Tag Archives: question

FinDommes

The nature of Dominance is not always an obvious thing – even to me.

Preface: This is a post that I started and didn’t finish from about two months ago.  The information is still valid, but the email that I reference is pretty old at this point.  Caveat lector.

I recently received an email from a very intelligent reader who did not specify his gender, so I apologize if my use of male pronouns is inappropriate, but I’m going to continue to refer to this reader as ‘him’ for expediency’s sake.

He asks me, “Is this FinDomme for real? I’m really thinking about this and I don’t know how to stop myself.  Is this for real?  What should I do?”

I’m not really sure how to respond to such a request.  I can’t claim that I didn’t know that financial Domination was a kink for some people, but I’m not sure that I can bring myself to endorse it.

I know that “your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay” is a huge part of the open philosophy that I love about the kink community so much, but this may be one case where I have to reserve my views.

I’m not sure that I think that financial Dominance – especially in the form being peddled by the young lady in the link that I won’t echo here – is okay.  I don’t judge her.  She is extremely honest about what she intends to do.  She explicitly states that she wants someone – very clearly intended to be a wealthy older male figure – to give her total financial control of his life, and that once she has this, she intends to completely ruin him.  There is a great deal of camouflaged language that follows which seems to indicate that this financial control would also entitle one to sexual favors, but even that is very clearly secondary to the stated and intended purpose of financial ruin and humiliation.

I have been involved at some level in the kink world for almost two decades and learned that there is quite literally a kink for everything and that there is always, always, someone who will subscribe enthusiastically to that kink, and yet, even after all of the things I have experienced or seen, I have a really hard time believing that there is someone out there who wants to be financially ruined like this person is advertising, and like one of my readers is considering.

My problem – and it may just be a personal problem for me – is that I can’t see how this is a good thing for the person being Dominated.

D/s relationships are, by their very nature, stilted.  They’re not equitable.  They’re not equal partnerships, and they’re not intended to be, but there is still some level of balance.

One can, and probably should, argue that every true TPE relationship is a financial Domination, and that might be true. but there is a huge difference between controlling something and destroying something.

My own personal philosophy, and I know I’m not alone in this, is that I always try to leave every interaction I have with people such that they are in some way better than they were when I first found them.  I’m human, and I don’t always succeed in this.  I’m sure some of my former friends and exes would probably start fuming if they were to read this, but I actually do try to do the best I can in this regard.  I value friendship highly, and I try to always help and support my friends, but D/s takes this even further.

I regret to say that I cannot, with absolute certainty, claim that every submissive that has been under my thumb left our interactions in a better state than she began them, but I do know that I’ve done more good than harm, and I’ve tried to ameliorate any issues of which I am aware and able.

I do have remain friends with some of my exes and some of my former subs, so I know that I’ve managed to keep things positive at least most of the time.

So – with that in mind – I cannot see how this could possibly be a good thing for at least one of the participants in this arrangement.

If you go over things with a fine enough resolution, you can probably find something that is being satisfied by such a relationship, and if you have an itch that needs scratching, you could say that finding someone to scratch it for you is a good thing, but again, I have to think about the relative magnitudes of these things.  While my reader may be getting some deep seated psychological need fulfilled – temporarily – by this sort of arrangement, the implied consequences are far from temporary.

Bankruptcy is a horrible thing.

Fortunately for me, I haven’t had to go through it, but I have been destitute at one time, and while I do not necessarily believe that it is required for us to have material possessions to be happy, I do believe that having our primary survival needs met is absolutely critical to our wellbeing, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.   In the society that I live in, not having access to any money at all would be a severe impediment to at least two of these needs – food and shelter.

I can see how a relationship where the Dominant partner controls all aspects of the submissive partner’s finances would be appealing.  In fact, I’ve been in such relationships myself, on both sides of that particular coin, and I don’t believe that the experience was damaging to any party involved, but this particular situation differs a bit.  The FinDomme in question is not offering to take ownership of this person and care for him – as I have done and had done for me in the past – but instead is explicitly stating that she will financially ruin and embarrass this person, leaving them completely on their own with no resources and no recourse.

I cannot recommend such a thing.

D/s is a journey.  I believe that more strongly now than ever.  It is, however, a journey that one must undertake with much forethought and preparedness.  It is not a thing to engage in lightly and there are no shortcuts.

Sure, you can do a short scene or incorporate elements of D/s into your kinky fuckery and leave off with a lot of the more profound considerations, but in so doing you are only scratching the surface of the possible.  To get the profound D/s experience that it seems most of my readers are seeking, you have to commit yourself, body and mind, time and energy, and give it real attention.

