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If BDSM is for me then why do I feel so guilty?

12 February 2006

The world of BDSM is a fascinating place, but finding your way in and then finding your own place once you are inside is not easy.

One of the biggest problems is recognising, and accepting, BDSM needs and desires within yourself. The face that our society wants us to present to the world does not help.

In our society we learn that we are all equal, that we should be kind and gentle and not hurt others. But these "lessons" often go against what some say are the "primal" needs that we feel when we are "into" BDSM.

As a simple example we can consider a submissive woman (submissive in the BDSM sense). This woman feels a deep NEED to serve and please her dominant partner. She is happiest kneeling at her dominant's feet, or waiting on him--serving him drinks, preparing him food, etc. She looks forward to the times when he directs his attention to her, controlling her and teaching her how he wants her to behave. This attitude just does not fit in with the images we get from TV, radio and the newspapers, and with what we hear from other people.

If you are not in BDSM this may seem anything from just plain weird to disgusting and humiliating, but when you look around at the people into BDSM you find many women just like that. And these are happy women. Contented women. Often in happy, satisfying relationships with their dominant partners.

These women discover their submissive natures, accept them and indulge and satisfy them... but not without difficulty at the start. Most people in BDSM, be they Dominants or submissives, go through a phase, as they are starting up, where they question themselves. They find themselves wondering something like, "Am I some sort of pervert for wanting this?" or, "Am I sick in the head?". How can, let's say, a "modern, liberated" woman accept that she NEEDS--and, I mean, DEEPLY needs--a man to serve and who will tell her what to do?

Equally, how can a man, brought up to accept that women are his equals, then handle his own desires to take over, and treat as his slave and property, his loving female partner?

And what sort of mental leap does it take to accept that flogging and whipping your masochistic partner, or clipping clothespegs on her nipples, is an expression of love and tenderness rather than just plain brutality?

It is generally not easy to accept any of these things. Maybe in a movie you see a someone chained or tied to a tree and feel a sudden stirring, or hunger inside yourself where you wish that it was you. Or maybe your fantasies are inspired by images of slaves attending to your every need. Or maybe you are aroused by movies or stories of torture and you imagine yourself as the torturer ... or as the victim.

For some people that is as far as it goes--vague ideas or hungers quickly suppressed because they "aren't right". Other people go further and start exploring these desires, often secretly, and often with feelings of guilt.

Be sure, if you do have these feelings, fantasies and desires, that you are not alone. There is a whole world of other BDSMers out there who share similar feelings to yours, and who have gone through much the same as you have.

Maybe one of the best ways to handle accepting these feelings and learning what to do about them, is to talk to other people who have already "been there and done that". It can be an enormous help to know that there are others, with needs and desires just like yours, whose guidance and advice can help you find your feet.

There are many people in the BDSM community--Dominants, submissives, sadists, masochists, bondage enthusiasts, etc.--who are only too happy to talk to newcomers and offer advice. You can find them on mailing-lists, the web, or else you might like to look around the local scene.

The Submission and morality IRC discussion talked more at a personal level about the problems involved with "coming out" to yourself about BDSM.

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