Tag Archives: question

PSA: No – some hacker did not record you masturbating

I’ve received dozens of emails like the following, where some ‘anonymous hacker’ writes to me and tells me that I have been caught masturbating and that if I don’t send them bitcoin really soon, they’re going to send a video of me masturbating to everyone in my contact list and completely ruin my life.  Given how common this is, the chances are pretty good that you have received a similar message as well, or that you will someday soon.

This email is from this past January – and while I did remove some of the parts about how to pay this guy, with what remains, you can clearly see that I’m well beyond the 72 hours that I was promised, and this ‘Brant’ did not even do me the service of sending people my masturbation video like he said he would.  How rude.  I’m pretty sure that most of them would have liked to see it…

LAST WARNING lordrant@domrant.com!

You have the last chance to save your social life - I am not kidding!!

I give you the last 72 hours to make the payment before I send the video with your masturbation to all your friends and associates.

The last time you visited a erotic website with young Teens, you downloaded and installed the software I developed.

My program has turned on your camera and recorded your act of Masturbation and the video you were masturbating to. My software also downloaded all your email contact lists and a list of your Facebook friends.

I have both the 'Lordrant.mp4' with your masturbation and a file with all your contacts on my hard drive. You are very perverted!

If you want me to delete both files and keep your secret, you must send me Bitcoin payment. I give you the last 72 hours. If you don't know how to send Bitcoins, visit Google.

When you pay in full, I will remove both files and deactivate my software.

If you don't send the payment, I will send your masturbation video to ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES from your contact list I hacked.

You саn visit the police but nobody will help you.
I know what I am doing. I don't live in your country and I know how to stay anonymous.

Don't try to deceive me - I will know it immediately - my spy ware is recording all the websites you visit and all keys you press.
If you do - I will send this ugly recording to everyone you know, including your family.

Don't cheat me! Don't forget the shame and if you ignore this message your life will be ruined.

I am waiting for your Bitcoin payment.

Brant
Anonymous Hacker

P.S. If you need more time to buy and send 0.587043 BTC, open your notepad and write '48h plz'. I will consider giving you another 48 hours before I release the vid, but only when I really see you are struggling to buy bitcoin.

I would really love to just eviscerate this message, because there are so many things here that simply make no sense – like, anyone who knows me knows that I don’t have an active facebook presence, so threatening to use my facebook contacts is a pointless threat, and there are numerous other reasons why this is ridiculous, but I don’t really have time for that…

I will admit though, I do kind of like the whole “type ’48 hr plz’ into notepad” thing – that implies scrutiny is continuing, which ups the fear level a bit.

It is admittedly pretty scary, if this is something that you would pay attention to or be scared by.  And with shows on TV like Black Mirror and all of the other various techno-dystopian views being presented to us all of the time, along with real threats like identity theft, this can be a very disconcerting thing.  However – I can authoritatively say that I’ve received many, many messages like the above and never once has anyone ever been shown a video of me masturbating – even if they really wanted to see it.

This is not to say that things like this are impossible – it’s certainly within the realm of possibility, which is probably why it is an effective scam, but that’s really all that it is, a scam – it’s not true extortion and you’re better off keeping your money or your bitcoin to yourself and just deleting the message from your inbox.

A quick and dirty primer on quick and dirty bruising

Before I begin, I need to make the disclaimer that I am not a healthcare professional and that any information that I provide here is taken from my personal experience and memory and is entirely fallible.  You should really completely ignore any advice that I give, for the most part.

At some point in nearly every submissive/bottom’s progression through their journey they reach a point where bruises are a badge of honor and they will invariably want to be able to show these off to others either in person or online.

Of course – bruises can also be problematic in other contexts, so please be mindful of this and make sure that everyone involved in the bruising activities is enthusiastically consenting, or just don’t do it.  It can be a big problem if you bruise someone in an area that they cannot easily cover if they have to interact with anyone who does not understand the BDSM lifestyle, so be careful with where you leave marks as well as how.