I suspect that the reader who wrote me is trying to shortcut some of these things – by signing over his assets, he is creating an instant and binding relationship that goes far beyond the ordinary.  Most vanilla marriages include at least some aspect of separate finances, or at least some kind of equitable scheme through which both partners are able to make purchases of necessary and everyday items.  Under the sort of scheme this young lady is trying to proffer, her finsub would not even have the ability to purchase food or pay rent.

And then again, maybe there is just a kink element to it that I can’t understand…

Finding subspace

A friend recently asked me to write on two closely related topics: foreplay as it applies to a BDSM scene, and tips for training a newbie submissive from the perspective of a Dominant.

“How are those things related?” you might be tempted to ask…  Well, I’m about to tell you – as I describe the first of these topics and relate it to BDSM specifically.

In vanilla sex, foreplay is useful to ensure that both (all?) participants are physically, emotionally, and psychologically ready for the activity of sex itself.  Granted, this is more often than not given lip service and not really enacted with any vigor or skill, resulting in less than adequate experiences for everyone involved, especially the more submissive partner.  In the vanilla sense, I say ‘submissive’ here to mean the generally less active partner – the one less likely to initiate sexual contact.  For the initiator, his resolve is already firm, his libido is already activated, and foreplay probably seems like an unnecessary waste of time.

We do the same thing in the BDSM world, but we call it warm up instead, and while foreplay may be nice in the vanilla world, warm up in the BDSM world is essential.  Without it, you are putting your submissive at risk of injury in one or more of these arenas.  Nay, that is not quite strong enough… without warm up before enacting the more brutal parts of a scene, if your scene involves physical pain or torture, you will injure her.  Her bruises may heal and she may never let you know the damage to her trust that you caused, but those injuries will linger, and ultimately they will destroy your happiness.  Don’t let that happen to you, and don’t let that happen to the one you protect.

Warm up is a much more appropriate way to describe it than foreplay, even in the vanilla world,  and it may entail many of the same things, depending on the participants and scene.  BDSM scenes are not limited to sexual activities, and indeed may not even include any…  What you are trying to do is not limited to making sure that the submissive is ready for sex and turned on, but you’re also preparing her body physically for the activities at hand, her mind for the assault to her ego that is likely to occur, and her emotions for the departure from normalcy that she is about to encounter.

It has been proven that a submissive who is prepared for punishment will actually undergo changes in her body: more fluid will come to the surface of her skin, her pulse will drop (as opposed to speeding up in someone who is actually scared,) she will breathe deeper and more slowly, more oxygen will get into her blood and therefore to her brain, and often her perceptions of her environment will change, sometimes quite dramatically, sometimes even to the point of hallucinatory detachment or idealization.

This is far more than simple foreplay can possibly accomplish, and we even have a name for this: subspace.  For many submissives – this is the primary draw of submitting.  They are uninterested in the service aspects of it, they literally get high from the activity itself.

Subspace is where the submissive goes when in scene.  It is not a physical place, but it does affect her body in a physical way.  It is not an emotional space, but it does provide for emotional stability.  It is not a psychological space, but it provides for psychological compartmentalization.

There are many paths to subspace.  Warm up is not usually enough to get you there on its own.  Usually finding subspace is something that isn’t achieved until firmly in scene, but the transition can be jarring, or even missed, if you don’t ensure proper warm up has occurred.  I’ve known Doms who devote little or no time to warm up and go straight into scene.  This can work for some people, some of the time, but the one time that you miss it, you cross the line from safe, sane, and consensual and fall into abuse.  For me, it’s simply not worth the risk.

When I am training a submissive, or even when I am interacting with an experienced one, I will watch her.  I want to see her fail to meet my gaze.  I want to see her look down at my feet when I stare into her eyes.  I want to see her round her shoulders and bend her neck towards me.  I want to see her kneel or bow or even just place her forehead into my chest.  I want to hear the meekness in her voice when she addresses me as Sir.  These are not sacrosanct indicators of finding the edges of subspace, and they aren’t even inviolate indicators of submission, but they’re a step in the right direction.

These steps can take hours.  They can begin before you’re together though, and they can wind around vanilla activities.  I am a big fan of eating something, perhaps a full meal, but at least something light, before beginning a scene.  The food energy will help with the physical and mental strain, and the meal itself can provide a bonding opportunity and a place for mental interactions, witty banter, and innuendo – and as any submissive will tell you, the mind is the most important part of her that you can own, for sex or play or any other activity.  Alcohol is not a good idea here though.  It may take off the edge, but it can also lead to physical and psychological changes in both you and your submissive that you should be wary of.  I may drink with partners, but I will never engage in pain play when even the slightest bit intoxicated.

