‘Uncertainty and shyness’ is part on the series on BDSM and Philosophy
(Keywords: ritual play, topping, bottoms, real and true BDSM)
In my experience, uncertainty, low self esteem and being shy are disturbingly often perceived as possible qualifiers to explain the behaviour of submissive and masochist bottoms. Well, at least, bottoms are thought to be like that by the outside world, which – understandably - in general has problems to comprehend the mechanisms that drive our BDSM urges and takes for too literal and important that what is only part of our rituals of intimacy.
However, for the insiders it is clear that being kinky has nothing to do with the above stated qualifiers, even when indeed some bottoms can be displaying them in abundance. Likely not just a few tops think that such behaviour does suit them fine too; which, naturally, it most of the times actually does. All provided that such behaviour is part of our play by our choosing.
Yet, like most Masters, Sir Cameron realizes that bottoms who suffer under who they are and what they do, can be problematic as a play partner, or in a sub or slave relationship; in a way one might even say that they represent impaired bottoms, who are not qualified for play. Whereas a healthy self respecting bottom with knowledge and understanding about their own urges, fantasies and limits is way more preferable. As such, ‘normal’ bottoms are able to support their tops by responding with constructive feedback, care and gratefulness. This may not be the type of bottoms, subs and masochists that we perhaps meet in (pornographic) literature or in - porn movie inspired - public awareness. That clearly cannot be, as such roles and images are meant to stimulate our fantasy, not as a real life example.
Does BDSM empower bottoms?
Instead of empty stereotyped perversions of what we supposedly do, we in our BDSM praxis are looking for real, sane and sensible people. Persons that show an amazing assertiveness, a positive self image and a very good idea of what amount of nastiness they prefer in life. These points denote for individual qualities that can be regarded as excellent conditions for playing with them as bottom, sub or slave; precisely because we all realize that BDSM thrives on our co-dependency. Moreover, issues like self esteem, assertiveness or modesty rather seems to be a general issue of ones personality than that it would be something that can or should be related to being kinky. Nonetheless, I will argue that this last position - of subs being knowledgeable, self-confident and communicative - is paradoxically enough quite often the result of being kinky, instead of the reason for being involved in BDSM. Why is that?
The first reason perhaps, is that our kinky urges force us to go and look inside of our selves to find out if we are okay. Outing as a kinky person, goes hand in hand with the awareness that BDSM by the majority of our fellow citizens is still perceived as something wrong, sinful or sick – at least not a normal thing. Therefore, standing to your own sexual identity and perversions, asks for a thorough consideration with regard to our own sanity. By reflecting on who we are, what we need in order to feel complete and how it is safe and sound to be ourselves in this way, we learn and discover how life works. In the process of exploring our sexuality, we get to know ourselves better and get the information that we require in order to be able to get our needs met in joint forces with our peers.
‘Peers’ you ask? Yes, peers indeed. In BDSM inequality is a conditional part of the play. In order to let giving off power in an exchange process function properly, the bottom first needs to have this power. And they need it knowingly and at their command.
A second reason why many bottoms are in fact so powerful, stable and open minded, can be found by seeing through questionable contradictions. In principle being shy or being self-conscious are not necessarily opposites. It is understandable that one mistakes a role in a play for being representative for how those persons are outside the scene: this will certainly apply in many cases, but does it necessarily have to?
We all know the switching type, or the sexually submissive, that can be really bossy in hir job. We explore these real sides of us and overly faked roles alike, whatever is on our agenda. We are the players, remember? We direct, fuel and spice this living out of our fantasies and wishes. And as such, the opposite of shy, viz. being brisk, may well be a driving force behind our play, or not. It does not really mater. Yet, without planned route you have no idea if you fly in the right direction.
Accordingly, the opposite of self-confidence is when you are not conscious of what it does require for you to be – essentially - your self. This implies that you do not realize to what extend your needs, your feelings, your deep desires; your strengths and particularly your weaknesses influence your current behaviour. In order to get kink working in your life, to be aware of your own psyche, your urges and your limits is absolutely essential. By knowing yourself and by holding yourself and your play partner(s) in high esteem, you know why you are doing what you do. You can reflect on why and how events impact your emotions and this gives you a valuable tool to work on your defences, your limits and their transgression. Please, do not give a damn about what others say is the ‘real’ thing! Nor ’50 Shades of Grey’, nor ‘O’, nor your local slaveholder defines what is ‘real’ or ‘true’ BDSM. Real is who you are and what you are doing. And when you are doing it the way you need it, good for you! Stay true to yourself.
