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50 shades of pink – a chap’s intro to BDSM

If you’re like one of millions of guys whose missus jumped on the band-wagon and bought or borrowed a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and then got all excited about being spanked, you’re probably a bit bewildered about what the whole bondage and domination thing is all about.


Well you may be surprised to find out that not only is Fifty Shades on the tamer side of the BDSM world, but that it’s a very broad topic with lots of stuff to explore and try out. How hard it gets is entirely up to you …

Many people are embarrassed about even talking about this side of sexuality (one of the pinks I’m referring to in this post’s title, if you like, is the flushing of cheeks when it’s mentioned in “polite” society) but if there’s one thing Fifty Shades has done, apart from make one lady very rich on her book earnings and film rights, it’s to make the whole thing a bit easier to talk about.

You can get people into bondage that aren’t into sadism or masochism, like you get people into masochism who aren’t interested in bondage or being submissive.

The term BDSM – what does it mean? Well the acronym stands for Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism, or Bondage, Domination and Submission, and Masochism, depending on who you ask. The important thing here is that they don’t all necessarily go hand-in-hand all together. You can get people into bondage that aren’t into sadism or masochism, like you get people into masochism who aren’t interested in bondage or being submissive. This means its a really broad church (and, trust me, there are a lot of church-goers into the scene …).

So: B is for Bondage. This has several aspects to it, from using ready made restraints like hand-cuffs, harnesses and spreader bars, through to those into more artisan types of restraint like the Japanese art of rope bondage, Shibari. It’s all about an individual having their ability to move freely about either restricted or totally removed. This then leaves their play partners free to do whatever they want to the bound person, or to set them tasks which are extremely difficult or even impossible to do owing to their restraints, usually with a threat of punishment if they fail. My favourite is tying up my partner and then doing everything to make them orgasm until they can’t take any more … and then keep going (it really is amazing how many times you can make a lady cum after she thinks she’s all played out). By the way, bondage doesn’t necessarily mean inequality between the people playing as many people like to both tie their partner up and be tied up as well, but …

With your partner in a restrained position it might be your pleasure to then inflict some Discipline. This isn’t the same as Sadism, although you are likely to be inflicting pain. Discipline is all about punishing someone for their behaviour – either failing to meet a requirement of whomever set them a task or standard to live up to, their attitude or disobedience. Often this will be inflicted by use of spanking, either bare handed or with specially made paddles or spankers, riding crops, canes, floggers or whips – the aim of Discipline isn’t to leave a permanent mark, but to definitely teach a lesson to the recipient.

This is where you’ll start to see the distinctions in the roles people have in the play and come across the alternate use of the D in BDSM: Domination. This one is about being in control more than anything else: a Dom (for a chap) or Domme (your ladies) is after compliance from a submissive partner (or sub – note that Dom/me’s get to use capitals and subs don’t, just to emphasise the relationship status of the partners). Some Dom/mes event seek to control more than one sub at a time, which can be tricky if they’re not properly trained (I can tell you this from my own experience).

many subs are required to perform menial household tasks with no sexual connotations at all

Whilst a dominant person will normally control their sexual partner or a submissive of their sexual preference it’s not unheard of for them to have submissives who they have no sexual interest in at all. Again, for the Dom/me the thrill is in the control. It’s also quite normal for a Dom/me to use Discipline to control their sub, inflicting corporal punishment for disobedience or failure to follow (or complete) an instruction within the parameters they set. Sometimes they may even make the task deliberately more difficult for the sub, perhaps by using binders, spreaders or hobbling restraints to physically restrict the sub whilst the perform their tasks. They may require the sub to be dressed in a certain way (like a maid’s outfit, or other fetish-wear) and require a certain level of perfection there, again choosing clothing that it’s difficult for the sub to achieve that perfection with.

What’s more not every Dom/me is actually seeking to exploit their sub sexually – many subs are required to perform menial household tasks with no sexual connotations at all, just to demonstrate their compliance, however there normally is some form of incentive, otherwise there’s nothing in it for the sub.

Which brings us rather nicely to S – another letter in our acronym with more than one connotation. As you’ve already seen it can be used for Submission, or in more strict (and usually more intense) relationships Slave, for those people seeking to give up control of their behaviour, sometimes even the way they live their lives, to their Dominant partners whims. These are people for whom the thrill of being told what to do, when and how by a partner they perceive as in control is what get’s them off. In extremis these subs will perform tasks or behave ion ways that are truly outrageous or otherwise unthinkable without the framework of their submissive lifestyle – licking shoes, behaving like a pet (even eating pet food from a bowl on the floor), cross dressing in public, the list is as encompassing as your imagination. Again it’s not necessary for there to be any sexual contact for them to get the satisfaction they need form their role, but it’s quite common that there is.

S can also mean Sadism. For those not familiar with the term it’s taken from the name of the Marquis de Sade, a French aristocrat whose explorations of the sexual perversions people are capable of earned him a cell in a sanitarium. Stories he wrote, such as “Justine”, looked at how some people, in spite of social norms, find themselves being aroused by the inflicting pain. These are people who like to slap, spank, flog, whip, pinch, punch, kick and even cut to get the effect they are looking for. Just a note; not all sadists want the more extreme pain from the physical abuse of the last few actions listed – as with all things there are degrees of extremity to which an individual is willing to go, even when their partner is happy to go further.

The truly extreme masochists will put themselves in danger of real harm, even permanent damage, to achieve their needed threshold of pain

Sadism is basically an extreme form of domination in most cases but there can be situations where subs/slaves are also sadists and their Dom/me uses them to inflict pain on others or even sometimes on the Dom/me themselves. The key is in finding a partner who is willing to go on that journey with you as far as you are willing to go.

And so on to M, which is mostly for Masochism, for the thing  the kind person a Sadist really wants to meet is into; someone who seeks out the pain inflicted by others or objects, quite often for the endorphins rush they get form their bodies reacting to their injuries. Masochists are normally submissives or slaves and it’s not uncommon for them to deliberately fail at an assigned task in order to receive some form of punishment from their Dom/me, or for another M, their Master or Mistress.

As with all of BDSM play there are limits to which a masochist will respond – some like only to be spanked whilst others want to receive some form of contact that leaves a more enduring mark, such as whipping or flogging. The truly extreme masochists will put themselves in danger of real harm, even permanent damage, to achieve their needed threshold of pain, but these tend to be few and far between and generally part of a stable BDSM relationship where each other’s boundaries and abilities are known and respected.

There are all sorts of toys for sadists and masochists to play with – nipple clamps, pin wheels, spankers, floggers, whips. You can even improvise if you’re creative enough (maybe we’ll save that for another time …) or if your both up for it there’s always biting, scratching and slapping.

As you might have guessed not all masochists are submissive – there are Dom/mes out there who will instruct the subs to hurt them, or even people who enjoy an equal relationship with their partner but like the occasional bite, slap or pinch to spice things up.

BDSM really is a broad church and despite the stereotypes there’s something for everyone, all you have to do is explore.

More tea, vicar?

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