Sex Scrolls interviews a willing participant in the world of BDSM.  
She explains the principle and allows us a private glimpse.

SS - Hello Deborah and thank you for allowing this interview :)
D - I guess Deborah will do.
 
SS - Can you explain to us in general terms, the most understood definitions for BDSM?
D - It's a pretty broad term that stands for the triad of bondage & discipline, Domination & submission, sadism & masochism. On occasion you might hear some folks (Pat Califia, for instance) refer to the SM part as "Sexual Magick," since many people in the scene (though not all) consider BDSM an extension of their core sexuality. Which is probably why you're asking about it. :)

Let's start with S&M. That's easy, right? A sadist enjoys or is sexually aroused by inflicting pain and suffering, and a masochist enjoys receiving it. Though in this world, it's not limited simply to pain. It's eroticized, sexualized, made pleasurable. So in this context, you could add 'strong pleasurable sensations and sensory overload' to the definition. There isn't any quick and simple definition of what S&M *feels* like, though - it runs the entire gamut of the sensory spectrum: from barely there feathers & soft suede floggers, to hard wood paddles & bee-stingy single-tail whips; from the pinch of a clamp (or teeth, or fingers) on a nipple to the strange and wonderful tickling/pulsating sensations of a specially designed TENS unit on your labia; from the shocking cold of an ice cube being run over your skin, to the penetrating burn of peppermint or clove oil on your nipples and clit.

What next? How about bondage. Bondage would be physical restraint, of any sort. Most people think of rope or some sort of cuffs (handcuffs, or leather cuffs) right away, but saran wrap, ace bandages, straight jackets, body bags, vet wrap, pallet wrap, specialized bondage harnesses, wooden stocks, bondage tape, luggage straps, belts, plaster of Paris, crepe paper, sewing thread, or even a verbal command could be used. Your imagination is the only limit. Well, that and some knowledge of how to bind someone safely, which is *very* important.

Discipline covers a lot of territory. I'll give you the most common example - the traditional English style discipline, from which most of this seems to have arisen (though I could certainly be wrong here). The stern schoolmaster and naughty student. The schoolmaster with his rattan cane, tawse, or leather strap, has the student drop his trousers, bend over, and grip his ankles while counting out loud the number of strokes received as punishment.

Many people have had experience with corporal punishment at school or at home (spankings, etc.) when they were young. I don't think any researcher has ever really studied and definitively answered the question as to why some people eroticize and desire to repeat these experiences as adults. All I can tell you from personal experience is that done by the right person, in the right way, these things feel very very good to me, and not painful. But everyone is wired differently.

Domination and submission, or D/S for short can get very complicated. It's about an explicit exchange of power (from the submissive to the dominant), and it's either temporary, for the duration of a scene, or long-term, in an established relationship. It's not demeaning or degrading, and it's not abuse. It's important to make that clear, because feminists in particular have a lot of trouble understanding why a modern woman would want to be in a MaleDom/femsub relationship. To put it politely. :(

There are lots of flavors of D/s relationship. Master/slave, Daddy/boy, Dom/sub, Top/bottom, F/sissymaid, F/m, M/f, F/f, M/m, and any other gender combination you can think of. Some are sexual, some are service oriented (housework, maid service, household repairs, errands, massages, serving tea, etc.), some are S/M, some are B&D, some are none of the above, some are all of the above. Part time, long-distance, cyberspace, realtime, 24/7, private or public, with formal contracts and elaborate ceremonies to denote the occasion, or just casually, you name it, someone does it that way.

SS - Is it in the Fetish class or stands alone?
D - I'd say it's completely separate from fetishes and fetishists, although you certainly find some mixing of the two at parties, clubs, and events. For example, there are rubber fetishists in the BDSM scene, they dress to the nines in latex clothing all the time, and they do their S&M play with the rest of us. They may not quite fit the strict dictionary definition of a fetishist - someone who cannot be sexually aroused without the presence of the fetish object - but they are definitely more turned on with it than without it. 

