Wherefore art thou, BDSM?

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The experience of BDSM can be quite intense, even intoxicating. This intensity can make it something highly desirable.

However, seeing a relationship or a partner through eyes coloured by lust, hunger or passion can give you a distorted view. What can seem to be shared can be one-sided, what might seem to be dominance can be lust drive, and what might seem to be submission can be sensation hunger.

On top of this, if all you have ever felt or encountered is a hunger for sensation, then it can be very easy to think that this is all there is in BDSM. You can call yourself a submissive and be utterly convinced that what you experience is the peak of BDSM, the end all, the top of the mountain, and that there is nowhere higher to go.

Likewise, a dominant who has a few miles on the clock in the flogging and bondage departments may see these two activities as the epitome of BDSM, that he (or she) is at the top of their particular heap because of their obvious skill and prowess, and that they are a master because have learned all there is about the things they are aware of or because they have had a few subbies crawling at their feet.

This is understandable to a certain extent because of the often hidden and mysterious nature of BDSM. That's not to say that BDSM is particularly mysterious in itself, but there are many aspects of BDSM which you simply won't encounter unless you are well-travelled, have lots of experience, and have a certain amount of luck.

If you and your partner are absolutely happy and content with what you do, then exploring further afield is unnecessary and maybe even a waste of time.

If, however, you take someone under your wing to teach them, then I think it behooves you to make sure that you aren't teaching them a limited view which, while OK for you, may not be OK for them. If they look up to you then they may not realise that there's more to BDSM. They may not think to look further because you yourself do not.

So, if your partner or your local community looks up to you as a father figure, mother figure, guiding light or leather-clad angel, then do consider attending the occasional workshop, joining the occasional discussion group, and generally broadening your horizons. Even if what you see and learn by doing this isn't useful for you personally, you've put yourself in a position where you can at least give pointers to others who take inspiration from you.