Recently I had the opportunity to give an interview. A part of it was used in the article you can find here explaining a few things about BDSM lifestyle. Here I will post for you the full interview. I want to thank Cecilia for giving me the opportunity to explain and communicate our lifestyle to the public
1. What exactly is BDSM? (Define in your own terms, please give as much detail as possible)
In one word I would say a lifestyle. Sadly enough many, even amongst those who practice BDSM, consider it a sexual play only but that is a misconception. BDSM is a way of life that, as any other lifestyle, sexuality is part of it. How kinky that sexuality will be depends on the individuals not the lifestyle on its own. Modern BDSM is more like an old-fashioned relationship enriched with new ideas and spicy sexual life. For me people are turning to BDSM more because they feel the need of Domination or submission and not just because they want to be kinky or fond of sadomasochism. You may be kinky without be a BDSM lifestyler but you can’t be a BDSM-er without be kinky.
I Know it might sound strange as even you might have in mind the image porn industry brought to public, the one with whips and chains and sexual “torture”. We need to understand that BDSM is not only one. We have the traditional BDSM originating from Marquis De Sade (though historically is not accurate enough) and the modern BDSM that comes as an answer to the need for a different way of life, a different way of forming romantic relationships.
At this point I feel I should give you also the definition of the BDSM emblem.
The BDSM emblem has no “obvious” symbolism because it was created to be enigmatic. To the vanilla (anyone out of the BDSM lifestyle) observer who would be put off by BDSM, it is merely an attractive piece of jewelry. Thus, we can wear it freely as a friendly salute, nod, and wink to other BDSMers we should happen to pass on the sidewalks and in the hallways of our daily lives.
To the insider, however, the Emblem is full of meaning.
The three divisions represent the various threesomes of BDSM. First of all, the three divisions of BDSM itself: B&D, D&S, and S&M. Secondly, the three-way creed of BDSM behavior: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Thirdly, the three divisions of our community: Tops, Bottoms, and Switches.
It is this third symbolism that gives meaning to the holes in each unit. Since BDSM is at the very least a play style and at its greatest a lifestyle, the holes represent the incompleteness of any individual within the BDSM context. However “together” and “whole” individuals may be, there remains a void within them that can only be filled by a complimentary other. BDSM cannot be done alone.
The resemblance to a three-way variation on the Yin-Yang symbol is not accidental. As the curved outline of Yin and Yang represent the hazy border between where one ends and the other begins, so do the curved borders here represent the indistinct divisions between B&D, D&S, and S&M (Bondage and Discipline, Domination and submission, Sadism and Masochism or sadomasochism).
The metal and metallic color of the medallion represents the chains or irons of BDSM servitude/ownership. The three inner fields are black, representing a celebration of the controlled dark side of BDSM sexuality. I do not see any darkness in the lifestyle but I accept the general anticipation of black as dark side in the meaning of how our lifestyle should be kept hidden.
The curved lines themselves can be seen as a stylized depiction of a lash as it swings, or even an arm in motion to deliver an erotic spanking. The all-embracing circle, of course, represents the overlying unity of it all and the oneness of a community that protects its own.
2. What are some of the practices involved in a typical BDSM session? Are there levels, for example are there more intense practices for more experienced people? If possible, provide and example of a typical BDSM scene.
When you use the word session I assume you mean it in a sexual way. There is no typical BDSM scene but indeed there are different levels of submission mentally. How intense a scene might be or not depends on the individuals. There is though one typical practice in the lifestyle. The submissive, male or female, will always try to push the Dom’s limits as a test and will always misbehave on purpose.
3. Would you consider your lifestyle as �normal�? How much does BDSM take part in your life? Do you hold a �normal� job, etc?
My lifestyle is completely normal as I believe what I do is my nature’s call not a trend that I follow. I am into BDSM for the past 18 years long before the world discover all the novels and the porn industry. All my life is BDSM, it is a lifestyle therefore it is always on. You have to understand BDSM is a way to approach life, how you see the world and how you communicate with people. I am a Dom by nature and as far as I remember myself I always tried to Dominate.
Why would not have a normal job? Yes I do have a normal job and a career within a specific industry. Even there though I am BDSM if you can say so. I feel uncomfortable when I am not part of the decision making process that’s why from the first moment I set the goal of becoming a manager or even start my own business. I worked hard and was lucky enough to achieve both.