Bruising occurs because capillaries in the muscle tissue are damaged and bleed into the interstitial tissue and epidermis.  There are six accepted levels of harm for bruising commonly referred to in the medical field (at least in the US, where I reside) where 0 represents light bruising with no lasting damage or potential for lasting damage.  A level 0 bruise may by only barely visible and may not even hurt after the initial impact or it may not be visible at all, subject to being tender to the touch, either symptom is enough to diagnose bruising.

This ranges through level 1, where there is considered to be mild damage to the tissue around the bruise – which, barring complications, will heal on its own in a relatively short period of time.  Levels 2 and 3 involve higher levels of tissue damage, more visible and larger bruises that last for longer periods of time, but again, the expectation is that such things will heal on their own, given time.  Some level 3 bruises and nearly all level 4 bruises are significant enough to cause real harm and may lead to other complications including compartment syndrome (where swelling blood can cut off blood flow to areas of tissue entirely, which could result in tissue death or necrosis) or begin to impact nerve and tendon function in the areas near them.  Level 5 bruises are significant enough that they could overwhelm the body entirely and result in death.

Level 0 and 1 bruises tend to heal fully in about two weeks time in most healthy persons without diabetes or another complication that might result in more tissue damage. Level 2 bruises can last slightly longer and level 3 and up may take months to heal.  Repeated impacts to a bruised area can increase the harm level and keep it ‘active’ for much, much longer, but at the risk of increased tissue damage.

The really big, colorful bruises that most submissives crave to show off are usually level 1 bruises, sometimes level 2.  These are shallow bruises that damage a lot of capillaries and result in a lot of interstitial bleeding, but little actual harm, and most of the time when we’re trying to create bruising, this is the sort of bruising that we are trying to create.

There are several considerations to keep in mind when trying to create bruises:

  1. Deeper impacts create deeper bruises that last longer and produce more tissue damage, but may not be as visible
  2. Contracted muscles will bruise more deeply than relaxed ones and run the risk of doing more damage to tissue that gets compressed between the bone and impact
  3. Bruises at or near the joints are more dangerous and tend to involve ligament, nerve, or other tissue that does not heal as quickly as muscle
  4. Ribs are really easy to crack if you aren’t careful – and the pain of a cracked rib is intense and lasts for a very long time
  5. Just stay away from the head – concussions are serious and unpredictable and potentially life-threatening

So – bearing these things in mind, and with the goal of creating level 1 bruises – very visible, large, and colorful – there are a few things that we can do to improve the chances of them showing up and reduce the chances of there being long term damage to any part of the body.

The first thing to bear in mind is that bruises are caused by damage to capillaries near the surface of the skin.  So – we want to create conditions where it is easy to break these. In an otherwise perfectly healthy person, this means that we want to increase blood flow to the skin, reduce muscle tension, and then to reduce inflammation after the impact.  Inflammation can lead to a lot of the potential complications that can come from severe bruising and reduce the surface area over which the interstitial spreading of the bruise occurs. So.. we want to reduce inflammation while increasing blood flow and damage the tissues nearest to the skin to get the best results.

If you have not read my post on finding subspace, I talk a little bit there about the physiological shifts that can occur when in subspace, and those are – coincidentally? – almost exactly the same as the sort of conditions that are required to make for really nice bruises.

Some other things that can help are to make sure that you are fully hydrated, rested, and relaxed.  If you are the sort to do such things, taking an NSAID in advance – most especially aspirin – can also help, but do be careful about drug interactions and if you are taking any sort of blood thinners (warfarin, etc.) then you should not be trying to bruise yourself at all due to the dangers of increased harm.