Admittedly, setting aside time for food and drink is not always possible, but there are other ways to encourage the path to subspace.

I watch my submissive, identify her specific submissive behaviors, and then I encourage these things.  I stroke my submissive’s hair.  I talk softly to her.  I remind her of my protection and her safety.  I pet her head and body.   As I can feel her trust building in me, I will be more and more physical.  I will grab her hair.  I will bite her neck, her ear, her shoulder.  I’ll fondle her tits and ass through her clothes, or reach underneath them.  I’ll kiss her, or I’ll grab the sides of her face and force her to meet my eyes, to see the burning desire that lies just underneath.  But these actions, like all actions taken in scene, must adhere to the limits established beforehand.  For some, kissing is out, for others, biting might be, but no matter what the limits, there should be something that you can do here.  If there is not, you probably need to find a different play partner.

I ease her into a place of trust and devotion and when I have that devotion, I am a veritable god.

From this point forward, I am in complete control and we are in scene.  I may grab her by the throat and force her down, I may slap her ass with my hand or a flogger or a crop or a cane.  But I will usually make it explicit through word or action or both that we’re about to begin.  Just that simple vocal recognition is often enough to cause a seasoned submissive to drop into subspace for me.  A newbie could require more care.

If I am not absolutely sure that we are ready, I might ask “are you ready?” and even when I get, “Yes, Sir,” in response, I know that is not quite sufficient. The cue has to be a command – at least for me it does.  Any command here will do: “take off your clothes,” “kneel for me,” “we’re going to begin now,” are all appropriate and can all serve well here.

Excepting the striking, I tend to use most, if not all of the above for foreplay as well as warm up.  In fact, much to my shock and glee, I was recently engaged in simple kinky sex with a submissive and she went rather deep into subspace without any pain of any kind at all.

That is the exception, however, and from this point forward it can still vary widely as to when, how, how deep, or even if a submissive will drop into subspace.

I should probably pause here to note that this is most definitely not the same thing as sub-drop.  Sub-drop is something else entirely, and not at all positive.  I’ll probably devote another entry to it at some point, but just don’t confuse the terms or people will look at you cross-eyed.  Dropping into subspace is good, sub-drop is bad.  Okay then…

Even when beginning your scene, especially if it is with someone new, it behooves one to start out slow.  This slow roll into the scene is what is going to help a new partner or a BDSM newbie ease herself into subspace.  In fact, this is what some Doms refer to when they talk about warm up.  They ignore all of the pre-activity nonsense that I am so keen on and just go straight to the main event, thinking that because their first strike is only at half strength that they are engaging in good warm up practices.

While I agree that this is important, I do not agree that it is sufficient.

My goal as Dominant is to create the best experience possible for all participants.  To some, this marks me a service Top and they think me weak.  I don’t really care.  I do what I do because it suits me, and because it gives me what I need.  I get off on devotion and subservience, not delivering pain.

As I begin to enact the scene, I watch my sub carefully.  I look for the signs of her being in subspace.  I slowly increase the stimulation as I see her move further and further into subspace until I’m sure that she is there.

I look for the altered breathing, the flushed skin, the glazed eyes, changes to the inflection of her voice or the tenor of her movements and moaning.

It takes some practice to recognize, but once I know she’s there, I know that I can do literally anything and it will be experienced in a positive light, so it is well worth pursuing.

Not everyone will agree with me on these points.  Not everyone finds it important to guide his submissive into subspace, and even I don’t find it necessary all of the time, but if you’re going to enact a scene, especially a brutal scene where pain is the primary intoxicant, it really is essential that you understand what you’re doing and how to help her get to where she needs to be in order to take the pain for you.

Let me know if you have questions, I’m happy to answer.

This was meant to educate, I hope you find it useful.

This was not a rant, but I am still Rant.

Rant off.

Unasked Questions: Contracts

In previous entries in this series, I’ve talked about scenes and limits. In this entry, I’m going to be talking about contracts:  what they mean in the BDSM sense, where they are best used, why I feel that they are necessary, when I feel that they are necessary, and probably give some examples from my own life.

