elyxer: (Collar Kiss)
[personal profile] elyxer
I was roaming around on LJ and came across a post and I felt compelled to leave a comment, but then I decided it was much better to answer in my LJ and link to the original post here. This will make more sense if you read [livejournal.com profile] belenen's post first.

Let me start by saying that I was most impressed with [livejournal.com profile] belenen's willingness to listen to an opposing viewpoint as well as her honesty. I'd also like to point out that I am answering this from my own experiences and my perspective. This is not meant to insult anyone or imply that their beliefs are any less valid than my own. Don't you love it when you feel the need to put a disclaimer on your opinions? *grins*

Wikipedia defines power exchange (which is the proper terminology...not power imbalance) in BDSM as “a relationship or activity in which the submissive partner exchanges his or her authority to make a decision for the dominant partner’s agreement to take responsibility for the submissive’s happiness and health.” Personally, I love this definition because it’s the most accurate description of what a true power exchange entails. The misconception that bugs me the most when discussing BDSM is the one that refers to the submissive as the “poor, helpless, weak-willed subby” mindlessly trying to obey and please the “big, bad, abusive dom” especially since it takes an extremely strong person to submit and an equally caring person to dominate.

Life in general is neither fair nor equal. Taking into consideration all the different types of relationships a person encounters during their lifetime, there is always an exchange of power happening at some point: children concede power to their parents; employees concede power to their supervisors; and citizens concede power to societal bodies of government and their laws. There is a pattern in these relationships that mirror the basic qualities of a BDSM relationship: most parents want what's best for their children and strive to take the child's opinions into consideration; any boss worthy of his or her job takes the employees into consideration when making decisions; every citizen has the opportunity to make their opinions known by voting; and any decent dominant takes their submissive's wishes, needs and desires into consideration at all times. What most people fail to realize is that the submissive is the the one that can put a stop to anything with a simple word.

While most relationships are neither fair nor equal, the healthy ones have some form of communication where both parties participate in maintaining a modicum of happiness. Unfortunately, you have “bad eggs” in every aspect of life who “ruin the pot” for all concerned. It seems that all the failures of BDSM are splattered all over the media and the people in healthy, happy relationships feel they have to hide in order to live their lives. Is it any wonder that a lot of people can only see bad things when looking into BDSM?

A very popular question that's asked is “why would anyone want to live that way?” That is an extremely difficult question to answer simply because it’s hard to explain that it isn’t a “want” but a “need” when dealing with BDSM. If the average person can’t understand why anyone would “want” to experience a BDSM relationship, how can the “need” to experience one be explained? There is no exact definition of how two people will experience this type of relationship because everyone is different and BDSM is customized to each individual couple. The kink does not define the people involved or their relationship…it’s just an added component that spices things up on occasion.

When comparing a healthy BDSM relationship to marriage, in most cases, the BDSM couple will have fewer issues to deal with in their relationship because they will have discussed and set ground rules that the married couple won’t have covered. BDSM is not for everyone just as marriage isn’t for everyone, but the connection that a couple forms in a BDSM relationship is no less valid than the one that occurs for a married couple. Both have a contract and with the divorce rate what it is these days, it’s hard to use the argument that marriage is “sacred.” The major difference in dissolving both contracts is that you don’t need a lawyer, a courtroom and a judge to get out of a BDSM contract. I am not claiming BDSM is better than marriage, I’m just pointing out that it’s not so different and definitely not inferior.

If not for the kink, then what is so appealing about a BDSM relationship? Keeping in mind that I’m answering from my own personal experience and that this answer could be dramatically different depending on who you ask, for me, it’s the freedom. I don’t have to worry about being cheated on, lied to or ignored. Why? Because all those issues were discussed up front and I know exactly what to expect. I know that I’ll be taken care of no matter what and that my partner will always listen to me. Does marriage offer this amount of certainty? All relationships have kinks that need to be worked out, and not all BDSM relationships are healthy ones, but as I said earlier, there are always “bad eggs” floating around in any type of relationship.

Finally, the power exchange in a BDSM relationship is not to diminish one partner and set the other up on some pedestal of power. It simply means that one partner needs and desires to be controlled in order to find happiness, and the other partner needs to take care of someone who is willing to impart the amount of trust that a submissive holds for their dominant. What’s so bad about that?

Now, I'd like to share a song that I think really expresses the "need" of a slave. It also demonstrates the connection between a dominant and a slave. Most people don't recognize the difference between a slave and a submissive and while there are similarities, there are also differences. The one thing that is completely the same is they both need a dominant to guide them, teach them, push them, care for them, and in some cases, keep them from doing harm to themselves. I want to point out the use of the term abuse in this song is not meant to imply that a BDSM relationship is abusive. Again, it's hard to explain, but a dominant's brand of "abuse" for their submissive or slave is not meant in a harmful way. I hope you enjoy the song.


