BDSM Beyond the Bedroom

If you are new-ish to kink you may be under the impression that power exchange and kink are specifically for sex and intimate play time. Its easy to get that impression with the way BDSM is portrayed in the wider media.

However, for many people, power exchange and kink go beyond sex and intimate play. It is a way to structure relationships, affirm identities, and maintain connections with partners.

How Do I Know if BDSM Beyond the Bedroom is Right for Me?

If you have been enjoying power exchange during sex and intimacy, you may want to consider taking it to the next level. To get a sense if this type of relationship will work for you, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do I enjoy being told what to do/telling someone what to do?
  • Do I want to affirm my identity as a submissive or dominant more than just in the bedroom?
  • Does my kinky play feel more intimate or powerful than the rest of my relationship?
  • Am I in a long distance relationship?
  • Does my partner need help getting into the kinky headspace for play?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, consider engaging in kink outside the bedroom.

Protocols

Protocols are rituals or rules a couple establishes. They can cover anything from clothing choice to personal grooming, body positions to speech and much more! The purpose of protocols multifaceted. They can help someone enter a headspace for play or other interactions. They can help affirm identities. They can help reduce anxiety. They can improve intimacy.

Because protocols are so varied, you will need to start with an area you are comfortable either giving over control or taking control over (depending on what side of the slash you are on). Below is a list of general areas and subsets of areas for protocols to consider:

Physical: Grooming, Clothing, Body Positioning, Food

Sexual: Partners, Kink Activities, Remote- Control Toys, Orgasm Control

Time: Limits on screen time or gaming time, amount of time spent with partner, exercise or meditation requirements, time spent with others

Financial: How money is spent, amount of control over discretionary spending, access to funds

Family: Child-rearing; time with parents, in-laws and other family; religious choice and practice; holidays; disclosure of kink/power exchange relationships

Choose one small subset where you feel comfortable giving over control and your partner is comfortable taking control. Start small.

For example, if you want to give over control of what you wear, you may want to start with your partner dictating date night apparel. Another simple area to control is choice of undergarments. Try this for a few weeks to see if it works for both of you. Set up at time limit and a time and place to discuss how the protocol worked for you.

Language

Honorifics are common in power exchange and kinky play. Calling someone Sir, Master, Madame, or Mistress is often part of kink play. Many people limit the use of these terms to either intimate play or when you are with community members.

You can extend this type of power exchange beyond community events. I suggest you spend some time thinking through how your honorific will be received by others not in the kink community. While calling a male dominant Sir is often widely accepted outside the kink world as simply being deferential, calling a female dominant Mistress is received differently.

You and your partner may be comfortable using your regular honorifics outside the kink community. However, if you are not, look for alternative ways to show respect and deference. Some people opt for using a Mr. or Mrs. and last name outside the kink scene. This is often more acceptable when you are with work friends or family.

Body Position Behavior

Another way people incorporate kink and power exchange into their wider relationship is to discuss where they are in relationship to their partner. This can include who walks in front and who walks behind; who is responsible for opening doors; asking for permission to sit, use the bathroom, or other similar behaviors.

These types of behaviors are subtle and rarely noticed by people not in the kink community. For situations where you and a partner might want to be very subtle about your dynamic, developing non-verbal signals such as hand motions, can be useful.

Growing Your Kink

As with any behavior change, these things will take time. People will make mistakes, forget rules or protocols, or simply be too uncomfortable in situations to continue the established behavior. In these instances, it is important to talk about what happened and see if either the protocol needs to be altered or enforced.

Keep in mind, not everything you try will work for you. It is okay to say something is not working (or no longer working) and ask to change it.

Additionally, as people grow and change, there will need to be updates to these behavioral requirements. For example, if the dominant is the person who opens doors becomes physically incapable of this due to disability, short term broken arm, or the like, the protocol may need to be altered. If a submissive develops arthritis, they may not be able to kneel for extended periods of time and alternative positions will need to be explored.

The great thing about kink is we have a lot of alternatives and ways of showing our commitment and passion for a partner. Take some time to explore behaviors beyond the bedroom and focus on how they make you feel.


If you want to explore these behaviors more in depth, check out my class on Saturday, August 21 at 12 PM PST through Black-Thorn.org.

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