Contracts occupy one of what I would consider to be the three main pillars of a BDSM arrangement.  The others would be limits and safewords.  Limits I’ve talked about previously, but safewords I have yet to touch upon.  That will be a separate topic, and as it is something that I feel strongly about, probably more of a rant than instructional, but I will try to hold back some of my stronger feelings for the blog.

In any case, today I am here to talk about contracts.

Whenever I have taken on a new sub for more than just a single scene, I have asked for a contract.  These are not in any way legally binding, and there is often a great deal of redundant or otherwise not-terribly-useful information contained within them, but I find that it provides two very important things:  accountability and transparency.  These are two things that I think are extremely important, nay, vital, to the success of any relationship, especially when that is both kinky and poly.

The contract is only between the submissive and me, so in some ways the poly aspect of my relationships is a separate problem but it is entirely dependent on the two virtues I extol above, so it is appropriate to mention it here as well.  It is a formal, if not legally binding, document that spells out exactly what terms are expected from the perspective of both the Dominant and submissive.  It serves as yet another opportunity to negotiate and put forward your own desires and fears.

This is a good example of a template for a contract  but of course, every contract is between two people and as such must be customized for their needs.  In order to be very useful, a contract has to specify the following things:

  the contracted parties:  In each contract that I have used to date this means the submissive and me, but there is no reason that this could not include more than just two parties

 the contract duration:  How long will these expectations be in place for?  Sometimes, in the contracts of others that I have seen, this part is omitted – the supposition being that the contract is ‘never-ending’.  While I do not have any deeply held philosophical reasons for preferring to extend or reissue a contract after the expiration of the current one, that has always been my choice.   I think there is a powerful psychological aspect of ‘contract’ that is missing if you omit duration, even if that duration is something like 500 years or something slightly more nebulous like the death of one of the parties..

  the roles of each party:  This is where things like how the slave is expected to serve the Master are defined.  This is where one would spell out the behaviors that are expected or required, along with what the submissive can expect from the Dominant, be this protection, care, training, whatever.

 any options for severability:  This is where you detail under what conditions the contract becomes void.  The contracts that I have used typically state that the Dominant can close the contract at any time without reason and that the submissive can veto specific actions if they violate certain criteria (such as pushing a hard limit or breaking the law) but that they have no recourse for completely ending the contract.  Of course, since such contracts are not legally binding, either party can walk away at any time.

 any special considerations:  This will often be either a list of hard limits or a link to a document containing those limits.  It may also call out any other things that the submissive or Dominant decide require special attention.  The contract document will provide tangible reminders to both parties of their promises to each other for the duration of the contract, so this makes sense as a place to specifically call out anything that might ever need reminding about or that the parties want to make explicit.

I’ve held contracts for as short as a month and as long as 18 months.  They make for a very intense relationship though, and I’m not certain that they can be held for longer than that, though I’m beginning to change my opinion on that — at least, I’ve become hopeful that I can, despite never really wanting that in the past.

A contract is a pledge, by both the Master and the slave, to adhere to the roles that you have defined for the duration, terms, and circumstances contracted for.  It might be to formalize training of a newbie, it might be to add extra kink to an already established relationship, tipping it over into the realm of true TPE, or it might just be something fun to do with someone new to you for a month or two.

In any case, if you are seeking a TPE type of relationship, I think the contract is a vital element of that arrangement.  This may be personal preference and nothing more than how I was brought into this culture, but I find that the formalism that you gain from a contract is essential in maintaining the proper frame of mind to assume your role and KEEP it.  This is not to mean that I believe a contract will give you the ability to never slip or to never be bad at your role, but it provides rules for you both to follow and it gives you something tangible that you can look at and say, “Yes, this is what I want, this is what I signed up for, and this is what I must give to get that.”

Let me know if you have questions, I’m happy to answer.

This was meant to educate, I hope you find it useful.

This was not a rant, but I am still Rant.

Rant off.

Unasked Questions: Limits

Continuing with my series on questions that newbies often have and are afraid to ask, I present the question(s): What are limits and why should I care?

I was going to post my rant on safewords today, but I realized that some people may require a bit more background before my arguments will make sense and one of the areas that needs explanation is around limits.

So – what are limits, why are there different types, what do they mean, and why should I care?

Remember how I was talking about negotiation a couple of days ago, and how everything in a BDSM context is negotiated?  Well, limits are one of those criteria that are negotiated.

Oftentimes when meeting a new sub I will ask her to fill out a form detailing her experience level, to rate her levels of desire for certain activities, and to set hard and soft limits.  The limits discussion is the most important of those pieces, but each of the others are also illuminating and will most often shape how our play begins, culminates, and ends.

