The compound acronym “BDSM” breaks down into B&D, D&S, S&M or bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism. So really it’s BDDSSM – but that looks sloppy and smacks of diplopia, so the redundant letters are pared away, giving us our sleek little name, an umbrella for so much of what we kinky folks do. A good general glossary of many BDSM terms can be found here.
Bondage and discipline for many conjure up images of a submissive tied to a bed, being physically punished for real or invented misdeeds, wrong actions, or inactions as a way for their Dom or Dominatrix to train them to do better in the future, not unlike fraternity brothers paddling pledges as part of hazing in those campy old college movies (“Thank you, Mistress. Again.”). While this is sometimes the case, many bondage and discipline experiences in my personal life are a great deal more subtle – and often less sexual than emotionally pervasive.
I love rope as much as the next girl (well, unless that girl is a veteran rope super pervert from Planet Shibari – I’ll admit it, I’m a bit green in certain areas but hope to rectify this with time and experience), but I find mental bondage often just as satisfying, challenging, and sensual. In mental bondage, the submissive is commanded by their Dom to hold a position until instructed otherwise. A famous pop culture example of this occurs in the movie “Secretary” when Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character (the secretary) is ordered by James Spader’s character (the boss) to sit at his desk with her palms flat on the desk surface until he returns. Quite some time elapses, in which she will not leave the desk for bathroom breaks, food, or anything else. When a third party removes her from the desk, she reacts violently and resumes her original position.
In mental bondage, you rely on your willpower, your inner strength, your self-discipline in order to complete the task at hand.
I have found in my training as a BDSM practitioner I have gained profound mental strength that spreads into all areas of my life. When I was ordered to stop biting my nails so I would have pretty nails that could double as claws for back scratches, I grew them out for the first time, something I had tried and failed at my whole life, a nail biter since a kindergarten friend on the bus told me how delicious fingernails were and prompted me to try it for myself.
Over the past 3 years, I have lost over 140 pounds and maintained that loss, and though I still have another 40 pounds to go, I find it easier and easier every day to resist temptation and to push myself to exercise because of how both my willpower and tolerance for pain/discomfort have grown during my practice.
I have become neater and more organized than I ever have through my new love of domestic service and the determination and focus I now possess – that I’ve cultivated through practicing restraint of all kinds.
I have grown stronger through the challenges and guidance I’ve found in the kink community, found the strength within myself, and consciously brought it to the surface. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.