Latex/rubber is a lot more popular in Europe than it is here in the US. In the US, I'd have to say we mostly have a fetish for leather! Leather pants, leather boots, leather vests, leather skirts, leather toys... Mooo.
 
SS - Have you always been drawn to the lifestyle? 
D - Well, since I as a little kid, I've always been fascinated by kidnappings. Any book that had kidnapping scenes got those pages completely dog eared - my poor Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books! LOL And I had lots of fun playing Houdini escape games with the neighborhood kids and rope. Tying them up and being tied up and trying to get out was always fun.

Stuff like that became an element of my erotic fantasies as I was growing up, but I never did anything about it when I had my first few boyfriends, even into college. It wasn't until my fourth boyfriend pinned my arms over my head and we had some rough sex and I had an amazing orgasm that something in my head went "DING!" We've been married for 15 years.

But... Getting into the lifestyle, giving a name to what we did, that took a lot longer. My husband first started reading alt.sex.bondage when we were in grad school, '88 or so. He introduced me to it shortly after that, because he knew I enjoyed those kinds of erotic stories and talk. And it wasn't until '95 or so that he brought home a set of leather cuffs. He told me later that he was nervous about what I would think. But I loved it. I went hogwild! And then he brought home a riding crop. (He was working in NJ at the time, visiting all the kinky toystores in NYC when he was lonely, and I was still working on my Ph.D. thesis in MN. So it was like Christmas every time he visited, about once a month!) After that, came a leather flogger, some how-to books, a leather & chain harness, more books, a slapper... and when I finally moved to NJ with him in '98, we started buying in bulk! LOL

We constantly scoured the stores and the web for information. I was eating this all up like a sponge, I could never get enough. We've got about 120 books on various BDSM & fetish topics, everything from erotic photography to how-to manuals to fiction. Plus comics and magazines. We had *so* much stuff that we had to move our 'vanilla' sex books to the living room bookshelves, and keep just the BDSM stuff in our bedroom. Even so, we had to hide some of the more 'generic' titles (like "Exit to Eden" and "Doc and Fluff") in the living room, because we just ran out of room.

While on the web, I found a small group that had parties at a pro-dungeon in NYC, and after a few months, we got up the nerve to attend one of them. They told us what to expect, but we still left the place with saucer-eyes and gaping mouths, I'm sure. It was just amazing, to see everything. We didn't know it at the time, but we happened to be there on a night when Bob Deegan, one of the best known whip handlers in the scene, was there, and we got to watch him single tail a woman for an hour. He was as graceful as a dancer - what an incredible and unforgettable first impression!

After that first party, we didn't go back for a few months. I was chicken, really I was. I just hate going places where I don't know people, because I'm very shy and I suck at introducing myself. One night, we even drove all the way there, and I bailed when we were about to get out of the car - I made my husband turn around and go home. :( The next time after that though, I put myself up for sale at the midnight slave auction. I decided to just do it and get it over with. If I can't bring myself to meet anyone, let them come and buy me, I figured. It worked. I started making friends that way, one by one, by selling myself. LOL (All fake money, of course!)

The rest, as they say, is history. :)
 
SS - What do you feel are traits of the people in this lifestyle? 
D - Open-mindedness, definitely. You have to be accepting of a lot of unusual and extraordinary things, things that society as a whole not only does not condone, but considers taboo, condemns, considers a sin, or has even criminalized. (You may be surprised to find that many sexual activities that you wouldn't even consider seriously dangerous or BDSM are illegal where you live. Virginia is not for lovers, folks. Check out their criminal statutes.)