Bruising can be more difficult to accomplish for people who have darker skin tones or more developed muscle tone.  It is not that the bruising does not occur, but the visibility of the bruising is reduced. Trying to keep the bruising as shallow as possible can help.  To this end, it can often be useful to slap the skin or repeatedly tap it before attempting to strike with the force required to create a bruise, but when you are actually trying to strike to create the bruise, you want to hit a much narrower/smaller area with a larger force.  The bruise will spread out from the point where the capillaries are damaged.

A technique that I like to employ and have found to be particularly effective with canes, rods, bats, or other blunt instruments of the same sort is to very quickly and repeatedly tap the skin directly where I intend to strike between 5 and 10 times and then to come down on the very same spot once, very hard.  From that point on, more hits to that same area should increase the harm level and amount of bruising fairly significantly. This works well even with my current submissive partner who has darker skin and well developed muscle tone – but was also shown to work well with other partners who had lighter skin and less muscle tone.

However – the most effective and least damaging way to cause bruising is actually suction… fire cupping or even just making hickies will create very visible bruises that are almost purely capillary bursts and involve very little tissue damage beyond that.  But – those are not the kind of bruises that most people want to show off, so we’ve chose to focus mostly on those created by impact play.

So, to recap, the best ways to increase bruise potential are:

  1. Be well hydrated and relaxed
  2. Possibly take aspirin (or another NSAID) in advance – but be careful.  Topically applied aspirin directly on the area to be bruised is also very effective – perhaps even more so than orally administered aspirin
  3. Whatever steps you can take to get to subspace will also likely be very beneficial
  4. Tapping or slapping the area to be bruised will help to increase the visibility and range of the bruise
  5. Consider suction
  6. Avoid the head entirely, the area over the ribs, and all joints – try to confine your strikes to the ‘meatiest’ parts of the body, preferably areas that can be covered by clothing.

As always – think about it before you do anything, don’t trust any single source of unsubstantiated information (including me or this blog), and make sure that you exhaustively cover issues of consent – both with the impact itself and with the likely bruises that will follow.

And then take pictures!  Everyone loves to see pictures of bruises, right?

Fly safe.

  • Rant

Examining subspace and subdrop

Altered mental states fascinate me.  They have for most of my life. I have explored the same subject matter from as many possible perspectives as I could find.  My university work was dominated by this pursuit. The very nature of consciousness is something that I ponder daily, and I keep searching for models that more accurately describe things as we can understand them.  I have approached the problem with models taken from philosophy, psychology, neurology, medicine, religion, even mathematics and information science.

I have designed and conducted experiments of my own – though admittedly scientific rigor was not usually my foremost goal in these situations.  And though all of this, I have also solicited help from you – my readers – through the comments to my original blog posts on subspace and subdrop.

Over the past four years or so, those posts have garnered a significant number of comments and if you have a genuine interest in the subject, it would be worth going back and reading the original posts (here and here, respectively) and comments that follow.

For the purposes of this post, I will be using the terms: submissive, s-type, and bottom to refer to the person who is experiencing these effects (subdrop or subspace) and: Dominant, D-type, or Top to refer to the other partner in the dynamic being examined.  The terms we use for these things are D/s specific – subdrop and subspace – but the conditions are not.  They can be experienced by bottom partners in a wholly S/m setting with no power exchange taking place, though for some reason that still seems to elude my grasp, the addition of the power exchange elements does seem to increase the likelihood of them occurring.

For every person brave enough to post a publicly accessible comment on the subject, I’ve probably received around five or so direct emails.  This is something that I expected – not everyone feels comfortable putting their own private experiences out there for everyone to see – and for that reason I will not be making any specific references to any of those emails that were sent to me in confidence, but I can make some generalizations and note a few interesting, and in some cases, surprising, observations.

First of all – both conditions are extremely common.  Since I solicited feedback from people who were already interested in the topic, no data can be extracted from the responses in terms of how often they occur within a more general group, but I did receive some responses from people who were curious about one or the other of these two topics without having experienced either themselves.  A true study would select people at random and then ask them about their experiences, of course, rather than what I have done – which is the opposite. I gave people a subject material and then asked them to contact me with specifics. The data were nonetheless revealing in a number of ways.