4. In your blog, you say that BDSM is a 24/7 mentality. Would you say that this is true for everyone? Can others be truly engaged in BDSM only part of the time, or do they have to engage in this mentality all the time to truly appreciate the craft?
As I see it, BDSM is only 24/7. Are you vanilla part time? Are you gay part time? Why should it be differently for us? I will answer it in a different way. Even in my vanilla relationships I end up dominating what is going on. My regular girlfriend will end up be a submissive even if she doesn’t know it. With friends I will always have the last word and usually people expect me to do so and respect it. In the family I will lead the way and even with my parents, since I was a kid I would have things come my way usually by using strong arguments. As I said, I am a Dom by nature. It is essential for everyone to understand that all these are based upon the concept of respect to the others in order to get their respect.
I am not the one to say how others might experience BDSM and I don’t claim my way is the only way whatsoever. I strongly believe BDSM is a lifestyle with so many variations as the individuals who are into it. I can’t understand how people claim to experience the lifestyle part time but I do respect their point of view. In BDSM we are not to judge others, we are not in position to judge anyone at all but only accept them in the ways they are and take pleasure. As long they are SSC (Safe-Sane-Consensual) then they may practice BDSM. In my opinion though, those who see it only as a sexual play they are only kinksters not lifestylers.
As and advice I would say to always use a safe word. The word that once said everything stops and provides a security to the submissive that things will never go beyond her limits. Such a word should be something that you would never say during sexual activities and easy to remember it. STOP is not a safe word. There are moments that you actually want to say stop but you don’t really mean it. Be creative and talk with your partner to find out a word together.
5. How would you say BDSM is viewed by society today? Why do you think that is?
BDSM today is the greater evil of all. An evil even greater than what the gay community used to be in their eyes. I do not blame them to be honest. For many years a lot of sick people lurked outside the true BDSM community with the hope to find a way to satisfy their sick desires claiming that what they do is BDSM. As we speak, on the internet are many claiming to be “Masters” just to find a naïve enough individual to take sexual advantage over them. It is so pathetic and sad.
Even historically speaking most people knows it as a sexual perversion deriving from Marquise De Sade when that is not so accurate. No one can deny that his work was the reason that BDSM (or even more accurately sadism) became well known at the first place in such level that the term sadism originates by his name. For many historians he was just a monster with a huge psychological disorder and the word sick is not enough to describe him. Maybe he was or maybe he was not.
My argument is not related to what he did but if he was the only one, the first one. Sadism as an act of sexual expression was there all the time, mainly within the close circles of the higher class and usually by taking advantage of the lower classes of that era. They had by right the privilege to do whatever they wanted and no one would be in place to accuse them of anything since that would be a threat to their social place as individuals same as a ruling class.
So what was the main issue with De Sade? He dared to bring forth all these that were happening within the noble class and actually at the beginning without care to hide his actions and later to record them through his novels. He became a threat to the ruling class he was representing. Some claim his sexuality was influenced by his uncle who was a priest. We read from his biography “He once beat the French prince so severely that he was sent to the south of France to stay with his uncle, an abbot of the church. During his stay, while he was 6 years old, his uncle introduced him to debauchery”.
Now you can understand why I believe and claim that BDSM is not something that started with De Sade but only became public by him. His books are just a novel description of what was happening for many years (or centuries before him) well hidden. One main difference though between the BDSM of our days and the old years is the anticipation that has to be consensual and not forced. It is an act of mutual agreement, respect and understanding. But is it De Sade the first ever reference to painful activities for sexual pleasure?
The well-known and so highly regarded Kama Sutra describes four different kinds of hitting during lovemaking but also, strangely enough, the allowed regions of the human body to target and different kinds of joyful “cries of pain”. The collection of historic texts related to sensuous experiences explicitly emphasizes that impact play, biting and pinching during sexual activities should only be performed consensually since only some women consider such behavior to be joyful. From this perspective the Kama Sutra can be considered as one of the first written resources dealing with sadomasochistic activities and safety rules. Further texts with sadomasochistic connotation appear worldwide during the following centuries on a regular basis and maybe it is hard to make a reference to every and each of them. It is though a fact that the years before De Sade write his books, there were a lot more who did the same but they only failed to be such a great “hit”.