I’ve used various different online resources for these lists before, but it doesn’t really matter too much what list you use, as each is merely but a beginning to a negotiation.

As an example of what this might look like, here is my limits document: Lord Rant’s Limits

This is from the very excellent Columbia Erotic Power Exchange website.  The original (not-filled-out-with-Lord-Rant’s-preferences-version) can be found here.

Quite recently I was ‘caught with my pants down’ in this area, so to speak.  I was given the opportunity to play with someone well before we’d had the opportunity to exchange lists like this.  Fortunately, she’s quite well grounded and we had discussed things informally a great deal, but I made certain that we did discuss limits, and things worked out pretty well.   However, in retrospect, I realize that things could have been much better if I had had more information at my disposal before we began.  I think I’ll make sure that we exchange lists prior to our next meeting, and hopefully anyone else that I might play with will find this document and short-circuit my ability get ahead of myself in the same way again.

Okay – back to definitions…

There are usually two limits that we talk about in the BDSM context, soft limits and hard limits.  Like most things in BDSM meanings of these terms are somewhat open to interpretation, but only somewhat.  I have known subs who claim to have ‘no limits’ and quite honestly, they scare me.  I have known Doms who refuse to play with subs that have any limits, and they scare me even more.  I think that both of these groups are mentally unstable or lazy or both.

A lazy sub might say that he has ‘no limits’ in an effort to avoid thinking about the problem, trying to appear brave, or trying to ingratiate himself with a particular Domme or Dommes.  In this case, the sub in questions is relying on ‘common courtesy’ or ‘human decency’ or something like that to rule the actions of the Domme and acts in the hopes that she will not act to permanently injure him.  This is a very dangerous practice and I tend to find such people to be either mentally unstable or unsuitable due to lack of attention or personal responsibility.  As a Dom, I need to know where your limits are.  This is both so that I can push your soft limits or your areas of discomfort in an effort to improve your experience and also to that I can avoid your hard limits and creating an experience that would be be detrimental to the health of one or both of us.

It is unfortunately quite common for Doms to fail to share their own limits.  I think there is a misconception among some people that this is not a useful way to spend time since a good Dom is in control of every aspect of a scene and therefore able to automatically adjust things to his preference, and while this might be true, it does not provide the sub with a valuable set of information.  It is the sub’s duty and privilege to understand, anticipate, and fulfil the needs and desires of the Dom.  Without complete information on the Dom’s desires and limits, this is a needlessly arduous task that will involve a lot of missteps on the part of both of you.  I’ve known Doms that use this as an excuse to enact punishment and enjoy watching their subs flail about in trying to determine how to best serve.  If that’s your cup of tea, then I won’t fault you for that, but if it were me, I’d at least let my sub know that this was my expectation.  Personally, I prefer obedience and service.  I reserve punishment for correcting bad behavior, bratty attitudes, or to enforce my Will, not as a game to be played to watch her squirm.  I prefer to watch her squirm for another reason…

These definitions are mine, you may have a different opinion or run across differing ideas, but that’s why communication is important in this lifestyle.

A hard limit is not something that can be negotiated; it’s a wall.  It may shift at some later date, but it’s not something that you should test, whether you are a Dom trying to provide a challenging experience or a sub trying to test your Dom’s boundaries, the hard limit is something you should leave alone.  You should talk about it, you should understand the nuances, but you should not fuck with it.  A personal example – I have a lot of hard limits around ass play – my ass, not yours.. this is not because I am homophobic, and this is not because I’m grossed out by it, I’ll gladly play with your ass if it is something you enjoy, but that brings back memories for me – memories that would make it impossible for me to enjoy myself.  This is not a negotiable thing, and there is a good reason for it.

A soft limit is something that can be pushed.  According to some people, this is something that _should_ be pushed.  I’m not sure I agree with that, but whether you do or not, by designating it as a soft limit, your partner is telling you, “this is something that I am very uncomfortable with, and you will have to use extra caution around this, but it is something that I might be willing to entertain.”  Soft limits are things that evoke a response, they’re things that go well beyond grossing you out or turning you off, but they’re not things that are going to cause you physical or mental anguish to entertain.  I don’t have many soft limits, one example for me would be rape fantasies.  A lot of women (and men too) have them, and as long as everything is properly negotiated in advance, these can be accommodated in a very safe, sane, and consensual way.  Intellectually, I have no problem with them at all, but they evoke in me an emotional response.  It would require some serious self restraint to take part in one and even more self restraint to see one and not intervene.  This is something that I could do, but not something that I would feel good about.  It’s possible that I could use this as a form of taboo deconstruction and push my soft limit until I was able to engage in this behavior without issue, but I don’t really want to.

