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BDSM/BDSM vs. rough sex experience--question from a newbie

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QUESTION: Hi! I am new to any kind of bondage/rough sex but I have always been interested in (some kinds) of BDSM. I've always been excited by it and also rather afraid to try it. Recently, I met someone who said he was dominant. We spoke several time and met and finally we actually had sex. What kind of freaked me out, since I've never done anything but vanilla sex before and I'm brand new to this (and kind of nervous), was that he was pretty rough. And that seemed to be the whole point. There was nothing else to it.

He said he was not into formal BDSM, the whole "sir, ma'am" thing. I understood that. People into BDSM all seem to like different things. But it seemed that he just liked rough sex (which isn't that appealing to me) without any guidelines or safe words. It was the first time I ever got my hair pulled (quite hard, at the top of my head so I couldn't even move my neck), spanked (I didn't know it was coming and it was REALLY hard and frankly not at all enjoyable--there was no context; he just did it out of the blue. I got a bit pushed around (OK, but not great). I can't imagine that this is what an actual dominant does. Because it was just rough--and rather painful. I have some bruises, a broken spider vein, and didn't really have a good time. The regular sex was OK but I kind of wanted to tell him to back off sometimes. I did tell him that and he did, but kind of laughingly or dismissingly. He just struck me as... inexperienced?

Maybe I'm not sure what I want, but I really am still intrigued by BDSM. I like the idea of dominant men, but ones who listen to you and with whom you discuss what you both want. Not just "rough me up with no plan or safe words--give me pain for no apparent reason but no resultant pleasure". I like the idea of being tied up, hair pulled (not particularly hard and there has to be some affection during or later), spanked (I thought, but man, he was way too hard and it wasn't AT ALL sexy), held down (but know he would get off me if I asked, no laughing). I wouldn't like name-calling (verbal humiliation) or face slapping or spitting.

Are there dominants like that? Or am I looking for something else? I just felt so odd after last night. Not bad (or raped, by any means, thank god) about the sex as some of it was fun (the more straight-forward parts, I guess), just really let down and decidedly not into the nebulous idea of "rough sex". By itself, it kind of sucks, if you ask me. It seems to me that that is like partial BDSM but without the rules or guidelines. There wasn't even any talking, which seems to me to be the most erotic/exciting thing about sex.

I guess I was just let down and a bit physically hurt. It makes me rather angry because I am brand new to this. Isn't there some kind of "gentling in" period? I know there are people who like being bruised but I am not one of them. At least not like that. It was not sexy, it was just rough and pedestrian. And frankly, a lot of my body aches today, which might be OK under different circumstances but... not like this. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place and it's not BDSM I'm looking for? I'm just very confused and rather disappointed. It's hard to get out there after a long time of being vanilla and nervous and try something very different only to find it's not at all what you thought it was supposed to be.

Thanks for reading. I would greatly appreciate any feedback or knowledge you have.

ANSWER: Kristi-

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. The short answer is: no, that isn't what BDSM has to be.

It's easy to blame him. But it's important that you also take away from this experience what you can so differently.

BDSM includes a lot of activities and relationship structures. Simply because you define yourself as kinky doesn't mean that anyone else in the Lifestyle is a good march for you. In that way, it's no different than vanilla daring: just because a guy shares your interest in opera, baseball or cooking doesn't mean he's automatically a suitable match.

So the first step is for you to explore what it is you're looking for. The good news is you've already started to figure things out - you need context, you don't like humiliation, etc. To me, one of the great things about the Lifestyle is self exploration and discovery:  what is it that motivates your submission? What qualities are you seeking in a partner? What relationship dynamic works for you? What activities excite you?  

You don't need all the answers immediately. It is an evolution. . But the more you know the better your odds of success.

You can gain that information from workshops and discussions in your local community (Chicago has a vibrant kink community), online discussions (I recommend FerLife) or books.

You also learned the importance of getting to know a prospective partner and negotiate what is on the table - including safe words. While you had a bad experience, it could have been much worse. Next time consider meeting first in public, negotiating precisely what you're willing to do, and consider having a safe call" that will check in with you.

Being rough isn't inherently bad - nor good. There are Dominants of all flavors. Take the time to find one that shares your interests and peraoectice.

Enjoy,

Ben

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the advice, Ben. We did meet in public twice and I did have a safe call (I gleaned that advice from a chat board). I guess the big thing I didn't have was a negotiation of things to do and limits. I guess because I thought this man was a dominant that he would know, but you're right, I have to be just as involved.

Is it fairly common to find "your" dominant partner online? I really don't know where to look. Thanks again for the info.

Answer
Kristi -

I'd encourage you to get involved in your local community. There are munches (casual social get togethers at local reastaurants), workshops, classes and discussions.

The advantages of this approach are:

* you can meet people in a more relaxed setting
* you can develop friendships - not just look for romantic partners or play dates
* you can "vet" people with others in the community
* you can see how potential partners interact with their peers
* you can see how other D/s couples interact and get a sense of what options exist and what resonates with you

Be patient.  

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Ben Martin

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Questions related to power-based relationships in which decision-making authority is intentionally and consensually transferred -- and the resulting imbalance celebrated. I am able to assist those trying to understand where they fit in, and those seeking to structure and thrive in a power based relationships. Specific topics I am able to discuss include: setting and achieving personal and relationship goals, responsible Mastery, the use of protocols and rituals, communication techniques, and conflict resolution. In addition, I am knowledgable and experienced in polyamory, long-distance relationships, bisexuality and a variety of kinky activities ranging from mind games to sadistic play.

Experience

I have chosen to have a power-based structure in my relationships over the past 18 years. This has included a 16-year M/s relationship, several shorter term D/s relationships and various play partners. I am an active participant in various online forums and seek to provide support and advice to those interested in the Lifestyle.

Organizations
Black Rose

Publications
My writings, insights and discussion contributions are available on Alt.com and FetLife.com. On both websites, my user name is BenMartin

Education/Credentials
I do not hold any credentials specific to BDSM, relying instead on knowledge gained from life experiences, reading and conversing with others in the Lifestyle.

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