Is Sex Always Part of BDSM?

I have had a bunch of conversations lately about incorporating sex into BDSM play. Some people have to have both in a session, others do not. The key issue, it appears, is head space.

BDSM play, for many people, requires getting into a particular head space. What I mean by this, is there is something psychological you have to tap into in order to be ready to engage in a BDSM scene. Most BDSM play is not something that occurs on the spot with no planning. I don’t anyone (not that they don’t exist) who can walk into a scene with no planning and no preparation.

This is one major way BDSM play differs from vanilla sex. A lot of people an start having sex with little or no preparation. This is the basis of a nooner. On an lunch hour, people can run home, have sex, clean up and get back to work. No big deal, in – out and ready to go!

Much of vanilla sex requires that you be in the mood to have sex, but does not require a shift in your focus or how you feel emotionally. People wake up, have sex, and then start their day. They watch television, brush their teeth, have sex, and go to bed. They meet at a club, run to the loo, have one off, and go back to their friends.

A BDSM scene, on the other hand, requires that how you interact with your partner, how you feel about yourself, your mood, and your power shift. They take preparation and build up and planning. I don’t necessarily mean you have to spend hours setting up a play space, talking about it, or making Gant charts – but there is preparation involved.

Power Play

I have had this conversation with several D-types in the past week. For them, Domming takes some work and a shift in how they interact with someone. They have all stated that they can’t just dial up their Dom side and be ready to go in a moments notice. It takes them a while to prepare for a scene and to take the reigns of the power being given to them.

Many submissives are similar in this way. We have to prepare to give over the power we have to a D-type and be comfortable with that. Even for submissives in a 24/7 relationship who have ceded power over a lot of different things, being ready to play where you are giving up the power over your body takes a bit of mental preparation.

One D-type I know pointed out that, for him, the key part of play is the power exchange. The physical acts in the scene are secondary to knowing he has the power to do as he pleases. For many people who have been doing BDSM for some time, it is the power exchange that is the crux of the experience, not the sex.

If you haven’t done power exchange in play, it can be difficult or daunting. As a submissive, it can be scary to agree to let go of control of your body, of the ability to request something during a scene, and of the outcome. Mind you, not all scenes involve complete power exchange. But even giving up a bit of control can be difficult to most people.

An Illustration

Think about your typical sexual encounter. For most people, even D/s or M/s couples, there is some level of feedback and give and take during the encounter. “Do you like that?” “What do you want?” “What do you need?” “Have you climaxed?” All of these are common questions during sex when there is not a lot of power exchange.

In a BDSM scene with power exchange, one partner cedes control and the other assumes it. The D-type has the power to do as he or she pleases and the s-type is receptive to it (usually within established limits). It takes training and practice to accept that you do not have control during a scene.

I have a D-type in my life I am now comfortable doing complete power exchange with in a scene. After several years of play and talk outside of a scene, I know he has a deep understanding of the power he has, of my mental state during a scene, of my physical limits and he will keep me safe. When we scene, we spend time (usually a day or more) beforehand preparing. The preparation is usually simple. We set a time and date, I am told what items I should have ready for the play space, he generally gives me instructions on what to wear and how I am to greet him when he arrives. Often, there are a few texts with instructions like “send [whatever] type of photo,” or “edge three times today.” This sets my head space for play.

It took time to get to the point where I can release this type of power to him in a scene. What we do now compared to what we did a few years ago is different. This is because there is trust and our dynamic has developed.

So, What About Sex?

Sex during a BDSM scene is a very individual thing. Some people do not get sexually aroused during BDSM play. The reward of the scene is a release and pleasure, but not through sexual play. Others have to have some type of sex for a scene to be complete.

Personally, I enjoy sex along with a scene. I get physically aroused by rough play and the power exchange excites me. I do not always have sex when I play. I have had partners who we only do BDSM scenes and there is no sex. With other partners, sex is part of a scene.

Sex in combination with BDSM play is different than other sex. For me, there is a component of service. I do not request any particular act. Part of the power exchange is the right of the D-type to use my body as he pleases and that is part of the pleasure of it for me.

More often than not, sex when coupled with a BDSM scene for me is generally giving oral sex. The D-types I play with prefer that and it fits their head space and mine. For me, receiving oral is antithetical to a BDSM scene (there is discussion about this in the community. I fall on the side that someone performing oral on me is not a dominant move and I don’t incorporate this into my play.) A number of D-types I play with actually can’t get hard during BDSM play. When they want a sexual release, the play stops, there is a break in action, then we finish with a blow job.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual partners to determine if sex is part of a BDSM scene. I know the lack of sex in many scenes confuses people who do not participate in BDSM. They can’t understand why people would do all of this and then not have sex.

If There is no Sex, Why do People do BDSM?

BDSM play has its own rewards. It bonds people in a different way. There is something very intimate when you trust someone enough to give over power for a time and engage in behaviors that would be risky if the trust was not there. It is very special to be able to say to someone, “I trust you with my body and my emotions and will demonstrate it to you through [various] types of play.” This type of trust and bonding does not occur in most sex.

A D/s or M/s dynamic takes time and patience to develop. It takes communication and practice. I see it as the exact opposite of hook-up culture. People joke that a blow job is the new gay handshake. In lots of ways, it is. Sex for many people now is very casual and enjoyable, but is not about establishing a bond or trust. You can’t develop a BDSM dynamic without opening up and bonding with another person. You can do pick up play, but that is very different than most BDSM scenes. That bond and trust and relevance of a physical relationship is one of the rewards of BDSM play.

 

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