What BDSM Is Not
Perhaps it is best to start this discussion by mentioning a few things that BDSM is not. There are a lot of misconceptions out there especially since the advent of the Internet. People have specific images which they came to associate with BDSM. While some might be accurate to a point, they only tell a part of the story.
BDSM is not about the whips and chains. The porn industry excelled at promoting this mental image to the masses. Of course, their goal was to sell their videos so I cannot fault them for this. They have a specific agenda which is profits. Obviously their goal is a bit different from the rest of us. This is something to keep in mind.
Also, contrary to popular belief, BDSM is not about abuse. Certainly impact play is a large part of what we do. So is degradation, humiliation, and other forms of behavior that society deems inappropriate. However, what separates this from their assertions is that these techniques are done with a proper motive. There is a reason why we are engaging in this behavior and it is not to be mean. We are involved in consensual activities in an effort to fulfill a deep rooted inner desire. Power exchange is fundamental to all we do and each of these helps to emphasize that. Everything we undertake is done with the thought of safety, both physical and psychological at the forefront of our minds.
Since BDSM is not these things, then what is it? I sum this lifestyle up in one word: growth. BDSM is about growing into the best person possible by following the inherent natural core that is within each of us. It is through this exploration and uncovering that we are able to better ourselves as individuals. The assigned roles that come with each of the natural qualities enables us to fulfill a life purpose. As we progress through our lives, we should be developing and growing with each experience. It is in this manner that we really are "being all we can be".
Many who are submissive seek to live as slaves. This is the extreme and ultimate in one's submission. There is nothing past the concept of living completely for the pleasure and benefit of another. Through this process, he or she becomes property. Naturally, this is not an idea that many are taught growing up. It is only after encountering this way of life and through some deep internal searching that one can even begin the process of moving in this direction. Of course, desiring it and being able to live in this manner are two different things. It takes hard work to develop the selflessness that comes with being a slave. The inclination to rebel which was fostered by the dogma around us fights this at every turn. Ultimately, those who do live in this way are able to overcome that conditioning.
On the other side, there are many dominants who prefer to live as Masters. Like the slaves, this is the ultimate in domination. As you can guess, I am going to state how simply because one is born with a dominant trait about him or her, that does not make one ready to be a Master. Again, it is only after intense study of many different fields that one is even remotely able to approach this state. Of course, as most of you who read my work regularly know, the starting point for domination is with oneself. It is impossible to effectively control another if one cannot control the person he or she sees in the mirror each morning.
Obviously, the two examples I mentioned are on the outer edges of the scale. Those who are dominant and submissive yet do not prefer the aforementioned structures in their lives still operate under the same process with a slightly different goal. Nevertheless, the result is growth. BDSM needs to penetrate everything we do.
One of the points I mentioned is to break away from the conditioning that we are all presented with living within a civilized society. There is a state that those around us believe is "normal". Even though it is never defined to us, it is shown to us through disapproval when we stray from what is considered mainstream. This is a fact that we all need to deal with when entering this lifestyle. Each of us has beliefs which were imposed upon us mostly without our knowledge. Uncovering them and consciously questioning them is something that is required. Much of what we do goes against the "better judgment of society" which can lead to an internal conflict. It is only through this resolution within ourselves that we are able to move forward.
What this amounts to is freedom. By establishing a belief system that works for us, we are able to live our lives as we see fit. When someone else exerts influence over what we belief and mold our thoughts to their liking, they then have power over us. Governments, religious institutions, and individuals have known this for years. It is a way to enslave people because it is our beliefs which dictate our actions. Change a belief and you will see different actions taken.
Society exerts a powerful influence. Having the ability to break free from that cannot be described in words. I will just say that it is extremely important. You only need to consider the fact that much of what we do is illegal, immoral, or perverted according to the mainstream. For example, consensual impact play is considered a crime by society. Hence a dominant who whips his sub is engaging in a felony. This is the view of society. We, naturally, take a different viewpoint of things. However, you can see how one would be seriously conflicted if that person held the belief that "I always obey the law". The same holds true for those who are still carrying the moral compass that was imbedded in them. Society terms particular behaviors immoral (again to control). Questioning this and acting according to your own self-established compass will create a different outcome.
As you can see, BDSM gives on the ability to live as he or she sees fit. Freedom and growth are the two foundational elements of BDSM. It is what this lifestyle is all about.
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