Since the different varieties of BDSM overlap, a mutually exclusive and exhaustive classification system is not very useful. Instead an overview of different types of control allows you to express your wants and needs (and meh’s and do-not-want’s) more clearly with your partner.
Bondage is the most obvious form of physical control because it restrains the bottom, thus limiting their physical freedom. Of course, physical control is not only about restraining limbs. It can involve confinement, such as keeping someone prisoner in a dungeon or locking a person on a human-size birdcage. It can involve physically overpowering someone without restraints and instead pinning them down with your forearms or using your body weight to keep them off balance. It may involve having a third person stand guard at the doorway in case the bottom flees.
The essence of physical control is that the bottom is not necessarily playing along with the scenario. He or she can resist. The bottom may struggle against restraints, or try to flee the cage, or fight back in a simulated abduction all as part of the escapist arousal process that lends to the sensation of being overpowered by a stronger force—but not necessarily outsmarted by a superior intellect.
Restraint has been shown to induce a mental and physical state of peace, relaxation, and bliss in the bottom; to send them into subspace. Subspace is an altered state. It’s a perfectly natural and normal altered state, like sleep or a runner’s high, but an altered state nonetheless. Imagine the spine tingle you get from a well-told story, the pleasing frubble during a good night drinking, or sense of euphoria during a chemical high. Altered mental states are potent and enticing to your neurochemistry. Being drunk or on drugs induces chemical and physiological changes within your brain, liberating us from our stone-sober, hyper-attentive ego state. Ask a sub to describe the feeling of being controlled by some-one else. They’ll usually say, “It’s like going to my happy place.”
I once met a young rope fetishist who was a well-known top, highly analytical and articulate about his own experience. He explained things this way.
I love to bottom. I feel at home in rope. The feeling I get, it’s ensconcement, like being hugged, cocooned, even cradled in rope. I bottomed for Sir Moon who moved out of the state and so I sought a new top but could not find someone even close to the same skill level. Sloppy rope just sucks. Moon’s technical precision is unmatched. Nothing produced the same satisfying sensations. So I decided to start topping. If I couldn’t experience the sensation for myself, I would capture it empathetically by giving it to others. I would do it right.
By the way, people who identify as top or bottom but who never experience things from the other side are missing out on a remarkably enlightening perspective. I top. I am in my glory when I’m tying a woman I’m attracted to and have a deep emotional connection with. But it’s extraordinarily difficult to “feel” things from a point of view other than your own, even if you have an incredible imagination and tons of empathy. For the purpose of education (as opposed to stimulation) I’ve bottomed, and there are practical and ineffable aspects that can-not be observed from the perspective of the top. The sensory elements, the touch, the presence. To describe it destroys it because words give an artificial sense of specificity, as though the whole episode were a mechanical process rather than a subtle experience. Words fail.
In fact that’s an important truth. The BDSM experience cannot be transmitted to someone who has not experienced it firsthand merely by watching others or simply with a description. Despite the fact that I use writing as one medium to convey ideas, even the best writing only conveys gross concepts, makes metaphorical connections, and illustrates logical points. Experience alone captures essence. Words cannot do justice to the actual sensations, the feelings, and the nuance of a kinky experience. And thank goodness for that.
In contrast to physical control, psychological control is about the submissive yielding to the dominant, whether fully and without hesitation or as a spritely minx who pokes, prods, and cajoles the dominant into action.
Psychological resistance play involves a submissive who tacitly agrees to the dominant’s desires, but in the spirit of play seeks loopholes, denies her own malicious intentions, and provokes an incident to create erotic drama. Often in resistance play the submissive challenges and thwarts the dominant, apparently out of disrespect or irreverence, only to find the dominant’s reprisals used to re-establish the default power dynamic. Bottoms who engage in resistance play are referred to as brats, sprites, or smart ass masochists (SAMs).
Psychological acquiescence incorporates the active search for discipline, structure, and servitude. Once the templates of traditional relationship structures have been destroyed in a fit of sexual ecstasy, it is not uncommon to meticulously restore order from the new wide-openness, to reassert boundaries, principles, and expectations under the guidance of the dominant. Thus the submissive fully and unhesitatingly accepts the dominant’s directions. This does not mean the submissive asks no questions; rather, questions are used to clarify the intentions and anticipate the likely desires of the dominant. Questioning is generally not intended to confront or debate the will of the dominant as in resistance play.
In some sense, the distinction between resistance play and acquiescence illustrates the degree to which the roles are taken seriously. That is, the relationship may involve a serious commitment by both partners, yet the type of psychological control may be accepted lightly or with great solemnity. Psychological control relationships can be made formal and may in-corporate servitude contracts, specific rules, and explicit consequences such as physical punishment, humiliation, or the removal of privileges.
To an outsider the behavior in a control relationship may appear abusive. But for the participants there is an incredible amount of physical and mental satisfaction. These controlling elements create structure and order, like a puzzle to be solved. Rules and consequences encourage strategic thinking much like chess and other games of strategy sharpen the mind. The thrill for the top or dominant is to establish the rules of the game, to define the structure and take control. The thrill for the bottom or submissive is to play within or violate the rules, to explore the structure, to vie for or yield control.
A piece of advice to dom(me)s: don’t make rules you won’t enforce. Even though my inner sensitive new-age guy tempts me to say, “Hey little buddy, it’s okay. Any-thing goes! You do what works for you and I’ll do what works for me and the world will be rainbows and unicorns!” I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing more frustrating for a submissive than a dominant who doesn’t keep his word. It destroys trust, creates confusion about true expectations, and sours the relationship.
Distinguish rules from guidelines if you must. But enforce your rules.
Taken from: How to start a kinky relationship. James Amoureux LINK
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