BDSM’s Dirty Secret – The Real Risk of Kinky Sex

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An excellent article by Midori on the dangers of kinky sex and BDSM. While Lady Grey and I don’t agree with everything she says, Midori makes some excellent points about why BDSM and kinky sex are so shunned by some, and why sometimes a scene can leave us feeling a little less than when we started.

by Midori Published: August 15, 2011
 As kinky folks, most of us have heard of the risks associated with certain activities we like: rope cuts off circulation, bruises invite suspicion and speculation, infected wounds or bites just plain suck and breath play can flat out be deadly… but there’s more. Kink and Sadomasochism come with a load of risks. The list is long enough to make your eyes glaze over. But, I’m not here to trot out the usual suspects. Yes, they’re real and no, you shouldn’t ignore them, but there’s another set of dangers that often go unmentioned. They are intrinsic to kink and yet so potentially threatening to some that they do everything within their power, subconsciously, to avoid them.
That danger inherent in SM is….

(Cue horror movie soundtrack….)

Intimacy and human connection.

Yes, intimacy.

Because, at some level, SM demands participants to be true to their desires and hungers, vulnerabilities and savagery. Fully engaged kink insists on full presence without pretense and willingness to connect the raw humanity to another’s raw humanity. The elegant defenses and social rules of appropriate behavior are built up by civilization and maintained in culture to insulate ourselves from that dangerous primal state. SM, along with some sports, is one of the few remaining semi-sanctioned arenas where the raw emotions and connections are permitted and even celebrated. To engage in this behavior may lead to a flood of emotions, elation and even risk failure to achieve connection, with the added danger of feeling genuine loneliness. It takes guts, skill and personal risk to fly high with another person.

This is a mighty scary proposition to some people.

 

But there’s a solution for people who can’t bear intimacy or potential failure. Highly technical scenes with clear standards of tangible procedural success can minimize the risk of messy emotional authenticity.

Over the years of I’ve been to more than a few dungeon parties – big and small, public and underground, posh and sleazy. Usually the scenes I see make me hot, but a few would leave me troubled, cold or deeply sad. Were they too shocking or taboo for me? No. Were they technically incompetent? No.

Instead, they were highly technical, well-executed and fascinating to watch. Multiple floggers fly and spin, wowing the crowd, in a spectacular choreography of Florentine flogging. Single tails and bull whips snap and dance stunningly on the skin delivering subtle strokes and deep cuts. Ropes wrap around limbs suspending flesh in complicated mid-air acrobatic poses. We gather around for these and other skill intensive scenes to ooh and ahh. But eventually I’d walk away, wondering why I was suddenly overcome by sadness. As I step away, people get in line to be the next to bottom, as the top processes yet another through an exquisite set of maneuvers.

I can’t shake the feeling that I’m not watching two people sharing an experience, but rather two strangers having separate thrills over one activity. The top feels satisfaction in displaying competence in a set of measurable standards (The ropes go on. The person goes up. They come down and they’re still in one piece), while the bottom gets to have a self-contained experience delivered by a competent technician. The human factor of the other person seems irrelevant in either case.

When I see this, it feels like SM is reduced to an amusement park ride, and people choose if they’re the rider or ride operator. Or maybe it’s the bungee jump. When I’ve gone bungee jumping, I looked for a service provider with qualifications and a good reputation. I certainly didn’t expect, nor want, any raw human connection with the dude strapping me in. I wanted him out of my head and heart. I wanted a thrill and to be able to talk about it to my friends. Maybe that’s what some people are seeking in their SM.

Recently someone came to talk to me about the suspension he did. Breathless with excitement, he talked to me about the thrill of doing it. Never once did he mention the other person he tied up. There was that sinking feeling in my heart again.

The more difficult the technique is, the harder it is to establish that human connection. But the more technical the play is, the easier it is to visibly ascertain a level of success and external validation. Emotional and mental states are, by nature, nebulous and not easy to determine success. There can always be doubts if the other person flew as high as you did, or if they flew at all. “Was it good for you?”

The greater the technical demand, the further at bay you keep the risk of intimacy, vulnerability and disappointments. To experience emotional connection in highly technical scenes is truly challenging. I’ve seen it done and it’s hot, but their biggest expertise went well beyond the complicated ties or whips. It was their willingness to be naked to the soul with the other person. Sadly, the intangible emotional scene success seems rarely celebrated as we’re distracted by flashy and tangible skill standards.

Firmly establishing a set rules for play where disconnect is the norm in, effect lowers the bar, guarantees and redefines success. Super difficult techniques can protect the players from biggest risk of all in SM – intimacy.

But if you play hard with nothing more than the most distilled, simple techniques, with teeth bared, sweaty, breathy and entwined with your partner as you expose your darkest desires to them, leaving you exhausted and elated in one another’s arms, congratulations – you are truly a pleasure artist.


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