What is BDSM? And Why is it Sexually Exciting?

Introduction

 

“A pervert is anybody kinkier than you are.” (Wiseman, 1996, p. 23).

Did you know that according to a study conducted by Christian Joyal in 2015, as many as 64.6% of women and 53.3 percent of men report having fantasies about being dominated sexually?  And that 46.7% of women and 59.6% of men reported fantasies about dominating someone sexually?  Of course this number varies wildly depending on who your audience is and what your definition of dominant and submissive behavior is.  But the fact of the matter is that many of us have some sort of dominant or submissive sexual fantasies.  So, the first thing you should know is that if you do have these dom/sub thoughts, you are not perverted or deviant or evil.  In fact, you are perfectly normal.  

So, let’s delve into what BDSM is.  Why do so many people have these fantasies?  And what makes BDSM a fun and exciting part of many couples sex lives?

 

What is BDSM?

First of all, what is BDSM?  It’s important for us to define what BDSM means.  BDSM stands for “Bondage Discipline  Sadism and Masochism”.  That is a mouthful, so let’s go through what each of these words mean.

Bondage is being bound or held captive at the will of someone else.  In BDSM terms, it means consensually tying or binding or restraining your partner as part of erotic play.

Discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules, follow a code of behavior and using punishment to correct disobedience.  Similarly, for BDSM play the dominant sets rules which the submissive is expected to obey.  If the rules are broken, a punishment is often administered by the dominant to discipline the submissive.

Sadism is the tendency to derive pleasure, including sexual gratification from inflicting pain, suffering or humiliation on others.  Similarly, sexual sadism within the context of mutual consent, generally known as BDSM, is distinguished from non-consensual acts of sexual violence or aggression

Masochism is the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from one’s own pain or humiliation.

So, to summarize in my own terms, BDSM is sexually oriented play between a dominant and a submissive. It can involve one or more of the following types of play:

  • Control vs Submission
  • Anticipation of the Unknown
  • Sexual Arousal through Fear
  • Pain vs Pleasure
  • Theatrical Performance
  • Heightened Arousal through Amplified Sensation

Let’s dive deeper into each of these types of play and see how it works.

Control vs Submission

What is it?

The basis for all BDSM play is the interaction between the dominant and the submissive.  So, the first step in BDSM play is to establish whether you are dominant or submissive.  Chances are, you already have a very good idea which one you are.  But, it is also possible to be a “switch” in which case you may want to play one roll or the other at times depending on either your mood or your play partner.  However, you can only play one role and any given time.

If you are the dominant, then you will likely initiate and drive the BDSM play.  This could be as simple and innocuous as taking charge of your partner and dictating the sexual acts.  Or it could be a bit more overt.  For example, maybe you and your partner enjoy rough sex, choking, spitting, holding or pinning the submissive down during sex.  More advanced BDSM play may involve restraining your partner, blindfolding them, spanking or whipping them, depriving them of one or more of their senses, establishing rules for them to follow and punishments for disobedience.  The limits are only in you and your partner’s imaginations.

As the submissive, your role is to simply do whatever the dominant wants within the boundaries of your play.  If you are submissive, you probably enjoy not being in the driver’s seat and instead submitting to whatever the dominant wants.  That could be something as simple as letting them have their way sexually with you.  Or, it could get more intriguing such as sensory deprivation (ex – blindfolding), being restrained, being made to perform a sexual act or endure some sort of sensory play such as tickling, spanking or flogging.   Play may even include having to obey rules established by your dom and submitting to punishment if the rules are not followed.  

Regardless of what level of BDSM play you engage in, it’s ALWAYS important to have a “safe word”.  A “safe word” is a word that either partner can use to immediately end the BDSM play if, for example, the session  becomes too intense. It is also important to use an abstract word, because words like “no” and “stop” are too commonly used during BDSM sessions.

 

Why it’s fun?

Acting out the roles of dominant and submissive in a safe and playful environment allows each partner to step outside of their everyday lives and indulge in a role that perhaps they have only fantasized about and never acted out.  It also provides insight into your true submissive or dominant nature to help you better understand your own impulses.  It’s probably safe to say that in every sexual act there is always a partner who is initiating and one who is submitting.  Traditional roles might indicate that the male is the dominant and the female is submissive, but BDSM allows you to easily switch these roles and move outside of tradition and expectation…again, in a safe and comfortable environment.

