Having read the 50 Shades trilogy and becoming more intrigued by what makes us tick, I began research into various BDSM relationships, particularly Dom/Domme and sub. Wikipedia says: “Dominance and submission (also called D&s, Ds, and D/s) is a set of behaviours, customs and rituals involving the giving by one individual to another individual of control over them in an erotic episode or as a Lifestyle.” Both parties take pleasure or erotic enjoyment from either dominating or being dominated. Some people are always dominant, others always submissive, and some switch – meaning the pair may alternate roles throughout a scene.
First, I’d like to distinguish between full time Dom/sub relationships and casual relationships. In a full time Dom/sub relationship the couple often lives together and the sub refers to the Dom by whichever term he/she wishes (mistress, madam, etc.), does chores, cooks, needs permission for agreed upon terms (such as eating sweets, watching TV, going shopping) etc.. In a casual relationship it’s down to business whenever the couple gets together. Also, there are professional female dominants known as a Dominatrix who dominate others for money.
A good friend of mine is a Domme as a hobby, as opposed to an identity. She says: “Kink and sex have a weird relationship. It’s not always black and white. Many times I’ve played fully clothed and the guy didn’t ‘get off’. But the experience can still be rewarding, spiritual even. Helping someone fulfill a deep dark fantasy is powerful. It takes a lot of mutual respect and patience, more than what most people seem to assume.” Fully clothed? Dis quoi?! It would seem that not all D/s relationships are sexual, and some are entirely fantasy-based. This particular Domme has played with clothes on, limited skin-to-skin touching, and no orgasm. Fantasy-based relationships often involve acting out different scenarios, wearing costumes or using different voices. Many scenes will be acted out as purely physical or sexual, with nothing beyond ‘you’re into this, so am I, and we find each other very attractive.’
Many people have a hard time understanding how to ‘play’ without feelings. Comfort and trust are really important for many of us to experiment sexually. Even though we can see the allure of relative anonymity, playing out fantasies with a relative stranger can be exciting. Boundaries are important in this type of relationship, be they written or verbal. And trust is a huge part of any kink and/or fantasy. D/s is very much a mental activity, which is why there are various support groups for mental health, including trust abuses, within local and regional BDSM organizations.
It is important to recognize that not all fantasies are physical, and boundaries must be discussed prior to any kind of relationship. All parties involved need to be aware of safe words, boundaries, and potential limits. Sometimes, limits will be realized once an actual event happens.
There are a tonne of possibilities in the D/s realm, including but not limited to: domestic service, erotic humiliation (in which one person is physically or emotionally humiliated either in public or private), enforced chastity, cross-dressing, corporal punishment, bondage, fetishes (more on that in another blog post), animal play (one partner is a four-legged animal, often a pony), and public humiliation.
Some might say that wearing a collar is humiliating. Great. If you’re not into it, don’t do it. Collaring ceremonies are fascinating, and can be as elaborate and involved as a wedding ceremony. In this ceremony the submissive wears a collar, chosen or created by the Dom. Sometimes a bracelet or anklet will be worn when out in public to show the commitment, as they are far more accepted than leather or metal collars. Signing a contract can also create the necessary limits and commitment in this type of relationship.
“Remember, the key mantra in BDSM is “Safe, Sane, Consensual.” A responsible Dom makes sure that the orders he/she gives the sub will not put them in danger, cause them to lose her job, or endanger their relationship with family or children. A responsible sub recognizes unhealthy, unsafe behaviours in the Dom and protects herself accordingly (keeping her from possibly abusive relationships). It is a very wise decision for a D/s couple to come up with key rules or guidelines for their relationship which will help define what their boundaries are.” – Shawna, from Yahoo answers.
Safe, Sane, Consensual is the key message here. In my mind, exploring sensuality, sexuality, and limits is what D/s is all about. Sometimes, it’s really nice to be able to give up all control, and let someone else be in charge.