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BDSM/Questions Upon Confusion Upon NaÔvety

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Question
Hello.

I donít even know where to begin...
BDSM has intrigued me for several years. Iím inclined to think Iíd be a submissive if I ever entered that type of a relationship. However, I donít know what type of relationship I really want, because Iíve actually never dated. Iím fairly young, 20 years old, but Iíll receive my Bachelorís degree this year and am going directly into a Masterís program. Iíve found that this type of fast track organization intimidates men sometimes which is the last thing I want, but I canít get a date. Part of this is my fault as well. I ďfriend-zoneĒ guys like itís an art. Iím not really sure why. Itís like a defense response, but I donít really know what Iím ďdefending.Ē So, my inclination is to think that I need a guy who can make himself ďstick.Ē Does that make sense?

So, my first question is, based on what is detailed above, is a Dominant what I need to break through my nicely secure walls?

If that is the case, I donít know what to do. I live in a pretty rural area... I canít exactly go around wearing a shirt that says ďdominate me.Ē Also, as the no-dating may have given away, Iím safely flying a V card... which Iím not so sure I want to part with for just anyone. I still like the idea of only ever having sex with one man and would like that man to be my husband.

My next question is, is it possible to be ďtrainedĒ as a submissive without giving up that part of myself? Could I date a Dominate without being a submissive for a while? To get to know them? Would guys really be willing to accept that?

Also, assuming this isnít overwhelming yet, I donít know how to reconcile myself to certain parts of the BDSM lifestyle or even know much about the lifestyle really. Thus, several questions regarding BDSM are listed below.
1. Why ďMaster?Ē I think I could do ďSir,Ē but ďMasterĒ makes me want to cringe in the worst way. It feels degrading...
2. How do you meet people in the lifestyle safely?
3. My intelligence is highly important to me; I value knowledge more than almost anything... Is a Dominate going to respect that part of me?
4. I have serious issues with control and I donít know how to change that. I definitely wouldnít be okay with a TPE... but is there a way to ďbaby-stepĒ into giving up control?
5. Does being naked have to happen?
6. Most importantly: Does any of this sound like a submissive?

Thank you so very much for your time.  I appreciate it more than you know.

Answer
Haley -

The simple answer is that it is a relationship.  While it has elements similar to "vanilla" relationships, certain things (should) remain constant:

* you get to decide your boundaries (including whether you have sex)
* you get to decide how much control (if any) you want to yield and in which areas of your life
* being submissive doesn't equate with being weak.  It simply means that you enjoy ceding some measure of control in either relationship decisions or bedroom or activities.   
*there are Dominants (note it's a noun or adjective; not a verb) that value and respect intelligent (and other personality traits, and those that don't).  Choose wisely

I know people in all kinds of power-based relationship.  Some include sex; some don't.  Some are focused heavily on service; others aren't; some have very limited boundaries of control; others are all encompassing.  The bottom line:  you get to look for, and help mold, the type of relationship you want.  Sure, it could take a long time.  But why settle?

I would suggest a few steps for you.  The first is introspective to explore internally what it is you are looking for.  /ask and answer questions for yourself (which doesn't mean you opinions can't change and evolve over time).

1.  What motivates your desire for submission?  some options include:  to have another play a guiding role in your life; have structure and consistency; liberate yourself to do "bad things" because someone else is deciding; feel "small," receive attention; have the pleasure of your partner as paramount: provide needed and valued service.  
2. If you envision transfer control, what are your boundaries?  You can think of it in terms of time (only at home, or on weekends, or all the time) ;space (in the bedroom, when we're with other kinky people, everywhere); and dimension (everything, everything but school/work; not including friends, or family or finances, or???)
3.  How much structure do you need and want?  Some people make their relationship very stylized - with restrictions (or protocols) on speech, dress, touch, etc.  Is that appealing?
4.  Do you enjoy providing service to others (it could be anything from housecleaning to cooking to making dinner plans to changing the oil in the car)?  If so, what skills can you offer (or do you want to learn)?
5. What is your communication style? One of the potential benefits of a power-based relationship is that open and honest communication are encouraged.  But even within that space, different people have different communication styles and needs.  How verbal are you and how verbal do yo need a partner to be?  Do you want to understand the "why" behind a decision?  If you're upset, how do you communicate that?

There is no single "right" answer.  But there are right answers for you.  Take the time to explore what those answers are -- and avoid anyone that tells you you're not allowed to have those views.

I know you said you live in a rural area with not much around.  There may be more than you think.  There is a website called FetLife.  It's like a kinky FaceBook.  If you click events at the top, it will show what's scheduled near you.  The same thing with groups.  I'm not suggesting you go to a dungeon and announce the fresh meat is here.  But there are "munches" (social gatherings), classes, and workshops.  This can be a way for you to learn more and meet people.  One of the best ways to decide what you want your relationship to look like is to see how others do it (this; not that).

There are also a variety of books, some better than others.  But rather than reading books as gospel (or the discussion threads on FetLife).  consider it information that can spark interest, affirm existing convictions, or repulse you.  Again, what you look for is for you to decide.  Any remember, don't let anyone tell you that you're doing it wrong.

Enjoy the journey!  

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Ben Martin

Expertise

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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