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The Lure of BDSM and D/s: MY Shades of Grey

Posted: 03/26/2012 2:00 am

Today, as women everywhere breathe heavily over 50 Shades of Grey, an erotic novel complete with bondage, discipline and power fantasy role-playing, I actually find myself breathing a little easier...

Because it's something I've experienced in real life. Moreover, I chose to tell the world about it in my just-released memoir (gulp). And at the back of my mind I've always worried, "Is everyone going to think I'm a freak for this?"

My curiosity around BDSM and Dominance/submission (D/s) arose during the first year after my divorce. I was going through a sexual reawakening and personal metamorphosis, open to learning more about myself, relationships and my body. For some reason, scenes from the movie, 9 1/2 Weeks kept flashing through my mind too. There was just "something" in how Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke connected -- how he seemed to "see" her, intuit her, push her beyond her boundaries and in turn, empower her to know herself more. That connection spoke to me, though I didn't understand how or why. It wasn't until I began talking to "Sir John the Dom" -- a sexual Dominant from the United States -- that I even realized that that movie was about D/s...

(Shaking head) I had so much to learn.

A D/s relationship, in its truest form, is all about the submissive, John explained to me. It's about her wants, her needs, her fantasies. Some of her desires may be conscious, but others may be locked in her subconscious. The Dom's job is to build a bond so strong with her that she feels safe enough, connected enough with him, to unleash her creativity and explore her innermost self. Through submission, she actually becomes empowered because she connects with her body, heart and mind in much deeper ways.

"Trust. Honesty. Communication. And respect," he said firmly. "Remember those four words. Those are the four pillars that a genuine D/s relationship is built upon. And until they are in place with any dom, always meet in a public place and always keep your clothes on," he warned, "because there are men out there who use D/s as a way to abuse women -- they think the sex is all about them, that they can 'take' whatever they want. A Dom never abuses or 'takes away,' Delaine... he only builds."

After many months of getting to know John, those four pillars gradually grew strong and firm. Our relationship then became more psychological -- a battle of the minds. I "tested" him constantly long before we became sexually involved -- mouthing off, ignoring him, deliberately trying to arouse him. I wanted to see if I could break his self-control; find a crack in his armour, so to speak.

But he always remained in control; patient, calm, and sometimes even amused. His goal was to make me learn more about me and MY needs. For that to happen, I had to be the one who went to him.

No doubt, much of what I experienced sexually with John involved my being physically "forced." And my "need" to experience that was scary and weird to me -- it seemed dark... twisted... violent. I feared some part of me longed to be abused.

But I now realized that my fear was misguided. The sexual and physical control John exerted over me actually empowered me, not stole my power. The sex we'd shared had been the final gateway -- a passage through which I was able to learn to trust a man again and to claim the ecstasy and power of my sexual energy as my own. Nothing he did to me was without my consent -- and beyond the bedroom, our relationship was as loving and "equal" as any other healthy relationship.

But what this sexual exploration did do was "add" to me; I became more of Delaine. I became more confident. I was more in tune with my passion and creativity and saw the value in keeping those channels open. I had more faith in her my body's intuition and no longer quashed it without listening. And most importantly, I felt freer and more capable of expressing my wants and needs -- not just in bed, but in life.

Ladies, are you allured or repulsed by BDSM and D/s? Why do you think some women relegate it to "fantasy only" vs. acting on it in reality?


RELATED: 7 Steps to Mind-blowing Sex by Marcia Sirota

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  • 1. Don't Talk Yourself Out Of What You Need

    It's too easy for us women to convince ourselves to settle for less. We're so helpful and accommodating, so eager to please and afraid of rejection that we're quick to give up the things we need, including when it comes to sex. What we need to see is that doing this will leave us chronically frustrated. While it's true that every relationship requires a certain amount of compromise, going without the things that we really need just doesn't work. We'll end up unhappy in the relationship or resentful toward our partner. The bottom line is, we need to know what we can't live without, sexually, and what we just can't live with. We ignore these non-negotiables at the expense of a fulfilling sex life.

  • 2. Share Your Needs And Feelings With Your Partner

    If you can't ask them for what you want in bed, you shouldn't be sleeping with them. Good sex happens when we feel safe and at ease. If we're afraid to ask for something or to tell our partner that we don't like something, sex will never be more than mediocre. This second tip follows from the first one, in that once we identify what we want and don't want, we have to express these things clearly. It's unfair to expect our partner to be a mind-reader and "prove" that they care by somehow knowing what we want without our having to tell them. Healthy sex comes out of healthy communication.

  • 3. Accept Your Body As It Is Now

    We need to be in touch with our bodies; with what feels good, what feels not so good and what feels wrong. We also really need to stop judging ourselves in terms of our weight and our shape. Only a superficial dope would give us a hard time over our imperfections. If someone makes us feel bad about our physical selves, this is more a reflection of his inadequacies than of our own. Our negative self-talk has to stop. The running commentary on how fat we are, how much cellulite or how many wrinkles we have is guaranteed to kill the mood, often before it even starts. Feeling good about our bodies is crucial if we're going to let go and enjoy ourselves. Being physically self-conscious will keep us from experiencing the joyful abandon of great sex.

  • 4. Never Refuse Sex As A Punishment Or Use It As A Reward

    In the bad old days, some women were led to believe that the way to get a man to toe the line is to offer sex for good behavior or withhold it when the man has displeased them. Most of us today recognize this as hateful behaviour and a recipe for disaster. Men don't want to be controlled or punished, especially around sex. They don't want to be made to feel like little boys. When we're hurt or angry at our partner, we need to share our feelings with him in an adult way. We can even say that we're too upset for sex, right now. What we mustn't ever do is make him feel like we're deciding when he gets to have sex, based on whether he's been "good" or "bad." On the other hand, using sex as a reward turns us into sex objects and makes sex into a commodity for our partner to "earn." It's no longer two people being intimate or enjoying each other. Commodifying sex makes it into a business transaction and our bodies then become objects for trade.

  • 5. No Pets In The Room

    We might love Fluffy or Rover, but they don't belong in the bedroom when we're being intimate. Our pets are very territorial and could get jealous or want to play, too. Dogs might bark or even growl. Cats might jump onto the bed and start walking around. We can avoid these disasters by remembering to shut the door and leave our four-legged friends outside.

  • 6. Have A Sense Of Humor

    Sex is about connection and intimacy, but also it's about having fun. It can be mind-blowingly great or occasionally, things can go wrong. Having a good sense of humor about sex will keep things in perspective. Being able to laugh at ourselves and at the comical aspects of sex will take the pressure off the whole experience. We might love and adore our partner, but we don't have to be so serious about making love to them. Humour relieves pressure and is a great way to connect.

  • 7. Enjoy The Give And Take

    The best sex is the kind in which each person is trying to please the other one. The sharing in sex is one of the things that make it great. It can be technically amazing, but when one person gets the impression that the other person really isn't there with them, it can ruin the whole experience. What makes someone a fantastic lover is not their technical ability or their repertoire of moves but their attentiveness and their efforts to make their partner happy. When both people show that they really care about meeting their partner's needs, sex becomes something wonderful.

 

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