Where Does Kink End & BDSM Begin?

 After dropping in on the Southeast Leatherfest, I found myself pondering the future of BDSM. It’s not going anywhere. It taps into something deeper in the human psyche, so that will certainly always exist in my lifetime, no matter who the powers that be are. These thoughts went more towards the fact that what was once a convention centered around old guard leather now comes across as being rather watered down by allowing the focus to become diluted by other things. This might seems like a “You kids, get off my lawn!” moment, but I checked this in with others in the lifestyle and they agreed. We came to the conclusion that Fet-life was to blame. Some went as far to go for the low hanging fruit and blame that piece of Twilight fan fiction. I don’t think that book is to blame, as thanks to the movies for being the worst things ever, it is now seen as laughable by most.

 

Fet-Life was once a useful tool. I do agree that it makes it appear that things like polyamory are a required part of a BDSM lifestyle, and that is not the case. In fact, BDSM doesn’t need to have anything to do with sex. While all of kink and BDSM does fall under the banner of fetishes, since it originally meant “an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or belief to be inhibited by a spirit,” we eventually attributed that power to the fixation we had for said object or action. The sense of gratification derived from these actions or things is considered to be an abnormal degree. So what I am trying to say? Glad you asked, let me give you an example.

 

 

I have a breast fetish. I am fixated on them. The bigger the better. To the extent that I typically can not reach orgasm unless I am looking at or touching them. This has nothing to do with BDSM. This is a kink. If I worshiped them, it would cross over into BDSM, as then I would be handing over my control to another person. Since I am not a submissive person, I would not do this. To indulge this kink in a BDSM manner, I would use dominance to force the submissive woman possessing such attributes to give them over to me. The difference is not semantics, but the power exchange of the situation.

 

 

So a leather fest should be a celebration of the “Old Guard Leather.” We discussed this in my article on “Therapeutic BDSM” here, but if you don’t feel like clicking around, it’s the culture of leather that came out of the gay subculture of the 1940s. For you kids at home, you might consider Rob Halford as the poster child for this. BDSM did not originate at this point, as it goes back to ancient Rome or further, as archaeologist Anne Nomis found references to Domination in the Sumerian Hymn to Inanna. Roman poet Juvenal’s book “Satires” tells of ritual flagellation used to bring altered states. Around 200 AD, elements of BDSM are mentioned in the Kama Sutra, when the profession of a dominatrix is thought to have come into being. It was in the sexually progressive climate of Weimar, Germany in the early 1900s that BDSM as we know it came about.

 

 

America did not catch on until the Depression, and the Old Guard Leather scene came after World War II. The start of the Old Guard Leather was not just because soldiers who came back home realized they were gay or liked to be spanked. It was the fact that they missed the hierarchy that came with being in the military. The exchange of power with rank. Rank that was earned, not given because, like today, they wanted to be called a Domme, so made a Fet-life profile to decree them as such. And here is where the arguing on forums begins, with old timers who found the internet who are rigid about it being the one true way, to young kids who met someone kinky at a Brony convention and just want to do whatever they want to do. Like most things in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle without going to extremes. Going into BDSM without being mentored is dangerous if you begin dipping into practices that have a potential to hurt someone, even with a safe word. Sure, the punk rock thing is not go to Berklee, but teach yourself, and maybe you will learn to actually play your instrument over time. But in most practices, it is generally valuable to learn the rules before you can break them. If you are so into instant gratification that you want what you want when you want it, then you should go more towards kink and look into finding someone change your diaper for you. That is the kind of outlook on life my 7 year old has. With anything in life, including BDSM, you get out of it what you put into it.

 

 

So at the end of the day, this is not to say that it’s not alright to work in elements of expression that are true to who you are into BDSM. But learning the ropes and history enriches the experience for both parties. While not all cities have a strong kink or BDSM scene, Fet-life is good for networking and finding communities to learn from. Sure, this also comes with people sending you pictures of their wrinkled penises and asking you to hold the keys to their chastity belts, no matter how specific you are in your profile. If you are fortunate enough to live in a city with mentoring programs and a strong scene, then go to a munch and network.

 

 

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The Author

Wil Cifer

Wil Cifer

Wil spouts his thoughts and theories on metal / goth/ post-punk/ and darker indie rock on blogs like Abysmal Hymns,No Clean Singing, Geekinthings, Treblezine etc...
Father of 6 year old a six year daughter London, He is very passionate about horror movies, comic books, the occult and Morrissey , though David Bowie will live on in his heart forever