Kink and BDSM communities have long been subject to misconceptions and judgments from the mainstream world. One of the most common misunderstandings is the confusion of dominance in kink with abusive behaviour. While abuse can and does occur in kink dynamics, it is important to understand the difference between true dominance and abusive behaviour.
Before we delve into the differences between true dominance and abusive behaviour, let's first define some terms. In kink and BDSM communities, "dominant" and "submissive" are terms used to describe roles within a power exchange dynamic. A dominant is someone who enjoys being in control, while a submissive is someone who enjoys being controlled. These roles can be part of a consensual, negotiated power exchange dynamic that includes elements of intense sensations, pleasure, and control.
However, not all power exchange dynamics involve intense sensations or control. For example, a dominant may simply enjoy taking charge of decision-making, while a submissive may enjoy being guided in their choices. The important thing to remember is that all power exchange dynamics involve consent and negotiation. All parties involved must agree to the rules and boundaries of the dynamic before engaging in any activities.
Abusive behaviour is never acceptable, whether within a kink dynamic or not. Abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. In kink dynamics, abuse can occur when one party ignores the other's boundaries or engages in non-consensual activities.
Some signs of abusive behaviour within a kink dynamic include:
Ignoring safewords: Safewords are an essential part of any kink dynamic. They are a signal that the submissive can use to indicate that they need the dominant to stop what they're doing. If a dominant ignores a safeword, that is a clear sign of abusive behaviour.
Pressuring for non-consensual activities: All activities within a kink dynamic must be negotiated and consented to by all parties involved. If a dominant pressures a submissive into activities they have not agreed to, that is a sign of abusive behaviour.
Refusing to respect boundaries: Boundaries are an important part of any kink dynamic. If a dominant refuses to respect the submissive's boundaries, that is a sign of abusive behaviour.
Using physical force without consent: Any physical activity within a kink dynamic must be negotiated and consented to by all parties involved. If a dominant uses physical force without the submissive's consent, that is a sign of abusive behaviour.
Punishing the submissive for things outside of their control: A dominant may punish a submissive for breaking a rule or boundary within the dynamic, but it is not acceptable to punish a submissive for things outside of their control. This is a sign of abusive behaviour.
Identifying True Dominants
True dominance is not abusive behaviour. A true dominant is someone who enjoys being in control within a consensual, negotiated power exchange dynamic. They take their role seriously and prioritise the safety and well-being of their submissive.
Some signs of a true dominant within a kink dynamic include:
Respect for boundaries: A true dominant respects the boundaries set by their submissive. They understand that boundaries are an important part of any power exchange dynamic and prioritize the safety and well-being of their partner.
Clear communication: A true dominant communicates clearly with their submissive. They make sure that all activities are negotiated and consented to by all parties involved.
Prioritising safety: A true dominant places the safety and well-being of their submissive above all else. They take steps to ensure that any activities or scenes are done in a safe and consensual manner.
Honoring safewords: A true dominant respects their submissive's use of safewords as a means of communicating their boundaries and limits. They stop any activity immediately when a safeword is used.
Willingness to learn and improve: A true dominant understands that there is always more to learn about their submissive and the power exchange dynamic. They are willing to listen to feedback and make improvements to ensure that the dynamic remains safe, healthy, and consensual.
Providing aftercare: Aftercare refers to the activities that take place after a scene or activity within a power exchange dynamic. A true dominant provides aftercare to their submissive to ensure that they feel supported and cared for after engaging in intense activities.
It is important to remember that not all kink dynamics involve intense activities or power exchange. However, for those that do, it is essential to prioritise consent, communication, and safety. Identifying the difference between true dominance and abusive behaviour is crucial for the health and well-being of all parties involved.