BDSM · Love and Relationships

BDSM vs. Abuse

As someone who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship, followed immediately by a physically abusive one, and who has survived rape, I feel very strongly about this topic. It is not difficult for me to talk about these times in my life, as I have been active in victims’ advocacy and continue to be active in speaking out. Still, no one ever likes to relive some of the worst times of their lives. I began writing the specifics, only to find that it took over 1,500 words before I was halfway done. And I didn’t want this to be an essay of me potentially triggering other survivors. Suffice it to say, I have been on the receiving end of physical violence against my will, emotionally jerked around and insulted in order to make someone feel better about himself, have been used for sex, had choice taken from me and forced to have sex, and I have even used sex to protect myself from being injured.

I take this shit extremely seriously. I do not make abuse jokes, ever. I will never tolerate being treated so inhumanely ever again. I know I am worth more than that, that I deserve to be loved and treated the way any human should be treated. I have made some awful mistakes in my life, but I never did anything to deserve what my dating life was like in High School.

thedifferencebetweenbdsmandabuse

This graphic, which I stole and did not make (cites in the image), explains it perfectly. Those past experiences made me believe that my desire to be dominated was unhealthy, just a scar in my mind that had crossed my wires. That I just needed therapy and then I’d be able to enjoy a “regular” relationship. And Master was patient with me. Unfailingly kind, loving, wonderful. But then my sexual awakening happened, and I knew I had to do something about it, and I knew I wanted it with my husband.

Master has pulled my hair. He has punished me. He has actually hit me. Like, really hit me. With belts, with a crop, with his hand. He has restricted my breathing, put his hands around my throat. He has scared me, wondering what was going to happen next. He has pushed my limits just to see how far I could go. But I always, ALWAYS, was safe. I always, ALWAYS, was consenting. I could make the scene stop any time I wanted. I never wanted to run away or get away from him at all. And in those scenes, I felt a sense of calm. Of peace. And extremely sexually satisfied.

My wires aren’t crossed wrong. Well, ok they are. But not in that way. There’s nothing unnatural or unhealthy about BDSM.

When my ex would break out in a fit of violence and hurt me, he’d dump me. He’d be unreachable for days, completely ignoring me. (And taking the opportunity to fuck other girls. But our relationship didn’t stop him when we weren’t broken up, either.) Then he’d come back to me, telling me he loved me, bringing flowers, promising that this time he’d REALLY change. When my other ex needed someone to hurt, he would call me to tell me I was a fat, ugly whore and that he’d told all his friends that I had STDs or was pregnant or some other awful thing. And he’d say I deserved it for cheating on him. And I would cry and apologize over and over (this went on for 4ish years, by the way. After 8 months of dating him.) Then he would tell me he loved me and wanted me to leave my boyfriend and be with him. But I would say no, and the cycle would start all over again.

Master always knows when I’m nearing my limit. He stops before he pushes me too far. He watches me, measures my responses, listens to me. He takes his pleasure and gives me mine. And at the end of it, he holds me close and whispers to me. He gets me water or milk. He helps me get dressed and tucks me into bed. He gently tucks strands of hair behind my ears to keep them out of my face. He makes sure I’m ok.

These both sound like honeymoon phases, don’t they? A build up of tension, a violent act, then making up. No, they are SO different. I’m not scared, insecure, depressed, or the least bit weary after a scene. I don’t hate myself afterwards. I don’t feel guilty. I feel blissful. As much as I love serving Master, I love the aftercare the most. I have never felt so loved and treasured as I do in those moments.

In BDSM, I don’t use sex to keep myself safe. I don’t feel empty and used afterwards. I get an equal say in what we do, when we do it, how often we do it, to what extent we do it, and I ALWAYS have safewords to end a scene when it becomes too much. And I know damn well that if I use my safeword, the actions will cease immediately. Master will become my husband again and he’ll comfort me. And we’ll talk about it. We won’t sweep it under the rug and promise to do better. We’ll work through it and become stronger because of it.

Violence and emotional manipulation in my previous relationships tore me down and broke me. While Master performs acts of violence in a scene, and manipulates my emotions, he does so to heighten my pleasure and to find his. They do not tear me down. They build me up. I used to be quiet, hesitant, meek. I was afraid to speak my mind and felt guilty for disagreeing with people. Now I am confident, snarky, sassy, even a bit bitchy. And I love it. I find my strength on my knees before him. I find my confidence in the strokes I withstand. I find my power in letting go.

Once you take a look at it, a REAL look at it, there is NOTHING in common between abuse and BDSM. A raised hand striking flesh is a gesture. Hands tightening around a throat are just gestures. Meaning matters. Safety, sanity, and consent are everything.

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7 thoughts on “BDSM vs. Abuse

  1. Very powerful piece of writing, and very important. You speak to a great inner conflict I have about bloggng about my experience in becoming a sexually submissive wife (I am describing my own journey at pleaseravishme dot com). It took me months to decide to do it because if I describe the feelings of peace I feel when my husband “hits” me, it seemed like I would not be respecting survivors of real abuse. I worried (still do) my writing could be interpreted as encouraging husbands to abuse their wives. Or interpreted as if I’d be open to strangers abusing me. So I love what you have written here, made me feel more at peace with my own decision, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I never really thought that talking about BDSM could be seen as encouraging abuse. Obviously 50 Shades romanticized an abusive relationship dynamic. But I totally see how it could be interpreted that way. We walk a fine line, but it’s clear as day to us. Could be muddy to others. Clarity and emphasis on consent are of vital importance. Things current literature doesn’t always grasp.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Like

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