BDSM–It’s Not All About Sex

It’s not all about sex, but I can see why you might not realize that if you watch or read a lot of power-exchange fiction.

A lot of times when I’m reading novels with D/s relationships I’ll see the phrase “It’s not all about sex.” Or there will be reminders that not everyone has sex in their scenes.  But then invariably as you read the book it is, in fact, all about sex.

It’s the same with movies. We’ll hear the actors talking about how BDSM is more than sex or not just about sex for everyone, but then everything they do in the movie ends up leading to the kinky sex.

There’s a reason for this…kinky sex sells. Kinky sex is fantasy fodder and lots of fun to read and watch. Some authors know perfectly well that D/s isn’t just for sexy times so they will try to include a mention of that just for a dose of realism, but when it comes to the actual story most of the times the sex is what sells it.

That doesn’t mean every scene in the book or movie includes sex. Quite often they will include the ‘For their own good’ type of punishment scenes, and many of those don’t end in bed. But in general, the relationship as a whole is geared towards sexual D/s.

For many people this fits. Their D/s is within a romantic relationship so it’s mostly sexy even if it occasionally includes a discipline dynamic as well.

The problem is that not all D/s relationships are romantic, and even the ones that are romantic don’t always include sex. People on the asexual scale exist for one thing, and there are plenty of them in the scene and in D/s relationships, but that’s just one group. What you need to realize is that not everyone wants the same thing out of the lifestyle.

“So, if you aren’t in it for the sex why do you do this?” is a question I’ve been asked more than once and it seems to be accompanied by honest confusion as if they can’t possibly fathom any reason to put myself through all that pain if it doesn’t end in an orgasm.

Well, for some people it provides external discipline and stability, for others it’s the emotional catharsis—a way of purging all the negative feelings inside before they build up. And then there are some for whom it is a sexual turn on in the right circumstances, but they may or may not actually want to have sex as part of it. Reducing BDSM, D/s, or a submissive lifestyle to just sexual titillation is a mistake. It’s just a really common one because the sexy stuff gets a lot more attention.

I’ve discussed why BDSM and sex are so tightly intertwined in people’s minds before, so I’m not going to totally rehash it all here, but I think part of it is that wanting a little pain is considered normal when it’s wrapped up as foreplay. I mean, it’s practically mainstream now to enjoy a few smacks on the ass while having sex. You can get away with doing all kinds of weird stuff if people think it’s a turn-on.

But the idea of wanting to be hurt without that sexual component upsets people. They don’t get the point of it, and therefore their minds connect it with abuse somehow. From their point of view pain is to be avoided and punishment isn’t something anyone should want.

Growing up most kids tried to avoid getting into trouble, and while spanking is less common now, a lot of people grew up hating it. The best part of being an adult is that you could now do what you want and no one would beat your ass for it… and then you’ve got these kinky people ruining the curve by actually wanting people to tell them what to do and punish them when they don’t.

Whaaaaat?? That’s crazy!

Except it really isn’t.

Whether D/s, BDSM, spanking, or whatever you’re into is a turn-on for you or not, it’s important to remember that what you get from it can be drastically different from what other people get from it, or even what your partner(s) enjoy about it. Sexual gratification is just one of many needs the lifestyle can fill.

Despite all of that, it can still be hard for submissives and Dominants who aren’t motivated by sex, because there’s always the assumption that it should be part of it. It can make you feel like you don’t fit in, but the truth is every submissive is different. Every Dominant is different. Every dynamic is unique.

I had an Ace person tell me the other day that they assumed they couldn’t be a Top because they were asexual, and this is not an unusual thought. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say they love the idea of BDSM, but they aren’t really into sex so they figured that no one would want to play with them.

The only really important thing you must do as part of the lifestyle is make sure you and your partners are on the same page. If you are a non-sexual sub than you don’t want a Dom that considers sex a part of every scene, and of course, the reverse.

I’m just going to spell this out for you now. You don’t need to have sex with your Dom/sub partner, ever. You’re not doing it wrong if you don’t want to include sex. As long as you both go into the relationship knowing what to expect you’re absolutely fine.

There are many dynamics out there that include only discipline and sex never enters the equation at all. So why don’t we hear about those? Well, we do, now and then, but people don’t tend to find those relationships as exciting to hear about as the ones where they can imagine lots of hot sex happening.

I believe there is still a prejudice out there for people who want to obey, follow rules, and be punished as an adult. Too many people think you are failing or immature, or somehow broken if you want to give other people power over you outside of the bedroom. It’s sad really, because no one should ever feel shamed for seeking the things that work for them as long as they involve consensual activities. We all have different ways to get through life.

The fact that some people are naturally submissive and need more supervision and guidance than others is a given. You see it in the workplace; you see it in your friends and family. So why can’t those people find strength and safety in a BDSM lifestyle if they want to? Consider this, I’m stronger and more assertive as a person when I’m in a stable D/s relationship.

Why? Because L and G will remind me that I belong to them and I have no business letting everyone else walk all over me. I choose who gets to dominate me so that I don’t become a doormat for the world, but when I’m on my own that can be very hard to remember.

People with submissive personalities tend to put out Please tell me what to do! vibes. For a good person those register as requests for help, and they will provide it if they can. Do you find yourself being the mom friend? The paternal mentor type? That’s probably why.

But predators can read those vibes too, and to them it’s like blood in the water. So, if being in a D/s relationship can help with that I’m all for it and in my opinion, sex is just the whip cream on top of dessert. Some people like it, some people don’t and either way is perfectly valid.

And here’s another interesting thing to think about: D/s can be hot and a turn-on for one person in the relationship without it affecting the other person at all. You can be sexually excited and…that’s it.

