Originally Posted by Magdlyn
. . . subs/slaves truly enjoy being owned by their Masters/Mistresses. They need to feel taken care of, and feel free not being responsible for final decisions on everything (or anything), for one reason or another. Slaves feel safe with their contract, the chores, the enforced bedtime, etc. The structure helps them to grow and be more productive.
Sure, I can understand enjoying not having any responsibilities. That's why people find it comforting, in many ways, to be hospitalized or incarcerated. Then they don't have to think for themselves. But just how, exactly, does it help someone grow and be more productive when someone else is making decisions for them? This is what I have a hard time wrapping my brain around. It's nice when people do stuff for us, but it's generally accepted that we grow more if we learn how to do for ourselves ("give a man a fish..."). It's my belief that people are meant to be self-sufficient. We come into the world alone and die alone, after all.
Another element I wonder about. While I think it's perfectly fine to use some sort of role-playing scenario to work through psychological issues, at some point those issues need to be resolved for any personal growth to occur. Meaning, okay, time to let go and move on. After a certain point, it's just mental masturbation. As was once said to me by a healer, we aren't meant to just accept what traits we're born with or what issues we struggle with, a human's purpose is to work through them and transcend them so they stop having a hold on us (even though such issues may never go away).
When the framework that is used to address those issues revolves substantially around sex, and becomes an adopted lifestyle, there's a potential for obsession or a bit of addiction, which can keep those issues hanging around instead of getting resolved. Then the players become dependent upon this falsity for their identity and that can be very damaging, I believe. For example, let's say someone feels a lot of internal guilt, and turns to BDSM so they can get beaten and feel appropriately punished for whatever they feel guilty about. If they don't also look at their internal conflicts and resolve them, and eventually just enjoy getting off on the sensation of being beaten, they keep holding onto those feelings of guilt, and turn it into more of an intellectual exercise than a real emotion anymore. They likely will adopt a stance of "I have all this guilt inside me that I need to be punished for" and they make it a pronouncement about who they are, just so they can have pain inflicted on them again, rather than looking at something with the intent of healing it and letting it go so it doesn't have power over them. Then it becomes a dumb game and doesn't do them any good. They're stuck behind a label they've adopted. They say, "Oh, that's just who I am" instead of working through and transcending that guilt. I use guilt as an example because it can be so damaging. I don't mean to imply that this is what always happens or that everyone who's into BDSM goes into it blindly and doesn't work on their shit. I've seen this happen with other techniques, but I think the sexual element makes it more risky.
It's very tricky in any therapeutic setting to not make "revelations" we have about personal issues into labels with which we then use to identify ourselves. What scares me about BDSM is that the participants are amateurs without professional knowledge, and can put themselves in vulnerable positions where they can get hurt, physically and psychologically. If it were a guided therapy with a goal in mind, at which point the role-playing stopped because the participants had reached resolution of their issues, I'd see more value in it.
How would you really know that the person domming has any clue what is good for you, especially if they don't know you very well and are just following some standard ideas of what domming is supposed to be about? It scares me to think that there are misguided, vulnerable people out there who submit themselves to doms they don't know well, those who dominate to satisfy their egos and not necessarily to support the submissive one. I don't think it's a good idea for very young people to get into it 24/7 because it seems one would really have to know oneself extremely well before doing so.
This is how I ponder it, it's not an indictment against BDSM altogether. I will say, though, that there are many ways to get to know oneself deeply, including around sex/sexuality, just as well as any power exchange relationship. Practicing power exchange/BDSM is only one. Calling non-BDSM sex/relationships "vanilla" seems like a put-down. Non-kinksters can push past boundaries, address sex and sexuality issues, and gain deep self-knowledge in other ways.
I found a website with some well-written, illuminating articles about D/s, which are helping me to understand more about it. They are here: http://www.tiedmoments.com/
. Some quotes in a few articles, which I think are relevant to this discussion:
". . . when you consider D/s as a dynamic on top of a standard relationship, it is clear that no healthy D/s relationship can exist without the proper foundation."
"Submission is about knowing who you are, and what you want. A submissive is NOT a weak person, but just the opposite. She is strong. She is strong in herself, and in the knowledge of who she is. She NEVER submits out of weakness or desperation. She submits out of strength, love, and trust."
"To the newly initiated, the D/s relationship seems about as close to perfect as one would think possible. Here we find a romance based on total dedication and neverending sexual tension and focus. The Domme is all knowing, all powerful...she can anticipate the thoughts of her sub and take him to places of which he could only dream. She is in control, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every week of every year. Her every action is coldly calculated to further enforce her position of authority. She is an image of perfection...and D/s absorbs her life.
News flash: "Bullshit!"
. . . perhaps because many "newly-D/s'd" don't have exposure to the often concealed worlds of real lifestyle D/s people, they don't seem aware that the images they are being fed are predominantly fantasy - hype.
. . . The facts are simple: Lifestyle D/s people are just people! We all have non-D/s desires, interests, hang-ups, and vulnerabilities. No one is 'On' all the time. In real life, the phone rings, the baby cries, and our interests change.
. . . Being in the D/s lifestyle doesn't protect you from the fundamental frailties of the foundation upon which all interaction is built: ~~THE RELATIONSHIP ~~"
And here is the text of a short article by "MsRika," which I liked:
"We Are No Different
In my experience and conversations with submissive men, I find myself bothered by a line of logic used to separate D/S relationships from all others. The people with whom I speak, take the liberty of placing a greater importance on what I've been discussing as the basic foundation of ANY healthy relationship, simply because the D/s dynamic is placed on top of it. It is as if to say, since we are into this lifestyle, we are somehow nobler, more critical, and more important than others who have not chosen it. Perhaps it's human nature to want to believe ourselves better than the other guy, but it just isn't automatically so. I have heard it said that things like trust and communication are more important in D/S relationships than those that are more "vanilla". On one end of the spectrum, the argument follows the lines of, "when your life depends on it....". On the other, "you need to communicate your desires with your partner when you're into D/s".
First, let me address the arguments above. To my eyes, the former argument is geared primarily to BDSM relationships; most likely those based on scenes with people we may or may not know well (I do not include cyber here because these relationships are not directly physical enough to create a true danger above and beyond what one is capable of inflicting on oneself). Here, the use of "safe words", selection of partner, and heightened perceptiveness may well be 'life savers'. However, in a lifestyle D/s relationship based on True Submission, such an argument does not hold water. In a lifestyle D/s relationship you would not expect your partner to harm you any more because you have submitted. You do not need a "safe word" when the relationship is based on a strong standard foundation, especially if the definition of submission is finding pleasure in the happiness of the dominant. How can a submissive possibly need a safe word when his focus is on 'doing for' and anticipating the needs of the dominant?
Note: Some may argue that if the happiness of the dominant is to harm the submissive, this theory is not valid. I argue that, even in a vanilla relationship, if you are involved with a true sadist, you're in danger whether you submit or not! If your partner's idea of happiness is subjecting you to hazardous, abusive and potentially lethal situations, it's not about D/s, it's something much more serious...GET OUT!
Secondly, the latter argument, that you need to communicate better when you're into D/s, is misguided as well. As we have discussed at length above, EVERY relationship benefits from good, open communications. Being in a D/s relationship is no excuse to suddenly focus on communications...and certainly, if you're not in a D/s relationship, that's no excuse for not communicating. It may be true that people open enough to discuss D/s with their partner have already come to grips with the importance of communication, but it is not the lifestyle choice which makes this attribute as critical to the success of the relationship as it is. It is the nature of all relationships."