Few topics in the BDSM world generate as much debate as does the issue of punishment. Whatever form it takes, it is an integral part of every D/s relationship, and is the source of much misunderstanding.
It’s important to understand one fundamental thing about punishment. By it’s nature, it is something that is not enjoyable. It is unwelcome, to be avoided, and acts as negative motivation (“I’ll not do this because if I do, something I don’t like will happen to me.”) Many novices confuse “punishment” for something that is erotic and enjoyable: a spanking, a flogging – something desirable. But it is not. Punishment is not play. Punishment is meant for one reason only: to alter behavior. It is a useful and necessary tool, and exists in some form in every close relationship we have. With it, dominants can teach submissives how to behave and help submissives modify their behavior to better please.
There is only one fundamental offense: displeasing the dominant. Failing to do so or intentionally displeasing the dominant is grounds for punishment, and it is the dominant alone who makes the decision as to whether or not the submissive has been pleasing. Punishment can take many forms – from a disapproving look to a beating – and is limited only by your imagination and how well you know your submissive.
Is there too much corporal punishment in the scene? It is the easy way out for many dominants. Often it is a reaction, rather than something that is considered. It takes much more effort to come up with a non-physical method of correction. Many of us were brought up with corporal punishment, learning that misbehavior should lead to physical pain. Those social influences can be very powerful. In the long run, however, physical punishment is usually the least effective way to alter behavior.
There is no way to spot a Dominant at ten paces. Unfortunately many submissives, and particularly novices, are impressed by these superficial things, making it easy for Dominant fakers. Anyone can learn to swing a flogger, talk in BDSMspeak, and wear 13 pounds of leather; but these do not a Dominant make.
If you want a quality partner you’ll have to take some time and get to know them. In some ways, choosing a good Dominant is similar choosing a good partner in general. In others it’s quite different because of the unique style of our relationships. They key difference is that when we go into subspace, we make ourselves vulnerable in ways that we may never do with a vanilla partner. This makes the D/s relationship far riskier and we must take extra care when choosing partners. Here are some things to look for, to avoid, and to ignore in your search for a quality Dominant.
A Dominant Is…
A quality Dominant shows respect to submissives, and to everyone. He or she asks questions about your life, listens to the answers, and doesn’t put you down.
A quality Dominant keeps a balance between their vanilla and BDSM lives. They can talk about their family, pets, other things that have nothing to do with BDSM. They have a sense of humor about the lifestyle, and don’t take themselves too seriously. Avoid Dominants with a chip on their shoulder, or who cannot hold a job or keep friends. Especially avoid people who complain about their ex partners or about everyone else in the scene. One day you will be the ex and they will be bitching about you.
First Time Play is different for everyone. How it comes about is different. Who it is done with. What you class as play. Different levels. Different situations. Different considerations. But there are some standards, that for safety’s sake, should be taken into account.
Many people had their first BDSM experience before the arrival of the internet. There wasn’t the same promotion of the SSC lifestyle, the lifestyle itself didn’t seem to be as cohesive as it is today (except for the Old Leather scene), and contact with other BDSMers was usually accidentally discovered or explored within relationships. There were no resources promoting safe ways to do what it is we do. Common sense had to be assumed.
For many, those first experiences occurred within loving relationships, where one partner bravely admitted a kinky desire to the other, and aspects of BDSM were explored that way. That was great…as long as the one doing the tying didn’t cut off circulation or do nerve damage. It was mainly trial and error. Something felt good…it worked. Something felt bad…figure out a way to do it next time that will make it feel good.
In a more current sense, with the advent of the internet, vast numbers of people now have access to information about the BDSM lifestyle. Whole new communities have sprung up internationally. Networks of BDSMers are commonplace now. It’s now easy to meet like minded people, if you have the courage to act on your desires. And, there are benefits and disadvantages to this as well. On one hand, the potential for meaningful, interactive relationships, no matter what their definition, is vastly enhanced. On the other hand, it also means that there are greater numbers of people seeking some kind of BDSM interaction with, sometimes, little knowledge of what it is they are actually doing or getting involved in. This means it can be risky. The idea is to minimize the risks.
