Making The Step
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Followers of my musings will be aware of my view that there are people who are merely occasional visitors to BDSM-land, and then there are people who either reside in BDSM-land or who are in BDSM-land so frequently that they may as well be granted full citizenship.
The occasional visitors are those people for whom BDSM and leather are simply kinky diversions. These are like the people who pass through on a tour bus which stops from time to time so they can all get out and take photographs or try a local dish before getting back in to move on to the next attraction.
The residents of BDSM-land aren't just there for the tour highlights. They're there for more subtle things, and they're comfortable and more than happy to be surrounded by, and immersed in, BDSM in all its glory and infamy.
How does one become a resident though?
I think that there's a step which needs to be made which moves a person from being an occasional tourist, a gawker or a member of the fluffy-pink-handcuffs brigade to someone who looks deeper, to someone who takes in more of what BDSM and leather have to offer than simply the hot stuff.
Not everyone takes this step of course, and I'll freely admit that there are many countries and places (both figurative and geographical) which I am more than happy to simply pass through because they're simply not what I want or need. But some do take this step and cease to be just a BDSM tourist or gawker.
I think this step has to do with surrender.
I think it has to do with an acceptance and the embracing of the realisation that life is significantly richer with BDSM in it, and significantly poorer without it. Kinky sex, fluffy handcuffs, and a bit of the ol' tying up are easy to do and equally easy to treat as superficial. Actually opening up and letting it all in to effect you deeply may not be a consideration... at least, not consciously. But for some people the pressure to open up is there. They may not recognise it initially, but they feel it and this surrender is not to some form of captivity or confinement, but instead is to release or liberation.
In some ways I suspect that this step is akin to crossing the threshold to adulthood, to becoming - if it doesn't sound too disagreeable - sensible.
It is making a profound commitment to a path, to an upcoming journey, one where we need to give of ourselves totally. I suppose it's similar to marriage, but instead of marrying a person, we marry the idea of being a leather person or a BDSM person. And it seems to be a till-death-us-do-part sort of thing.
The difference between someone before making The Step and after making The Step may not be obvious to those around them. They may continue to do the same things - tie the same knots, grovel on the floor the same way or wear latex which is just as shiny and colourful as before - but the difference is within. It is something internal and they may not even be aware of having made The Step themselves until something happens or someone says something and there's a click inside.
One day they think they're merely recreational bondage dudes and dudettes and the next day BDSM and leather are integral expressions of who they are. I think that for many it can be a great revelation which occurs in a metaphorical flash of light and a silent cry of, "It's all so clear now! Why didn't I realise this before?"
Hold on a moment... What was that?
I'll be right back. I think someone just turned on a light.