Learning The Lifestyle

Author: Raven Shadowborne © 1998

  Whenever someone begins to learn something new, there is always a feeling of excitement, that refreshing invigoration of something new.  One may feel a sense of impatience, wanting to know everything, yesterday! As time goes on and the person begins their journey into the varied lifestyle of BDSM, he/she discovers an overwhelming amount of information. Everyone has advice, everyone has his or her own ideas, and everyone's definitions are different. By listening to those who have been there before you can quickly become confused and, sometimes, downright disheartened. They point you to books, which you may then purchase in an attempt to better understand this lifestyle. But quickly  find that what you thought would simply be a matter of acting out your fantasies, is suddenly a rule ridden "lifestyle". You may feel confused, overwhelmed, and even angry that it isn't as easy as you thought it would be. You may be unsure of what to do, where to go from here, and possibly even doubting your own thoughts or feelings because they may not match those you've heard or read about. First, take heart! You are not alone, nor are you the first to have these feelings. 

        Most people who start BDSM do so because of their sexual needs.  Straight, non-kinky, sexual activity, though nice, is rather boring and routine to them. They want something more, and deep inside, the need something more. Their fantasies lean more heavily toward the kinky aspect of sexual activity. They may feel guilt or shame at these needs within themselves. Society teaches us that we are equally intelligent and capable beings. For those whose fantasies swing more towards the submissive instinct (being tied up, spanked, kneeling, following orders from a more dominant person, etc) these needs and desires can conflict heavily with their upbringing. For those who have dominant instincts, they are a bit more readily adaptable to the teachings of society.  Either way this conflict of what you are taught versus what you feel deep inside, can create major confusion, guilt and even fear. You may start doubting your own sanity. (I remember thinking I was crazy for the longest time.) You may also experience emotional pain as your needs go unmet. Eventually, this dissatisfaction can creep into your whole life.  You may stumble on, pushing these fantasies and desires deep inside you so you don't have to face them, living out the, so-called, "proper" normal life. Suddenly you come across something that brings them to the forefront of your mind once more. Be it an article in a newspaper, an adult magazine, or (with the advent of the Internet) a web site, chat room or any number of things. Now you are suddenly faced with the realization that you are not alone. Nor are you somehow a sick or crazy person. Again, the confusion versus desire wells up within you. 

        All of these are normal reactions to the beginnings of anything as deep seated as BDSM. What to do about it is as individual as each person is.  There is no real right or wrong when it comes to what will make you happy, but first you have to figure out exactly what that is. Be honest with yourself and those you talk to. Do not feel ashamed if you have feelings of guilt, anger, and/or fear yet this  underlying craving.  Try not to let your emotions be dictated by someone else. Honestly express your needs and desires, as well as your thoughts and feelings, especially if you have a partner. Such open and honest communication is crucial to this lifestyle, as well as the learning process. Try to keep an open mind to the experiences others tell you about. Be aware that your personal limits, likes and dislikes, at this moment, will change over time as you grow and learn more. 

        The people who live this lifestyle are no less human than you are. They hold jobs as varied as flipping hamburgers, to holding government office, to being a move star and everything in between. This lifestyle is not just crazy sexual deviants who should be in jail. Nor is it a bunch of "sickos" that are stuck on past abuse issues. The vast majority of those in this lifestyle, are intelligent, normal every day people.  They hold jobs, get married, and have kids, the whole nine yards. At some point, they too felt the same or similar emotions as you do right now. 

        Many people will jump in with both feet and just go at it! Thinking, "well I've read a book or two, talked to a couple people, I KNOW what I'm doing." Only to find out the hard way, that they have no clue. The best thing you can do once you realize what your desires are, is to be patient! Take your time. It is a hard and often painful road when you begin to learn who you are. Quell those wanton desires to start right now and go slowly. Talk with many different people, and read as much information as you can get your hands on. Talk over what you have read with other people who have been in this lifestyle longer. Digest what you have read, think about it and compare it to your own inner emotions.  Learn yourself and how you feel. Learn your desires and how to voice them. Accept and try to understand where you are and where you would like to go. Ask your questions don't hide them. Remember that the only stupid question is one that is not asked. 

        Try to remember that as a baby, it took time to learn to walk and before you could walk you had to learn to crawl. Learning this lifestyle is the same way. You must learn to crawl before you can walk. Try to remember that each person in this lifestyle had to learn the same things at some point. Ask them about it, some may not remember, but many will and many will be willing to share their beginnings with you. Take in all this information, compare to your own thoughts and feelings, and decide what is right for you. Give yourself the time and the space to learn and you too will reach the point where you are comfortable and secure with these emotions and with expressing them. 

        You have begun a journey of discovery. One that will often bring you great  pleasure, as well as great pain. One that will delve deep into the hidden recesses of your own heart and soul. The dark places you never dared to go before. It is a journey a growth and acceptance. It takes time to grow, so give yourself that time and you will be much happier in the long run. 

This essay was published in the PPEG Newsletter on June 8, 1998. 
This essay was published in the online magazine from Fetish Society January 1999 
This essay was published in the Different Strokes Newsletter for June 1999.

Addendum: " You said a dominants traits are more readily acceptable by society. It's true us subbies need reassurance from time to time that wiitwd is "ok" to counteract the conditioning of society. As also can be true with a Dom especially "new Dom/Domme"  discovering their "dark side" unless of course they were taught to flog, whip, torture, tie-up etc. were normal behaviors. I have seen the struggle with these new feelings from a new Dom as well is all I'm saying " © neeq

This addendum is copyright to neeq and is pasted as a direct quote from an email she sent me in regards to this article. She brought up an excellent point, which I had forgotten in writing this article. That being that a dominant who is also a sadist (or has sadistic tendencies) must also fight against society's teachings in regards to their desire for pain play. Thank you Lisa for bringing this to my attention, I appreciate it . :)




Back To General BDSM
E-mail Site Owner
Back To Home Page
Page By: Raven Shadowborne © 2000
Graphics and buttons by: Aylissa Cair and Raven Shadowborne ©





LnR Toy Store

Site Map


To hear of changes to the web site, or events taking place in the chat room, enter your e-mail address and click on the button below to join the LnRannounce mailing list. This is an announcement list only and is of very low volume. Or if you prefer, e-mail Raven (ravenshad@knology.net ) to be added to the list, be sure to include your e-mail address and the name of the list within the e-mail.

Subscribe to LnRannounce
Powered by groups.yahoo.com

National Coalition For Sexual Freedom

Link To Domination