For years, the BDSM community has existed hidden in plain sight. Until Fifty Shades of Grey and 365 DNI came out, most “vanilla” people didn’t even know what BDSM was. Unfortunately, these movies are the worst possible representations of the BDSM lifestyle.

From the romanticized lack of consent in 365 DNI to the emotional abuse in Fifty Shades of Grey, both movies present a warped image of the BDSM community.

So, what even is BDSM then? Well, it’s not all about chains and whips. BDSM is a wide range of erotic practices that can be broken down into these basic dynamics:

1.B&D: Bondage and Discipline 

Bondage is the act of being tied up or restrained and is arguably the easiest way to get into BDSM. However, the more complex it becomes, the more dangerous it can be, especially around sensitive areas such as the neck.

Advanced positions should not be attempted by inexperienced people; sex store employees and classes can help you learn safe techniques.

Discipline is a form of power dynamic where rules are set by the dominant partner that the submissive partner is expected to obey. The submissive partner would be punished for violating those rules. 

2. D&S: Domination and Submission 

Domination involves exercising control in a relationship while the submissive is giving into the control exercised by the dominant partner.

A dominant (male) or dominatrix (female) exercises the control while a submissive obeys the commands of a dominant. This interaction, like all other BDSM interactions, is consensual. 

3. S&M: Sadism and Masochism 

Sadism is the act of inflicting pain upon others and masochism is the act of receiving it. This isn’t one partner mercilessly beating the other partner for erotic pleasure, but rather a negotiated and consensual power play dynamic that either partner can back out of at any time. 

BDSM also ranges in practice from physical practices to mental practices and is not entirely sexual. Physical practices would include bondage or pain play (for example-hot wax). Mental practices would include obeying a dominant and engaging in role-play to behave in a desired way.

Most professional dominants and dominatrixes will not engage in penetrative sex and often will avoid the sexual aspect of BDSM to focus on the mental aspects of it with clients. 

Informed Consent and Risk: 

The movie 365 DNI, advertised as being a kinkier version of Fifty Shades of Grey, centers around a mafia don kidnapping a woman and gives her 365 days to fall in love with him.

He emphasizes that he will not touch her without her consent, yet proceeds to do the exact opposite for the rest of the film. In a BDSM context, there are two acronyms that make up the foundation of BDSM: RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual).

This means that limits, expectations, rules, and preferences must be discussed in extreme detail before engaging in anything. A safe-word or signal must be decided beforehand to indicate that the activity needs to be stopped or slowed down during the scene.

BDSM must only be practiced with someone who is trustworthy and respectful of boundaries as it is entirely dependent on meaningful communication and mutual trust. 

Aftercare:

Aftercare is the time that partners take after a BDSM scene to recover and take care of one another. It is essential to prevent sub drop ie a temporary depression that can occur in submissives after an intense BDSM scene due to a sudden drop in endorphins.

Aftercare is a way of easing out of an intense session, often led by the dominant partner, and can occur in multiple ways such as cuddling, gently removing restraints, or eating food together. 

While the world of BDSM may seem complicated, it is with good reason that so many technicalities exist within the community. BDSM can be a rewarding experience, it can quickly become dangerous if it is not practiced correctly.

When practicing kink, it is important to prioritize safety and consent above all other aspects of BDSM.

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https://thetempest.co/?p=154042
Advaita Chaudhari

By Advaita Chaudhari

Editorial Fellow