Continuing in the D/s Lifestyle – is D/s and BDSM the Same?

My short answer – no. Scratching your head yet? Okay so like many people who truly do try and not only write about the lifestyle but also are becoming more and more interested in the concept personally, Fifty Shades does piss me off. There, I said it for the first time. However I’m not begrudging her success or the fact she single handedly has brought the coveted lifestyle into the forefront. Thank God for that and for her ability to open people’s eyes. The sad aspect around her tale is that so many in the media and the average Joe has no idea of the truth behind the aspects of what she’s talking about. Her flavor was just that – a flavor. What concerns me is that the very concept of D/s and BDSM are melded together in an inconsistent fashion at best. This is the third in a blog series about individuals/couples who are considering moving into this type of a relationship. We’ve already talked about how honesty all the way down the line is the first aspect.

What I wanted to do was to make certain people don’t think that BDSM and D/s are one in the same before we move on in the journey. They certainly can be intertwined but they are not necessarily something that is enjoyed or indulged in together. For those of you who don’t understand why there are differences, let’s look at the basics. D/s is a dominant/submissive situation where one person is the Dom/Domme and the other is the sub. The bottom line basics is that one is in control of the decisions/relationship and the other follows or obeys. There are about a million varying degrees of this so there is no way to cookie cutter exactly what two people are going to share together except the fact is that one is the leader in all aspects.

The Dom/Domme is going to have certain rules that must be followed and they can include everything from the sub keeping his or herself well to cuss words not being allowed in the house. The sub may have certain chores to perform and in truth generally will always be available for sex at any time. There may be other aspects including discipline for misbehaving and this may and often do include spankings but being punished for disobeying isn’t BDSM. This is punishing a sub for bad behavior in an attempt to nurture and guide him or her into becoming a better person. This is also what is phrased as practicing Domestic Discipline in a household, which is simply another layer. So for layman’s terms the Dom (I’m going to be using a male in this conversation) is entirely in charge of the household in all ways. He is going to be the one who will sit down with his sub and they’ll discuss what’s expected and in many relationships an actual contract will be signed. This might not be as formal as something that would hold up in court but the intent is indeed the same. For so many I honestly see this as something that is so enlightening for both and the sub longs to please, yes, but she wants to be freed of the inner inhibitions that have plagued her every moment of her life. She wants and craves being a better woman and one who can give everything to her Dom. For her this is the only way she can be fulfilled.

Expectations and rules enable both parties to know what’s expected and the sub is very willing usually to obey and abide. This is the nature of a D/s situation. A sub wants and is only fulfilled mentally, emotionally, spiritually and sexually by serving a Master. He or she has to do this and this is no different for a Dom. He has to be the top and has to be in charge and needs a sub to serve, please and be completely and utterly devoted to his needs. For many Doms this does include sex and in some cases extremely kinky sex – at least in terms of very vanilla relationships. Does this include being tied or flogged, using electric stimulus or other methods of pain? Yes, at times – but not always.

Does the relationship sometimes move into aspects of BDSM? Of course it can but other couples simply like the control aspect and the very close building of their souls together. From what I’ve learned I see D/s couples as the closest and most respectful of any I know. The trust and the nurturing, the soul bearing and being so completely uninhibited is just amazing to me. I am floored by how powerful the very breathtaking journey is and respect couples to are able to be very honest with each other about what they have to have in their lives.

BDSM is certainly a portion that some couples move into. In the case of Jessie and Luke in my On Becoming His Collection, my co-author Benjamin Russell and I discussed how and if the two were going to engage in any aspects. They are BUT the concept wasn’t right in the beginning. You don’t decide to move into a relationship of this nature after in Jessie’s case, she’s spent her whole life in very vanilla relationship, and then have her tied to a cross and whipped or given say to another Dom to please for a night or a weekend. That’s completely unrealistic. Now I’m not giving you a complete flavor of what BDSM and the art behind the practices. There are so many misnomers about what is entailed that most people think about the “x” cross and having a subject being flogged mercilessly. Oh that is so not what we’re talking about with BDSM. I’ve done several blogs on this misconception so I won’t get into them here but suffice it to say D/s might not ever include a playroom or any special benches for fucking and flogging. Or the couple might decide to move into attending Munches or perhaps go to a BDSM club.

Jessie is going to be collared and Luke had a different life before he met her with another sub. You are going to see them moving in this direction, but slowly over time and after the trust it built to a point Jessie is completely comfortable with what Luke is suggesting. The act of BDSM is an art and for couples who have no idea about aspects, you need to learn and there are ways in which to gain knowledge. What I do see in a lot of D/s relationships is the concept of punishment. Ben and I have talked in detail about spankings and the old fashioned corner time for Jessie and other methods as well. Domestic Discipline has been practiced in very traditional relationships for centuries. This is included in many Christian homes and the man is usually the Head of Household and expects the wife to perform certain duties. She is in charge of the children etc. and when she misbehaves she’s taken over his knee and given a spanking. This is known and is what it is and works very well. What you may not know is that many very vanilla relationships are moving back to this. Interesting, eh?

