I remember in a discussion group that I moderate, a few years ago, the members had tried to sort the different types of BDSM players in neat little virtual box. Obviously, this didn't work. When they were trying to define the parameters of the different family of BDSM players, some of the nuances were so similar that, it was about impossible to figure the differences between types of BDSM. The conclusion we all got at the time was that personal BDSM is so different and at the same time, so similar sometimes that only little nuances would make these needs different and it was about impossible to sort the different type of BDSM in little neat box.
Diane Vera in her "The 9 Levels Of Submission?" try to do a first classification in her 9 groups of the different type of players. Alas, most people, when they try to situate themselves in her different groups, often found that they are part of 2 groups and not in one clear group, again, a question of nuance……
Here is a quote from Catharine's text, "What Is BDSM?" :
"BDSM is generally thought to be a word that describes three separate but often overlapping aspects of sexuality, bondage/discipline (BD), dominant/submissive (DS) and finally sadism/masochism (SM)."
Let's look at these 3 aspects of BDSM, but, for practical reasons, out of order:
Domination and Submission. Many describe this side of BDSM as the exchanged of power. Some people want to take or give the control of somebody else for a short or long time. This desire of taking or giving control may be done during a game (usually for a short period of time) or for some, this desire to take or give the power will be the result of a need. This need will bring them to take or give the control for a longer period of time even in a permanent situation (24/7). Some authors describe this exchange of power under the term "surrendering". As an example, many submissive men dream to have a Dominant woman taking control of their lives. For many submissive, this surrendering is for them, a form of freedom (not kidding here!). For the male gay community, the same type of relationship exists from a "Daddy" taking care of his "boy" or on the heterosexual side, some men want a "Mother" taking care of them….
For others, "DS" mean "Discipline. For the scope of this article let's just state that the discipline is a tool use in the power exchange.
Sado Masochism: This is this is the "pain" side of BDSM. Some wants the pain just for itself (giving or receiving), to bath themselves in it, or to enjoy the endorphin created by it. (or both at the same time!). For others, the pain is just a tool for discipline. Some players refuse any pain, some other enjoy the theater around it (we address this further).
Bondage. Bondage is used in BDSM for practical reasons (during a scene to prevent the submissive to move for safety reasons) during a flogging session, for punishment or simply for the fetish of bondage (to satisfy the submissive or Dominant fetishes).
If all BDSM adepts did like all 3 aspects of BDSM equally, we would have only one type of BDSM plays and players. We all know that this is not the case, some don't like S&M, others loves it, some are not into bondage, others, just by being under bondage, will have sexual climax and finally, some needs to submit, others don't want it at all….
We can easily assume that for every BDSM players that have different style, they will necessarily have a different liking or not (even dislike) of the different aspect of BDSM.
Let's add other components to the BDSM:
Fetishism: Latex, leather, transvestites, theatrical around a BDSM plays in a dungeon…
We can describe a fetish as a sexual fascination towards some inanimate objects or human body parts. In some case, orgasm can be achieved just by being in the presence of the object or body part cover by the fetishism.
Clothing (stocking, underwear, lace), or the material that makes the clothing (latex, leather), some things (objects like dildos, whip, cuffs, shoes) are fetish. Feet, bums, breast are for fetishes of the anatomy. Travesties or the fascination for urine or fecal matter are considered fetishes too.
Technically, BDSM isn't a fetish but many BDSM'er, to describe their liking will state that their fetish is BDSM.
For many, BDSM is sexual. For others, BDSM is more a lifestyle that include a sexual component that can even be secondary to the relationship itself!.. Yet, for many, BDSM is something that excites them and often finishes with a sexual orgasm.
Alternatives sex could be included in BDSM. For some, they use BDSM to experiment their bisexuality that could be "forced" or voluntary.
Finally, for others, BDSM is just a temporary game that leads them to a good "fuck" in fetishes conditions.
It is clear that in BDSM, all have different needs. If we could measure these needs, we could sort them in groups, but, obviously this type of sorting is impossible.
Here are examples of type of players (not a classification!):
- The masochist looking for a partner to give him or her pain: Minimum DS aspect some masochist accepting to submit but for the exchange of pain, of course strong S&M aspect. Bondage aspect being not really important here.
- There are many men that are travesties and bisexual in BDSM. For them, the DS aspect is more important.
- The submissive male looking for sissyfication (forced feminization). DS aspect very strong, bondage and S&M not important.
- The submissive (male or female) looking for a "daddy" that will take of him or her. Big DS aspect, sM and BD not that important. Between the male submissive looking for sissyfication and a submissive looking for a "daddy", the DS aspects are almost identical and yet, the need in itself is so different!
- Another very similar example : A Dominant looking for a submissive Again, big DS aspects, S&M and BD not that important.
Just for fun, consider the 3 aspect of BDSM for these following example:
- A teacher with his(hers) student.
- Jail guard vs. a prisoner.
- Interrogation of a prisoner.
- Pet play (a dog owner with his(hers) "dog".
The big question now; how important are the different aspects of BDSM for you?
Sex? (kinky or otherwise ?)
Those aspects are just the beginning of the difference between BDSM players et their importance will often change with time. When a BDSM player is looking for a partner, compatibility is very important. Catharine makes a point about this. If the compatibility isn't there, the relationship will implode under the strains between partners. Again, negotiation is the key!
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