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Is BDSM all about SEX?

The question of whether or not BDSM is all about sex is one that often comes up on discussion boards, forums and in general conversation.

There is no straight answer because the answer really depends on the dynamic between the people involved.

 

In order to fully examine the question, we need to discuss some of the various relationship dynamics that can exist within the BDSM Lifestyle.

 

The first and probably the most obvious one is that of Master and slave or  Dominant and submissive in a committed relationship, often called an M/s or D/s, couple. 

In this relationship, the dynamic is  Power Exchange in a committed relationship, sometimes married, sometimes not, sometimes living together and sometimes not, but committed none the less. These relationships are more likely to have a sexual element, but not always, and even if they do, it does not mean every time there is play it is sexual, it does not mean that the focus of the relationship is sex, it simply means that part of the dynamic includes sexual interaction. There are many more parts to these relationships than just play and sex, there is also service, there is also control, mindset and  protocols to name a few.

This type of relationship is what i have with my Master and so for me, the sexual element is there in my submission, and though i could submit without it, i feel that for me, in order to give “the whole girl” to my Master, the sexual element must be there.

So i can say with confidence, that yes, for me, it is sometimes about sex.

 

There are other relationships of this nature, with the same dynamic but without the sexual element. I personally know two Mistresses who are in committed M/s relationships but do not engage in sexual activity and one of those is married to her slave. It is obviously a personal choice, and many would see this as unusual, but it is the traditional Old Guard way of thinking.

 

The next relationship dynamic we can discuss is that of the Dominant who has more than one submissive…indeed the most common train of thought for those who do not understand what we do, is that a Master can own several “slaves” and sleep with them all as is His right! In many cases this is correct.. there are poly D/s relationships where the sexual element is definitely a part of the dynamic.

But then, we must add in to the picture, that there are also, in fact,  Dominants like my Master who owns other submissives -  currently just one girl, but in the past up to 4 or 5 others, both male and female, and despite what many people used to think, did not sleep with all of them!

For Him with the others, the sexual element was never present. Indeed He is monogamous and straight so any BDSM interaction with those subs was about the control, the power exchange, and the play.  Many people would ask what He got out of it and what the other subs got out of it.. well for Him, it was the sheer thrill of knowing that He could take them to somewhere they had never been and give them pleasure, through His dominance, His control and His skill in play. In return He had their submission – this is a power exchange in its purest form. Of course during play it is quite possible that the submissive would become sexually aroused, and Sir would be sadistically delighted with that fact, knowing He had this power simply by His actions, not by any sexual stimulation.

 

Next we must examine the relationship between the Professional Dominant and the clients both regular and casual . Professional Mistresses often work from a commercial dungeon, though there are many who work illegally from their own homes. There are more female Professional Dominants than there are male, but in most cases, no matter what, the Professional does not have sex with her or his clients.

Sometimes, there can be what is called “a happy ending” where the paying client is allowed some extra time to “relieve himself” and so this is in some ways a sexual element but only for the client, not for the Dominant.

However there are also other people who may call themselves Mistresses but are in reality, prostitutes who engage in some BDSM play and for these women, the sexual element is obviously present. In most cases these people would be women, it is rare to find a male Dominant in a brothel or in a commercial dungeon, though there are “House Masters” who usually work by appointment only. There is little call for male heterosexual Dominants in the professional industry, and a sustainable income could not be made from it on a regular basis.

There are more opportunities for Professional Gay Male Dominants and for these men, the sexual element would nearly always be present. 

 

There are many D/s relationships in which one or both parties are married or in vanilla relationships with other people. In these situations, the sexual element is often not present, but can be.

There are lots of people who have a need to explore BDSM and D/s and because it does not have to include sexual acts, it can be considered a safe way to realise fantasies without jeopardising a good marriage or stable relationship. With good communication, and trust, exploration is possible and can even improve relationships as the one who needs to explore is able to fill those needs and wants, with the support and knowledge of his or her partner.

 

There are any number of other dynamics, such as the Gay Male Master with the straight female slave, or the Heterosexual Master with the bisexual male slave, to name just two, and in both of these relationships there would be no sexual element.

 

Of course in discussing this subject, we must also touch on the Gorean Philosophies by which some people live.

In Gor, the Masters often own several slaves, some are service slaves and some are pleasure slaves. The pleasure slaves are there for the sexual pleasure and gratification of the Master, and his friends should he choose to offer this.

So in a Gorean relationship there is most definitely a sexual element.

 

It is also worth discussing that there are differing viewpoints about whether BDSM is “all about sex” depending on where in the world you come from.

In America it seems that everything you find to do with our lifestyle and our activities is more sexually based than not. Any amount of research on the internet will bring up thousands of American sites where the emphasis is on the sexual element of play, so it is no wonder that many people have the idea that what we do is “whips, chains and kinky sex”.

Here in Australia, the main way of thinking seems to be more along the lines of the European outlook which is more traditional and in which the Masters or Mistresses did not have sex with their slaves.

 

In conclusion then the answer to the question is that there is no right or wrong answer. As with so many aspects of our Lifestyle, the right answer is what works in your own dynamic, and what maybe right for you, may not be right for the person sitting next to you.

 

© Kim Debron 2010

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