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12 things some people don't get about BDSM

1. Just because someone else does it differently, doesn't make your way wrong. The amount of arguments on FetLife and other sites over the "right" way to do things are unreal. Which is odd because no-one seems to do it face-to-face at events (well, apart from that one time with all the shouting...).

2. Your Kink Is Not My Kink, But Your Kink Is Okay. You don't have to internalize and agree with everything else someone says about their kink, and it doesn't make them or you a better/worse person for your differences. Just don't be a dick about it, m'kay?

3. There's no such thing as a "true" submissive or dominant. There's just people who are better matched for each other than other people (one person's character flaw is another person's kink).

4. Asking questions is not going to make you look stupid or like you're not a 'true submissive/dominant.' People who say this probably haven't actually had a BDSM relationship. Identifying your needs and asking questions are an important part of relationship communication. It's going to ensure you get the relationship you actually want rather than the one you think someone else wants you to have. The same goes for opening up and telling people, at the start of negotiations, what you want. Pretending you want nothing, because you think that's a desirable trait, then exploding from frustration six months in, is not conducive to having a good relationship with someone. What if they're pretending they don't want something then get upset that you don't give it to them as well? Doesn't that sound like a recipe for a break-up?

5. Being a slave is SO much more than just learning a bunch of positions off the internet. I mean, unless "slave" is also a type of interpretative dance. It's a hard dynamic to jump into for some people, because it can be a lot less structured and defined than other roles (but it can also be the opposite), but it boils down to long term power exchange, not learning how to pass someone a drink. Some slaves flourish their drinks because their Master wants them to. Some slaves also wear glasses, it doesn't make them any more or less of a slave than someone who doesn't wear glasses.

6. Ageplayers, littles and daddies are not promoting crimes against children with their bath crayons and scrunchies. In Critical Theory, this assumption is called a false syllogism. It's often supported by straw man arguments. Another false syllogism is that (female) slaves are doormats who don't understand feminist theory. I never saw the part in feminism or post-feminism that said "women are only allowed to have free agency to do what they want if what they want is to be emancipated and have free agency, otherwise they are not allowed to be happy and must be looked down on by other women and made to feel insecure." If that's what feminism says, I reject feminism, but I'm pretty sure that's not what it says.

7. Polyamory isn't mandatory, but neither is monogamy. If you need one or the other, make this clear to your play partner(s) to avoid any drama later.

8. You don't have to be a top, bottom, dominant, submissive, mistress, master, slave, big, little, thrall, puppy, mommy or any other title, to participate. You certainly don't have to have identified with one of the titles on FetLife to participate. You also don't need to speak/write in the third person (this girl doesn't write about herself in the third person, for starters) or With/without intentional grammatical errors and long recapitalization of words or phonetic spellings of baby words.

9. FetLife is not the real world. Think of it as a construct, like one of those MMORPG video games, where there's lots of people who spend all their waking hours on it, there's the asshats who will try to kill your character to loot your stuff (or, in FL, the people who will take everything you say the wrong way on purpose, people who think that "you" means them personally as opposed to "y'all" or "people," or who seem to think you should be participating in their power/disempowerment trip by addressing them in a certain way despite the fact you haven't actually consented to being part of their fantasy), the creepy people who can't seem to understand that they're not on a dating site, and the people who think it's funny to have a screen name that's a single entendre. There's also some cool people on there but some of the time they get drowned out by the asshats.

10. FetLife is the real world. I know I just said the opposite but hear me out. Any photos, information, comments etc that you make on FetLife are being read and viewed by actual people. If you've joined local groups, those actual people also live in your town. Be aware.

11. There is a lot of crap on the internet. Even if you check amongst multiple sources it's possible that you're reading bullshit. But there's also a lot of good stuff. When you find the good stuff, hold onto it with both hands and recognize it's value as a precious resource.

12. Consent is everything. It all comes back to this. Whether you are RACK or SSC, consent is the be-all and end-all of what we do, including consensual non-consent, and consent works both ways.

Lots of Love,

Katie xxxx

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Background image credit: Shashi Rupapara (image licensed under creative commons).