Fear, Danger, and the Idea of Kink

By Nyx Fury 2005

The reason why many people have a negative outlook on Kink is because they are concentrating on ‘power exchange around sex’, as opposed to ‘sexuality around power exchange’.  There are many types of animals in the world of BDSM and some focuses on those I would consider a "Bedroom Player" than those more interested in the kink realm.  Many of us have been there but moved toward more of a power exchange aspect as physical sex changes the power dynamic which is why I don’t confuse the two.  Obviously, I wage someone’ sexuality against them in power, but the physicality of sex changes the dynamic and causes power to fluctuate. 

Don’t get me wrong there is light fluctuation at all times, for where would a leader be without followers?  Where would a teacher be without those to teach?  Yes the submissive gives me power.  However, this is by no means a cheap thrill like many of those in the kink world.  It is much more of a sociological issue to me.  Intention is the focus.  For what is any action worth without a strong intention behind it?  This is what my domination is about!

Some of the different perspectives derive from setting: A professional dungeon, an intimate play party, a large fetish club, a private home; all settings have different limitations that may lead to different perspectives.  Some come from the actors, or players: strangers will play with one another, differently than old and good friends, who will play differently than lovers who have just entered a committed relationship.  This is before we even get into the realization that there are a thousand and one different activities that could qualify as BDSM.  That's an enormous diversity of socio-sexual dynamics to be generalizing about.  

Is it possible to get at an underlying thread common to all BDSM activity and analyze it on those common grounds?  If so, what is that thread?  Could it have to do with focus & intensity?  Using a variety of emotional, psychological, and physical tools/methods to amp up the intensity of sexual experiences and to help the involved parties focus?

To put it as others have, including Mister Disco: "Most of all it's about risk and vulnerability -- both for tops and bottoms, I think -- but isn't the best sex, or the best intimacy, also about this?" BDSM is one of the available signifying systems for playing-out, in a sexual way, things like external power relations, gender, age, and sexual orientation [e.g. "lesbian" vs. "bi" or "bi-dyke" vs. "queer"], risk, intimacy, and whatever is going on emotionally for the person or people involved.  For me, as an outsider, the thing that really specifies BDSM is the existence of a fairly broad shared vocabulary, out of which its practitioners, like I said, create the magnetic poetry of BDSM practice.  As discussed at some length in the good old ‘Are Blowjobs Really About Power?’ question, pretty much any "sex act" can take on any connotation depending on the people engaging in it: BDSM seems to provide a very useful, flexible and creatively empowerment (as in "making people creative", not as in "starting the revolution") set of connections between sex acts, subject positions, and meanings, which allow people to communicate about what and how they might desire.  I think that might be part of what's behind the idea that BDSM is valuable as an alternative to mainstream mediated sex - sure, it's still mediated, but the mediation is part of the play, whereas a lot of mainstream discourse around/representation of sex is about disavowing mediation, meaning, intention, and choice ("then the inevitable happened..." "the most natural thing in the world"... "one thing followed another...").  In fact, there is one sense in which 'normal' sex acts are more likely to result in manipulation and an imbalance of willingness – because everyone expects them to happen, so you have less of a leg to stand on if you don't want to do them.  For instance, one of my college chums didn't like penetrative sex, and it was constantly presented – by her and to her, her boyfriend and friends – as a problem, rather than a preference, and specifically as her problem.  Even her closest chums said 'Get therapy!' rather than 'Get a boyfriend who doesn't expect to do that every time.'  If her boyfriend had said 'Hit me with a fish nightly!'  I suspect more people would have felt she had the right to decline. 

In brief, a lot of the things that kinksters enjoy about kink are present in childhood games - fear, danger, the idea of breaking rules or enforcing them, narratives of capture or escape.  A lot of people continue to get these thrills, but mainstream culture tends to steer us to non-sexual sources - to be scared, for example, people can read thrillers or watch horror films or bungee jump.

So now…Shall I use my physical implements?  Shall I use my floggers, crops, paddles, clamps, clips, cups, forks, metal objects, sharp objects, hot wax, ice or electricity?  Well yes I use these tools but they only have so much of a hold on you.  Pain should only be used in small bursts to realize it is there and you take it for me.  But pain is a small grip to have over another.  Pain is a temporary hold.  I wish to use a much harder grip!

“What is this grip?” you ask with a gleam in your eye as you look up at me, your loving mistress.  Well my dearest of pets, I can use a number of things with which to grip and control you.  Verbal humiliation is a fine tool but it can be useless if it is not real.  It must be used in the proper context and it needs to have a partnership with another tool … physical humiliation, this too is a wonderful tool.  A great tool I use to put you in your place.  Anything from putting you below my feet, riding you like the fine animal you are, or making you do silly tricks dressed in my very own personal intimates for my amusement, or to put you in your place, a favorite activity of mine - to be above you and mark you with my goddess golden nectar.  It is not all my submissives who get this treatment; you must certainly prove yourself to be worthy for such activities.  Other great tools are more mental.  Sometimes you must be forced to do things.  Sometimes leverage is a great way to force you into being the best submissive you can be.  Information that can really give your mistress an iron grip can also be: pictures, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or any other information that can be rather dangerous.  When you feel fear, I have control over you.  Chastity too is a great realization of who is really in charge.  Sometimes I must take you to the very edge.  I must dangle you from your cliff. 

So now…what implements should I use today?