 

Related toys and gear

The most obvious mechanism for establishing control in BDSM play is restraints.  Tying your partner in restraints establishes dominance and submission in a VERY REAL and visceral way.  Both partners FEEL the meaning of dominance and submission, surpassing anything they have read about or fantasized about.  Other types of control toys and gear include blindfolds and ball gags in that they remove your partner’s sense of sight or speech.  This adds another dimension to sub/dom play called “sensory deprivation”, which we will go into more detail later.

 

Sexual Arousal Through Fear and Anticipation

What is it?

One of the most thrilling and unexpected parts of BDSM play is the anticipation of what could happen.  The “danger” factor.  This is perhaps most obvious during “rough sex” where choking, spanking, pinning and spitting can be used to not only exert dominance but to also instill a very real sense of fear in them.  Is this person going to hurt me?  Are they raping me?  Could they kill me?  This kind of fear induces a natural Fight or flight response that causes your body to produce adrenaline and endorphins.  

 

Why it’s fun?

This adrenaline rush can be compared to what you might feel in a real life dangerous situation, such as a fight, riding a roller coaster or jumping out of an airplane.  It’s an intense feeling or “a rush” that amplifies the body’s senses.  It produces a high similar to drugs or what an orgasm feels like.  It is this rush that people seek during BDSM play. 

 

Related toys and gear

Creating a sense of anticipation is usually a primary goal of the dominant.  The dominant wants to invoke fear.  They may dress in a scary and authoritative manner including masks or hoods or black leather apparel.  They may restrain their partner.  They may blindfold them.  They may place a ball gag over their mouth.  They might spank or flog them. They may force the submissive to perform sexual acts and initate other forms of rough sex including degrading them, choking them, flogging them and electrocuting them.  The more real and painful the acts, the more believable the fear becomes, the more adrenaline and endorphins that are released, the more heightened the submissive’s senses become.  This can all lead to an amazing energy release in the form of an orgasm.

 

Pain vs Pleasure

What is it?

Some of you might question how pain and pleasure can be related to each other.  After all, aren’t pain and pleasure on opposite ends of the spectrum?  Consider this analogy.  You are eating your favorite spicy dish.  Maybe it’s atomic hot wings or Thai food.  It tastes delicious and satisfying and yet it is literally burning your lips and and your mouth feels like it’s on fire ??  You have just learned that pleasure and pain cannot only be felt together, but can actually amplify each other.  

 

Why it’s fun?

This is very similar in the BDSM realm.  Confusing your senses with a pleasure and pain overload can lead to new and intense sensations and even orgasms.  One such instance in my sexual play is when my partner restrains me and proceeds to stimulate my clit or vagina with vibration toys and dildos and perhaps his fingers and penis.  If I am in control during solo play, I know when I want to press the off button and stop my orgasm.  However, my partner often pushes me far beyond this boundary.  He sends me into that that place between extreme, mind-blowing, toe-bending orgasm and eye-popping, intense pain of overstimulation.  Often leading me to intense, next-level, geyser-like squirting orgasms ??? It is in this fashion that I truly understand how pain can intensify pleasure.

 

Related toys and gear

If you are someone who wants to explore this connection between pleasure and pain, there are no shortage of BDSM sex toys for you to play with. Impact play is very popular starting with spanking, flogging and paddling, hot candle wax and even whipping.  Bringing impact play to your genitals will of course up the pain ante.  Want to take it further?  Try electrocution play using wand toys that will electrically shock your partner in a very focused and insanely intense way.  Trust me when I tell you, that there is no faster way to get the full attention of your partner’s brain and it’s senses than shocking their genitals.

 

Role Play & Theatrical Performance

What is it?

Have you ever been to a REALLY good stage play?  I mean one that really sucked you in and made you believe you were really in that place, that time, that moment with the characters.  One where you became so engrossed that you stepped outside of your own conscious mind and entered the mind of the play’s writer and director and perhaps even entered the mind of one of the characters.  This ability to disassociate yourself from reality is a truly amazing part of the human condition.  We can literally force our minds to pretend that we are someone else, somewhere else, doing things, saying things and becoming things that are not part of our typical experience.  That is what role play is all about.  And BDSM is a form or an extension of role play.  

