This is part 3. of my ABC’s of BDsM series. In each post, I will break down one letter of the BDsM acronym to delve deeper into what practices and preferences make up the world of BDsM. This is by no means a definitive discussion of BDsM, but is rather intended to be a primer for interested beginners.
S is for Sadism
Sadism refers to the practice of deriving pleasure from inflicting pain, discomfort and humiliation upon another person. In the BDsM context, it often involves a consensual exchange of power in which the Dominant partner inflicts pain upon the submissive partner. Sadism is a strong feature in many aspects of BDsM play, including:
- Impact play, such as spanking, caning, whipping or flogging.
- Wax play, where hot wax is dripped onto the skin of a submissive partner
- Humiliation play, where the submissive party is required to perform actions that they find degrading, wear clothing that embarrasses them or is subjected to ridicule.
- Knife play
- Electro-sex, where a violet wand or tens unit is used to inflict electrical shocks, currents and sensations.
- Bondage scenes where the submissive partner is restrained in an uncomfortable or unflattering position.
- Torture scenes, which may include breast torture, cock and ball torture or bastinado (foot torture).
- Role play scenes that are intended to induce fear in the submissive party.
While a lot of these types of play may seem frightening and worrisome to a person who is unfamiliar with BDsM, the fact is that in practice they are carefully planned and controlled. Although physical and psychological pain are large components of scenes that involve Sadism, most sexual sadist aren’t bullies or meanies. There are a number of different reasons that a person may be excited by sexual sadism, for example:
- Enjoying the physical sensation of wielding the tools of the trade, such as floggers, whips and paddles.
- Relishing the feeling of control and dominance over another person.
- Being aroused or excited by the reactions of the submissive partner
- Performing a service for the submissive, by fulfilling their desires and helping them to face their fears and fantasies.
- Enjoyment in the planning of a scene or the polishing of skills such as whipping or torture.
- Fascination in the operation of the body, in seeing how the body responds to certain treatment and pain.
- Feeling a sense of joy or pleasure at earning the trust of a submissive party.
The topic of Sadism is one that I’ve found elicits strong responses in people who are not familiar with the world and practice of BDsM. And I can see why. From the outside, the idea of a person who enjoys hurting others can be very frightening. The image our minds conjures up when we talk about torture and humiliation is that of a villain or a bully. But in the real-life practice of BDsM, this often couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people who practice sexual sadism are caring, loving individuals. Some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met have sadistic tendencies in the bedroom. As with any of the other practices in BDsM, there are a number of special considerations that must be undertaken to ensure that the scene you are partaking in is safe, sane and consensual:
- Long before any play begins, the parties involved should take the time to have an open and frank discussion about personal limits and set specific guidelines for how the scene should progress.
- The submissive party should disclose any medical conditions or injuries.
- Safewords should be employed in situations where sadism play is taking place. A safeword is a word or phrase that, when uttered, brings the action to a halt.
- The dominant party should be aware of their own personal skill level and limitations and operate within those boundaries.
- Before participating in impact play, learn the parts of the body that are safe to hit, and those which must be avoided.
- Make sure that all equipment used, such as floggers or paddles, needles, sex toys or gags, are clean and in working order.
- Do your research. Read books, watch videos and visit blogs that deal with the particular type of play you are interested in. Practice your skills and hone your knowledge before attempting a new type of play.
- Build up trust and intimacy slowly. S&M play requires a huge amount of trust between the parties involved, and this can only be built over time. I don’t recommend engaging in S&M with someone you don’t know well enough to be sure that you can trust them.
- Never participate in sexual sadism if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If your judgement is impaired, you could wind up badly hurting your submissive.
- Ensure that you have first aid supplies at hand in case something goes wrong. Bruises, cuts and scrapes do happen sometimes even in the most carefully planned scene.
- Aftercare is vitally important in scenes that involve pain or humiliation. Both the dominant and submissive parties need time to come down after a scene, tend to their bodies and minds and debrief.
As you can see, sadism isn’t all about torture and trials, it’s about creativity, curiosity, nurturing and fascination. It’s about eliciting a response and exploring our limits and skills. People who identify as sexual sadists aren’t necessarily horrible or cruel, and most are fantastically caring and kind. As with all aspects of BDsM, there is a level of danger involved in indulging one’s sadistic urges, but with proper planning and care, they can be explored safely and with great success.
In my final chapter of The ABC’s of BDsM, I’ll be talking about the flipside of the S&M coin: Masochism.
If you enjoyed this chapter, you may enjoy my previous posts: