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BDSM has become fairly trendy in pop culture as of late. People without experience may wonder, "What's the big deal? It's not like blindfolds and a bit of spanky-panky in the bedroom are actually going to improve your life, right?"
I'd like to send a very Frawnch "Au contraire!" out into the black hole of the interwebs.
BDSM won't solve all your problems, but if it didn't come with such transformational and inspiring perks, we sweet freaky pixies in the scene wouldn't be so damn crazy about it, would we?
In this post, I'm going to talk about 13 benefits of this blasphemy-kissed lifestyle to provide a better understanding of what makes it so fantastic.
1. BDSM gives you a better understanding of your body, mind, and spirit.
One of my first tops told me, "BDSM will teach you some very definitive things about yourself." I still remember that statement because its truth has held constant throughout all my years of experimentation.
The idea reminds me of that scene in Fight Club when Tyler Durden is telling the narrator to hit him for the first time. "How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?" While BDSM isn't Fight Club, its consensual premise and sanctifying results place it on similar ground.
Sexuality is a playground for self-exploration, and BDSM turns the volume up to 11. We place ourselves in physical, mental, and emotional situations that we'd only be able to theorize about otherwise. We learn the answers to pressing philosophical questions like,
Would I enjoy hurting someone who craved pain?
How would my body and mind react to being tied up?
What does it actually feel like to be flogged?
If you choose to experiment, your reactions in these types of situations may surprise you. As a top, you may discover that you hate ordering people around, but love providing forms of physical and/or mental stimulation. As a bottom, you might enjoy submission, but hate pain, or love both.
It's fascinating to discover the unique ways that BDSM fits each of us, and analyze what these preferences say about our personalities. The lessons we learn are signs that can help guide us toward greater enjoyment of life.
2. BDSM provides chances to experiment with power.
There's a stereotype in BDSM that says people who feel a strong sense of independence or responsibility in their everyday lives prefer to submit in the bedroom. On the other hand, those who feel or have felt deprived of power desire more, and therefore prefer to dominate.
This generally holds true, but isn't the case for everyone. The fun lies in testing these dynamics out and seeing how they make you feel.
Practicing power exchange in BDSM gives us an opportunity to experiment with giving and taking control while keeping in mind that, underneath it all, we're all equal in status.
3. BDSM produces heightened states of consciousness.
This is the main factor that got me addicted to masochism. During extended sessions, it's possible for practitioners to transition into altered and more pleasurable experiences of reality.
For bottoms, this can manifest as a warm and dreamy feeling of euphoria, often accompanied by a loss of inhibition, boosted pain tolerance, and even low-intensity hallucinations. This state is colloquially known as "subspace."
Subspace is produced over time by biological chemicals released in response to alternating mixtures of pleasure and pain.
Accepting and sustaining pain is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. The body initially produces adrenaline, pulling recipients out of their heads and fully into the moment.
Once the body has had time to respond to the situation, it floods itself with an endorphin-fueled high that can persist for hours after a scene has finished, leaving bottoms in deep and meditative states of bliss.
Edging on enlightenment, perhaps?
(Image Credit: © User: Ostra Studios, Biederer Studio / Wikimedia Commons / CC-PD-Mark)
It takes a patient and cunning top to craft reactions of this depth.
Tops experience their own heightened states, but these are more difficult to achieve, as tops don't have the luxury of relaxing completely until scenes are over.
Rather than melting like butter as bottoms can, focused tops can enter more of a power-fueled state of flow. A play partner recently described it to me as a feeling of mild invincibility.
"It feels like a chance to play god."
4. BDSM gives you opportunities to conquer your fears.
Fear is necessary for survival, but it too often escalates to unnecessary levels, creating self-imposed prisons within our minds. In BDSM we can safely confront our deepest fears with people we trust.
Do you worry about appearing weak in front of others? Getting tied up and whipped in front of your friends will certainly help you challenge those vulnerability issues.
Terrified of responsibility? Try your hand at domination and watch yourself become more comfortable with leadership over time.
These can be great ways to build strength and confidence. Those buck-naked revelers at the Folsom Street Fair? I guarantee they stopped giving a fuck about what others think of their bodies a long time ago. This approach to life may not be for everyone, but you can't deny its inherent freedom.
5. BDSM relieves stress and anxiety.
We're all unbelievably overworked and exposed to the pressures of life on a constant basis and it's maddening.
Our inept governments. High healthcare costs. Inconsiderate customers. Social media bickering. OH MY FUCK, ENOUGH ALREADY.
BDSM is a wonderful way to unplug from the demands of reality.
Shut out the bullshit and purify your system with your play partner before falling asleep to the sound of the rain. Your scene is your private wonderland of catharsis, and the chaos of the world can wait.
6. BDSM provides a safe forum for exploring boundaries, and chances to practice communicating them.
Assertiveness is a difficult thing for many people. We want to avoid conflict, and therefore can have a hard time speaking up when others are crossing our lines of comfort.
The problem with this is that some people will push our limits for as long as we allow them to. We teach people how to treat us by telling them what we will and won't tolerate.
