The kink community can teach us a lot. Many of us “vanilla” folk just don’t understand that many of the rules of  “alternative” relationships apply to “standard” relationships. We’ll explore how we can integrate the lessons into our everyday relationships.

For the first part of the series I wanted to focus on BDSM. Now outside of visiting a couple of dungeons for workshops, and enjoying a tap tap on my ass every now and then (okay maybe tied up too, and also…uhm, wait. Nevermind. Too much info), I really am not equipped to speak on the topic. Though I will say I have learned a lot in my very limited dealings in the BDSM community. In order to allow someone to do things to you (like tie you up and pour hot wax on you), there has to be a lot of trust and communication. But this isn’t reserved for just kinky folks. Trust and Communication are the foundation for any relationship to thrive.

For this topic of BDSM, though, I think I should defer to someone a bit more equipped. I have asked  best selling BDSM erotic romance author Bridget Midway to tell us a little bit about the BDSM community and what we as “regular/vanilla” folks can learn. (yeah I said we. Today I’m “regular.” Tomorrow…not so much). Okay take it away Bridget.

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I’m always flattered when I get asked about the BDSM lifestyle as a reliable resource. The fact of the matter is that I’m still learning about the Lifestyle and feel that I have only scratched the surface of everything about it.

For those who do not know about how I got into writing BDSM erotic romances, an author friend of mine named Laura Bacchi talked to me about wanting to write BDSM erotic romances. I never understood anything about the Lifestyle beyond what I saw on TV and in movies. I mean, the movie version of “Exit to Eden” was accurate, right? I also thought the Lifestyle was about physical abuse, and that people involved were cruel and had no concern for others. That said, I was intrigued by the Lifestyle. As an author, as with most authors, I wanted to write it to understand it. So I asked Laura how she’d planned on learning about BDSM since she shared that she wasn’t in the Lifestyle herself. At the time we lived in the same area, and she told me about a local BDSM group. So I contacted them. They invited me to something called a munch, which is a lunch and demonstration in one. And so it began.

I won’t lie. I was very nervous going to this munch at a private residence alone. Although it was on a Sunday during the day, I was still scared. If what I saw on TV and in movies were true, I was about to encounter folks dressed in leather and in masks with whips and chains in hand. What I actually saw changed my whole perspective. Yes, I was greeted at the door by a middle-aged man wearing women’s shoes and harem pants. Yes, there were nude men and women there serving food and drinks to us (I got to sit with the Dommes). However, these women and men looked like normal people…well, normal other than the harem pants and nudity. The Dommes were in regular clothes. They weren’t in leather and wearing masks. All of them had day jobs: nurses, military, corporate. The submissives also had pretty normal day jobs. Now the slaves only worked for his or her Domme. One slave said to me very proudly, “The only thing I owe with my name on it is my driver’s license.” He turns everything, including any money he has coming in, to his Mistress. So that was my first lesson: don’t trust the media.

After getting over the initial meeting, the next step was to find out the most important thing: the why. Why get involved with this Lifestyle? Why are you a Dominant? Why are you a submissive? Why does it appeal to you? All of these questions and more ran through my head. Just like my initial feeling of being apprehensive to meet them, I was just as nervous to ask them questions about their Lifestyle. I didn’t want to come off as either ignorant or insensitive. As soon as they found out that I was an author and I wanted to learn about their Lifestyle to write it accurately, they were willing to share any and all information. They let me ask questions. They wanted me to portray their Lifestyle accurately. When it came to the demonstration, not only did they put me in the front to watch, they wanted me to be just as hands-on with the demonstration as well. So, yes, I have flogged someone. I have paddled someone. I have poured wax on a collared submissive. Aside from the education, I, personally, didn’t get anything out of it. Within a Dominant, I learned that they look for the reaction from their submissive or slave. I never considered that angle. So that was lesson #2: the Lifestyle is about the reaction.

That meeting happened about ten years ago. I have been friends with them ever since. As a matter of fact, I just attended a munch just a week ago where I learned about electric play.

From my association with the group, I also dispelled some myths. BDSM is not all about beating the shit out of a person, unless that’s what that person wants. Even then, there’s a way to discipline a person that way. No, BDSM is about sensations. Some people like a harder sensation than others.

