Relationships and BDSM  

        Having a relationship in life is difficult at the best of times. Adding in the complexity of BDSM is enough to throw anyone for a loop. The bottom line is that relationships are only as easy or difficult as you make them.  

        Many people stumble into BDSM by way of needing something to ďperkĒ up the sex life in the bedroom. Donít get me wrong itís a very good way to explore the BDSM lifestyle. With some people it stays in their bedroom. With others they search out others they search out people with the same interests. This leads them to the BDSM community. The benefit of finding the BDSM community as a whole is the education and support that comes with it. However with the community, come the personalities that make it up.  

        Playing, for the first time, in the BDSM community can be like diving into the shallow end of the pool, head first. It can take your breath away. No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for what you will discover. Just take it one step at a time and remember this is what you were looking for. 

        Ok you ask, what does this have to do with relationships? Well, honestly, quite a bit really. Depending on the area in which you live, your community can be fairly large or very small. In my opinion, and I am going to get a little clichť here, it is not the size but the quality of the community that counts. It will take time, but you need to build trust with your community. Both, them with you and you with them. Our communities tend to be a little gun-shy about new people, this has to do with a mistrust of society as a whole. Especially since most of society does not know how to deal with us. 

        The next question to ask yourself, is what kind of people are involved in the BDSM lifestyle? Well we come in all shapes and sizes actually. People, who consider this a serious lifestyle, are people who have always had the desire somewhere within them. They can even relate that triggering moment. When they knew that they were interested in BDSM.  

         Relationships in the BDSM lifestyle go one of two ways. They are long lasting or they are transitory. Long lasting relationships are that way generally because the relationship was formed and stable before the couple began to explore BDSM. The transitory relationships are ones that are entered into after being involved in the BDSM community. If you are single coming into BDSM, you are doing it in the hopes of finding a partner that feels the same way as you. That is not a bad thing, however it is very idealistic. Many people involved in the BDSM lifestyle are not very honest with themselves about what the hope to get from the lifestyle. Admittedly they are there to garner experience but some are there only to have sex. Regardless of our beliefs that BDSM remain sexless in public, in private it is the inevitable outcome. Many people come to the BDSM lifestyle in search of sexual partners. Now this really isnít a bad thing either, itís just that people are not honest about it and they tend to foster a lot of resentment with their community. This is not exclusive to BDSM. It does however complicate the BDSM lifestyle as we are constantly defending our choices and practices, in a society that does not accept BDSM as a viable lifestyle. 

        Now you are in the lifestyle and you have found someone you feel comfortable enough with to explore your BDSM. Itís a good start but where do you go now? How do I build a foundation that is stable and wonít fall out from under me, when things donít work out as I planned? These are the two most important questions to ask yourself at this point. In BDSM, as in the ďvanillaĒ world, you need to negotiate. In the vanilla world, the negotiations are almost all unspoken. Millennia of breeding have implanted the desires and needs we want in a partner. In BDSM, the negotiations start out silently, but soon, due to necessity, we start the give and take that is fundamental to BDSM. It is the negotiation that helps you to build the foundation to your relationship. You now have a starting point. BDSM in some ways is a lot like dating only a lot more intense, like being able to have sex on the first date. Like everything else in life things donít always go smoothly at the beginning. There will be times of awkwardness until the two of you are more comfortable with each other. Donít be afraid to show this vulnerability, itís honest. Thereís that word again, honesty. It is a fundamental in BDSM, as it is in the vanilla world. Donít be shy about telling your partner that you expect this in your relationship regardless of what you have already negotiated. With out honesty how can you trust and once trust is lost in a relationship, you sometimes have no choice but to start over. 

        You now have a relationship with someone you are happy and comfortable with, but things feel a little stale. Strangely itís hard to think that being involved in BDSM can become stale, but it can happen. What can you do about it? Well that all depends on your level of intensity. Itís difficult in BDSM to find new things to explore, but if you have a good relationship, good communication skills and a creative imagination, it should be fairly easy to find new things to explore. Hey if all else fails you could even try going back to being vanilla for a short time. There a probably many things you could try, the only limit being your imagination. Iíd love to be able to give you a list but where would the fun be in that. The whole idea is to make things fresh for you and your partner.  

        Life is never perfect and things donít look good for your relationship. What went wrong? Well I honestly canít say that I know, but there is something, which I call the ďBDSM CurseĒ. It may not be what is wrong with your relationship, but it could possibly have some bearing on it. It is one of the inherent problems of BDSM. No matter what the size of your community, there is a limited amount of singles in the scene, making BDSM somewhat ďincestuousĒ  Far to many people, single players especially, move from partner to partner, searching forÖÖ..for what?  Well as difficult as this is to believe, they are searching for the same thing they were searching for in the vanilla world. The right person to ďtake them away from it allĒ! There isnít much we can do about it, it is genetic, the hunter-gatherer syndrome. It is my belief that this is prevalent in all BDSM communities. It is also the underlying reason why the single searching for a single relationship so often fail in the BDSM lifestyle. How can you develop a relationship with someone who is looking for something better. Itís a cycle that never ends, as there is no such thing as perfection. These people are not exclusive to the BDSM community, they can be found in all walks of life. We know who they as their actions tend to give them away and usually we can learn from but it is generally the hard way , from first hand experience.  

        The only other real hindrance to forming a relationship, is something I cannot stress enough, honesty or rather a lack of it. You need to be honest in everything you do, even if you know it may cause resentment or make you feel vulnerable. The bottom line is that people treat you the way you treat them. 

        Well as you can see relationships are no different in BDSM than  they are in any other lifestyle. We who practice BDSM are really no different than any one else. We just play different. All we ask is to be treated with the same respect that you expect us to treat you with.  

        The only thing to say now is that if you have an interest in BDSM, research it. There is a ton of information, along with all those pictures we like to look at, on the internet. We tend to fear things we do not understand. If you arm yourself with knowledge, then there is nothing to fear. 

        I should point out to you that the views and ideas expressed in this article are solely my own. Some may agree with me and some may not. I welcome any questions and comments you may have.   

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