Date: 2009-03-23 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashmedai.livejournal.com
Completely agree, and you raised excellent points that I don't have anything to add to, really. Many people don't see the difference between bdsm and abuse, or think it's two sides of the same coin when it's not even a similar currency. But BDSM is consensual, abuse is not. A sub or slave is informed, while a victim of abuse is never informed and never knows what to expect. An abuser tears down the self-esteem and self-worth of his victim; a dominant partner does exactly the opposite. And a victim submits out of fear, a submissive submits because he wants to and takes pleasure in it.

Too many people focus on the kink aspect, I think. I've heard from most couples in 24/7 relationships that there's very little "scening" at all; day to day life seems to satisfy the need to dominate or submit. Toys are just props anyway, IMO. BDSM fiction is no help at all portraying BDSM in a realistic light, it's more of a hindrance than anything else, so I'm glad you take the time to tell it like it is.


Date: 2009-03-23 11:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Hey Bro! As you and I have discussed many times, this subject is extremely hard to explain to a person who doesn't "get" BDSM. All the intricacies are just to complex to break it down properly. I try to be as open and as honest as I can be and I'm glad that I didn't completely screw up the answer here. Thank you for your help with the abuse issue. I know I did a lame job of explaining it, but you made it clear. What would I do without you?

I totally agree with you about the kink factor and BDSM fiction. Even Leather Bound was a work of fiction not matter how hard I tried to keep it realistic. Again, thank you so much for helping me explain things.

Date: 2009-03-23 12:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashmedai.livejournal.com
Well if someone doesn't get it, why not accept that others do get it and STFU about it? All I read in that post was bigotry and intolerant propaganda. I did comment, and I received a somewhat snotty reply from the lady in which she stated her personal opinion as proven fact with arguments that commit logical suicide. When I went back, curious as to what others said, I found all comments screened, so apparently hers is the only opinion that's valid enough to make public...oh, and don't confuse her with the facts either. I've posted about this too now because I'm too pissed off to let it rest. Honest to God...some people! If folks like this had a voice and a choice, they'd still be throwing queers and kinksters into prison and mental institutions. That's one reason I won't shrug it off.
*hugs back*

Date: 2009-03-23 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Well you know how I feel about keeping things civil. I honestly don't let things like this get to me because she really doesn't understand. I know how frustrating it can be especially if she got all snotty with you. Well, it must be as Lyn said...she wasn't really looking to have a discussion about the topic. She's obviously made up her mind and nothing anyone says or does will make any difference. We know too many people like that to try and fight them. I want to apologize for introducing her into our lives, but I honestly thought she was sincere in her desire to understand. Don't let it get to you, Bro. It's wrong and it sucks, but unfortunately that's the world we live in. I'm not gonna ask you to shrug it off...you're a big boy and can make your own decisions...just don't get too upset about it. I love you and I don't wanna see you upset.

Date: 2009-03-23 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashmedai.livejournal.com
I want to apologize for introducing her into our lives, but I honestly thought she was sincere in her desire to understand. Don't let it get to you, Bro. It's wrong and it sucks, but unfortunately that's the world we live in. I'm not gonna ask you to shrug it off...you're a big boy and can make your own decisions...just don't get too upset about it. I love you and I don't wanna see you upset.

Oh don't worry about it, and there's no reason to apologize! Issues like this sort of shake things up a little and break the monotony - LOL! Of course I didn't get too upset about it, I'm not histrionic even if it might seem that way when I froth and fume in my own LJ, but it's almost forgotten once I've done so. :)

*Hugs back*

Date: 2009-03-23 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Well I just had to make sure you're okay...it's a big Sis privilege and all that. *grins*

Date: 2009-03-23 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gerri71.livejournal.com
I love how you explain yourself in way that is so clear yet filled with a mixture of thoughtful descriptions and terminology.

I also believe that the need is what is strongest and without it there would be no want. Think of it like this if we only wanted things we could rationalise or talk our way around it, out of it or just dissmiss it. Need on the other hand is so instinctual that for me it is a constant battle of heart and mind if I don't get what I need.

I don't always get what I want (well almost, lol) but I can survive without those things, but what I need, I need.

The power exchange between anyone in any kind of relationship is always there I think. It does very much depend of the nature of the relationship, but surely one that is clear and well understood by its parties has a better chance of enjoyment and success, than one built around expectation, traditional values in a contemporary world and dishonesty.

I have no problem handing over power to another, but first I must trust them, second I must care for them and thirdly I would need to believe that their intentions had my well being in mind. Most importantly I need to know that they have the ability and need to commit to their part in the relationship.