Including both comments left on the original posts and messages sent to me directly, I’ve received data from 143 unique individuals on the topic of subspace, subdrop, or both.

In this case, I am defining a ‘unique individual’ as either a distinct email address or an anonymous comment from a different originating IP address.  Note that it is entirely possible that some of these data originate from the same source – and I would have no way of being certain – but that I think the probability of such a thing is unlikely.

Of those 143 respondents, 131 have either directly experienced one or both of these phenomena themselves or they relate stories of partners who have.  If I could discount the fact that my respondents self-selected for involvement, that would represent an extremely high percentage. However – my respondents chose to write to me about these subjects, and therefore such statistics are mostly meaningless.

It does go to show that there are great many people who have experienced these phenomenon directly or indirectly though as those 143 messages represent around 10% of the total number of initial contact messages that I have received over the past four years (give or take a few months.)   This leads me to believe that this is by far the most important individual subject matter that this blog has attempted to tackle. However, it should still be noted that this is not a scientifically scrutinizable conclusion – just a gut feeling based on volume and interest.

Bearing this in mind, I would like to share some of the qualitative results that I have seen and been told by others – even if I cannot really make accurate quantitative conclusions.

Among the more interesting points of fact that I was able to glean from the responses are the following points:
  1. It is not necessary to experience subspace in order to experience subdrop
  2. Not everyone who experiences subspace experiences subdrop
  3. There is no panacea for avoiding subdrop
  4. There is no recipe for creating subspace


To anyone who has personal experience with these things, the above statements are almost certainly not a surprise.  However, the answers to those questions represent a significant proportion of the questions that I was asked.

For those of you who have not read the original posts or who are completely new to the concepts, subdrop is a condition that can occur in the bottom partner of a BDSM interaction wherein the affected person experiences what can be sometimes very intense feelings of loss, frustration, anger, sadness, loneliness, or other forms of negative emotional content associated with the person with whom they had engaged in a scene previously.  Sometimes these feelings can surface days or even weeks after the event. They can leave the bottom partner feeling abandoned or upset, even when everything they could possibly expect in the form of aftercare or emotional attachment is present. Sometimes the intensity of these feelings can exceed any of the immediate ‘good’ feelings associated with the scene or interaction in the first place.

I have previously defined this as, “Subdrop is the state of physical, emotional, and psychological withdrawal from an intense interaction with another person.”

Sometimes the symptoms of subdrop can include intense physical characteristics, like: cold sweats, nightmares, heart palpitations, panic attacks, fever, aches and pains, or other flu-like symptoms.  But often it can also be felt as something as simple as longing for the other person who is no longer present.

Subdrop can be a pretty awful thing for anyone who has experienced it – and by far the most common question that I have received since starting this blog has been, “How do I avoid subdrop? / How do I prevent my s-type from experiencing subdrop?”

I can offer a few pointers from my own experience and from those people who were kind enough to respond to me, but unfortunately I think the only true answer to the above question is, “You really can’t always avoid subdrop – no matter what you do.”

This is an important note for a couple of reasons:
  1. People often judge themselves for being unable to prevent subdrop – both tops and bottoms feel this way.  This is harmful to both partners and a little bit of patience and understanding can go a long way to reducing the impact of subdrop.
  2. People sometimes feel like – because it is not always something that can be avoided – that one should not even try.  I disagree with this sentiment quite strongly.


The second point above is particularly worrisome to me.  I think it is very easy for a Top to go from “it can’t be prevented, so why try to prevent it?” to “I can’t help you with this, so I’m not even going to try to provide aftercare,” and while I could possibly forgive the lack of an attempt to forestall it when you have a partner that you know such attempts will not work for, I cannot condone any action that does not hold the Top responsible for follow-up aftercare when subdrop begins to take hold, even if it is days or weeks after the scene that brought it about.