I will give you two more historical reference to show you how old is the culture of Domination and submission in a sexual way not matter if that is just power exchange, bondage or sadomasochism. One of the oldest graphical proofs of sadomasochistic activities is found in the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping near Tarquinia, which dates to the fifth century BC! Inside the tomb there is fresco which portrays two men who flagellate a woman with a cane and a hand during an erotic situation. Another reference related to flagellation is to be found in the sixth book of the Satires of the ancient Roman Poet Juvenal (1st–2nd century A.D.), further reference can be found in Petronius’s Satyricon where a delinquent is whipped for sexual arousal. Anecdotal narratives related to humans who have had themselves voluntary bound, flagellated or whipped as a substitute for sex or as part of foreplay reach back to the third and fourth century.
As far as the Japanese bondage culture, this is a research I have not yet finish but my early findings indicate that it is completely wrong the perception of a deep in centuries bondage culture though fetishism seems to be a lot stronger in their culture but not in the form of BDSM. As an erotic art, bondage in Japan is no older than 200 years in comparison to the western civilization. Japanese rope bondage as an erotic art for going back to only the late 1800′s or early 1900′s widely known as Shibari though this word is more a westernized Japanese one. Shibari, more correctly known as Kinbaku is an ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage that has many styles and uses. In Shibari (the action of tying someone up) the rope artist (Master in BDSM terms) creates almost geometric shapes that contrast with the female body’s natural curves and recesses. The submissive is like a canvas to the hands of a skilful rope Master.
So please, for those who do not hold the knowledge, do not try to convince us that our lifestyle is something “new”, something as a mental disorder of the modern years, something that derives from the sick De Sade and we are freaks.
For those in marketing business I want to let them know that before deciding that we need to dress up as clones to enter a club, before they decide they need to make us look as twisted in order to convince us to buy their products, RESPECT that you are dealing with the expression of human sexuality long before they even existed. For all of you who want to point fingers or take advantage of our sexuality, please before you do or say anything try to learn first the one thing that we all as a community live by. The rule of RESPECT!
6. What are the differences between what people think is BDSM and what actually is BDSM? Is the way BDSM is portrayed in the media (chains, whips, leather jumpsuit) a fair representation of what it truly is?
I hope up to now be quite clear what BDSM is and what people think it is. I will though try to explain it again in very simple words. BDSM is a way of life that follows certain rules, where the roles between the Top and the bottom are distinguished, where both have to dedicate their life/time to each other and responsibilities are equally allocated to each other. Unfortunately the media fail to show this side of the lifestyle. What they bring forward is what the porn industry represents as BDSM and many times they focus to some sick individuals who do some really crazy stuff out there.
7. Why do you think there is such a social stigma attached to BDSM?
Apparently because of Marquis De Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Everyone see the lifestyle from that perspective and the same time our own choice to keep our life private therefore hard to communicate with the society what the Modern BDSM is all about. I would dare say that even BDSM pride parades following the example of the gay community (or even mixed up with the gay parades) are not really helpful at all. They manage to bring out an image of freaks that are sick and pervert in my own opinion.
The Marketing that start to build around the lifestyle is really dangerous for the lifestyle and I fail to understand why we have to dress up in certain ways in order to attend events and munches. Why do I have to be dressed in leather when I do not like it and why just my ordinary clothes are not enough? Once again the Marketing industry is trying to convince us that our clothes defines who we are when in fact who we are is only defined by what we do and what we believe. So yes, society finds silly, sick, strange, pervert, offensive and so on a girl dressed like a pony walking down the street hold by a leash and I can’t blame them for that.
8. Why do you think the social fascination with BDSM has increased as of late? With books such as 50 Shades of Grey and the presence of bondage in things such as music videos, do you believe that this social stigma will eventually disappear?
I, as many within the community, am not really fond of the 50 shades. I personally see a big danger by that book mainly because of its huge success. It is a book that really brings up an image that is not so close to the daily life of a lifestyler and can be misleading. A simple example? There are many Masters out there who are not that rich, who are not that sexy, who are not that mysterious and to put it in a simple way, not even close to the image of Mr. Grey. Sadly enough so many girls out there imagine a Master in that way. On the other hands, it describes some activities that are quite dangerous without providing any safety guidance. I remember once, going to my work in London and reading on the Metro (Metro is a free newspaper published in tabloid format in the United Kingdom distributed on many public-transport services in selected urban centres across the United Kingdom) how a couple end up in the court as the girl pressed charges against the boy because he bound her and whip her with a rope resulting to inflict some serious injuries. The court found that guy innocent as it was proved what happen was mutually agreed after reading the 50 shades and deciding they want to practice BDSM. So no, I am afraid all the publicity will bring the opposite. Will make people “try” the “new” without knowledge and lead them to play with fire.