Also I agree with Alex, fiction is just that fiction. I would not go to a BDSM fiction website for research any more than a porn site for researching hetrosexual relationships. BDSM fanfiction is equally as ridiculous to show BDSM relationships as porn is for marriage. It's like someone watching QAF or reading the fiction and expecting every gay man to act as one of the characters and no other way.

Normalisation of any person or any group may help people to sort people into labelled boxes, but it's stupid and not a true representation.

Date: 2009-03-23 12:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Hey Ger! I've missed you. Thank you for offering your opinions. The thing about trying to explain this to others is that I can only offer my own personal ideas. You and Alex understand what I'm saying because the three of us share a unique understanding that most people don't have. I liked the way you described need...I tried to explain it but I think I dropped the ball, so thank you for clearing that issue up for me. *grins*

This is the very reason I wanted to answer [livejournal.com profile] belenen's post here. I knew you guys would help out with the things I couldn't explain quite right. I also knew that everyone on my f-list would be fair and wouldn't take this personally as some people very well could. So again, thanks for helping out, Ger.

Date: 2009-03-24 12:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gerri71.livejournal.com
I've missed u 2.
I was shocked that you felt I helped explain need, I was just adding a comment. I take it as a high compliment from you to put me in any group along with you and Alex.
I was not offended in any way and if some one could be then I feel for them as they must have missed the whole piont.

Hugs and more hugs!

Date: 2009-03-24 12:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Hey you're one of the hommies (is that how you spell that slang expression) LOL. I hear it a lot in reference to Homeboys and Homegirls. *shrug* Anyway, you fit right in with us. *grins* I always try to make sure I don't offend people. You know me...run my mouth first then think about what I've said. *sighs* Thanks again for helping out.

Date: 2009-03-23 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandra-qaf.livejournal.com
All of your views have been presented logically and honestly.
I have no personal experience of BDSM...most of my knowledge came from negative press items etc.
Then through QAF and fan fiction I have I think gained a more balanced understanding of the whole relationship...I have to add that I avoided reading this type of fiction for a long time because of my negative view of it.
Once I read some I wanted to know more(the first one was COLLAR BOUND)...I find it very interesting and stimulating:)...once I got over my initial reluctance...
As someone mentioned fanfiction etc cannot give full knowledge or the reality of BDSM...it is of course fiction but through reading it I have then gone on to research certain things and I feel I understand it more now.
I admit some things I have come across unerve me and upset me making me wonder why and how...but on the whole I continue to investigate.
I agree there will always be people who abuse the relationship as in everything else...it's the human condition I guess...

Anyway I wanted to applaud your honesty...it is interesting and informative to learn things from people who actually know what they are talking about!
I do tend to wander off the point of things so this may not fully make sense so apologies:)
later x

Date: 2009-03-23 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Thanks Sandra! I tried to be as honest as I could be, but it really is difficult to explain things which is why I'm so fortunate to have Alex and Gerri to help me.

Don't worry about having a bad opinion of BDSM. I think a lot of people share that opinion. The thing that I look for in people is their ability to listen and try to understand. If I know a person has made up their mind and nothing will change that...I just don't bother. If a person is willing to listen and discuss things without getting all emotional...then I'll talk as openly as I can. *grins*


Date: 2009-03-23 11:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lab-jazz.livejournal.com
Just want to say Rena that I read the original post plus your reaction. I found it all quite interesting and it's added to my knowledge bank of BDSM information.


Date: 2009-03-23 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
I'm glad, Lyn. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2009-03-23 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] totallyfrelled.livejournal.com
I will never understand why people get so worked up over BDSM relationships.
It seems to me that there is more respect, on a general basis, between couples in those relationships than in many others.

We are all different beings, and we all have different needs.
If someone is not hurting anyone, or anything else, in their lives, what the hell does it matter to anyone else?

I find that the people I care most about in this world are the ones with the truly most open hearts and minds.

We should all be free to do what makes us happy and whole.
My daughter and son-in-law had a civil ceremony, alone with one witness, by a beaver pond, to have the paperwork to satisfy anything that might come up in life. Their true ceremony was a hand-fasting, in a field, where they just spoke to each other, and my daughter was 'given away' by her gay godfather.
Now, we exchange conversations about my son-in-law's attraction to David Tennant, from Doctor Who, and my daughter's attraction to Olivia Wilde, from House, and the fact that all three of us would have quite happily have shagged the 2 male and 2 female main stars of a Shakespeare episode of Doctor Who. :)
All works for me!

As far as I see it, love is very precious, however it comes to us, and it should be everyone's individual choice as to how they meet that need, in their lives.

Hugs, Anita.

