The Fundamentals of Kinky Sex

Not too long ago I opened a page to accept questions.

As often happens when you offer to answer questions—  someone asked one.

Specifically, on March 20th Peter asked;

I have a question. Of all the people you’ve interviewed, well I see a trend. The most significant feature of which is they are all in a relationship. Most of them with a few notable exceptions seem to be middle aged or older*. At least half seem to have settled family lives. I personally don’t tend to associate bdsm with life styles that involve marriage and children. The young unattached male or female kinky minded person out looking for new experiences and experimenting is what comes to mind when I think of BDSM. So my question is this, do you think your BDSM is in some sense fundamentally different to mine? Is the BDSM practised by 30+ married mothers between chores and kids the same as practised by a under 30 y/o with no commitments or ties.

According everyone’s favorite people-sourced information guide, Wikipedia, this is the description of BDSM;

BDSM is an erotic preference and a form of personal relationship involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role play. The compound initialism BDSM is derived from the terms bondage and discipline (B&D or B/D), dominance and submission (D&S or D/s), and sadism and masochism (S&M or S/M). BDSM includes a wide spectrum of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures.

Activities and relationships within a BDSM context are characterized by the participants usually taking on complementary, but unequal roles, thus the idea of consent of both the partners becomes essential. Typically participants who are active – applying the activity or exercising control over others – are known as tops or dominants. Those participants who are recipients of the activities, or who are controlled by their partners are typically known as bottoms or submissives. Individuals who alternate between top/dominant and bottom/submissive roles — whether from relationship to relationship or within a given relationship — are known as switches.

The article goes on to state that Safe, Sane, Consensual, or RACK— or whatever your preferred acronym for not being an abusive asshole might be—  is a fundamental principle of BDSM.

So, are domesticated BDSM and uncommitted BDSM fundamentally the same?

Well, there is a top and bottom, and if you don’t have consent then it’s abuse, not BDSM. At the very core level the two have the same basic structure but is that all there is to it?

Peter has only considered BDSM outside of a committed relationship and I have only engaged in BDSM within one, so I think we are probably not the ideal people to try comparing and contrasting the two approaches. He seems to feel they are very different while I am thinking they are pretty similar but neither of us has a way of knowing the other side of the coin. So I am going to ask any readers who have engaged in both to provide us with insight regarding the following questions;

To you, what are the fundamentals of BDSM?

Are they the same in a domestic relationship as they are in an uncommitted one?

*Note from DD~ Of the 9 interviews posted at the time of this question ONE (1) of the women had turned 40 — just barely edging into middle age.  I mention here this primarily so that an accurate assessment of the interviews is available on the same page as the incorrect information.

P.S. If you happen to read the question page you might notice a little pique in my tone when I answered Peter. That was probably not strictly necessary nor particularly helpful. I do hereby promise to try to be less snarky in answering future questions. Really, I do want people to feel free to ask questions so I will try very hard to answer nicely.

P.P.S. The interview below is fascinating and the comment section is ongoing!

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16 responses to “The Fundamentals of Kinky Sex

  • peter

    sorry, no intention to offend, but I think we have varying definitions of middle age. I’d have put it at 30 or maybe earlier. I’ve always thought of it as your youth, your days of living like you did in uni say, ending and middle age starting immediately after.

    • DD

      Peter,
      I did not perceive it as a slight or an attempt to be offensive. I actually am middle-aged by any accounting (age 41). However, I got married at 19 and settled into adult life immediately so according to your reckoning I’ve been middle aged my entire adult life.

      I personally tend to think of middle aged being more the classic 40-60 or 65. Otherwise you are not really allowing much of a margin for young or early adulthood, adolescence is from 12-18, early adulthood is 19-22, and middle age is 25-65?
      That doesn’t really make sense to me.

  • Tom Allen

    Holy shit! Middle aged is 30 now? What the hell am I, a senior citizen already?

  • Unrepentant

    Personally, I’m hoping to live past my 70s, so being in my early 30s hardly makes me middle aged. Just sayin.

  • Steve

    Oh my Goddess I’m elderly ! ROFLMAO! (crap, I can’t get up)

    Seriously though… I found DD, first through her tumbler, then her blog looking more for Femdom then BDSM. Of course they can go hand in hand but not necessarily.

    As for the question I think the dynamic may be different but isn’t that also true whether we are talking about BDSM or vanilla sex too? I mean I’m sure there are a lot of single guys who have way more sex then I do, but there are those I far exceed as well.

    To me the interviews seem to have covered a myriad of experiences. from sensual to sadistic, newbie to well established and those that want to those that have. I think all those aspects come into play whether you’re single or not. Again its the dynamics and personal preferences that make each different.

  • Lily

    Oh, yes: your BDSM is fundamentally different: it’s inexperienced and poorly thought out.

    That’s what ageism sounds like when it’s going in the other direction, by the way. You might not be able to hear it when it’s coming from you; it’s often easier to detect when it’s going in the other direction. Maybe you can review this statement of yours and see if you can detect the sexism in it:

    the BDSM practised by 30+ married mothers between chores and kids the same as practised by a under 30 y/o with no commitments or ties.

    Oh, a married woman — and a mother! gasp! couldn’t possibly be edgy or sexy in the same way I am, right?! Won’t somebody please think of the children and tell these women to knock it off? Their days of being sexual are over! If they wanted to keep having hot sex they just shouldn’t have had sex in the firstplace! Oh…wait…

    The good news is that neither one of us has to stay in the enforced ignorance of any bigotry. We can just “snap out of it.”

    I don’t think that your BDSM is less than because of your age. I don’t think your BDSM is less than because of your gender. I don’t think your BDSM is less than if you choose to engage in it outside of a committed relationship.