A lot who are not familiar with BDSM get surprised when they hear or when they find out we do exactly the same as they do. In general terms, we form relationships exactly as the vanilla’s do. Now why do I mention this? I do understand that with books such as the 50 shades and other similar novels more people all over the world start knowing about it and getting curious enough to experiment or explore it. Reading novels and on top of that watching the porn industry some easily may think it is a world where lot of the vanilla commonly expected “rules” do not apply. It is easy for them to think it as a world with loose ethics when in my opinion it is quite the opposite. Exactly there is where the downfalls start and how problems start with more and more individuals joining the lifestyle. Even more since there is no “must do” book out there.
I do not blame them but I do take offense when I hear now and then comments pointing out to the direction of a community without ethics and self-respect. Little they know and little they understand but please, if you wish to experiment and learn about BDSM, educate yourself and don’t get involved only with the hope of easy sex. Do not allow BDSM become what the vanilla world is. We are different, we respect, we follow rules and we are honest. If you want to “hold a whip”, learn how to use it, why you are using it and what it means. Same if you like to find one who “holds a whip”. Why you want it, what you expect to find on the long run and what needs it serves to find the “whip” you are searching for?
9. Why do you, yourself, engage in this practice? How did you get involved in this lifestyle?
As I say I am a Dom by nature. Since a kid I always wanted to lead, I always wanted to have the responsibility of making decisions for me and others, I always found interesting the concept of others serving me. Ofcourse back in time I had no clue what was that feeling. What was the name of it. Then at some point came up my first longtime relationship with a girl when I was 17yo. We were together for 18 months and during that relationship I start to express more and more a Dominating nature that was beyond the average accepted. Don’t get me wrong, when I say Dominating I do not mean abusive or pressuring. I Dominate using my reason, I will always explain what I want, how I want it and why I want it. There is no such thing as “do this or the other just because I say so”. This is how I was and this is how I will always be. I was lucky enough to be with a girl who was submissive enough to follow my way. At some point listening to others around me (friends etc.) I start wondering what was “wrong” with me and why I am thinking in such a different way than others. When others were saying “I need to do that to be accepted” I was like “If you can’t accept me it is your problem not mine, I am not changing how I am”. I guess that is why I love the lyrics, my way or the highway 😉 Long story short, In time I start to develop a certain sexual kinkiness (on my own without any porn influence as it happens mostly in our days with teenagers) along with the Dominating nature. At my late 20’s I start researching going to a library (Internet wasn’t what it is in our days) and found out there is a world out there called BDSM. After all, I wasn’t the only one but I was part of a larger community quite unknown back then.
10. Are you open about your lifestyle with your friends/family/etc.? If so, how do they react?
I am open where I see I can be open. I like to keep it Private to be honest. I find it more intriguing to be private and more “spicy”. My best friend knows about it as also my sister. I was open to them and they even know about my blog. Sometimes we end up having some really funny conversations because of it and I really love it. They fully respect what I like but they never miss the chance to pick on me for fun same as I do to them. There are a few more people who suspect my lifestyle but they can’t be sure as I never allow them to learn about it. Honestly now, does anyone say everything it does in its private life to his or her friends? Everyone keep some parts private and so do I.
11. What do you feel (physically/emotionally/spiritually/etc) when you are engaging in these practices?
Nothing. You would expect me to give you a different answer but the answer is Nothing different than you do or anyone else does when interacting with other humans. The same feeling we have, the same way we love, the same needs we have but we only express them in a different way (sometimes not always) and we are humans same as any other human in this world. Sexually speaking my best friend likes to have the girl on top and I like to have her with a collar and a leash. Why do we have to feel different? We feel the same but we get what we need in different ways. That is all.
12. Would you say that BDSM practices are stress-relievers? How has your health been affected (if at all) since you started?