Canes are stiff, yet flexible, regarded by most, and encouraged by writings of the Victoriana School Days of Boys and Girls, as tools for corporal punishment, which of course is true. However their other uses are often over shadowed by the impressions one has of them in one’s mind’s eye. In the right hands they can be sensual and in the wrong hands a nightmare. Caning, sometimes referred to as: the English, the English Method, English Discipline, or English Style, is an art form which takes practise. A lot of practise. An exercise in control not easily attained. It is a serious play implement, it is capable of causing serious damage and is not for use by someone who has read five web sites and hit a pillow a dozen times. It demands a level of concentration above that expected for other forms of BDSM play. If you seriously wish to pursue this as a form of play take the time to seek instruction from an expert. It is not something we would undertake in a crowded or small play space as a back strike could do as much damage to an onlooker as a forward stroke could do to the party being caned. One has to be extremely aware of all the safety measures, strike areas, density, resilience, length and diameters of the implements as they all account for a different effect. No two rattan canes behave in the same way and should be treated individually.
Sadism is pleasure in the infliction of pain or humiliation upon another person. This term describes consensual practices, often sexual, but not necessarily so, within the BDSM community. Sadist is one who is aroused, excited, or receives sexual gratification from inflicting pain on another. A sadist does not necessarily take pleasure in inflicting pain indiscriminately; for most sadists, the pleasure relies on knowing that the subject is also enjoying the experience. But these terms may be also used clinically, in psychotherapy, to describe mental illnesses, psychopathology or counterproductive coping mechanisms. Sadism is not necessarily associated with criminality or murder. The term sadist is thrown around very easily, the word itself may send signals, may attract and is quite often used to paint a picture that fits the world of fantasy. A seal, if you like, of quality play to come for some. Forbidden fruit always tastes the best. Some may visualise themselves as sadists but that may not necessarily be the case. They may just be extreme in some areas. Have a particular bent that is somewhat darker. Dread… political correctness, is there are some that fit the definition of a sadist however display the controls within themselves to play safely. There are some that don’t.
The word “sadism” was derived from the name of Donatien Alphonse Francois, better known as the Marquis de Sade, a French author who lived from 1740 to 1814, famous for his works of sexual arousal driven by physical suffering. He was imprisoned without trial as an “administrative punishment”, for fear of scandal, after the publishing of “Justine”, and “Juliette”. Later declared insane he was transferred to Charenton Asylum where in 1814 he died of ill health aged 74. De Sade spent 27 years of his adult life in prisons, dungeons, and asylums throughout France for reasons that included “excesses committed in a brothel”, kidnapping and sexual assault, poisoning, and homosexual sodomy. The German psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in 1898 gave sadism the professional definition: a sexual perversion with strong impulses to coitus, coupled with prepatory acts of maltreatment, even murder (necrophilia, then called “lustmurder”) which occurs primarily because of an inability to be satisfied with coitus.
Are there sex differences in masochism? For a long time, this question was asked in relation to Freud’s suggestion that women are more masochistic. Various thinkers, like Helen Deutsch and Theodor Reik, debated whether males or females were the more masochistic sex. This went back and forth for decades.
In retrospect, the whole debate may have been stupid. It is now clear that there are masochists who are men, and there are others who are women. And neither is typical: That is, most men and most women are not masochistic. Masochists are a minority found among both men and women.
But that doesn’t mean that gender is irrelevant. Male masochists and female masochists don’t seem to desire, do, and enjoy exactly the same things. It may be possible to speak of male and female styles of masochism.
Research on these different styles is just beginning. I can tell you roughly how male and female masochists differ. What these differences mean is harder to say. Keep in mind that these are merely broad, general trends, while every masochist is a unique individual, there are many males who are closer to the feminine style than the masculine style, and vice versa. You can make generalizations about masochists, but there are always many exceptions.
