Shameless Woman

Pursuing an integrated life of sensuality, health, healing and rejuvenation

BDSM is the New Black (or Is It Grey?)

Is BDSM really just about people who are into giving and receiving pain?

BDSM is the new black, and yes maybe we can thank "Fifty Shades of Grey".

When a sexual expression which has previously been considered a "sexual fetish or kink" invades our clothing and music - it's time to sit up and take notice. So what is BDSM? Or Dominance and Submission ( D/s) or Power Exchange Relationships (there are so many terms). Is it really just about people who are into giving and receiving pain; or is it more? There is something primal about BDSM that is turning more and more people on. Perhaps it's the permissioning in this sexual expression of being able to be raw and politically incorrect when it comes to gender roles, body size, sexual orientation and power. The BDSM community tends to be welcoming to all people and all sexual expressions - and people are hungry for sexual acceptance. What is true is that  sex education centers like the Center For Sex Positive Culture in Seattle and The Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco,are running workshops on all aspects of BDSM that are filling as soon as they are announced.

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Perhaps this new found hunger is about the desire to explore our darkness and shadows without shame; a desire to find and express the beauty and the erotic in those places too.

Power and Surrender is as psychological and energetic as it's physical and sexual. There is very little neutral in BDSM, it's all about giving and receiving. And for many people the ability to express themselves fully and safely in all of these often hidden places is totally freeing. But it does not come without rules. Thank heavens for sex education centers and sexuality coaches that specialize in teaching the interested.

At it's core, BDSM, D/s or Power Exchange Relationships is a way of being sexual with another human being in a game of boundaries. It's an opportunity to play with power. I cannot say enough about BD/SM not just being a physical thing. For many the sexual play happens in the emotional and some participants talk about a spiritual component as well.

The Top or Dominant controls the activity and the Bottom or submissive is passive, receiving and obedient. Most BDSM relationships or play experiences start with an negotiation such as what the Dominant and submission are hoping to explore with each other. There is usually a great deal of ritual involved such as how the Dominant and submissive will address each other and communicate. Even the clothing that both parties wear may be ritualized, such as the submissive wearing a collar to demonstrate their status. 

In most BDSM relationships there is an endless amount of consent, at least until the boundaries are formed. In fact, I don't know if any other sexual expression between two adutls that has as much  consensual form as BDSM.

Consent allows the Dominant and submissive to explore their sexual expression without having to worry that you are going outside of the agreed upon boundaries. The inclusion of "safe words" which is a way of signaling the Dominant that the submissive needs a break or a conversation about what is happening, allows the Dominant never to have to worry that you’re going to take someone out of their comfort zone.

Dominants are allowed to express agression and power and they don't have to worry that their sexual play is unwelcome because they have agreed to play with their submissive within "Safe, Sane and Consensual" agreements. The Dominant doesn't have to worry about being called "Predatory" and he/she is allowed and often encouraged to be rough. 

The submissive is in the power exchange relationship because the Dominance turns her/him on. He or she may be into providing "service" to the Dominant which means providing for the Dominance care in some way. The submissive may also enjoy sensation play such as being spanked. The submission is finding pleasure in letting go completely into the power of the Dominant. Both the needs of the Dominant and the submissive are being met in the power exchange.

The Dominant is not "hurting" the submissive because he/she may experiences pain differently than someone who might not enjoy BDSM. The Dominant can let go of the fear of hurting and the submissive can allow herself/himself to let go of control.

I think that people who are in Power/Exchange Relationships are in it for more than the sensation play that comes with  paddles, floggers, whips and collars. Most BDSM is not about pain as most people perceive it. Personal tastes in the expression of Power Relationships are highly variable and not every D/s relationship plays with pain. In most cases when the use of pain is used in the relationship, it's usually in a sexual context. For many people who are in the D/s, BDSM scene, the giving and receiving of pain is experienced as a part of their sexual expression, love, trust, and arousal.

One thing is for sure; BDSM is now out of the closet and the shame in the desire to be submissive or dominant in the bedroom is going away.

What to do after reading this article?


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Do you want to learn more about Pamela Madsen and her sexuality and intimacy practice? Or her retreats for women and couples? Please visit her website.

Have you read Pamela's book? "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home to Cook Dinner."

 

 

 

Pamela Madsen is a fertility/sex educator, blogger, author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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