Subdrop often happens as a result of deeply ingrained and somewhat opaque psychological factors that exist beyond the ability of the bottom to control or often to even understand. To be unprepared to deal with the consequences of invoking such a thing is dangerous and harmful.

However – there are some common precautions that you can take which can reduce the likelihood or severity of the subdrop which may occur.  These are some of the things that you can do:
  1. Be consistent and forecast your scene
  2. Be emotionally available during and after the scene
  3. Provide adequate warm-up
  4. Allow for come-down time after the scene and before attempting to re-integrate with normal reality
  5. Be available for aftercare – and make it known that you will be after you part ways

Subdrop occurs most commonly well after the scene is over and you have left the dungeon or parted ways with your partner.  This is not to say that it does not occur even when you stay together throughout the process (and I have first-hand experience and several other accounts besides to state that it does) but a common theme in the cases that I have seen or been informed of is that this is something that happens after the scene is over and an attempt to return to normalcy takes place, even if all parties involved remain in contact throughout via physical or some sort of digital or telephonic means.

I don’t want to belabor these points incessantly, but the first one – in bold – really is the most important from what I’ve been able to gather.  Subdrop can come about as a result of, or be exacerbated by, a feeling of a lack of support from the Top. This can happen as a result of the bottom not feeling like they will be supported through whatever emotional or psychological turmoil they encounter – which can happen if they feel like they will not get the support they need, but is most definitely increased when they feel like they do not know what to expect from the beginning.  And it is this necessary grounding that makes consistency so important.

Consensual non-consent scenes are – in my not-so-very-humble opinion – some of the hottest scenes that are possible, and during such scenes, it will not be possible to remain consistent as you may normally be, but this is a further argument (among the many that I have already made) that such scenes should only be attempted by persons who have had time to establish a durable trust between them.  For all non-CNC scenes, and most especially scenes with persons who are new to you, I would strongly recommend that you negotiate all points up front, that each transition be preceded by obvious cues about what is going to occur.

This level of attention – remaining consistent with established or negotiated behavior, being emotionally present (as long as your dynamic allows for such), providing adequate physical warm-up (which is also important in helping your s-type to achieve subspace), allowing for time after the most intense aspects of the scene before you try to re-engage with the ‘real world’, and remaining obviously available in the hours, days, and weeks that follow the scene can go a very long way to removing the anxiety that can precipitate subdrop, or in ameliorating the deleterious effects of the condition when it occurs.  Because it is important to remember – no matter what you do, there will be occasions where subdrop occurs, and to have such a thing happen does not mean that you are incompatible as a Top/bottom pair, or that there is anything wrong with the scene or with either participant’s actions.

Personally – I have experienced this (as the Top) through the feelings and actions of my submissive partner on more than one occasion.  Despite all attempts to reduce the likelihood of subdrop occurring and employing extreme patience as it relates to before and after-scene care, my submissive partner occasionally becomes extremely agitated and even downright hostile in the days following a scene – even when the scene might not be particularly intense.  However, armed with the understanding that this sometimes just happens, despite our best efforts to avoid it, and knowing that we have the patience and skills to deal with it when it does occur, we are steadfastly able to weather these things and to continue to maintain our close relationship even through the worst of events like this.   For some people, encountering subdrop can mean that they won’t want to do another scene with you, and should that occur, you must respect that, but if you follow the above guidelines you can help to avoid it, or if you cannot avoid it, you can turn the experience into something that creates or strengthens your bond – rather than detracting from it.

