Please, Sir: can I have some more?

A line from ‘Oliver’ but so very appropriate for our topic too ;-D

Another very interesting part of the BDSM lifestyle is the various types of relationships people have with one another. There are labels or descriptors for these relationships that are pretty standard in the BDSM literature. My experience with my friends has shown me that the relationships  don’t always resemble the definitions given and like any other human relationship, there are variations within each theme. The idea of ‘power exchange’ is a part of these relationships. And the idea of SSC- Safe, Sane, Consensual is also paramount.

The terms kind of define the individual in the position of control or power. Here are some examples and by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Dom/Domme(D/D)-Sub: in this relationship the man (Dom) or woman (Domme) is in the power position and the Sub (Submissive) is the individual who is willingly ‘under the control’ of the Dom/Domme. From my understanding and observation, this relationship is not typically a 24/7 one, but rather one that occurs when the two consenting adults are communicating, playing, interacting in some way. For a simple example, the D/D may want the s to dress or behave a particular way for a specified period of time. The types of potential interactions are unlimited and the people in the relationship have agreed upon the parameters. It is possible to have a D/s distance relationship (a few of my friends are in this type of relationship).  This relationship is not necessarily limited to two people. A polyamorous family may be led by a D/D and the others in the family may be in the s role, or a play partner, or some other role.
  • Top/Bottom/Switch – again, these terms relate to the individual who is in control of the scene being played out. The Top is typically the person leading the activity, the Bottom is the person receiving the action in the activity. When a person is a Switch, it means that they like to be in both positions depending on the activity, who the play partner is, or any other possible parameter of an agreed upon meeting of two people. The people who identify themselves as a Top/Bottom/Switch seem to do so only for the purposes of play. Once the scene is done, so is their particular role.
  • Daddy/Little/Middle – my friends who identify themselves with one of these terms have a particular mindset during play with their partners. I have a friend who is female but identifies in some play activities as a Daddy, providing emotional support and sometimes discipline to the partner. Friends who identify as Middles like to do things, dress, or behave like young adolescents during play activities. Those identifying as Littles behave like younger children. Both men and women can identify as Middles or Littles. Be assured that during their non-play life, they are just as adult as you and I.

In addition to designated or self-identified roles, there are a whole variety of scenes that can occur during BDSM interactions. There is cosplay (think costume), roleplay (Peter Pan and Tinkerbell anyone?), pony play (yep, just like it sounds), or age play. Again, not an exhaustive list…just a sample. These scenes can be extremely detailed in the organization, setting, clothing, script, or very spontaneous; the key is that they meet the needs of the participants.

There are MANY other kinds of relationships, descriptive labels, and scenes. I just wanted to touch on a few in this post. As I mentioned previously, a really excellent source of information is a website called Fetlife. It has an extremely comprehensive listing of all things BDSM. In order to access it, you must become a member. For a quick reference requiring no membership, pop over here to peruse an alphabetical listing of BDSM related terminology.

So what else is there to talk about?

TOYS…up next!




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