There is a lot of attention being given to so-called BDSM relationships since the 50 Shades of Grey series came out. The subsequent movies have only brought more people into an awareness of this type of sexual relationship. Many women have found themselves interested in finding a man like this main character, and have sought out these men online.
The problem is that anyone can claim to be a “dom”; a person who is dominate sexually over their partner. Some of these men (and women) are respectful and decent people, who do enjoy sadomasochistic sex, but they honor boundaries. You can enjoy BDSM while respecting your partners hard limits.
A common way to address this issue of boundaries is the use of safe words. A safe word is a word that can be used at any time during a scene or sexual encounter, and as soon as it is said everything stops. Using your safe word is a way to say “I’m serious. I want this to stop now.” Most people use the word “red” because it is commonly understand to mean stop. Some people choose to also use the word “yellow” to indicate that they want the scene/sex act to continue but at a lower intensity.
For example, if your tied up and your Dom is spanking you, and you suddenly feel overhwelmed and want it to stop; you can say RED and it will stop. Or, if your in the same situation but you merely want the spanking to be less intense you can say YELLOW and your Dom can slow it down.
If someone tells you that you dont need a safe word, do not listen to them.
I made this mistake.
I have been involved in BDSM since I was 17 years old, and I am now 28. I was in my marriage for 5 years and we had a period of separation. I was in a very mentally unstable place. My mental illness was in full swing. I found a man who, I believe, took advantage of my mental state. We did not have safe words. He did go far beyond my limits. I was not able to escape because I lacked the emotional strength.
As a woman who has suffered sex abuse for most of my life, I fell back into old survival habits of “give in”. People who are not sexual abuse survivors may not understand it, but I was incapable of getting myself out of this situation until my husband and I reconciled. I felt strong enough knowing that my husband was there to protect me to break off this brief relationship.
The damage that was done has not gone away. I have gotten better though, and I am no longer plagued with flashbacks.
I want to share what happened the second time I ever saw this Dom we will refer to as “M”.
“Look at yourself,” his words barked into my ear.
Following his command, I slowly moved my eyes forward, and stared at what my big screen TV reflected at me. My thin, naked body in front of his. His arm was across my neck in a choke-hold. My toes were desperately touching the ground, my heels being lifted upwards. My hands hung uselessly onto his muscular forearm.
My thighs bore bright red streaks against my pale skin, still burning from the cord whipping he gave me.
Next thing I know, air is getting away from me. His arm is tightening. I try in vain to breathe a little air. Then, I feel weightless; darkness.
I hear buzzing in my ears, and everything feels light and confusing. I feel him slapping my face with his free hand. Where am I? What’s going on?
I am still in a standing position; his arm is still around my neck. I realize where I am again; my apartment. I realize who he is again; my newest abuser, who I just met through a dating site. I realize that I have just been choked unconscious.
I feel scared. I don’t want to pass out again.
I don’t have a “safe word”. I trusted him. I was naive. I was vulnerable. He knew this.
I didn’t even want him here this night. I was almost asleep in my bed when he texted me earlier in the evening. I told him that I was exhausted, the children were sleeping, and I needed to get my rest. He told me that he was not asking me, and I had better let him in.
My spirit was not strong enough to say no. I couldn’t emotionally handle resisting him. I surrendered. I probably deserve it anyway, I surmised.
But now, he had choked the air out of my lungs. Now, he was dragging me still upright through the hallway, into my kitchen. Now, I understood in sudden terror that I was at the mercy of a sadist I hardly knew.
My children are sleeping upstairs. Please, don’t let them wake up to a dead mother.
He has me in the kitchen. He is tightening his grip around my neck again. I gasp, “please don’t”. He loosens his grip, “what did you say?”
“please…don’t…don’t do that again”
“it scares me. Please, I don’t want to pass out again.”
He is silent for a minute, it feels like an hour. Then, he laughs to himself quietly and tightens his grip again.
My hands are pulling at his forearm, but I am acutely aware of how impotent I am against him. Still, my fear will not allow me to stop trying to keep myself from passing out again.
Air is getting harder to take in.
My mind feels fuzzy, like I’m going into a dream.
I feel my consciousness falling away from me again, but just as I am about to go out—he lets go.
I gasp! Air! I’m awake.
Next, he pushes me onto the floor of my kitchen. It’s hard, and cold. His body is on top of mine now, pushing my hip bones and spine into the hard floor. He has sex with me, and it hurts.
Eventually, he leaves. It is close to morning and I have not slept but I say a silent prayer of gratitude when I shut the door behind him. He is gone. I am free, until he calls again.
I walk upstairs, stunned.
I open the child gate and check on my children, still sleeping; utterly unware of the abuse I just endured below their rooms. I am so thankful to be here for them. I am so thankful for their ignorance.
I crawl into bed. I feel lonely. I can’t sleep.
I go into my bathroom and examine the damage done. Bloody streaks and raised red lines across my back, buttocks, and thighs. My eyes look tired, circles under them. I turn around and cringe, my back is killing me from the kitchen floor. I know I will be covered in bruises soon.
I cover the evidence with my clothes. I spend the rest of the night justifying what I allowed to happen. I tell myself that I am testing my endurance, reaching the strongest parts of me through pain. I am lying to myself.
The bruises come, and go. The red lines come, and go. But my heart’s hidden wounds cannot be so easily healed.
I wish that I could have just said no, but when “no” was ignored for so many years it become an impossible protest for me. I just couldn’t say it. I just couldn’t speak up. I just gave in and accepted it, did my best to survive.
My sadness is remembering that night, and so many others like it.
My pride is knowing that if it happened today, I would so say no—defiantly and proudly and without hesitation.
My healing has begun, because I have finally deemed myself worthy of peace.
If you have found yourself intrigued by the world of BDSM for the first time, or if you are a veteran of the S/M scene; please use safe words and lets play safe, sane, CONSENSUAL.