Safe, sane and consensual: Exploring the World of BDSM
By Rene Thompson, Staff Reporter
The world of BDSM, or bondage; discipline; sadism and masochism, is often misunderstood by those who do not live the lifestyle.
BDSM can seem extreme by those who see sex in a more conventional way, but three rules of BDSM are: safe, sane and consensual, Julian Wolf, sexuality lecturer and enrolled student said.
“Conventional relationships are not much different from ours, in the sense that some people communicate better than others about what is wanted form a significant other,” she said.
Roxanne Youngblood, former student and submissive, said that she began to explore the BDSM lifestyle after learning about it in a Human Sexuality class at CNM.
“I had urges that were not understood in my previous relationships. I wanted to explore what it is that I really am, if I’m straight or bisexual or gay, as well as be able to have my particular needs be met in a BDSM relationship,” she said.
Youngblood has been in a submissive/dominant relationship for eight months and wears a collar from her dominant, she said. The collar is an outward symbol of their relationship, similar to a promise ring. The relationship can be ended by either side at any time.
“At any point, if I am not into it anymore or I am not happy, I can take off the collar and walk away,” she said.
Being in an environment that allows and approves of sexual exploration has help Youngblood to accept herself, she said.
“I have a much better understanding of what I want out of my relationships, and I am so much happier because I am able to fulfill my needs, and not just sexually,” she said.
Ken Cornell, a long-time dominant in his private life and in public performances, said that every relationship needs communication, but BDSM relationship simply cannot survive without it.
“You have to be honest about what you want up front, because if not, people can become uncomfortable in what they are seeking, and no one wants that from a BDSM relationship,” Cornell.
Aside from communication, a dominant also has the responsibility of guiding a submissive and others new to the lifestyle, so that they understand that submissives still have the right to say no at all times and that being a submissive does not mean a person has absolutely no control over what happens with them.
“As a Dom I feel like a protector of my subs, in guiding them through what needs they really have, and showing my subs that there is complete trust from me to do what they want me to do and figure out what they need,” he said.
Many safeguards are in place to protect all parties in BDSM relationships, such as safe words, signed agreements and having first aid kits on hand, just in case.
“We have to be completely honest with one another about our needs and expectations to better understand what is really wanted from both parties,” he said.