Thanks to a certain well-known (and no doubt well-thumbed…Pun absolutely intended) book, the whole world has now heard the terms Dominance and Submission with regards to what people get up to in the boudoir.
Women up and down the length and breadth of the globe are now jumping up and down and shouting, “I’m a submissive! Tie me up!” and the cable tie and rope section at your local DIY store has no doubt had an influx of curious customers who may or may not be using said items for their intended purpose.
It was within reason that every sex-specific retail outlet would jump on the bandwagon and start offering themed goodies to cash in on this behemoth of a trend, but even Supermarkets are getting in on the action and offering their own line of (perhaps a little less risqué) ‘accessories’.
Seriously, Fifty Shades of Grey did for grown ups what Frozen did for a generation of children…Perhaps short of people uploading their own recreations on Youtube…cause that could’ve been disturbing/entertaining (delete as appropriate).
BDSM has had an awakening, and in general, the community is pretty happy about the fact that their favourite pastime is a little more prevalent, a little less taboo. But there is an undertone of cynicism, a whispering of discontent, and whole bucket load of exasperation at the general misunderstanding of what BDSM actually is, and what the hell it actually means to be a Submissive…or a Dominant…and wait, I’m about to confuse the fuck out of you even more…
Doms, Subs, Bottoms, Tops, Sadists, and Masochists…to name but a few.
In some circles, these are all completely different. In some circles, these are all one in the same. In many circles, these are all general terms to describe certain aspects of the BDSM dynamic and they are used to help forge an understanding of someone’s particular interest in the bedroom.
Confused yet? You probably should be…
Ok, let’s begin at the beginning and explain just a few of the words that you may come across (no pun intended) if you decide to take a little peek into the actual world of BDSM…
BDSM – Bondage/Dominance/Submission/Sadism/Masochism (I know that should be BDSSM, but it isn’t, just go with it…)
Fetish – A sexual desire linked, with an abnormal degree of interest, to a particular act/object/scenario. (Side note – Rule 36 – If it exists, there is a fetish for it!)
Kink – Sexual practices that go beyond what is considered ‘conventional’. (Side note – Vanilla – Conventional)
D/s – An abbreviation for Dominance and Submission, which is also used as an umbrella term for most types of BDSM relationships.
Primal – Someone that enjoys the raw, animalistic, approach to sexual practice, within any of the following dynamics.
Sadist – Someone who has a Fetish for inflicting pain.
Masochist – Someone who has a Fetish for receiving pain.
Top – Someone who has a Fetish for being in charge in the bedroom.
Bottom – Someone who has a Fetish for not being in charge in the bedroom.
Submissive – (Ugh…this one is tricky…in the simplest terms…) Someone who has a Fetish for relinquishing control in the bedroom (or elsewhere), with regards to physical, emotional, and sexual practice, specifically to a Dominant.
Dominant – (Ugh…just as tricky…again…) Someone who has a Fetish for assuming control in the bedroom (or elsewhere), with regards to physical, emotional, and sexual practice, specifically of a Submissive.
(Responsible Disclaimer at this point – These terms refer to the dynamic between CONSENTING ADULTS; no physical or emotional manipulation plays any part in a proper D/s relationship…Let’s not get all trolly and judgemental about it.)
I know what you’re thinking…Pretty straightforward, not so confusing…So far so good, right?
You can be a Bottom without being a Submissive or a Masochist.
You can be a Masochist without being a Bottom or a Submissive.
You can be a Submissive without being a Masochist (But you would typically be a Bottom)
You can be a Top without being a Dominant or a Sadist.
You can be a Sadist without being a Top or a Dominant.
You can be a Dominant without being a Sadist (But you would typically be a Top)
You can be a Primal without being any of the above.
You can be any combination of any of the above, to any ratio, whatsoever, including, but not restricted to…
Being a Masochistic Submissive with a Primal edge that occasionally enjoys Topping from the Bottom.
Being a Sadistic Top that has no interest in Submission, but loves a good Primal Bottom.
Being a Sadomasochist that enjoys both inflicting and receiving pain but is in no way Dominant or Submissive.
Being a Bottomy Submissive with no Masochistic tendencies, whatsoever.
Being a Toppy Dominant with no Sadistic tendencies, whatsoever.
Being a Primal Toppy Sadist.
Being a Bottomy Submissive Masochist.
Being a Bratty Submissive with Switchy tendencies….Wait!! New terms???…Damnit….
See, it can get confusing.
So, here’s my point; I don’t believe there is any such thing as just a Submissive, or just a Dominant. But I also don’t believe that everyone running around calling themselves these after reading Fifty Shades of Grey is genuinely either.
I did it too….I discovered BDSM and called myself a Submissive for a long time. Then I spent some time researching…reading…writing…experimenting…and I realised just how vast and varied this lifestyle is. Just how complicated it can be, how confusing it can be, how enticing and exciting it can be, and how a thousand different nuances and tastes can be twisted and contorted and evolve into something entirely different to what you might expect.
Me? I’m a Bottomy Masochist with Submissive tendencies that lean toward the Primal.