There are also physical things that can be done to reduce the long-term impact of an intense scene.  Especially in the case where there is bruising or deep-tissue impacts, it is important to remember to drink lots of fluids, get enough calories, and get lots of rest.  Treat the aftermath of an intense scene like getting the flu – you can’t necessarily make the impact go away any faster, but you can do some things to improve your body’s ability to heal.   So far – I’ve talked mostly about subdrop and the title of this piece is Examining subspace and subdrop – so where is all of the information about subspace?   Well – thank you for sticking with me this far…  the two things are more closely related than I would have initially thought – or at least, so they seem to be in the things that I have learned through personal experience and the experiences that have been shared with me.

Many of the emails that I receive talk about both of these conditions – and I suppose it makes sense that they would be linked in the minds of participants – but it wasn’t until I started to receive those emails that I really linked them in my own mind very strongly.  Of course, there is some intrinsic linkage in the words themselves, and I may have polluted my results by calling out the difference between the two things explicitly in my post on subspace – where I mention subdrop but don’t yet define it.  And yet, linked though they may be, they do not have to occur together, and I have received a proportionally higher number of comments and questions about subdrop than I have subspace – though both seem to be of very high interest for people who identify as s-types.

Subspace, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the BDSM sense of the term, refers to the altered mental state that an s-type can encounter when submitting or being driven to the point of forced submission through pain, either in scene or as part of a perpetual D/s dynamic.

When I have previously spoken about subspace, it was with a certain amount of naïveté and limited by my own personal experiences with the subject. For me, it has almost universally been connected with a very powerful D/s dynamic – but I have received many emails and comments that point out the fact that this can happen even in purely S/m dynamics, where there is perhaps a brief power exchange, but that the primary avenue for attaining subspace comes from a purely physical and Sadomasochistic approach, and that no psychological or emotional exchange needs to take part.

I find this fascinating – for reasons not the least of which is the fact that this has never worked for me in this way.  I have guided many submissive partners to subspace, employing a variety of different means – everything from just modulating the timber of my voice and changing the content of what I am saying to brutally beating my submissive bottom to the point of physical and emotional overload – but these have always included an element of psychological power exchange for me.  So strong was this connection in my own mind that I think I actually dismissed the first dozen or so messages that I received telling me that this power exchange element was not necessary to their own path to subspace.  I think I thought that the two mental states – what I thought of as subspace and what these people were telling me about – were two separate notions entirely.


One of my friends is a neurologist, and he wrote an excellent piece on the effect of physical contact – both ‘rough’ and ‘sensual’ – on neurotransmitters in the brain, and how those might help to explain how it is possible for some people to achieve the transition from what I often refer to as ‘crisis mind’ into a comfortable state of subspace.  I am leery of making connections from here to fetlife – but less leery of going the other direction – and if you are interested in reading that post, please reach out to me directly and I can send you a link.


I mention this because it is a good example of the physiological components that go into making subspace work – something for which I am not really qualified to speak.  However, my own focus has nearly always been on the psychological aspects of what causes subspace, and I feel slightly more comfortable with those terms.

I do believe that there is a common misconception that subspace requires physical contact – and especially intense physical contact at that.  It is commonly referred to as ‘flying’ or as a ‘bottom-high’ and it shares an awful lot in common with what you might experience when you talk about a “runner’s high”.


The descriptions that you hear from people are all very consistent with this: they describe feeling ‘spacey’ or ‘floaty’, they talk about feeling as though they are somehow detached from their own body, that the sensations of pain that normally accompany deep impact are temporarily replaced with nudges to the psyche that merely reinforce the already existing connection with your body – but that are not painful of themselves any longer.  One submissive from my past has described it as something akin to this – I am paraphrasing – “I feel like I am closer to one-ness with the universe, everything around me is awash with a pleasurable glow, and each hit lets me know that I am still attached to my body, but also sends me into a higher orbit – further from my own center, yet paradoxically closer to the center of everything.” But not everyone experiences something quite so profound. For some people it is merely a warming sensation that travels throughout the body and makes the pain easier to take, while for others, there are very few physical components at all, if any, and it is instead a significant alteration of their view of reality – it becomes more difficult to focus on any one thing in particular, but nuance of things that might normally go unnoticed becomes more profound.