 

Why it’s fun?

Have you ever fantasized about sexual role play?  Maybe you were the student and you had to make the teacher happy to get an A in his class.  Or maybe you fantasized about being a babysitter and ending up having sex with the father.  For some, the DDLG (Daddy-Daughter Little Girl) is a very powerful extended sexual fantasy where the submissive plays the role of the daughter and the dominant plays the fatherly role.  Maybe you want to be someone’s pet and have them own you and take care of you.  And perhaps the most common imagery would be the duality of the dungeon master and the slave.  

These are all examples of sub/dom role play and can be extended into the BDSM realm. The important thing to embrace with all fantasies that you want to act out is that you want to make them feel as real as possible.  Think of it like this.  You are putting on a play.  You have actors playing a part.  You have costumes.  You have props.  Perhaps you even have a narrative.  So anything you can do to enhance and make the performance more realistic adds to the fun and excitement of BDSM play.

 

Related toys and gear

Just about all BDSM gear and toys can help you improve the realism of the fantasy and help bring it all to life.  Of course, your wardrobe is a very key part of becoming your BDSM character.  Black leather, latex, suede with shiny metal or chrome accents is characteristic BDSM attire.  But really anything goes and the farther you go, the more engrossed your fantasy becomes. Other props may include masks, hoods, restraints, shackles, ball gags, paddles, whips, floggers.  The true BDSM die hards may even go next level with sex swings or full blown BDSM dungeons complete with dungeon furniture, lighting, music etc etc.  Truly your imagination is your only limit in this domain.

 

Heightened Orgasms Through Amplified Sensation

What is it?

Another often overlooked facet of BDSM play is creating better orgasms by turning up the volume on your body’s nerve sensors.  We talked earlier about how creating real fear can heighten one’s orgasm, but this time we are talking about a more physical amplification.  

 

Why it’s fun?

For example, imagine that your partner restrains you and adorns you with nipple clamps and clit clamp.  Or perhaps they use sucker or cupping devices to draw the blood to this already sensitive collection of nerve endings.  These devices build up an increased sensitivity to touch during such play.  So much so that when they are finally removed, there is not only an immediate sense of relief but also intense amplification of the nerve endings in that area.  This means that erotic play with those areas  creates hypersensitivity and can take the pleasure that you feel and the orgasms you have to an entirely new level of pleasure.

 

Related toys and gear

The most obvious toys in this category are the ones that create increased blood flow or a prolonged pinching sensation to your genitals, specifically the nipples and clit.  But even a simple blindfold will heighten your sense of touch simply because when you remove one of the body’s primary senses, it has to compensate by being hyper aware of the others.  Ball gags do a similar thing by removing your partners ability to speak.  Impact play through spanking, paddles, whips or floggers do the same thing creating an area that is hypersensitive to touch and therefore pleasure.  Electrostimulation is still another method to tweak and heighten your body’s senses.

 

Summary

BDSM is often thought about by others who don’t understand it as deviant behavior.  Something that is done in private by perverts and criminals and deviants.  Something that for some people should even be illegal.  But I hope that this article has opened your eyes to the true human conditions at work in BDSM play.  There is nothing sinister at work here.  There is nothing that happens to anyone who doesn’t want it to happen.  BDSM is 100% consensual.  Adults acting out consensual, yet kinky fantasies.  For many, it’s the next level of sex.  Something to try to add to the excitement. New excitement to raise the ante on sexual play and orgasms.  Something “Next Level” to build on.

I wholeheartedly believe that some form of BDSM play is appropriate for nearly every couple.  It may be as innocent as one person taking the initiative and the other going along with it.  Or, as we have seen, there are many facets of BDSM that a couple may find appealing and what to experiment with more.  I encourage you all to be open minded.  To try new and different things.  To encourage your partner to embrace their primal fantasies.  And ultimately, to find your true sexual deviant ? and exotic slut by removing your real-world walls and acting out your deepest, darkest fantasies in a safe and accepting manner.

If you would like more information about BDSM sex toys, please visit my beginner, intermediate and advanced BDSM toy review articles below:

Beginner BSDM Toys

Intermediate BDSM Toys

Advanced BSDM Toys

Happy Orgasms Ladies ?

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