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The Ultimate BDSM Guide (Part 1)

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Real Information for the Uninitiated

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For those of you just discovering you have a kinky side, it is our belief that having access to the right kind of information is vital. In light of this, we kick-started a series of interviews with Asmi Uniqus, to help you understand the ideology behind BDSM. Whether you seek a 24/7 Total Power Exchange relationship or you just want to add a little kink in the bedroom, we hope to help you discover where to go, and what you need to know to feel comfortable and safe while exploring.

What is ‘BDSM’ really? It seems everything falls under that one acronym.
BDSM is an acronym made of 3 conjugate pairs. It means, BD (Bondage,Discipline), DS (Dominance, submission) and SM (Sadism, masochism). So it does actually cover a lot of activities both physical and mental. Activities like ropes, restraints, sensory deprivation like gags or blindfolds, would all fall under the gamut of Bondage.

Similarly, rules, structures, rewards, punishments, tease and denial will fall under Discipline. The Dominance – submission conjugate will usually include activities around power play, control, obedience, sexual submission, domestic servitude and in the extreme edge consensual non-consent. The jargon and the nuances are very vast and can confuse someone who isn’t aware of it.

So simply put, let’s say that BDSM is more like an umbrella term for a lot of activities that revolve around power dynamics, pain, control and structure in interpersonal dynamics. Some people practice it only to spice their sex lives up, as a kink or fetish, while others also live it as a lifestyle choice.

I am curious to try it. Where do I begin?
I would suggest begin with reading, especially non-fiction. Erotica or porn will not give you an insight into the mindset or the actual preparation that goes into a ‘session’ or the BDSM ‘play’ that practitioners explore. Reading non-fiction will help you understand the underlying basics and make you more aware of your own desires as well as those of your partner. Some of the good resources with an India – specific flavor written by Indian authors are as follows:

Some of the world famous books are:

After you read, the next step is to explore, find compatible partner/s to experiment with and embrace those aspects that you really resonate with. All you have to do after that is grow in your journey.

Why do experts say that 50 Shades is a bad representation of BDSM?
Based on my reading of the books, and also based on my discussions with lots of other seasoned practitioners, we all feel it’s a misrepresentation of how BDSM is practiced. To begin with, the book portrays the central characters in a very negative light, especially the male Dominant. In real life, seasoned Dominants are usually older, responsible and mature. More than age, it’s the emotional maturity that they display. I will not idolize the way real life BDSM is practiced, but the fact is that no one in real life goes around stalking their submissives or fitting their cars with GPS. Of course, Dominants protect their submissives from stalkers and abusers, but they don’t use it as a way to compensate for their own control-freak behavior.

50 shades of grey

Source: Esquire

Also, it’s not about the riches of a Dominant to buy or manipulate the submissive’s consent in real life. Also, most real life Dominants are not practicing BDSM because of issues in their own teenage and adolescence; but because BDSM is something that fulfills them on its own. BDSM as commonly practiced is not misogynist or abusive or manipulative or only sexual in nature. It is far more about nurturing your submissive to be a CEO rather than appointing her to be one. It’s about responsibility and the tenets of Safe, Sane, Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink (SSC & RACK) are upheld very strongly. All of this hasn’t been depicted in the book at all.

What is a typical dom/sub or slave/master relationship like?
Honestly, there are no typicals. A dom/sub relationship is very different from a master/slave dynamic. To quote an excerpt from BDSM Concepts: A Practical Guide by Asmi:

"The variety of interactions that revolve more around the Dominant – submissive spectrum is also fairly large. Top–Bottom is not the only type of interaction one gets to see. There’s the Dominant who needs a submissive counterpart; the switch who gets the best of both worlds or Daddy/Mommy who takes care of a baby girl / boy. Not to forget the other end of the extreme of TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationships like Mistress/Master-slave or the Owner-property/pet dynamics. While the dynamics seem to be listed in the order of increasing intensity and decreasing transience, one must not conflate the intensity and the depth of the relationship with its meaningfulness. The most transient dynamic can be as exhilarating and fulfilling for someone as the most intense total consensual slavery.

The dominant–submissive relationship is more intense and encompassing than the Top-bottom dynamic. It is also more inclusive of the non-sexual, mental and the emotional spaces of the people involved. Typically, while a Top and a Bottom are involved only in sessions, a Dominant and their submissive may actually end up discussing finances children, professions and often times; Dominants may instruct a submissive on behavior modification outside their relationship as well. In cases like this the dynamics would border upon mentorship. At the other end of the D/s spectrum are TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationships like Mistress/Master-slave or the Owner-property/pet dynamics. Such relationships are usually not legally valid and are punishable by the law of the land if exposed thus. However, whether or not are they valid emotionally and morally, especially if consensual, who is anyone to judge? After all, morality being as subjective as it is, one can’t stereotype any relationship, even those that seem violent or painful."


Asmi Uniqus is an active BDSM practitioner and lifestyle coach based in India. She has been a lifestyle submissive for over 10 years now and is very vocal about her lifestyle choices. She believes in self–empowerment through empowerment of others; has a wide experience of writing both poetry and prose around themes of feminism, LGBT, sexuality and erotica. She has also been very active in several real-world BDSM communities and has close connections with a wide spectrum of other practitioners both in India and globally. The speaker is also the author of a series of simplified guides to various aspects of BDSM, which are undergoing the publishing process. She can be reached on Facebook or via email at: asmi.uniqus@gmail.com

Written by Bala Owner. 

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