The Lure of BDSM & D/s: Women's "Shades of Grey"

6 years ago

Today, as women everywhere breathe heavy over "50 Shades of Grey", an erotic novel complete with role-playing and BDSM, I actually find myself breathing a little easier.  Beause it's something I experienced in real life after I got divorced.  I also chose to tell the world about it in my memoir (gulp).  And at the back of my mind I've always worried, "Is everyone going to think I'm a freak for this?"

(Smile) Maybe not.

So what is the lure of BDSM and Dominance/submission (D/s) for women?  And why is it that many women relegate it to "Fantasy Only" instead of exploring it in reality?

Hali, a divorced mother who has begun experimenting with consensual BDSM in a serious relationship, says the lure for her is "heightened passion."  She says, "When my boyfriend straps me down and 'takes me,' I'm forced into the present and everything else gets tuned out.

 

"I never would have experienced this with my former husband," she adds. "I was young and insecure about myself and body back then; I wasn't open to it one bit. Plus, had he suddenly tried to be more dominant, I think I'd have ended up laughing."

For Tara, a 40-year-old mother of two, the allure lies in having her partner "plan" the event and use his imagination.   "There's a build-up to the experience -- I anticipate it and wonder what's going to happen, what he may or may not do...

"It's the mental side to sex that's really exciting for women," she continues.  "I don't think men are wired this same way --  they can look at porn and magazines and experience the same excitement.  So in their books, nothing's missing."

My curiosity around  BDSM and D/s stemmed from having re-watched the movie, "9 1/2 Weeks".  There was just "something" in how Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke connected -- how he seemed to "see" her, intuit her, push her beyond her boundaries and in turn, empower her to know herself more. It wasn't until I started talking to  "Sir John the Dom" -- a sexual Dominant from the United States --  that I realized that this movie was about BDSM and D/s.

Ah, but he had so much to teach me.

I remember John telling me that from a neuropsychological perspective, it makes sense for women to have a "submissive" side:

"For the sake of simplicity, I want you to imagine the human brain in two parts: the upper brain and lower brain, " he explained patiently.  "The lower brain is our 'old' brain -- we've had it since the beginning of time and throughout evolution. It's where our instinctive, primitive thinking lies, like the fight or flight response, or the biological urge to have sex and reproduce.

"To understand how our lower brain functions, you simply need look to other less-evolved primates," he continued. "Like gorillas, for example. One of the behaviours you'll observe amongst female gorillas is their jockeying to win the 'alpha males' in the pack. The females prefer to associate with the stronger, more dominant gorillas. They want to submit to an alpha, knowing that he improves their chances of survival. It's about safety, protection, and well, having his babies.

"Today," he said, "this same lower brain activity is still active in the human female brain. The difference is that you also have this evolved upper part of your brain. The upper brain is where you store your values and beliefs and morals, which have been compiled through social conditioning. As women of Western culture, social conditioning teaches you the exact opposite thinking to your primitive brain: that women are men's equals, that submission in any form is a 'bad' thing, and that you can be as strong and dominant as men are--which is true in most respects.

But," he added, pausing, "What sometimes happens is that the two parts of a woman's brain are at war. She knows she is an independent, self-sufficient person, capable of forging and managing her own life. Yet secretly or subconsciously, she may dream or fantasize about submitting to a man sexually or otherwise, all the while berating herself for doing so because she judges her thoughts as weak, clingy, or abnormal."

John's explanation not only resonated me, it left me yearning to learn more.  I had falsely thought that D/s was about one person abusing another.  I also thought it involved extreme and freaky behaviour like hanging from the ceiling tied up, or wearing a dog collar and licking men's shoes.
 

In its truest form, a D/s relationship is all about the submissive: her wants, her needs, her fantasies. The dom's job is to build a bond so strong with her that she feels safe enough, connected enough with him, to unleash her creativity and explore her innermost self. Through submission, she actually becomes empowered because she connects with her body, heart and mind in much deeper ways.

And whew - what's not alluring about that! (BIG smile)

BDSM Dominance Submission

 

More from Delaine Moore on I Am Divorced Not Dead:

Divorced Moms: Are They Hiding Their Sex Lives?

What Do You Say To "I'm Not Into Monogamy"

Is Your Dating Mindset SMART or Self-Sabotaging?

 

 
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