking by hand or various paddles, wearing wrist or ankle cuffs, non-choking collars, blindfolds, or various insertibles for example. More intense forms of play, such as full rope bondage, needle play, or single tails, usually identified as edge play should require taking a class or workshop to insure safety and well-being all around. All of the aspects I am referring to, can be researched online to help give you a broader understanding or answer questions you might have.
- Understand and Allow the Paradox
The nature or essence of the psychological dynamic in D/s-BDSM is power exchange. One takes control, one surrenders, for an agreed upon time. This exchange is inevitably both light and dark in its nature, sacred and profane, civilized and primitive. There is a noble (D/s) and a taboo (BDSM) context that is occurring simultaneously. It is very important to understand the distinction, and how both are engaged during a D/s-BDSM encounter.
Embracing either the Dominant or submissive pole in this dynamic can bring one in touch with deep-seated instinctual, historical, archetypal aspects of the collective human experience from within the unconscious. These are mythic themes and sensibilities that have been part of human theater, epic heroic tales, and cultural cosmologies for thousands of years back. It is not just the physical sensations and sex that is compelling in D/s-BDSM. Far more, it is the intoxication of the sacred ritual ecstasy of regal power and devotional surrender in a mythic dance, and the primal instincts unleashed when being devoured, or ravaging another.
These dynamics are drawn I believe, from our pre-civilized hot-blooded alpha/beta mammalian instincts and cold-blooded, predator/prey reptilian instincts embedded in our bodies and psyches. In more refined contemporary forms that have evolved over the last 10,000 years or so, they manifest as the King/Queen archetype and loyal devoted subject, Lord Master/Mistress and slave, Guru/Sage/Saint and prostrated devotee and numerous other personas. These personas are all instilled with a noble quality. But they each have their shadow or dark side.
To allow your self to consciously explore the dark, taboo, forbidden, edgiest realms of your sexuality, it is necessary to operate from the noblest of intentions. As the dominant this means to keep you partner safe, engaged, to lead with authentic authority and wisdom. An aspect of chivalry comes to mind without ever losing the edge of the noble King or Queen.
In the BDSM side of the paradox, the erotic/sexual side, the shadow of the above mentioned nobility can come forth. All the things that are ignoble, the taboo, the things that should never be done, things that hurt, that are cruel, inappropriate, savage wildness, the beast.
The BDSM side can also be tender and sensual to varying degrees, if that is the preference, or the two styles can be mixed. The sensual and the D/s side, is where many people like to keep their energy. But there are those who are drawn to stretch it out to the darkest edges.
By containing the shadow desires within the over-riding noble aspect in a negotiated ritual engagement with your partner, the “dark” side or shadow energy can be explored expressed and honored. These shadows can be predator/prey, Supreme Bitch – pathetic cuckold, Tyrant/slave object, rapist/victim, Daddy/daughter, Mommy/son, stud/slut, abuser/abused or any combo you can imagine. They can be drawn to inflicting or receiving physical or emotional pain, degradation, objectification or humiliation. Examples of these mythic archetypal D/s parings are prevalent within the emerging kink communities and can be found online on sites like Fetlife.com.
These shadow energies may seem like risky energies to unleash, but with some conscious preparation, it is possible to create a negotiated path where these dark energies can be safely revealed, explored, honored and expressed with a consenting partner. If these more intense edges of Eros are compelling and natural to your own sexuality, you can learn to explore them in ways that can be psychologically empowering and lead to off the charts orgasms!
Know that over the last 20 or 30 years, millions if not tens of millions of people have successfully navigated this paradox and learned how to hold both sides in noble and exquisite balance.
The essence of a D/s-BDSM engagement is a dance like the tango. Both partners are fully present and engaged, expressing authentically and dance as one. Each supports the other in reaching the deepest intimacy and ecstasy possible.
- Time and Space
I recommend you set aside a minimum of 2 hours to immerse yourselves in this compelling personification of your erotic nature. If this seems like a lot of time, you will soon find it might not be enough to take the full journey that may be waiting to unfold. You might find you could easily go 3 to 5 hours or more. Some scenes can be designed to go for an entire weekend or more. It is all about what you and your partner diligently negotiate.
Take time to prepare yourself by getting present, clear in intention and embodied in whatever way works for you before you engage your partner. Close the computer, turn off the phone, learn some movement and/or mindfulness practices, breathe, let go of the day’s tumult, focus on your intention with your partner. Take time to connect in a similar way with your partner before you step into the BDSM scene you plan to engage in for the time ahead.
Take care in preparing the space you will engage in. Bring in the ambiance of light, sound, texture, aromas and all that sets the right tone for the way in which you and your partner wish to journey. Make this a sacred space, whatever that might mean to you so that it is as private, secure, safe and sacred feeling as you can make it.
Aftercare for you both, immediately after your engagement, can be as important as the initial connection and negotiation. Linger together in the altered state of erotic intensity. Cuddle, breathe together, lay quiet, connected, aware and in appreciation for yourself and your partner.
These desires we can experience together are intoxicating and compelling enough to sweep us down into an exquisite pool of taboo sexual ecstasies. Having taken this plunge however, does not mean we have now transcended or healed all the ways we may have been hiding, fearing, or in shame we’ve carried for most of our lives about these taboo edgy sexual desires.
We have all been immersed in and have internalized to one degree or another, this highly toxic, sex-negative, shaming culture we are in. It can be quite possible that these deeply internalized, judgmental parts of you may attempt to wage an assault on your vulnerable psyche after you have indulged your desire. Prepare in advance for this situation by a good aftercare plan that includes access to emotional support if needed. This can be as simple as sharing with your partner about these feelings, being held, and breathing. Or as needed, working with a fetish-positive therapist to help you resolve inner conflicts. This care applies to the dominant and submissive both. Moving deeper into your authentic sexual desires is an opportunity to both be empowered and to heal.
The key to coming to terms with our sexuality is to learn how to express and experience our desires safely, honorably and consciously, in a way that is in integrity with the agreements we make with ourselves and others, and that encompass our core values. We must also compassionately examine and resolve the unconscious but powerful negative cultural messages we’ve internalized about our sexuality and ourselves. That is why this is both an empowering and healing journey.
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