If this sounds a bit like a chemically induced altered mental state – that is probably because there is good evidence to show that it actually is.  The neurotransmitters involved are all of the usual suspects: dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and epinephrine. The physical and psychological things that we do cause these to be released in different than normal amounts, and the way that the brain interprets these things can lead to altered perception.


And so – while I have always felt that some form of psychological power exchange was necessary for me to help my s-type achieve this state – I did, until relatively recently, also believe that physical contact was necessary to induce it.  However – personal experience as well as anecdotal evidence in the form of messages sent to me shows that this is not the case at all.


I have known others for which this was also the case, but it is particularly potent with my current submissive partner.  I can induce a state of subspace for her with nothing more than a look or a word delivered at the right time, with the right pitch to my voice, and the right intention behind it.  I can induce her to orgasm from across the room with nothing more than a look and a command, and while orgasm and subspace are also not intrinsically linked – they do seem to occupy a lot of the same space in the brain… because, let us not forget, every experience that we have can be reduced to nothing more than the interaction of a few networks of neurons with the networks that control the things to which we are consciously aware.  The potential for mind-numbing (literally) pleasure exists within your brain at all times – it only requires some sort of catalyst to bring it to bear, and while chemicals that affect the synapses and can cross the blood-brain barrier are certainly the simplest way to achieve this – the brain is fully capable of reproducing every single one of those experiences with nothing external added at all.

For every aspect of subdrop that seems something to avoid, there is a complementary aspect for subspace that is clearly worthy as an ideal to pursue.  And so – this leads some people to chase it.   However, just as there are no surefire ways to avoid subdrop, there is no surefire recipe for creating an experience of subspace.  There are a few things that can help though:
  1. Be consistent and forecast your scene
  2. Be emotionally available during and after the scene
  3. Provide adequate warm-up
  4. Allow for come-down time after the scene and before attempting to re-integrate with normal reality
  5. Be available for aftercare – and make it known that you will be after you part ways
 
Hmm – that list looks familiar, doesn’t it?

I admit – that is partly just a somewhat clumsy attempt to create a neat tie-in on my part… it isn’t explicitly important to the fostering of a subspace reaction that you have adequate come-down or aftercare planned for, but I do believe that they contribute to the thing which is the most important for that to occur… …and this is the real epiphany for me here.  While I never really made the explicit link between subspace and subdrop in my mind, and while I have firsthand knowledge that not every person experiences both (some lucky souls get to fly and never drop, while some unluckier ones end up the opposite way), the data that I have gathered and that have been provided to me have shown me the common thread:

Treating your submissive partner well, establishing trust over a long-enough period of time, and consistently working to maintain that trust will work to both establish a strong foundation for subspace to occur within and limit or reduce the intensity of subdrop if and when it occurs.

I have stated it elsewhere before and in slightly different terms, but this remains one of my strongest truths: Trust is the foundation of all things BDSM and the cornerstone of any functional relationship.  The deeper your trust, and the more you work to achieve and maintain it, the stronger the bonds and sensations you open yourself up to and can achieve.

The deeper the trust that you have, the harder you can push things, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The harder you can push things, the deeper into the realm of the mind you can go, and the more of those all-important neurotransmitters you can coax out of the body and into the brain.

It will never be the case that I can look across the room and say, “cum for me,” to just any person and have it work, and while it will never be the case that I can tie just any person to the cross and beat her for an hour to have her flying high, both of those things can occur for me very easily as a result of the time and effort that I have invested with the people in my life.

When I’m asked for a recipe on how to achieve subspace, I still maintain that there is no one path to get you there – that it isn’t even necessarily possible for every person to get there at all – but that the most certain way to accomplish this is through applying the things that I value most: patience, persistence, and trust – along with a heaping help of Dominance and physicality.   –  Rant

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.