I like that question. My health is good thank you for asking and no BDSM is not something to affect it. Well I might have a better grip after years of using a whip 😉
I see this question again is focusing on the sexual side of BDSM. I am not practicing BDSM sexual activities because psychologically I feel stressed as so many psychologists would love to claim. It is not a result of the modern life and the pressure created by daily life. I am not getting back home and say “I feel stressed get on your knees and let me whip you”. And before anyone start thinking that I am not able to be sexually aroused without the feeling of a whip in my hand allow me to disappoint you and say that is not even close to my reality.
13. Do you think BDSM is for everybody? Should everyone try it out?
Is it gay for everyone? Is it for everyone to experience at least once a homosexual experience? I believe the answer is quite clear. We are what we are because of our nature not because we have to follow a trend. Do not follow and get involved with BDSM if you don’t feel it deep inside you or because a 50 shades of exceptional marketing increases your curiosity. Do not do it just because your friend does it. BDSM is something that at least those I know are into it because they felt it as natural call.
14. In one of your blog posts, you discuss the topic of female equality. How would you respond to those who believe that BDSM in misogynistic and demeaning to women?
Oh dear. They fail to understand that submissives are not only women but also men. They also keep their perspective only within the porn industry but that is not what it is in the real world. They would be surprised to find out how many men are craving to submit to a woman. To be treated as a slave to a woman. Trust me when I say there are a lot of vanilla men who dream of a moment of submission to a woman but are scared to death to admit it.
At this point I want to say that one of the major differences between us and the vanilla world is that we are not afraid to admit who we are, what we desire and what we expect when we speak about these things with our partner.
What a common feminist organization will raise as an argument is that BDSM aims to inequality. Well, they do that when the submissive is a woman because once we discuss a relationship in which the male is the submissive and the female the Domina, well, lets say they simply smile wishing they were in her place. Hypocrites. What a common vanilla individual will bring as an image if you tell her/him you are a BDSM Master? A savage creature who most probably is driven by a God syndrome who loves to degrade his partner using sadistic means. Little they know and I will say again, HYPOCRITES!! You miss to do the same when it comes to gay couples (male or female alike) or when the male is the submissive.
Another reason I say Hypocrites? I do not believe within any relationship in this life there are equal parts. I largely use the example or our fingers. They are not equal in size but they are equally important to support different tasks. In modern world we seem to confuse equality with isonomy and egalitarianism. Different words with different meanings for different concepts. I urge you to research them and find out the differences.
Back to equality, it is nature’s call that some will lead and some will follow. Some will have the last word in decision-making and some will have just an advisory place. Vanilla relationships are based in a commonly accepted lie by both parts. They are equals because they discuss everything and share everything measured in quantity. But honestly, tell me, how many times have you observed the one side trying to become dominant even if that means doming from the bottom? How many times have you heard that the head of the family is the man but the head turns to the direction the neck (the woman) desires? Where is the equality in this? Am I missing something or do they just lie to their own self in order to have a satisfaction based on an illusion? The same happen if the woman is the head, do not take me wrong, in vanilla relationships we have the same as in BDSM but we only use a different definition, nothing else is different.
Feminism played a huge role in the past to help the community understand that a woman should be accepted in the same way a man is in the society and that was really important. Forced the society to accept them as members with equal rights in life, against the law and the work environments. Many decades ago a woman could have been abused and nothing would happen as she was seen as a lower creature and that was so wrong. Here comes again the quality over the quantity. Abuse one does not matter how much will it be as the slightest sign of abuse is UNACCEPTABLE and should not be tolerated at all. Feminism brought a revolution in our society but sometimes became extreme in an unreasonable and unnecessary way. In many cases begun to measure everything based on the quantity missing the quality, even ruining the quality in the human relationships. Why? At some point they tried to alter the rules of the “game”, the rules of the nature resulting the newer generations to be lost on which is their part in the society? What are they doing and why are they doing it. Who they are and why they are like this.
I hear many times complaining that in our days there are no real men but they tend to forget it is them who made men change to a way they do not like. Same I hear men complaining on the way women behave forgetting it is them who accepted that on the first place afraid they will be called sexists. Oh, how easily we place a tag to someone without even taking some time to understand him/her a bit deeper. It is a fact that human relationships in our days are in a complete mess and only few really know what they are doing. But no matter what we do or what we want (desire/dream/imagine) we are only humans and that makes us slaves to nature’s rules that eventually will find the way to get back to us. Here now comes the BDSM, a lifestyle based on power exchange exactly as nature commands.