Exploring S&M

Everyone is reading “50 Shades of Grey” right now as if the topic of S&M had just been invented.  Suddenly I am hearing about it all the time, from everyone, in and out of the office.  Having immersed myself in Paulo Coehlo, “Eleven Minutes” and Anaïs Nin, both of whom have written about this topic long ago, I fear people are getting the wrong message.

English: Photograph of Anaïs Nin as a teenager...

English: Photograph of Anaïs Nin as a teenager, circa 1920. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This isn’t a way to romanticism or true love, it is an exploration.  One that goes down a very dark road.

Partners who are into Sadism & Masochism follow rules and have strict boundaries. It is a two-way street, not one sided. Any type of sexual exploration should be mutual, if it is not this should not be on the agenda. It will only come to harm in your relationship. Wanting or not wanting this behavior has nothing to do with love. If your partner does not want it, it is all about you and this is something you need to look into with a therapist, not in a one night stand. If you give up a partner because they do not wish to engage in something they are uncomfortable with, this is not their fault. Remember movies like 9 1/2 weeks? It is meant to last for nine and a half weeks.  S&M doesn’t make a relationship. It just brings out inner psychological wounds.

Do you really need to go to the level of master and slave though?

There are ways to be kinky in the bedroom, on days when you feel a little more friskier than normal. Spanking doesn’t need to involve whips and chains, collars and other such sorts of implications of torture. If it is done in a spontaneous moment of passion there is a means to an end. It does not need to become a lifestyle that you should out yourself on in public.

What concerns me are adults with abusive backgrounds who are uncovering a need to be in control of the pain. I have worked with child sex workers, earlier victims of sexual abuse – who continue to be sexually abused as prostitutes. They believe they are now calling the shots.  They know they are being sexually abused but feel that if they can decide which john they do it with, somehow this makes it better. It doesn’t.

If you continue to allow yourself to be abused, when you haven’t healed from the trauma of youth (or a domestic violent partner) you are not really having fun.  Instead a pattern of self-mutilation is at hand. If you are engaging in the dark side and find yourself still needing to numb the pain with alcohol and drugs, this is not role play.

The only time you are in control of your life is when you have worked through the trauma of the past and put it behind you.  Its not forgotten but there is a memory that no longer runs your life. There is nothing wrong with fantasies being acted out through role play for mentally healthy people who want to unleash their creative energies. Doing it because you crave it, because it overwhelms you, because you feel as if you will go mad if you keep this fantasy locked up inside of you, is a cry for help.

Freud said that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  The novel is just a novel. It is not about you.


4 thoughts on “Exploring S&M

  1. You make some very valid points in this post and I was agreeing most of the way until I came to your last paragraph or so where you state:

    “Doing it because you crave it, because it overwhelms you, because you feel as if you will go mad if you keep this fantasy locked up inside of you, is a cry for help.”

    I would argue that this is not necessarily the case and that a large percentage of the kink community would disagree with you. It is entirely possible to be a well adjusted, perfectly normal functioning adult with a healthy mental state and to still crave sadomasochism as part of sexual relations between consenting adults. For some of us vanilla just doesn’t cut it but that does not necessarily mean that we are needing to work through some earlier trauma to cure us of this odd sexual kink.

    You ask further up the post “Do you really need to take it to the level of Master and slave(D/s)?’ – for some of us the answer to that is yes. It does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong between us. BDSM has some very complex emotions and behaviour patterns within it that require open and honest communication between partners. When I compare the levels of trust between myself and my dominant partner with those between our vanilla friends, I am often startled at the difference.

    D/s does feature heavily in our relationship but our relationship started out as a basic vanilla relationship one in which true love and romance feature enormously. I’m marrying my partner in less than three months time. Yes D/s is a dark path to follow but trod carefully with both partners keeping their eyes wide open and open, honest communication flowing – it is not as dangerous as people make it out to be.

    For me, I find a very deep peace within my submission and often feel at my most loved up when I am serving my dominant partner. I crave my time to submit with every fibre of my body – not I believe as you put it as a cry for help, but because this is how I am wired. This is who I am. My childhood was perfectly normal. I have thankfully been lucky enough to have never been abused, raped or experienced any significant sexual trauma. I have taken pleasure in serving my community long before I discovered that serving a dominant partner brought me even greater pleasures.I cannot change how I am wired, nor do I feel that there is any need to. I am who I am and I do not believe craving submission is in some way wrong. Ultimately because of safewords and open communication, the power, paradoxically is in the hands of the submissive partner rather than the dominant.

    To sum up, I would refer you to the Anais Nin quote from my blog post.

    “I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically; but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated. I don’t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling, to be all that I am capable of doing but I am going to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding.” – Anais Nin

    Kind regards

    • Orchid,

      This article is being written on a psychotherapy website, not a personal lets talk about sex website. I am targeting consumers with mental health issues and discussing this as a therapist. There are reasons why I am bringing these topics up and discussing it from this perspective. I did point out that if someone is in a mentally healthy state of mind, this is different than someone who is not in that state of mind. Please keep this in mind. You don’t need to defend your position. I am not against two consenting healthy adults. Tomorrow there will be another post and this is about S&M with only one willing partner.

      • With respect, I felt compelled to post that reply because you had linked to my own blog entry regarding 50 Shades of Grey. I fully accept that you are targeting consumers with mental health issues with very specific issues that do need addressing and I entirely respect that.

        The thing that frustrated me more was that I felt that some of the statements made appeared very much like they were simply coming from someone who took a very dim view on BDSM and kink as a whole. Statements such as ‘S&M doesn’t make a relationship. It just brings out inner psychological wounds.’ – I would agree if this was one sided but to my mind S&M can’t be one sided otherwise it becomes S OR M. The consensual aspect does need to be stressed I agree wholeheartedly. The statement just felt a little sweeping in its scope.

        I can only apologise if I have mis-interpreted what you said in your original post. I did not mean to offend in any way.

        Kind regards

      • You didn’t offend Orchid, on the contrary, I did not wish to offend you. I realize that people in unique lifestyles feel threatened by society and are condemned by others. I truly believe that if both parties are consenting to the act it is their business. Unfortunately I have so many people I have spoken with who are not consenting. Most of my background is with abuse victims and survivors. Many are children or Adult children of. I wanted to speak to these people who might feel as if this is one more thing they have to confront. Many women who have no sense of self, from their early and continuous psychological wounds, they cling to men for a false sense of security and often get lured into endeavors that they are doing to please their partner but not themselves. I am not familiar with what your acronyms mean. I am familiar with S&M from my work, articles, books, and I use this phrase because people who are not in this community willingly, don’t know those terms. It is important that I speak on a generalized level because I am not speaking to your community. Also, I scanned through your article and often link to articles supplied by WordPress that give a different perspective on a topic I am referring to. This way people can make choices.

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