'Kink' and 'BDSM' can seem like intimidating terms for those of us who've never been involved in that type of community. The unknown is always a little scary, after all, and popular media promotes the idea that these lifestyles are strange, mysterious things that go on in grim dungeons between people dressed in latex suits and intimidating leather outfits.
Behind all that, though, lies a truth you might be surprised to learn: the true core of BDSM is trust, and trust – as we all know – breeds intimacy and closeness between partners, and is essential to the workings of a healthy and happy relationship. So, what can the rest of us learn from the BDSM community about how this works?
For people in ongoing kinky relationships, the bond between a dominant partner and their submissive can be one of the strongest and most reliable either of them will ever experience. BDSM takes its practitioners to deep psychological spaces together, and sharing those experiences promotes bonding.
It’s also true that you cannot practice safe BDSM with someone you cannot trust, and that every time you give some of your power over to someone and they handle it carefully, they’re proving to you that you can trust them implicitly.
For example, when someone is tied up, they’re relying on their partner to set them free again; when someone is being spanked or beaten, they’re counting on their partner to respect their limits and their pain threshold and not to mess it up.
All tied up: BDSM play requires trust
These practices work like trust exercises; they’re the sexual equivalent of falling backwards into thin air and knowing that your partner will catch you before you hit the ground. Over time, people who engage in these activities together frequently will develop a profound mutual trust that it can be harder to come by in so-called 'vanilla' relationships.
If all that sounds good to you, don’t worry – nobody is suggesting that you go out and buy yourself a PVC catsuit – unless you think you might enjoy the experience! There’s more than one way to make use of this knowledge. Indeed, you don’t have to be interested in BDSM to be interested in some of the benefits it can bring.
“The true core of BDSM is trust, and trust – as we all know – breeds intimacy and is essential to the workings of a healthy and happy relationship.”
If you’d like to harness the ability of kink to promote intimacy between you and your partner, why not try out a few of these simple ideas together? You never know: you might discover a whole new world of things that get you both going.
Imagine for a moment that you’re experiencing some of the most intense sexual pleasure of your life... but you’re blindfolded. You don’t know exactly what your partner is going to do next, and you’re finding that the physical sensations are heightened by the loss of sight. This is a hugely intense experience for many people, and could completely change the way you feel what’s going on! Almost everyone can enjoy a bit of blindfolded sex: it’s a great way to deepen the sensation of trust between you and your partner.
BDSM encourages people to share their fantasies in ways that other relationship types don’t. There’s a lot to be said for opening up in this way, though. Indeed, there’s nothing more intimate than discovering that your partner is a safe space, to be honest about your deepest desires. After all, and if they’re also interested in trying those things out you might find yourself having some of the best sex you've ever dreamed of.
Stay open: discuss your sexual desires and needs
We all know what wedding and engagement rings symbolise, but did you know that many people in BDSM relationships have a whole extra symbol that can be equally meaningful to them? Submissive partners will often wear a collar – sometimes a discrete or symbolic one that can be worn all the time – as a reminder of the nature of their relationship.
There’s no need to wear a collar unless you happen to want one, of course, but there’s a lot to be said for private symbols that remind you of the bond between you and your beloved – like matching bracelets, for example.
Being spanked causes your brain to produce endorphins, meaning that you can get the same kind of euphoric high from a good spanking as you can from a good workout session. Don’t worry about your pain threshold: ask your partner to start light, and never feel pressured to take anything you’re not comfortable with.
In addition to the natural hormonal rush, many people find that spanking is a profoundly intimate activity for both partners and one that can make you feel closer together when you’re done.
“There's nothing more intimate than discovering that your partner is a safe space, to be honest about your deepest desires.”
It’s standard practice in the BDSM community to have a list of ‘favourites’ and ‘limits’: things you’re especially keen to do and things that you're not comfortable with doing. This idea has a lot to say for itself in vanilla relationships, too; by being clear and honest with both yourself and your partner about what you like most and what you have no desire to try (or try again). You’ll learn more about your sexual self as well as theirs, and be well on the way to a healthier and happier sex life – complete with all the intimacy that brings.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to remember that you shouldn't let yourself be pressured into trying things you’re not comfortable with and that trust and safety should be at the forefront of your mind – and your partner’s – at all times. ●
Main image: colourbox.com
Abi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewellery.
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