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When Is BDSM Emotionally Abusive?

| Articles | February 20, 2014

“He made them want to shout, Ouch! But this time you better watch out. He kicked her oh and he beat her, and he whipped her. S&M” These are the words from the Thin Lizzy song S&M. But how much do you know about S&M? Can you distinguish when the role play ends and the abuse begins?

BDSM

BDSM is a collective term used for the many subdivisions of the sado-masochistic culture. B&D stands for bondage and discipline, D&S stands for domination and submission, and S&M stands for sadism and masochism. These terms are usually related to sexual acts, however, it transcends to more than just kinky sex plays.

BDSM is considered role playing in the sense that couples choose which part they want to play. But aside from choosing and playing roles, BDSM is about an open channel of communication between both parties. This means being able to openly express who you want to be in the role play, and telling your partner your limitations in terms of pain tolerance (for the victim role) and the extent of what you’re willing to do. BDSM also requires trust and understanding. BDSM requires using devices and accessories that may inflict pain on the partner. One should be able to trust that their partner would know how to control the way pain is inflicted, and also to know when to stop. In this same concern, the dominant partner should understand the other half enough to know how far he wants to go. BDSM is not only about being in control, it will forever be give and take.

When is BDSM emotionally abusive?

Unfortunately, we cannot ignore the fact that to some people, engaging in BDSM role playing is about enjoying the feel of having the power to inflict pain on their partners. It starts getting out of hand and becomes a power trip for the dominant partner. Here are some pointers on how to distinguish BDSM from emotional abuse.

lBDSM is based on safe, sane, and mutually consensual relationship while abuse is not and will never be negotiated.

lBDSM is acted out in a controlled environment, while abuse always appears out of hand.

lBDSM uses safe words to stop the role play if it gets out of hand while abuse doesn’t stop.

lThe dominant partner in a BDSM role play looks after the well-being of the submissive partner while an abuser just thinks of himself.

lIn BDSM, the relationship is fulfilling for both parties. Abusive relationships are fruitless.

lBDSM is about building trust and understanding, abuse destroys trust and breeds misunderstanding.

lBDSM aims to build self-esteem, while abuse causes the victim to develop inferiority complex.

lIn BDSM, the submissive partner voluntarily serves the dominant half, while abusers do not care to ask for consent.

Knowing the signs of an abusive individual may help you avoid getting into emotional abuse in your future relationships. Once your partner goes out of bounds of the scene content for your role play and starts forcing sexual acts that goes beyond your physical limit, stop the role play and leave. If your partner humiliates or insults you often, or isolates you from the people you love, it might be a clear indication that your partner may be more into the power trip than into pleasuring you by acting our your fantasies. You have the right to be treated with respect, you have the right to say no and leave.

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