I saw a blog on UK BDSM website fetbook today. It made me think and drove me to post some thoughts on this, reproduced (and slightly edited) here.
First, concerning “vanilla”:
I love vanilla ice cream. I hate the term vanilla used in connection with BDSM and haven’t used it for some years now.
Why? Well, if people in D/s relationships are ever going to live their lives in the open then we need to be accepted by the wider world. Vanilla is sometimes used by BDSM people in a pejorative sense, which won’t help acceptance.
I don’t think that was the intent in the article that sparked this blog – but it still comes across that ‘vanilla” might be a less exciting, intense, trustful choice. There’s a sense of superiority that I don’t feel is true.
There are many differences between relationships based on D/s dynamics and non D/s relationships. For me, the first important distinction is that D/s can look like abuse from outside, but it isn’t, as long as it is based on consent. Getting the wider world to realise that would help us move into the light.
It looks likely that around 10% of people have a BDSM urge. Far fewer do anything about it. Fewer still make it a major focus for their lives. Most of the world would be very surprised at the thoughts expressed in the original article, a few of which would probably, in the wider world’s eyes, condemn the piece. Take the end of that blog:
Will you be satisfied having mild to medium Trust in your heart for your partner?
Perhaps even a sense of deep trust in your heart?
Or do you need MORE – do you need the Living Experience of those moments when Trust is so In-Your-Face that their is plainly and simply no denying it, when you can almost taste it, feel it, and hold it in your hands?
I think few people in non-BDSM relationships will believe that the trust they have with their partner is in any way less than the trust we experience.
What follows is very personal. Many will differ – and that’s fine.
My partner is my partner. I have the same concerns and cares as people who have a non D/s relationship. What differs is not the relationship, we love each other, we enjoy cooking and theatre…
What differs is who we are. We are D/s people. Equal but opposite. She forgot to telephone me the other night, I spanked her – both of us are cool with that. (actually, that’s wrong: for both of us that was a perfectly natural thing to do).
What differs for me is not the deepness or intensity of the relationship, nor is the level of trust, or passion, or intensity different to what people in non BDSM relationships can achieve or experience.
What differs is who I am. I thrive in a relationship where I’m expected to take responsibility and be the leader. She thrives in her non BDSM marriage because that part of her which needs to serve and support is who she is when she is with me.
So, I used to be a BDSM evangelist because I thought I’d discovered a true way to the most fulfilling possible relationship and that people who chose BDSM automatically had deeper, richer lives than those that chose not to. I was wrong.
What I have is a relationship that is right for me, because D/s is at the centre of who I am. It’s my orientation. I need it and I fail when I deny it.
But I’m no better or worse than anyone else. And I want to be accepted for that.