Take a look at my list.  It may be more illustrative than I’ve managed to be in my descriptions here.

Let me know if you have questions, I’m happy to answer.

This was meant to educate, I hope you find it useful.

This was not a rant, but I am still Rant.

Rant off.

Unasked Questions: What is a scene?

This is the first in a series of posts that I intend to write about BDSM questions that are common but that people seem afraid to ask.

Firstly – you’ve all heard the old adage, “there are no stupid questions,” and that is true. One thing that I demand in my subs, and even in my friends, both in the vanilla and BDSM worlds, is curiosity. I find that people who never ask questions and I tend to not get along.

I’m a curious person myself, and I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve spent following hyperlinks in wikipedia pages.

But this is about BDSM scenes.

One of the first things that a newbie to BDSM will take note of is the lexicon of new terms, of words that have shifted meaning, and of acronyms.

One of these overloaded words in the BDSM lexicon is ‘scene’.

It’s a particularly tough one, because it has two different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. Possibly more – I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything.

The first, but less frequently misunderstood meaning is from when it is used to describe “the BDSM scene” in a general sense. In this context, most people understand it to mean the shared construct that we, as BDSM … enthusiasts? practitioners? … subscribe to. “The BDSM scene” is just whatever the people who are into BDSM in your vicinity do – this often means events and clubs, and by extension, the people who partake in such things, but it could also mean websites, chat rooms, or munches.

Munch is another odd BDSM term, but it has only one meaning that I’m aware of, and that is a gathering of kinky fuckers in a vanilla place for a vanilla reason – like meeting up with a bunch of kinksters in street clothes at IHOP for breakfast.

However, “a BDSM scene” is a very different thing. Articles are important – “the BDSM scene” means something very different from “a BDSM scene.” But “a BDSM scene” is a much more confusing thing.

I would like to blame popular culture references for making this such a confusing thing, but in reality, it was a confusing thing 15 years ago before BDSM was as mainstream as it is today. The description that I am about to give is based on my understanding and is not sacrosanct. That’s one of the beautiful things about the BDSM scene, it’s a very personal thing, and tolerance is generally very high for beginners. It’s not likely that people will judge you if your definitions differ from theirs.

At the most basic level, a BDSM scene is any time you are doing something that you think of as BDSM. It’s a very subjective thing. If you feel like what you are doing is a BDSM scene, then it is.

This is something that newbies often struggle with.. BDSM is a very rules-focused culture by necessity. Some of the things that we do are dangerous. Many of the people that we play with come from a background of physical, emotional, or sexual trauma. For them, BDSM can be a release – a way to _safely_ give up control or a way to exert control in what otherwise feels to them like an uncontrollable situation.  Because BDSM is so rules-focused, practitioners, especially newbies, often feel like there must be some minimum set of criteria that must be satisfied before you can properly apply the label of ‘a BDSM scene.’  This is true of other labels that we put on things in the BDSM world as well. Often I’ve been asked, “What do you have to do to become a Master?” but I’ll save that discussion for another day…

There is some merit in extending this definition just a tad though… while I fully endorse the opinion above (it is _my_ opinion, after all) I can see where expanding upon it makes sense. That expansion would be to define it something like this: “A BDSM scene is any negotiated transaction where the participants take on different power roles.

This rather succinctly, in my not-so-humble opinion, states the basic tenets of what we believe. Power roles, be they Top/bottom, Dom/sub, Master/slave or some other label to convey who has the authority for the scene are important. Without them, things become squishy and might be viewed as ‘vanilla sex’ (which is still fantastic, in my opinion), but these roles can be somewhat fluid… switching _during_ a scene is rare, but it can happen.

The more important bit though is the bit about ‘negotiation.’

Everything in BDSM is a negotiation.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Everything in BDSM is a negotiation.

Whether you write out a contract or not, whether you believe in safe words or not (rant coming on this topic soon), whether you give up all of your power or just a portion of it.. these things are all negotiated, and they MUST be understood by all participants.  Failure to understand these things is dangerous and opens the doors for abuse or neglect.

A BDSM scene is where you are free to be who you want, where you are free to get what you need, but it only works if everyone involved is free to do the same.

This was meant to educate, I hope you find it useful.

This was not a rant, but I am still Rant.

Rant off.