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

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

 

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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Comments

DominaElle  

Excellent article! One of the main reasons I started playing with the big balloons doing climb-ins publicly, was because I wanted to see people smiling and laughing more when they play (dungeon atmosphere can be ever so SERIOUS), it is also an effective way to get the entire room involved (rather than just watching) and the intimacy that happens inside the balloons has been awesome (even between strangers)! I GET IT. I would love to see people really connecting a lot more! After all, there is amazing potential here, for personal growth that goes beyond people displaying themselves and whatever skills they might have with a flogger, ropes, etc. Of course I knew I liked Midori when I saw her inflatable sex doll piece on exhibit! haha.

08/26/2011
tipToad  

Thank you, Midori, for a wonderful post. I completely agree: BDSM *can* include a substantial human-to-human connection that includes an amazing level of intimacy. From experience I know how deep that connection can feel. I vividly recall my first such connection with a beautiful sadist in an Arizona dungeon (bows in gratitude to Ms. Dyva). Although we only just met, and no conventional sexual contact occurred, the power exchange and base interaction that happened made me weep with joy. Since then my dominant wife and I enjoy pushing that deep, emotional and hedonistic connection in various shared and mutual ways that work for us both. We've even had people tell us they can see our connection in our (scene and non-scene) interactions, which is wonderfully validating. P.S. So many of us appreciate your service to the community, Midori. I had the pleasure of participating in a suspension demonstration in Chicago with you some years ago, and learned other skills from you in workshops. Thank you and best wishes.

09/05/2011
tipToad  

One other thought. My wife can experience "Dom drop" (emptiness after a scene) when our connection isn't solid or when her intimacy needs during/after a scene are not met. We talk a lot about this, and I think it's important for bottoms to know what the intimacy needs are for their top. For us, for example, it's important for me to express gratitude and attend to her (following any immediate aftercare). And it's vital for me to postpone any "scene processing" (aka critique) until another day. Sounds simple, but after an intense scene, I'm in a different head-space, and me being clear beforehand about her needs helps to ensure that we both get what we want and need.

09/05/2011
Avika de Vine  

I agree with the sentiment of this article but there is a little part of me that feels not quite right about it. I love the intimacy that conscious kink can generate and I agree there is a palpable difference between a scene that is connected, present and authentic than there is with one that is about ego or uses "correct" forms of play as a form of escapism... escaping self and intimacy.

I would argue however that the difference is not intmacy. It is consciousness. This article is in danger of putting down solo erotic experiences or rites of passage as less valid than those that include the intimacy of more than one person being involved. Intimacy with another is not the measure of conscious kink and authenticity but is only one benefit of it.

One can indeed be that solo bungee jumper and get an incredible amount of self realisation, authentic personal connection to self and personal transformation out of the experience. It can be far from empty. Solo masturbation does not have to be empty or lacking of authentic raw encounters with real humanity outside of social constructs and niceties. So too can a solo journey into the self that is facilitated by a skilled Top.

Just because the intimacy is not between the players and each other, does not mean the experience is not authentic, potent and valid.

For me the difference between an empty scene and a potent one is consciousness, presence, intent and openness to the authenticity of the moment. That may or may not include intimacy with another human being.

Avika de Vine
Goddess of Conscious Kink

09/21/2011
Ruby Ryder  

I am relatively new to play parties and BDSM. Your article, Midori, expresses so well a discussion I was having with a friend recently. I wondered at the lack of intimacy in many of the scening couples at play parties. I couldn't understand it. For me, if I use a crop on someone it will [italics|always] be a precursor to sex. So I don't play with anyone other than my lover. And when I pick up that crop the people watching cease to exist. It's all about my crop, his reactions, the two of us and the raw sensuality that is uncovered that way.

Thanks for putting this out there...so succinctly and eloquently. Nicely done.

01/16/2012
GamerUK  

In the Grand Scheme of things I'm relatively inexperienced regarding skills. However, I've caught myself on more than one 'play' occasion (both private and publicly) concentrating more on what I'm doing, than on who I am with. Which is more important? Well while the technical aspects are important for safety, your play partner needs to feel a connection with you, or you may find you're soon 'playing' alone. It's a Balance which I believe is the underlying core of passionate play.

While the article made a great deal of sense, and I agree with the lack of passionate connectivity, I suspect that playing publicly with folks we don't know very well has many of us hesitating. You don't have to have sex with a 'stranger' who happens to have an amazing skill level. However, by communicating, you can negotiate a kiss, a caress or two without becoming the Creep/pervert. The occasional kiss and skin-on-skin can achieve that connection when accompanied by eye contact (even if it's as you place/remove a blindfold). Only those involved can make a scene Hot. Change now~negotiate for a Kiss during play. Talk with your play partners about more than 'Limits'.

01/31/2012

Interesting

11/24/2012
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