In a Dominant and submissive relationship, the submissive has the power. I know! That was a shocker to me, too. I had assumed that Dominant always has the power. Not true. During play, there’s something called “safe words” that regulate how play is done. “Safe Words” are words that the submissive uses to encourage, slow down or stop the play. The basic safe words are green, yellow and red, just like the traffic lights. Green means, “Yes, I like this. Please keep up this play in the way that you’re doing it.” Yellow means, “I like it but it’s getting to be a bit much. Keep going but ease up a little.” Red means, “Stop.” Period. A Dominant that doesn’t stop when a safe word is called is abusing the submissive and losing the submissive’s trust.

The one thing that really surprised me in my research is truly how unromantic the Lifestyle can be. What surprised me in my research is the fact that most BDSM relationships involve contracts, either written or verbal. The contracts details what can and will be done during the relationship. I joined a couple of BDSM themed forums and groups like CollarMe.com and Fet Life. I asked online Doms and Dommes if it’s possible for submissive and slaves to fall in love with their Dom, Dommes, Master or Mistresses. I was surprised when most of the answers came back as “No.” Of course there are cases of people getting in romantic relationships. Overall, that’s not why the relationship starts.

As a romance author, though, I had to find the romance in the Lifestyle. Although I have written a lot of BDSM erotic romance novels, the one that readers regularly comment that they learned more about the Lifestyle than in any story is Love My Way. The novel is about a Dom who searches for a submissive through a reality TV show. I call it “The Bachelor” with a whip.

My local BDSM group has been so open to me that they regularly invite me to their munches and play parties. In turn, I invite them to my book signings, and they do show up and support me. I wanted other authors who may feel intimidated to go to a BDSM group on their own to get tme who taught me everything I learned about the Lifestyle to write a book. Mistress Dama de Noche wrote The ABC’s of BDSM and published it through Phaze Books. The book is available in ebook and print.

Ultimately what I learned from the BDSM lifestyle is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It can be hard or soft. It can be private or, well, semi-private. Whatever it is you want, it can be. To learn more about the Lifestyle, I would encourage you to either find a local BDSM group, or attend some BDSM-themed conferences like Charmed City Fetish Fair, Leather Fet, or Flea Market Fetish Fair. These events have workshops that will shatter all kinds of myths. What I really learned is that people find their bliss in different ways. And that’s just fine.

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Wow great post and breakdown of BDSM Bridget. I took several lessons from this.

Lesson #1 – Don’t trust the media. I know a lot of people don’t want to try new things because of a taboo or something that they heard. Do your own research and never EVER limit your pleasure.

Lesson #2 – Reaction. Now that sounds like some good sex to me. Look for your partners reactions. Are they enjoying it? In the moment? Have you taken them to the edge. If so, do you want to push them over or pull back them back in and push them to the edge again. Mmmm. Oooh yeah. Reaction. I like that. Thanks Bridget.

Lesson #3- Contracts. I actually went to a local dungeon and took a workshop on contracts. All the while I was there I kept thinking “Shit, if more folks did this we would have less divorce, infidelity, and failed relationships.” The couple who presented the workshop were in a romantic 24/7 TPE (total power exchange) Master/Slave relationship and they were married (as well as collared). So see Bridget it does happen. But what amazed me was each year on their anniversary they would review their contract to discuss – what they want and don’t want in their relationship; expectations; what makes them happy; what they need to feel safe and secure amongst many other things. Afterwards they would revise the contract. (They admitted to adding each year, but never really taking anything away)

So wait let me get this straight. Two people in a relationship check in with each other to make sure everything is copacetic and if not discuss how it can be. Uh yeah. Vanilla folks. This is something we can do. Lets try communicating our wants, needs, and desires to each other a bit more often. Sometimes we change and our partner have no way to know unless we TELL THEM. Let’s check in with each. Be present. Be honest. Be open. Connect and recommit.

Lesson #4 (my personal favorite)- “People find their bliss in different ways.”  So for the vanillas who read this blog know this – There is no standard to pleasure or sex. Whew thank God for that. Do not let perceived norms stop you from finding your bliss. It’s your body, your happiness, your orgasm. Do not judge yourself or others, simply find YOUR bliss.

Okay my fellow Edusexuals, that is all on BDSM today. A great big ole thank you to Bridget for explaining BDSM to us. I hope you took her wonderful lessons to heart so you can have better, kinkier sex. For those of you interested in the lifestyle she gave some great resources so check them out.If you want to know more about Bridget Midway visit her at http://www.BridgetMidway.com/

 

Until next time…Be Free, Be Safe, Be Loved,

K.D. King