Using BDSM To Achieve Altered States

This post isn't mine. I found it on The Consentual Master blog. I am re-posting it without permission (yet). I hope he doesn't mind. He wrote far better than I ever could some of what I was trying to convey in Practicing My Religion. That's what I get for trying to pervert EVERYTHING all at once.
 
Throughout history man has attempted to attain altered states of consciousness through the use of intoxicants, emotional stimulus, and meditative trances. This has been a major focus in the spiritual path of many mystics and religious groups but has certainly not been limited to them. In the 60's an entire drug culture grew up around it that is still integrated into our society and belief system. Ecstasy, known as the love drug, is considered one of the most dangerous drugs threatening young people today. Man has an instinctive drive to connect to something greater than he is. I use "man" here in reference to human without gender recognition. We are all the same here and, in this, gender is insignificant.
In the late 18th century, the Marquis de Sade published a number of books showing the joys of inflicting and receiving pain. This was his obsession and greatest contribution to society. Here he began to show the transcendental states that can be attained through the use and implementation of pain. Before this, it was primarily the Monks, mystics, and religious zealots that used these techniques to bring them closer to their god. The Marquis showed that this could be used just for pleasure without any greater meaning. The term sadism is based on him and, to many, he is considered the father of sadomasochism. Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings a novella, by the Marquis de Sade, is widely considered to be a masterpiece of eighteenth-century French literature. The Marquis de Sade was not the first to use this, however, as a form of sexual and emotional pleasure. The Kama Sutra, in the 2nd century CE, told of consensual face slapping as a form of arousal. In the late 1400's, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, wrote about a man that needed to be flogged in order to become sexually aroused and in 1886  Krafft-Ebing wrote Psychopathia Sexualis: The Case Histories (Solar Books - Solar Asylum). The book is well known for coining such terms as sadism, masochism, and fetish.  There have been a lot of references to sado-sexual pleasures throughout history.
Tantric Sex- naked woman with flower over genitals
Meditation has long been know to stimulate an altered state. This has been around as long as sex itself. In prehistoric times, man used chanting as a form of meditation. This is still being used. Meditation and religion have always been closely related. Tantra is a great example of this. Neotantra or Tantric sex was a natural evolution of this philosophy. How does all of this relate to BDSM, Dominance and submission, or TPE relationships? It's simple really. All of this throughout the centuries has been about achieving an altered state. In the modern BDSM lifestyle subspace is a common term and many also relate to Dom or Top space. This is a floaty kind of sensation that many strive for. It satisfies that urge for an altered state of consciousness that so many seek and so few find. Unfortunately, without understanding it fully, there is the tendency to have undesirable results. Sub crash is also a well known term. If the altered state is not managed consciously and knowingly, it can easily go in an undesired direction.
man handcuffed with woman holding key in mouth
If an altered state of consciousness is something that we seek to attain through BDSM then how can we achieve it safely and reduce the risk of unwanted repercussions? As the use of drugs is illegal in most places I won't discuss that in detail but, if this is the route you choose, please be careful. The dangers are tremendous. Sadomasochism is well documented and the first thing I would recommend is becoming familiar with SSC (Safe, Sane and Consensual ) and RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). These philosophies can help to make your journey manageable and help everyone get what they desire from the adventure. Next, become knowledgeable of any form of torture or sadistic treatment you desire to give or receive. Learn from someone you trust or from books but know the dangers and risks associated with whatever you wish to do. Finally, understand the psychology of what you seek. Subspace is frequently triggered by a sympathetic nervous system response brought on by the pain being received. This can lead to the release of epinephrine into the system and cause, what is sometimes known as, ego reduction. Freud coined the term ego to describe the conscious adult self. This reduction allows us to release our focus on the physical self, to the point where many report a reduction or elimination of the sensation of pain, and reach for something beyond or greater than themselves. A slave can become the canvas for the Masters work. Topspace is similar but works in the opposite direction. Instead of epinephrine being released, adrenaline is poured into the system. The top becomes hyper focused on the bottom to the point that they can sense them. They have the sensation of extending beyond themselves and becoming more than the ego tells them they are.
naked woman straddling bench reaching up to kiss extended hand
Sadomasochism is the most common way of achieving this altered state in a BDSM relationship but there are others. When you think of what happens through giving and receiving pain you can see that the release of the chemicals is merely a trigger to what is actually sought. It is the state of being and consciousness that those chemicals help us to attain. These can also be achieved without chemical intervention. Meditation has been used longer than anything else to stimulate these states of awareness and being. Transcendental meditation has actually become it's own religion. Before that, though, was Tantra. All forms of meditation, however, rely on ritual. The BDSM lifestyle is littered with rituals that can be used to accomplish this state of being. Understand that this state of bliss and euphoria comes about through the reduction of ego. When you focus on a ritual to the point of blocking out all other awareness, you become one with the ritual and more than your sense of self. At this point, through practice, that state of being can be achieved. There are many different alternative lifestyles out there but few have as many ways to reach Nirvana as BDSM. Many see it for just the fetish and kink aspects of it but there is so much more. The opportunity for spiritual awakening, altered awareness, total bliss and perfect harmony is everywhere you look in this lifestyle. You simply need to be willing to see beyond the surface.

