In response to the misconceptions offered as truth in the novel Fifty Shades of Gray, I have teamed up with a good friend to present the Twenty Shades of Red, twenty facts about the BDSM lifestyle presented by two of its adherents, one dominant and one submissive.
Everyone here already knows me as a witch and a feminist. For purposes of this piece, I would also like you to know that I am also a Lesbian dominant. I am writing the ten facts from a dominant perspective.
- Consent is needed for each session of play, and cannot be derived from a single contract. There must be consent for the types of acts being performed.
- Limits are acts that a BDSM participant does not permit during a play session. These can be laid out by either dominant or submissive. These could be anything, from face slapping to anal penetration. Many people do not do anything with animals or former food.
- BDSM in its many forms is about the mutual enjoyment of all involved. Some are thrilled by power and control, some by pain, rebellion, or vulnerability. It is important that both involved take into account what the other enjoys.
- Many people have a main type of play they enjoy. Flogging, piercing, blood play, dominance and submission role play, gender fluid role play, and various types of bondage, everything from psychological to literal.
- Safe words are crucial. Participants use terms that would not commonly be used during a session in order to bring a halt to whatever is going on. It could be because a previously unknown limit has been reached, or simply because one or the other are not enjoying the session for various reasons. If a participant is unable to speak, it is important to develop a signal.
- It’s important to research how to use various toys safely, especially floggers and restraints, and anything else that could potentially cause harm.
- Read the signs. Building up the intensity of play in stages gives both time to become aroused or to slow things down. Emotions play a huge role, and if any negative feelings are present, it may be a good idea to take a break and reevaluate what’s being done.
- Some people like being bitten, flogged, burned, pierced, etc. It’s important to take physical health into consideration. Sterilize toys, avoid striking vulnerable parts of the body, and be conscious of sexually-transmitted infections. Use condoms or dental dams, and do not consume blood or other fluids of a partner unless you are certain they are disease-free.
- After care involves both participants reverting to a regular state of mind. It is the responsibility of the dominant, mistress, mommy, daddy, master, etc, to reassure their partner to bring them back to their original state of mind. Spending time together also builds the bond of trust between partners.
- Trust is the most valuable asset BDSM participants have. Whether people play as partners or as a group, they need to trust that their limits and needs are respected by all others involved. Including themselves!
The author of the ten facts below is a friend of mine, Andrea, also a member of the BDSM community. She also goes by Felivi. She created the list of ten facts from a submissive point of view.
- Having fun with consenting people is awesome, and enjoying yourself isn’t something you have to be ashamed of.
- 2. Reach out to local kinksters and attend munches and gatherings. People there really are friendly and welcoming. Even if you aren’t positive on who you are or what you like, it’s totally acceptable to say, “I’m not sure”. Doing this provides an excellent way to enjoy the scene and still be safe.
- 3. When talking to a potential play partner, no question is too small or “dumb”. Anyone mature enough to partake in such activities would want all of your concerns and questions addressed.
- 4. An honest and open discussion will ease a lot of nerves. Let your play partner know what things are totally off-limits and what may be approached with caution. Also talk about what each other would like to happen after your scene so good aftercare is achieved.
- 5. Just because your station of choice may be Submissive doesn’t mean anyone holds power over you. You are your own person, and you and your Dominant will discuss how power exchange will be handled.
- 6. Plan ahead! If you have the opportunity to play with someone in private, there’s no harm in finding out their reputation. It can be scary putting yourself in private situations, even with someone you know. “Safe calls” are a wonderful thing that I frequently use. Set up a specific time to call a trusted and reliable person to let them know you’re okay, and let them know where you’ll be.
- 7. No matter what kind of relationship you become a part of, do not fear getting “stuck” if something happens to go wrong. If you want to leave your relationship but are afraid, there is always help in the form of friends, vanilla or otherwise, (like ones met at public gatherings), family, or police officials. A D/s relationship, or however your relationship is structured, still involves human beings and holds as much importance as a vanilla relationship.
- 8. Don’t be afraid to use your safe words! They exist for a reason, and using them doesn’t make you a wimp or “less subby”. You have to start somewhere, and you can’t enjoy yourself if your limits keep being pushed. Your partner is there for you too and they want you to have a good time, even if that means easing up or taking a break.
- 9. Your partner cares about you. They wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of getting to know you, your limits, and wants if they didn’t care. Subdrop may happen or last after you have parted ways, and you can reach out to your partner, (or friends you’ve made at gatherings), if you’re still feeling down.
- 10. There is a ton of information on many aspects of BDSM from various perspectives, so browse around and have fun learning.
We decided to add a small list of terms and their definitions
Dominant: a person who takes the active or role in a scene or play session. Roles can include master/mistress, sadist, mommy, daddy, top, etc.
Submissive: someone who takes the passive role in a scene or play session. Roles can include slave, bottom, brat, masochist, etc.
Switch: someone who can be either dominant or submissive.
Master/mistress: A person who takes control within a set of formal rules or over a slave’s daily life.
Slave: someone who submits to a master or mistress
Safe Word: a term used to slow down or halt play for any reason.
Subdrop: The drop in emotions or energy within hours or days after a session. Also relates to physical symptoms.
Aftercare: Coping with emotions and symptoms after a session, especially necessary for subs.
Sadomasochism: the use of pain and humiliation between a sadist (dominant) and masochist (sub)
Bondage: control through literal restraints or psychological control through verbal directive.
Discipline: control through acts like flogging, spanking, etc.
These are some of the basic terms. I’m adding links to two websites for those interested in the BDSM lifestyle.
Has advice, guides, and sex toys for sale.
A community for kinksters, people who engage in the BDSM lifestyle. I am Sablerose9.
This is a group for Lesbians involved in the BDSM lifestyle.