And for sure, the awareness of knowing each others needs - and what you can give and share with each other - forms an essential part of any relationship, not only in kink. Yet, in kink it is perhaps more important, as a wrong motivation or poor understanding of the others needs, can end up in a mess. Therefore, the ideal case is when two self-conscious meet (regardless of whether their coming together was hesitant or clashing).
Bottoms and ‘their’ poses
Good bottoms are very sexy to tops. Some tops ‘suffer’ heavily because they easily fall in love (yes we can!) with those adorable, small, helpless, fragile, anxious bottoms who - once they are conquered - start clinging to and feeding on the tops strength and squeeze them out like a lemon.
Occasionally, we might be inclined to accept such behaviour, but in general love or lust should not compensate for structural deficiencies. On the contrary: love is the mutual blowing up of barricades in order to be able to transcend seemingly unattainable limits. This takes courage, but it's the best chance to enjoy a lifetime of love, happiness and hot steamy passion!
Bottom poses, like uncertainty, shyness of even submission itself, are just poses. We can and certainly may identity with such enthralling poses when engaged in play, but to carry this beyond their functionality is a matter of personal flavour. It is perfectly normal for both top and bottom to return to a non-role state after play, where we have a fairly normal attitude towards each other. Sir Cameron is utterly annoyed by delusions regarding sadists being horrible nasty and hideously vicious for 24/7 – as if we are not entitled to be gentle to other beings. Woe on them who do not believe this! Sophia, heat up the branding irons! – oops what did I say?
Now, to re-assure those neatly bottoms who are shy, uncertain and soft and weak by nature, I can only stress; do not worry; we still need and cherish you – even when you have to suffer for it! Whatever; just take care that you find persons that respect you as you are and who do not exploit you against your actual needs. A healthy top does not need that anyway. Even when a topping person can be a great help to you, BDSM is no alternative for therapy. If you, as a person, need to heal and solve personal problems, find a therapist and work on these issues with a professional. Despite that kinky play can be outright beneficial to finding out how you are wired; your partner(s) will likely be looking for a partner, not for a patient (except when playing doctor Dark or nurse Needy … )
At the other side, dear ‘topsies’ and ‘bottomses’: feel free to be open about all your needs; when you cannot communicate your thing, your hard limits or your hottest fantasy to your partner(s), why are you playing at all? What are you trying to prove? Do not be afraid to loose your charm by being assertive; in the Dominion of Lord Cameron, we have made the experience that none of us kinky folk is a one trick pony and even that - allegedly - passed stations are great fun to return to, then our rituals have layers of meaning and it takes time and practise to get to know them all.
BDSM Ritual play
Ritualism as such is without any doubt a functional affair; despite the highly organized formality, it often contains celebratory actions with a striking symbolic content. Of course, these symbols are not necessarily sexual in nature, and even if so, they still can refer to general human needs, like sharing, nurturing or love. However, such wants are a genuine part of BDSM play too: often full with symbols, roles and ritualistic elements, like the secret, the dark, the seductive, the fearful, the unashamed, the forbidden, the painful. Not for nothing the dungeons are seen as temples of sex magic.
When arranging a play scene, we use the rite to our advantage, so we get a reward out of it. And like with childish play, it does not have to be perfect, we can fill in the blanks: a candle hear, some music there, a belt, a mean looking leather jacket; soon we create a space that we can use for matters of serious fun.
Consequently, whatever rituals, roles or posses we choose to explore in our play, let them be clearly know; the reward will only be higher. And even when it should not be our goal to fly from the one height to the other, being ‘on air’ for sure is a good feeling.
Rituals can help us in this regard; rituals are the key to understand some of what we do and at the same time they form the tools by which we prepare a space of secrecy where we can be whoever we wish to be, even if it is only for once. We resemble one another in what we see together, in what we suffer and enjoy together. Fantasies change from individual, but the reality of the ritual as meaningful language is common to us all. Striving towards realism is therefore legitimate in BDSM play, for it is basically related to laying the substrate for the imaginative expression that we wish to bring about.
In our ritual play we resonate on such sources as the self and the cultural stance on self-indulgence. BDSM rituals thus help us to form and liberate our sexuality in a save and controlled way that does justice to our humanity in an appealing ceremony.
Perversions are only statistically uncommon instances of human wants. By playing out our urges with consent and care; we realize our creative potential and pursue happiness in a way that we see as appropriate and empowering for our kinky nature.
Enjoy! – Sir Cameron