Submissive girl is tautly secured spread-eagle to the floor via chains and cuffs. Once in place Master takes over and begins to paint hot wax onto her body with a brush. Lots of wax. The first words out of her mouth are… that’s really fucking hot… Master just keeps working as though she didnt say a thing. She screams. Her breasts move about. She raises her head in exasperation. Her breathing is heavy and labored. And theres lots of wax to go. She screams more. Master pops in and puts the Hitachi on her for a bit. She doesn’t like that at all. Finally she begs to simply be beaten. But thats too easy. She alternates between anger, desperation and sheer terror. Sometimes a hand or a foot just begins to move independently, rocking on its own in some crazy rhythm propelled by pain. And if she didn’t have enough discomfort going on He placed a clothespin on her clit. Then He placed the Hitachi on the end of the clothespin. This made her scream out Aw, FUCK! She seemed like she was getting a little bored. Master asked her how it felt but it was hard to hear her over the constant whacking sound the clothespin was making each time it was vibed off the Hitachi. Rather like a woodpecker making a hole in a tree (or the side of the house in the case of The Attic). But He made out something about how much it hurt.
He walks over to the bed and gazes at her sleeping so peacefully. He has plans for her tonight that she has shared with others but not with Him, well tonight that will all change. He rips the covers off her and grabs her by the hair taking her into the bathroom. She is still half a sleep but she struggles as He pulls her along. She half steps and stumbles into the tub as He pushes her down to her knees. Before she can react He orders he to pull His shorts down as she does He tells her that tonight she will do things His way and that weather she likes it or not she will obey immediately. To extenuate His point the lets go a stream of urine onto her lovely breasts. Now clean up and before you come to Me put on the restraints I have so thoughtfully laid out for you. As she bends down to turn on the water, He swats her beautiful ass.
She is shaking as she is getting cleaned up wondering what in the hell just happened but knows better that to ask. She quickly cleans up and gets out of the shower. She notices her restraints on the counter along with a sheer nighty, is she supposed to put that on also, no He did not tell her to but it is sitting there. She puts on her restraints and walks into the bedroom.
Subspace (also sub space, headspace, flying, or floating) is a specific state of mind that a submissive may enter, particularly after intense activities and/or (depending on the person) intense pain play, characterized by euphoria, bliss, a strong feeling of well-being, or even a state similar to intoxication. Thought to be related to the release of endorphins in the brain. The euphoria associated with subspace may last for hours or sometimes even days after the activity ceases.
Subspace is a metaphor for the state the bottom’s mind and body is in during a deeply involved play scene. Many types of BDSM play invoke strong physical responses. The psychological aspect of BDSM also causes many bottoms to mentally separate themselves from their environment as they process the experience. Deep subspace is often characterized as a state of deep recession and incoherence. Deep subspace may also cause a danger in newer bottoms who are unfamiliar with the experience, and require the dominant to keep a careful watch to ensure the bottom isn’t placing him or her self in danger. Many bottoms require aftercare while returning from subspace.
Subspace is a form of trance. Trance in its essence is a state of being, different from your “normal” state of being. During trance your mind excludes most of its input and concentrates on just one or only very few impulses, completely disregarding all others. Trance is the result of hormonal activity. Hormones are substances in your body, responsible for communication between the brain and the cortex and the rest of the body. For subspace a group of hormones, called “peptides” is important. Peptides are amino acids. Many look like morphine and have attributes, that can be compared to morphine. For subspace endorphins – a group of such peptides – are an important ingredient.
A collar in BDSM lyfestyle is not something to be given lightly. It is symbolic of a serious commitment of ownership and bears the same importance as a wedding ring. A collar symbolizes not only ownership, commitment, love and devotion, but embodies the qualities of honor, respect and trust.
Collars can be made from lighter materials such as cotton, or heavier materials such as leather. Most traditional collars are made of leather or metal and have a ring(s) embedded in them. There are also collars made specifically for show, these are usually more ornate in design and not meant to use in bondage, though some can be depending on the construction. As the wearing of a traditional collar can interrupt with work and other real life duties, some submissives wear chokers. These can be pearls, ribbons, a cameo or some other close fitting necklace. Collars often feature buckles, straps and hooks, padlocks and other attachments. Steel collars are also worn by some and lockable (metal) necklaces are also regarded as a form of collar. A very few even choose to wear permanently locking collars (these click into place and have no unlocking key), that cannot be removed except by cutting the steel.
Below are examples of the several different types of collars often presented.