Just because you’re excited doesn’t mean your partner needs to do anything about it. Store up the sexy feelings for later; that’s what a lot of people who go to Pro-Doms do since most of those won’t do sexual things during paid sessions.

Being aroused during a scene doesn’t make the scene sexual. Even if everyone involved is hot and bothered it still doesn’t need to turn sexual unless you are all on board with that. Many people play in clubs, and at parties, and get turned on, and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean that anything happens. Since most clubs (outside of fantasy BDSM club books) don’t allow sex, I’d say it’s the norm that nothing will happen unless you go there with someone and leave with them after.

So, throw out the idea that everyone who considers themselves a submissive is getting hot sex all the time as part of it. There are subs (like me) who do get turned on during certain scenes, but don’t necessarily need sex in their dynamic. In fact, I’ve found that sometimes sex can take over the relationship and those who depend on the discipline and punishment to keep them stable can end up feeling out of balance.

I’ve had it happen in relationships in the past where things started out with a nice mix of discipline and pleasure, but it eventually shifted entirely over to just kinky sex which ruined the whole thing for me. As a result, I would prefer to have a D/s dynamic with no sex at all, rather than one with too much sex and not enough focus on discipline. Orgasms are nice, but I need to get stuff done and I can’t do that without my rules.

So, if you are:

  • A sub who needs discipline for life reasons but isn’t turned on by pain
  • A sub who is totally turned on by pain, but keeps sex out of their D/s relationship
  • A non-sexual little who just needs a caretaker parent
  • Someone who uses external pain as a healthier outlet to self-harm when emotions are too much
  • Someone with a D/s partner who is not your preferred sexual orientation, but is nevertheless the perfect Dom/sub for you
  • A person in a committed marriage with a vanilla, who needs the BDSM aspects, can’t get them at home, and doesn’t want sex with anyone else (or spouse is fine with BDSM play with others, but doesn’t allow sex outside the marriage)
  • The mom/mentor friend who wasn’t even into D/s but found themselves with a sub because they responded to needy sub vibes and realized it could be really rewarding but isn’t sexually excited by it (Yes, this does happen!)
  • Someone who lives the whole lifestyle– sometimes it’s about sex and sometimes it’s not
  • Or anyone else who is confused about why 100% of the focus seems to be on sex when there’s a whole smorgasbord of other options to play with out there

Your version of kink is perfectly fine and the way you want to manage your lifestyle relationship should only matter to you and your partners.

Think of it in terms of being given a deck of cards. There are a thousand games you can play. Some are simple and easy, while others are complicated and high stakes. There are innocent games like Go Fish and others are raunchy and adult like Strip poker. The deck stays the same, but what you do with it varies depending on who you play with, how much time you have to kill, and what your mood is.

BDSM is just a deck of cards with endless possibilities.

Stay healthy everyone!

18 Replies to “BDSM–It’s Not All About Sex”

  1. “BDSM is just a deck of cards with endless possibilities.”

    I FLOVE this! Soooo mych of this resonates me and I’m a bit envious you have L and G. I’ve al.ost given up on finding the one eho clicks with me because I’m a Gray Ace.

    Like

    1. You should never give up. There are a lot of Gray Ace people out there. I know both Tops and bottoms who identify that way. It can just be hard to weed through the people who are there mostly for sex, with kink as an afterthought. But they are there, I promise!

      Like

  2. I love this article! I have described myself before as ‘as a submissive in the bedroom’ because I wouldn’t identify as someone who wants to be dominated 24/7. But that description does make it sound as though it’s all about sex and it isn’t.

    Spanking and sex are two equally enjoyable things that I am lucky enough to have in my life. But they are completely different. Spanking isn’t foreplay.

    When I have tried to explain it to (vanilla) people, I say that sex leads to orgasms and spanking leads to sub-space. But even that doesn’t explain it properly because orgasms and subspacey feelings aren’t actually essential to my enjoyment of sex or spankings.

    Often the two things overlap but they don’t have to. I have enjoyed ‘playing’ with people that I don’t have a sexual relationship with. People who don’t share my kink might find it odd that I can get naked and bend over for someone and it ISN’T about sex but there you go. Afterwards I feel warm and happy, I grin like a Cheshire cat and we have a cup of tea together.

    Right now, all my BDSM needs are taken care of by my sexy gentleman friend who recognises how important spanking is to me. Sometimes it leads to sex. Sometimes it doesn’t. I couldn’t be with someone who just thought spanking was just a way to ‘get me in a mood’.

    Unfortunately, at the moment we are both in lockdown in separate houses so both sex and spanking are off the menu for the foreseeable future. But we talk every day and have LOTS of plans for when we do see one another again.

    Again, thanks for a really well articulated article. Love the deck of cards analogy. And I learnt a new term ‘gray ace’ so that was informative!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked reading your comments, I am a male who craves spanking from my girlfriend, we keep sex separated from spanking because both acts fill different needs for me. I require a very painful spanking to satisfy my craving and I am unable to perform after one, so sex is usually a couple days later. Besides, for me the soreness and bruises are satisfying for a few days. Glad to read someone else enjoys sex and spanking in separate situations. Thanks!

      Like

  3. I absolutely love BDSM, which is not really about sex. It’s more like lifestyle and I don’t know why it is always like forbidden stuff. I mean, it is just impossible to talk to someone about it. I do love your post. Very nice one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I’ve always known BDSM is not all about sex (at least that’s what I’m made to believe) but i couldn’t back it up if i was told to talk about it..

    This post tho, i guess i could state loads to emphasize that statement.
    You did great on this post🤗

    Like

    1. Thank you! You know it’s true. So many of the places that ‘say’ it’s not all about sex then immediately jump into sex. You see it on shows and tv and books. It’s really hard for people to get the message when all they see is kinky sex. I hope this post has helped some people 🙂

      Like

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