Many couples practice this in D/s and others augment with other forms of punishment including the removal of privileges. While those in a vanilla relationship might scoff, you have to remember this is what both the Dom and the sub not just want but NEED period. For some women (and of course men too) being taken over his knee is freeing, almost absolving sins similar to confessing. For every couple and situation this is different. Notice I remind you of that often? The decision and the journey is very personal and it’s different for every couple. Now that you’ve taken the step and been very honest but with yourself and with your partner you can truly explore what you want and what you have to have. Just know that you don’t have to practice BDSM at all. There are no requirements or musts. There is only what you decide together and yes your life will change.

Just another taste and we’ll start moving into more aspects in my next blogs. Let me know what you think.

Kisses   xxx

Cassandre

About behalle

Best selling author of erotic and paranormal romance, crime thrillers and horror novels
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12 Responses to Continuing in the D/s Lifestyle – is D/s and BDSM the Same?

  1. Tonya Kinzer says:

    Hi Cassandre! I love your blog! You get it out there and talk about things! My sentiments exactly on Fifty Shades – glad that she’s opened the eyes of the public…she has all the right connections through friends and family to help with that aspect…but she’s not told the whole story of a good relationship nor the differences between D/s and BDSM. The later involves those who need pain in order to be satisfied but that’s a whole article in itself. Those interested need to read all they can about both before making any changes or moves. Thanks for another great read! Muah!

  2. My God. How much I love your posts…just amazing!
    Bravo!
    Love,
    Shayne

  3. Kathy Lewis says:

    Cassandra, that was a great blog. I have been thinking about the whole top/bottom, Dom/sub since I started reading this genre. I find it interesting and love to read about it and I do talk with my husband. I want him to be more dominant and it’s not easy when that is not his nature. Honesty is definitely first and foremost. I did read 50 Shades and I have to say compared to all the authors who write about BDSM, I consider 50 Shades as a love story with a little spice. I have read books by authors who are far more knowledgeable about the subject. I hope they make it to the forefront like Mrs James did.

    • behalle says:

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and I agree with you about 50 Shades. I think having others think that’s really all there is can be daunting but every couple is so different. I wish you much success in talking with your husband. I finally was able to admit my personal desires not too long ago and one reason when I penned On Becoming His the emotional side of my heroine’s journey was so very important to me. Thank you for reading them both. There is a part one and this series will continue. Please note I am no expert, just my thoughts as I continue in my journey. :)

  4. Thank you for this post once again! ;-) I agree that while BDSM can be a part of the D/s relationship, that’s not necessarily the case in all situations – but there’s also the flip side where you can have a BDSM lifestyle where your pleasure is either in the giving or receiving of pain – ala sadism & masochism. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a close or bonded relationship for that – it can be like any other sexual encounter that one has outside of a relationship. However, I would caution that safety issues are more of a concern in a strictly BDSM scenario without the trust of an ongoing relationship – hence – why clubs and professional dungeons are so popular.

  5. Butterfly says:

    Thanks Behalle for the insight. I agree that D/s and SM are definitely two different things. But I usually see BDSM as the umbrella acronym including all different dynamics among kinky relationships, since the S there stands for both sadism and submissive. BDSM is a term created to include sadomasochism and D/s dynamics, and other forms that don’t fit well under either. That’s just my personal understanding.

  6. Basia Rose says:

    “Fifty Shades does piss me off. There, I said it for the first time.”
    LOL – it was like floodgates opening the first time I admitted it online. There was so much tension building up inside me because of that book – definitely wasn’t healthy!

    • behalle says:

      Why thank you for stopping by and I really am happy for her success but – oh there are so many buts you know? I hope my little piece I have develops a following but we’ll see.

  7. Molly says:

    Interesting articles you have here…. seeing your learning curve is excellent. I would like to point out though that actually written contracts are fairly rare with in the D/s and BDSM community as in general they are way to static, they don’t tend to leave room for growth, development and changing needs and desires for both parties as a result of shared experiences. In my opinion the contract in 50 Shades is one of the biggest flaws within the whole book.

    Also BDSM does not equal pain. It is one of the biggest myths surrounding BDSM that it has to include pain. There are many people who are into BDSM but do not include pain play within their relationship. For example there are people who like rope play/bondage, sensory play, but would never want to be whipped or flogged or want to do the whipping or flogging. Not all BDSM includes pain… in fact far from it.

    If you are interested. I am a submissive woman living a 24/7 D/s relationship with my husband.

    Mollyxxx

    • behalle says:

      Molly – first of all thank you so much for commenting and second – I will never claim to be any exert. I learn more and more every day and I anticipate (and hope) that I will continue. Truthfully though I have talked to many people who have a “contract” per say. Mow this is more like a guideline than anything that would stand up in court but the concept for them is similar. For first time people entering into the lifestyle it’s more like an understanding that passes between people – I personally think it’s meant to be added to or changed as the couple grows in their very personal journey. As I have said many times, this is very very personal and each couple is completely different. As far a the BDSM – I completely understand and aware. I don’t talk a lot about a lot of the aspects other than some basics that I do write about and do take significant time to research for several reasons including the fact I have enjoyed few aspects. Well noted though and as I continue on I so value thoughts and comments and I love hearing from you and would love to more if you’re interested. Thank you very much.

      Bethany

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