    Once you get to a place where you aren’t filtering your view of people through worn-out ideas, you’ll notice that life is suddenly a lot more interesting.

  • Naamah

    >>Are they the same in a domestic relationship as they are in an uncommitted one?

    Honestly? They aren’t the same between one *relationship* and another. I’m kinky, but I’m not in a BDSM-type relationship with my husband of lo these many years *creak groan*, I’ve had kinky playmates, and any further kinky activities I have will be of that — uncommitted — variety. And those activities vary widely depending on the person and what we bring out of each other.

    Is *sex* different between committed partners and partners who are not committed? The answer is yes, but the nature of that change is complicated, and it’s not the same for everyone.

    There’s an old joke that goes like this:

    Chad wasn’t too happy with his doctor’s recommendation to cure his constant fatigue.

    “You want me to give up sex completely, Doc?” he cried. “I’m a young guy. I’m in the prime of my life. How do you expect me to give up sex and go cold turkey?”

    “Well,” replied the doctor, “you could get married and taper off gradually…”

    And THAT joke really says something about our cultural ideas about sex, marriage, passion, love, and connection, most of which are all fucked up.

    There is no reason a one-time thing cannot be deep and meaningful and a source of great connection. There’s no reason two committed people can’t be having lighthearted playful kinkytimes.

    Now, long relationships tend to lead to deeper ones, and this is true of BDSM relationships as well, obviously, and people tend to gain greater communication skills as they gain experience which means they often get “better” at relationships, but I don’t see how that leads to a fundamental difference, unless you are talking about the kind of fundamental difference between a sapling and a tree.

    I really, really don’t see BDSM as a thing primarily for or composed of young, experimenting folks. Many upon many of the people I know who are into BDSM have told me that they only felt safe exploring it once they were *in* a comfortable, safe, established relationship. Not all, certainly, but it’s a noticeable percentage. Trust takes time to build.

  • Wicked maggie

    I think there’s actually two separate questions being asked here.

    The first… “So my question is this, do you think your BDSM is in some sense fundamentally different to mine?”

    No, I think fundamentally it’s all the same. We all accept the basic principles, which is why we all call what we do BDSM and D/s relationships. Someone’s in charge, someone follows. There’s always some level of consent. But like Naamah says, EVERY relationship, committed or not varies widely.

    which brings me to question #2

    2. “Is the BDSM practised by 30+ married mothers between chores and kids the same as practised by a under 30 y/o with no commitments or ties.”

    THIS I think is the distinction. The way in which it’s practice. What I’ve noticed as one of the major fundamental differences is boundaries. In the uncommitted relationship, the boundaries are easily defined. You live separate lives and only intersect during the predefined sessions or areas of agreed control. but it’s still easy to look at those relationships and see the on times and the off times.

    When the relationship becomes more committed, when the participants live together, get married, have children… these easily defined boundaries disappear. The on and off times blur away into nothingness. You have to learn to adjust what it is that you do to fit smoothly with the lives you’ve blended together.

    The other major one would be time. Long term relationships, where there is marriage, kids, homes, etc, have a long term view about them. As a D, somethings I undertake may have goals that are 5 yrs down the road before completion. We can be a bit more relaxed and patient with our undertakings. And as ageism as it may sound, there’s a truth to the thought that the kink and the fetishes take a bit more of a back seat to the relationship and the actual D/s dynamic between the partners. We’ve been there and done that with a lot of the kink. While we still enjoy it immensely, I think we start to look for the deeper meanings behind why it is we like what we like.

    • DD

      Maggie,
      that was a really awesome presentation of some of the differing dynamics present.
      Thank you for breaking it down like that and sharing your view.

  • Stabbity

    I personally don’t tend to associate bdsm with life styles that involve marriage and children.

    That’s a tremendous lack of imagination. I hate to burst your bubble, but people don’t actually report to their local government office to have their personalities removed when they get married and have kids.

    Is the BDSM practised by 30+ married mothers between chores and kids the same as practised by a under 30 y/o with no commitments or ties.

    Well, no. As has already been said, no two people practice BDSM exactly the same way, regardless of their ages. I know people younger than I am who are only interested in kink in the context of a relationship, and people older than I am who just want to have some kinky fun.

    While it’s possible to have a short lived but extremely intense connection with someone, I think it’s more likely to deeply connect within a committed relationship. I believe trust and intimacy need time to grow, and I know I wouldn’t spend that time on someone who I didn’t think was planning to stick around. Therefore, I believe kink and power exchange within a marriage, squeezed in between children and chores, is likely to be deeper and more meaningful than the superficially flashier play available to a younger person with no commitments or ties. I also think someone who bothers to carve out time for kink in an already busy life is more serious about it than someone who only pursues their kink when it’s convenient.

    • DD

      Stabbity,
      I inserted your people.
      Which sounds like a dirty joke waiting to happen, but it’s really just an editing note.

      Also, I really like your last line,

      I also think someone who bothers to carve out time for kink in an already busy life is more serious about it than someone who only pursues their kink when it’s convenient.

      If someone happily gives up any sort of BDSM because they got married and had kids, it makes me think about a question that was suggested for the interviews; is your kink something you do, or part of who you are? Seems like the answer in that case would be, “BDSM is something I formerly did but it’s not really part of who I am.”

      It also sounds to me like a particular denomination of the fundamentalists. If you don’t look, sound, and talk like us then you aren’t really a believer/BDSMer. Everyone knows OUR way is the best way to do this.

      Someone, I think it was Peroxide, mentioned in a different forum that BDSM belongs only to people in their 20s in porn and if that is the majority influence in how opinions about BDSM are formed obviously there will be a corresponding bias in that person’s perception of BDSM.

      In any case, this is a really interesting to discuss, so I am glad it came up. I’m looking forward to what else people have to say about it.

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