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Thursday, March 08, 2007

BDSM as an emotional sexuality all its own


For me, and I have observed for many other people, kink and BDSM is a sexuality all its own. It is not merely arousing in a sexual connotation, but in an emotional one. Kink and BDSM play upon very fundamental aspects of the human psyche that are familiar to all of us, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, education, or personal experience. Helplessness, selfishness, greed, the lust for power and control, pain and pleasure, are each feelings distinct from the notion of sex. Certainly, they can be sexualized (and often are), but this is not a prerequisite for BDSM play.

Turning these things into sex is merely what makes kink kinky. Without the sexual component, they are still all fun and valid means of self-expression, friendship, and affection. In my experience, in fact, BDSM play of this kind has proven to be one of the most powerful ways to communicate emotion. It touches my psyche in ways mere words will never be able to reach.

For example, I remember a scene early in my relationship with Eileen when I was at her place for the night. We were just beginning to play together, and we were both eager to explore the relationship we were developing to its limits and then beyond. That night, she stripped me down to my boxers and tied my hands behind my back to the chair she had seated me on. Eventually, as she stood before me, she smacked my cheek with her palm. It was one of the first times I had ever been struck on the face and I didn't really know what to make of it.

My ultimate reaction was not sexual arousal, nor a masochistic desire to feel the painful burn of her palm across my cheek again. Instead, it was a flood of cathartic emotions released from the intimacy of the act. Here was a woman whom I did not know exceptionally well by any traditional measurement standing over me, looking intently into my eyes, focusing all her attention on my reactions. And there I was, naked except for my underwear with my hands bound uselessly behind me, exposed and physically vulnerable to her advances.

But the floodgates weren't opened by my physical vulnerability. No, instead, they were openned by my emotional vulnerability. I couldn't help it; I began to cry. As tear after tear rolled down my cheek, she didn't stop hitting me or ease up at all. Her expression didn't waver. She slapped me again and again until I was sobbing quietly.

Later, she told me that she felt it was a wonderful thing to know that wherever she was pushing me into, she could bring me back from--she knew we'd be okay. After she had finished slapping my face, she untied me and helped me lay down on her bed. I curled up into a fetal position and she lay down beside me, spooning me. She hugged me close to her and I flipped around to rest my head on her chest. Then, without a prompt of any kind or vocal prologue, I kissed her gently. With my kiss and without words I was saying, "I will indeed be all right." What amazed me about the experience was that when we spoke about the scene the next day, she conveyed a perfect understanding of my nonverbal communication.

She said that there were at least two distinct moments of very close silent communication, or perhaps understanding is a better word. She told me that she felt as though she knew precisely what I was feeling or trying to say without my having to say it. The first was when I began to cry and that she made the conscious choise to keep hitting me. The second was when I kissed her. She had said, "Thank you," back to me, and I renewed crying at her appreciation of my attempt to soothe her.

While such an experience is not necessarily devoid of sexual feelings, it is not, in itself, inherently sexual. Much of my play and my understanding of BDSM was in fact not directly sexual. Meeting Eileen was a fascinating thing because of how differently we came to the understanding of what BDSM was. For her, it was always directly sexual, and so playing with me in the ways I was used to doing was a little strange for her. Similarly, when she began introducing sexual experiences into play our that involved heavy sadomasochism, pain, fear, and other forms of emotion, I found it difficult to reconcile the seemingly contradictory feelings I was having.

Ultimately, everything we do is about connection and self-expression. To truly connect with someone, we have to express ourselves with utter honesty, and without a connection to someone else we can't express ourselves. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

6 comments:

Myles said...

Thanks for sharing this experience. I enjoyed this post.

Myles

Eileen said...

I love you.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I was following links around and decided to read some of your back entries.

This entry brought tears to my eyes -- recognition of catharsis and safety and all of that hard-to-articulate stuff. Thanks for writing it.

maymay said...

Thanks—to all of you.

Curvaceous Dee said...

A beautifully written post, which really resonated with me. No, instead, they were opened by my emotional vulnerability. This is how I often feel with Adonis (my lover and dom), and it's not something I can ever describe to Apollo (my wonderful husband), despite wishing to. I may have to point him to this post.

xx Dee

maymay said...

"A beautifully written post, which really resonated with me."

Thanks, Dee. I do think a lot of people actually feel this way. However, articulating it can be especially difficult at times. This was not an easy post to write.

"…it's not something I can ever describe to Apollo (my wonderful husband), despite wishing to. I may have to point him to this post."

Shortly after this experience Eileen started calling me Apollo and referring to herself as Athena. I didn't think the comparisons were inappropriate at all.