Date: 2009-03-23 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Hey Anita! I can understand what you're saying because we happen to share a similar belief system. It's been my experience that there will always be people who fear anything outside the norm because they don't understand it and they don't want to. We should all be able to do whatever makes us happy within reason. I mean you have psychos who want to kill in order to be happy, but I totally get what you're saying. Unfortunately, we don't live in an open-minded world and I guess we just have to keep talking and educating people and hope for the best.

I also agree with your opinion on love...check out the icon. *giggles* Thank you so much for sharing your opinion.

Date: 2009-03-23 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitasangel.livejournal.com
I just wanted to say thank you for explaining this in a clear way. I went and read the original statement and I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion I worry that this person wasn't as open minded as they appear. If you had asked me 5 years ago about BDSM relationships I might have answered along the same lines because most of the info on tv doesn't really explain what this is about. So I am a curious person and I asked people who lived the life style why. I have met some wonderful people who live their lives very much like mine. What I liked most and what this original person didn't get was trust. The amount of trust there is in a healthy BDSM relationship is epic. Most marriages would be wonderful if they had even half the trust and communication that most BDSM couples have. People I taked to in the life style said that everyday life was more about people actually doing the chores assigned to them then bondage. Not to make light of it but BDSM sounds pretty damn good if I didn't have to cook every day and do the laundry. Anyway thanks for continuing the discussion and really is it anyones business what you do in your relationships.

Date: 2009-03-23 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Hey Lyn! First, let me commend you on trying to find factual answers to your questions and not just taking things from the internet. I think it's important to talk to people in order to learn about their lives, so thanks for taking the time. I totally agree with you on the trust issue. It seems that all you guys are doing a better job of explaining things than I did, which is the reason I wanted to post this here.

No, it's not anyone's business how I live my life, but I think it's important to try and get some factual information out there...you know? I don't take things like [livejournal.com profile] belenen's post personal because I know that she doesn't have all the facts. I honestly don't know whether she'll even read anything that's been posted here, but a lot of people have read it so it's all good. My intention wasn't to change her mind about BDSM...I just wanted her to know that she didn't have all the facts.

Thanks for taking the time to post your opinions.

Date: 2009-03-23 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minami77.livejournal.com
My English is not so good so I am not able tell you a lot about my opinion, but I want to tell you I read your post and all the answers of your flist and I appreciated all of them.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your point of view, it was interesting and well expounded and it made me understand a little well about BDSM.
Thank you.

Date: 2009-03-23 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Your English is just fine. I'm glad you took the time to read this and thank you for letting me know. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Date: 2009-03-24 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] julieannette.livejournal.com
Oh this was just really good. Elyxer I read your post and the one you were responding too. I have been drawn to BDSM since I was about 12 years old. Have never actually lived it. I have had to be a strong person and have never actually met someone that I would be willing to trust enough to let go of the control over my life. I would make a horrible dominant because I don't want the reponsibility of being in control of someone else's life. My husband and I live as equals. I am still fascinated with it though and love to read about it. I have had the unfortunate experience of seeing women who "submit" in a religious context and I find that pretty horrifying--it seems to end up being abusive. What I see of a healthy D/s relationship (non-religious context) I find attractive. It seems that trust and love (agape-genuine concern and affection) are the biggest elements towards making a BDSM relationship work. I like the idea of setting boundaries and writing up contracts--knowing what to expect. Thank you for your comments. This has been thought provoking.

Date: 2009-03-24 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
Hey Julie! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I know there are lots of relationships out there that aren't healthy and happy, but it's sad that everyone is judged by the actions of a few. The same things that attract you to BDSM are what attract a lot of people to it. Unfortunately, most people only see the kink and the "perversion." Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Date: 2009-03-24 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] julieannette.livejournal.com
I am not averse to kink--LOL. It doesn't help that the media paints bdsm as "evil"--Body of Evidence with Madonna and Willem Dafoe is one example. Would like to see something that portrays bdsm as something good and positive.

Date: 2009-03-24 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
It would be nice. I'd like to see that myself.

Date: 2009-03-24 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gerri71.livejournal.com
One of my all time fav movies Secretary staring James Spader
Maggie Gyllenhaal is not perfect, but considering it is a mainstream movie, it's not bad. It's funny actually because when I first saw it I found myself so attracted to both Maggie Gyllenhaal's character - Lee Holloway and James Spader's E. Edward Grey as well as their situation that it actually scared me. It's funny how that can happen. I love the final scene in that movie as I could imagine doing just what she does. Anyway it may not be for everyone and I am sure the content may be a little out there, but I think it's fabulous.
You can read the Plot Summary here;
(For some reason the last closed bracket does link up, so just add it on if you want it to work)

Date: 2009-03-24 12:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elyxer.livejournal.com
That sounds familiar, but I'll check it out. Thanks.
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