BDSM is an excellent forum for learning to communicate your boundaries because good play partners will be dying for you to do so. Staying quiet about what we don't like isn't healthy for anyone in the world of kink.
You might not be sure exactly where your boundaries lie while starting out in BDSM, and they're likely to morph and change over time. That's okay. It's possible to create the experience you and your partner both desire while retaining equal control.
7. BDSM is a gorgeous outlet for creativity.
Few moments are more humbling, especially while playing as a submissive, than those that make you realize you're in the presence of an artist.
I've talked to a number of tops who use BDSM as a channel for self-expression, viewing their partners as their living masterpieces.
"The realism is uncanny!"
These tops may employ wax play, for example, for aesthetic purposes as well as functionality. Honorifics like "Sir" or diminutives like "kitten" can be included to add elements of theatricality to scenes.
One friend of mine refers to walking around at kinky events with his submissive as a form of "performance art." Behind the scenes they've made specific agreements about behavior, mannerisms, and protocol. Onlookers may not understand exactly what's happening, but they'll always have something interesting to look at. Fun for the couple, and for their consenting viewers.
8. BDSM provides great tools for navigating the waters of consent.
With all the talk of rape culture and sexual harassment in recent years, the issue of consent has become a constant discussion, and rightly so.
Consent's tricky because it depends entirely on how people feel. Unfortunately, a lot of us were raised not to discuss our feelings about sexuality openly.
As a result, many people wing it without prior discussion and make moves in bed to test whether their partners will like them.
Sometimes this works out well! Success!
Other times though, it REALLY doesn't. Fuck.
Obviously, BDSM isn't sustainable when handled this way. You can't just blindfold someone, electrocute them without prior discussion, and expect them to react favorably. "Hey, I thought you'd like it!"
Good practitioners approach play with the understanding that everyone likes different things. We negotiate activities beforehand and decide on safeword systems to make sure nobody strays into unwelcome territory.
These steps help us keep consent crystal clear at all times. Sometimes I wish the vanilla world would give these techniques a try too!
9. BDSM amplifies intimacy between partners.
In long-term relationships where kink is present, you'll have chances to try new things with your partner on a regular basis. You'll explore your most taboo fantasies together, communicate candidly, take risks, and display incredible levels of trust and vulnerability.
All these factors are likely to bring you closer to your partner than you've felt with most people, and quickly. Don't be surprised if you develop telepathy and start hearing each other's sick and depraved thoughts while trying to make small talk at wholesome holiday gatherings.
"You naughty minx, I oughta bend you over this table and stick this wine bottle right up your-
FUCK, did I think that out loud?!"
10. BDSM can skyrocket sexual pleasure.
"Why wasn't this at number one?"
Ah, but you were expecting this one, weren't you? I can't have you getting bored and fucking off to someone else's blog right off the bat, can I? Mwahaha.
Power exchange is incredibly mentally arousing. When both participants have explicit license to top or bottom as preferred without having to constantly second-guess themselves, everyone can relax and enjoy more openly. This intensifies the fluidity of connection created through sex.
Additionally, a variety of specific, "non-conventional" fetishes fall under the umbrella of BDSM, including humiliation, role-play, orgasm control, exhibitionism, spanking, and more.
For a lot of kinksters, sex can feel boring or empty when these fetishes aren't fulfilled. For these practitioners, BDSM heightens sexual experiences to levels of extreme pleasure.
11. BDSM can also boost sensual pleasure.
Being paddled may feel akin to a hard massage, for example. Things like piercing, whipping, wax play, scarification, and hook suspension fall under the category of intense and exhilarating experiences that may enhance, or happen independently of sex.
I've heard quite a few bondage-lovers say they love being tied up because it makes them feel safe. They experience comfort when another person has control over their physical position. Not everyone reacts in this way, but it's fascinating that some do, no?
12. BDSM can bring beautifully supportive communities into your life.
This point is for kinksters who have an opportunity and willingness to get involved in their local BDSM scene. You can meet new play partners, mentors, or friends of all types at kinky gatherings.
Kicking it with other practitioners is refreshing because, for the most part and within respectful limits, we can all be our freaky and open-minded selves.
It's nice to be able to chat about challenging or eye-opening BDSM experiences without fear of being judged. Having a support network is invaluable while exploring the depths of kink.
13. BDSM leads to a better understanding of humanity.
I've met kinky peeps from around the world during my travels. I've seen how people from different cultures handle intimacy, communication, and consent. I've watched members of various backgrounds express their deepest desires, explore their own personal heights of ecstasy, and confront incredible challenges.
I've also learned a lot about how different people like their kinky eggs cooked. (You think you've heard it all. Then you hear about things like figging. Who knew?)
So there you have it! In looking over these points, it's easy to see how BDSM can be a fantastic path for getting in touch with yourself and others.
HOWEVER, I have no interest in leading you astray, sweet reader. This sweet kinky realm ain't all shits and giggles. There are significant risks attached to BDSM that can't be ignored, and I'll address the biggies in this three-part post.
Thanks for reading!