"Being Broken"…The Dominants Role

In my last post I talked about the subject of "breaking" a sub.  I got some great comments and had some good discussions as to how we all view this subject.  Sometimes a submissive feels the need herself to be broken, and sometimes her Dominant feels it is necessary.  Whatever the case, this is not about breaking her down completely, making her lose her identity, breaking her spirit, and trying to create something of your own choosing out of the shell of a person that remains.  This is about breaking down a specific wall or barrier for a specific purpose, and to help her be a better person, be the person she is deep inside, and the person she desires to be. 

I mentioned in my last post about all the recent posts in blogland that have been written lately in regards to this.  One thing I haven't seen much about is the role of the Dominant.  Let me make this very clear (my disclaimer)...this is not something for the beginner Dominant.  I feel it takes a very special  and knowledgeable hand to be able to do this correctly.  It is not something you just do and say I'm going to push until I break you. 

Being able to take a submissive to the edge and just over it requires a very intimate knowledge of the submissive.  You need to know her inside and out...physically, emotionally, and mentally.  You need to know what she can take and what she can't.  There is a very fine line between pushing her just over the edge to accomplish the intended goal, versus pushing her way past the edge and falling off the cliff.  You need to be able to read her actions and reactions and know when you are close and when you have reached the point you were out to find. 

This only comes with time and experience together.  Without this knowledge of her, you are just shooting aimlessly into the dark.  Maybe you'll hit your mark, and maybe you won't.  This isn't something where you are just guessing and hoping.  There is very little room for error here.  This requires a huge amount of trust and respect for the Dominant by the submissive.  She is putting herself in your hands, and trusting you know how to reach the intended goal without destroying her.  Not being able to read and understand her, you could very easily do her more harm than good. 

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Some Words On "Being Broken"…

There seems to have been a few posts lately in regards to a submissive being "broken" by her Dominant.  There have even been some tense moments where comments were left and discussions got a bit heated.  The fact of the matter is...we all have different views on what "being broken" is or means.  And this is one of those areas that tends to mean something completely different from one person to the next.

I think it is important to understand the context of what being broken means when it is discussed.  I think it also has a stereotype attached to it, much like this lifestyle.  That's the irony of this...most of us know that the lifestyle we choose to live isn't anything like the public image and how it's perceived, and I think being broken is much the same.  It has a negative connotation that many people can't see past.

This image, at least to me, is of a woman being completely stripped physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Down to a completely raw person that resembles nothing of their prior self.  This being done only to build and re-shape her the way someone else wants.  This type of treatment I do not condone or agree with.  For me this is not about completely breaking her down to make her what I want her to be.  I want my sub to be who she is and all of who she is, with my help of course.  I'm not here to change her.  I'm here to help bring out of her the parts she has inside that she may not be aware of or be comfortable expressing.

Sometimes to grow and progress we have to break through or break down walls.  In order to do this you have to push boundaries and limits.  You have to take a sub to the edge of this wall and then push some more.  You have to break her mentally or emotionally, but only in regards to this wall.  And once through the wall you must stop.  you don't keep going.  Many times this is the hurdle she needed help getting over.  Once done, the path becomes much more clear for future growth and even bring you closer together as a couple.

An example of this is a conversation I had with a submissive once.  She was very into her relationship, trusted her Dom with all she had, and would have done anything for him.  She had found a love of spanking that she never knew she had.  One of her issues was opening up letting go emotionally.  She said that she rarely cried, especially from physical pain, and can remember this even as far back a a child.  She would bite her lip until it bled in an effort to take the pain and not let the tears flow from her eyes.  So, this is what she now wanted.  She wanted her Dom to take her, spank her, and help her break through this wall.  She wanted to be made to reach a point where letting go of it all was the only choice.  She wanted to be broken to the point of letting years of tears flow from her eyes.

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A New Understanding… Self-Discovery

I have always been a proponent that certain things cannot be forced.  That has always been my approach to D/s.  As much as I can make demands, set rules, define the relationship, there are some things I just won't do or force.  To me, there is much more to be gained with some things when they are discovered on their own by the submissive.
It is a sort of self-discovery.  Not as in finding oneself, but in realizing certain things and having that "Ah Ha Light bulb Moment".  The one where something just all of sudden makes sense and was realized on her own.  Mostly this revolves around feelings and emotions.  Around her thinking and views about a particular subject.  For whatever reason, in that moment, it just clicks and now there is a completely new understanding.

As a Dom, I can tell her how things are going to be.  I can tell her how she should view something and how it will be viewed within our relationship.  She may accept that and go with it, but at that time it will just be there.  It's like another rule.  It's just something that is expected of her.

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50 Shades of Grey

The newst book my friends say I need to read is 50 Shades of Grey.

Apparently it's bringing S&M and D/s lifestyles into the mainstream.

Of course, critics say the book does nothing but cement the stereotypes that only people with abusive histories and/or serious control issues could ever be interested in such a lifestyle. But I think it's good the story also shows how this woman, although she is not 100% into the lifestyle, still finds it appealing and sexy on some level. At least it deals with that.

Haven't we all dealt with that? Why do I want thi?. I'm not supposed to. How can I be both repulsed and attracted to a lifestyle?

I have read The Story of O. As far as I can tell, it's the opposite of 50 Shades of Grey. The story of O tells of a woman who voluntarily descends into a lifestyle of complete and utter slavery. 50 Shades is more, from what I understand, a story of how a man deals with his past abuse and transcends the need for the lifestyle.

Either way, it's next on my list.