Also, most people I have met are more intelligent than average, and more creative, and more imaginative. And willing to experiment with new things, of course. I think all these things are part and parcel of the same package - they all go together. You can't be open-minded and imaginative without having an active creative intelligence, and vice versa. 
I also see a certain amount of affluence, but I wouldn't say that's a universal trait, nor is it necessary. There are tons of 'pervertibles' around the house (clothespins, wooden spatulas, hairbrushes, rope), and several books (and plenty of websites) on how to make your own toys. If you end up being a 'toy whore' or a fashion fetishist OTOH, you'll be dropping wads of cash at all the specialized shops, because the clothes and good quality equipment are NOT cheap! A leather flogger will easily cost $120 and a set of 4 fleece lined cuffs is $80. A latex dress, about $200. If you want a good 4ft. single-tail whip made by Wheeler, you'll drop $500-600.

How much have I spent on toys & equipment since I started? Easily more than $3000. I only have 4 different floggers at the moment. I have friends who have over 100. :) I am *not* a toy whore! I have a bit more than will fit into a large suitcase, at this point. I'm about average, judging by what I see dragged into the club on weekends. You've never seen so many 'flight attendants' with roll-on bags converging on a nightclub at opening time!
It's pretty damn funny to see! And OMG! you should see what people drag to the big BDSM conventions/events like TES30 and Black Rose - I have seen people literally having hotel sized luggage carts full of steamer trunks and cases pulled/pushed by collared slaves.

And no, I *don't* have any special dungeon furniture in my house, *yet*.
 
SS - Can you share with us a brief history of BDSM?
D - I honestly don't know much about the origins of what they call "The Old Guard", but there are two good places to find information. One is the LeatherHistory Yahoo group and the other is APEX, The Albany Power Exchange website:  According to APEX, the term BDSM didn't start appearing until sometime in the 1990's on the alt.sex.bondage newsgroup.   

SS - When you are in a (compromising) situation, what signals are generally accepted as stop, etc?
D - The signals you refer to are generally known as "safewords." They're used by the submissive/bottom (or sometimes, the Dominant/top) to indicate an immediate need to either communicate or end the scene, depending on what was agreed upon before the scene. Different folks use different words (or gestures, even, like dropping a ball held in the hand), but two very common words are "yellow" and "red". Yellow generally means "slow down, I need to tell you something". Could be that a cuff is on too tight, or that something is too intense, or a limb is numb, a position needs to be changed, all sorts of things. Once whatever it is is taken care of, the scene often resumes. Red almost universally means "STOP IMMEDIATELY!" Something major has happened, the scene has to be terminated, and the situation should be treated as a serious emergency until you are sure otherwise. It could be that the submissive has had more than they can take, or that they have had a sudden adverse reaction (psychological or physical), or other. The safeword should NEVER be ignored - doing so makes the scene no longer consensual, no longer safe, and no longer sane - and it crosses the line into abuse.
 
SS - Does your mother know you do this?
D - Getting up after ROFLMAO. NO.

SS - Have you ever been accidentally left "locked up"?
D - Nope. There was one time at Paddles (a BDSM club in NYC) when a Dom friend of mine was having trouble getting off some quicklinks that attached the leather cuffs I was wearing to the rack I was lying on. He was muttering that he had left his pocket wrench at home, and having this big obvious pow-wow with my husband (who was watching) and several other people nearby about how he couldn't get me out of there. But I wasn't bothered because I knew I could just slide my wrists out of the cuffs and leave them behind on the rack if I needed to! Ha! After I told him that, he miraculously discovered the wrench in his toybag. Can't fool me. LOL (I'm a switch, so I know all the Domly dirty tricks in the book!)
 
SS - Share with us your most amusing anecdote from your participation in this lifestyle.
D - I guess that would be it. :) Unless you want to count the two times when a Dom broke a paddle over my butt. One was a big long paint stirrer (they hand them out as freebies at Paddles - what else?!) that's now autographed by both of us and hanging on the wall there, and the other time it was a $1.69 ping pong paddle - the handle snapped off. :P Guess I'm just a hard-ass. :)


 

 

Copyright 2001 - 2017

HOME     articles     sex facts     library     quotables     news
_____________________________

PAST LIFE READING