What Is "A" Lifestyle?

Author: Raven Shadowborne © 1999

What is a lifestyle? That is one of the most confusing concepts when it comes to BDSM. The most basic way to explain it is, a lifestyle is how you live your day to day life. For example, there are homosexual lifestyles. This means people who live their day to day lives with another person of the same gender. There are "rich" lifestyles. This would be people who have a good deal of money and can afford such luxuries as expensive cars, large houses, and vacations in France. 

When it comes to BDSM, the word lifestyle seems to have taken on another meaning. Many define it as anyone who engages in any b/d, d/s, or s/m activity is living a BDSM lifestyle. Also, the word has been used to describe the entire scope of BDSM as "part of the BDSM lifestyle" or just "the lifestyle". 

For me, a person who lives a BDSM lifestyle, is one who lives in a d/s (or m/s) relationship on a daily basis. (this could be long distance, live in, monogamous, poly, homosexual, whatever!) For me, the deciding factor of whether or not someone lives the lifestyle, is whether or not the power exchange is the basis of the relationship and is present at all times. In such a situation the dominant is always in charge and makes all final decisions, and the submissive is always submissive, even if he/she has many responsilities. For many people, this is a mental thing. It is the quiet knowledge of who is in charge and what the heirachy is in the relationship. This knowledge is present whether the people are at a public function, or just sitting around watching television together. For them, it is not just a kinky sex game. Nor is it based on physical sensations created during play. 

Not everyne can live a D/s lifestyle. However, this should not deter you from enjoying BDSM to whatever degree you are comfortable and happy with. In my opinion, it does not in any way, lessen your relationship nor you as a person. Nor does it make you a "player" or "wannabe". Even those who engage in BDSM on a semi-regular basis, must still face many challenges and follow the same guidelines that are present for a 24/7 relationship. Safety must be adhered to. Communcation, trust, and honesty are of great importance. The relationship dynamics are the same, just not present all the time. There are plenty of people who engage in power exchange, or kinky sex, on a semi-regular basis (the vast majority of main stream BDSM it seems). They are indeed a part of the "lifestyle" as a whole, but are not living a d/s lifestyle. The do fall under the term BDSM, and are a part of the BDSM lifestyle as whole. For these people, the BDSM part is based more on physical sensation, sexual gratification, and experimentation. There is not as driving a need to submit or dominate outside of the sexual context. This itself can be a type of lifestyle. 

Some people narrow the definition of what "living a d/s lifestyle" is to one that includes only those who live in a 24/7 relationship with their dominant or submissive. This defintion excludes quite a few people that are in long distance relationships. I have learned that if the submission in domination are indeed real, distance will not change the knowledge of who is in charge. The participants can, and many do, live by the power exchange agreement even when apart. For me, this makes it a "lifestyle".

As you can see, lifestyle is many different things when it comes to BDSM. As with so many other things, you must decide for yourself how the word applies to you and your relationship. The best thing you can remember is this:
Do what comes naturally to you, follow your instincts, and make your relationship fit who you are, not what or who someone else is. 



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