disney princess

Disney is rife with BDSM. Plus, all those Princesses and Queens – what’s not to love?

Emotional BDSM is one of my all-time favorite activities. It’s intimate, intricate, satisfying and hot as hell. But take heed! It also veers easily into the category of psychological edge play. Each emotional scene with a sub will have effects both in the moment and, almost always, after it has concluded. That’s the nature of emotions: there are waves and ripples whenever you make a splash.

A few examples of emotional play:

  • Extended aftercare with soothing touches and verbal reassurance (love)
  • Threatening your female slave with a gigantic knife (fear)
  • Making a slave falsely believe he is your ideal man (hope)
  • Putting your personal slave on forced hiatus for bad behavior (grief)
  • Age play and forced diapering (love, shame)
  • Telling your new client you are actually a terrible Domme, then delivering an expert session (disappointment, surprise)
  • Convincing your boyfriend you’re in love with him only to cuck him later that night (joy, anger, confusion, gratitude)

Some of the above examples are mild and some are extreme, but they all share the qualities of a dominant seeing the emotional state of a submissive, and then consciously altering the sub’s state. It is totally possible to play with a sub’s emotions in a safe and erotic way while still honoring their boundaries. It is also possible to fuck someone up for years and even find yourself with a new stalker. It’s happened to my friends, and it can happen to you! Emotions are powerful–the determining factor in memory formation–and the bonds they create can last a lifetime.

disney heroes

The heroes are dreamy as well. So many tights….way to show off, boys.

Side note: emotional BDSM does not include the many traditional humiliation tactics that are commonplace in kink. I don’t think making someone eat out of a dog bowl is particularly emotional. Humiliation is an emotion, yes, but because it is an undercurrent for most of the kind of emotional manipulation that I’m referring to, it doesn’t really need to be mentioned here.

Basics

Gather information before you engage in emotional play. Is your sub interested in a heavily emotional or psychological dynamic? If not, then don’t do it. Know your limits, know your sub’s, and try to understand any soft triggers for them as well. Emotional limits often have nothing to do with kink, so listening becomes your number one skill. The more you listen to your sub as they discuss their hopes, fears, dreams, loves, hates–and I mean listen to their whole body and face, their energy and voice–the more thrilling the emotional journey before you. Knowledge is power, and power is hot.

With emotional BDSM you’re working with a canvas of a sub’s entire mind, not just her body, so any “interests/limits” discussion with a new partner often requires much more than just a couple of hours over drinks. I find that for myself, the clear paths are often revealed to me as I get to know a person. There are a few essential questions that I may ask directly, but I prefer to let a sub meander around in the conversation and show me what is already on the surface of her mind. She generally will freely illustrate her psychology, as the most important and immediate life-topics for a sub tend to emerge pretty easily when in the comfortable company of a dominant. If your sub is particularly shy, you may need to do a bit of coaxing, but her eyes will tell you as much as her words. You can ask specific questions and watch her face and body respond to what you say–this will often tell you what you need to know about her fantasies, fears and triggers. An added bonus of doing your “fact-finding” outside the rigorous structure of a “negotiation” talk is that your sub will not even realize she is giving herself away. You can cloak your information gathering under the guise of “getting to know her” during an innocent afternoon together in the park. Then, the next time you see her, you will have an arsenal of information to wield in your scene, most of which she will not remember giving to you because she was in a relaxed, talkative state.

pca

Pocahontas: such a Femdom!

It’s important to have a thorough understanding of EITHER the emotional play activity you intend to use on a person, OR the person with which you intend to play. Preferably both. I have done many successful emotional play scenes with complete strangers because I use the same tactics and scenarios again and again. I have had proven success with these formulaic manipulations on hundreds of prior subs, and by now I’m familiar with each tactic’s setbacks and strengths. I will also take familiar, precious partners and try new things on them, but ONLY if I have a pretty extensive understanding of their emotional landscape beforehand (or think I do, to the best of my ability). The recipe for sustainable adrenaline is to keep one foot in the familiar, and one foot in the unfamiliar. Your sub will probably be drowning in the unfamiliar so it is important that you, the dominant, not be taking risks across the board. Stability and responsibility are your sacred duty as the dominant.

pcahontas

Lucky John, in bondage with his woman there to comfort him.

Roleplay vs. Reality

There is a huge difference between emotion and fetishized emotion. It’s really the difference between reality and roleplay, a byzantine knot that every kinkster should try to unravel before digging too deeply into psychological domination. Reality and roleplay often trade places, one cleverly donning the clothes of the other to entertain those of us who like to use our imaginations. I’ll start with the example of a Daddy Dom and a little, because there are more male Dominants than female Dominants, and I’ve seen more male-led relationships than female-led deteriorate due to emotional BDSM missteps.

In this example, the Daddy Dom fetishizes caretaking, and the little fetishizes being taken care of. This includes hugs, cuddles, talking about her day, being comforted in times of need, life guidance, bedtime rituals, etc. The Daddy will be compelled to act on the fetish because it turns him on, and there will be many instances where he will look after the little mainly because of the kink dynamic–he wouldn’t feel that same amount care without the kink dynamic present. The fetish for caretaking increases his ability to feel care, in some cases far exceeding the “normal” amounts of care he feels in his everyday life. The little also seeks caretaking because it turns her on. She might (and often does) have a genuine need for emotional caretaking in her life, but the fetish for caretaking increases her desire to be cared for and creates a sense of gratitude and attachment to the caretaker that usually far exceeds that of other platonic caretakers in her life.

The little and Daddy might not be actively, physically aroused during caretaking, because being “turned on” can be mental and emotional with no outward signs, but the Daddy will still be engaging in a subset of caretaking behaviors that are in his best (i.e. sexual) interests to do so. By the same token it is in the best (i.e. sexual) interests of the little to receive that care. Even the mere thought of the caregiver and receiver dynamic can be arousing, knowing that he can call her at the end of the night to put her to bed on the phone and that she can text him for protection when someone is bothering her. The benefit extends past any one scene itself and into a much larger, emotionally expansive dynamic. The emotional relationship itself is a source of arousal for both, whether they are acting on it directly in a given moment or not.

ariel bath

Poor Ariel. I think she’s getting attached to Prince Charming.

The Existential Need

Sexual arousal aside, many emotional BDSM dynamics feed into the fundamental archetypes that inform who we are pre-sexually. I’m talking about core-level, purpose-on-Earth, existential type of stuff. Many men have an innate need to protect and caretake their partner; it’s not gender politics–it’s evolution. By the same token, many women have an instinctive mothering reflex that compliments emotional BDSM perfectly. Other archetypes include child, seductress/seducer, predator/prey, sister/brother, best friend etc. If someone has a need to express one of those archetypes, the BDSM scene can be a convenient foraging ground due to the intensity and “anything goes” nature of kink interactions. So whether it’s a man with, say, a hunger to seduce someone, separate from who he is seducing, or a woman lonely for a father, separate from who that father winds up being, the emotional bonds of BDSM can serve double duty as both sexually arousing and existentially constructive. BDSM can very easily become the most direct, albeit unstable, “Band-aid” for what is often times a deeper existential need. 

ariel-crush-crying-disney-Favim.com-2587663

And…he’s gone. It was just some NSA bath time, Ariel. Get a grip!

Herein lies the hang-up: unless there is an agreement between a Dom/me and a sub about some larger emotional commitment, both should assume that the emotional BDSM interactions are emotional roleplay, which can feel 100% real to both parties but which ultimately ends at some point soon after the scene, to be continued the next time someone is horny. Real caretaking, on the other hand, occurs without any necessary turn on, and often times without any direct benefit to the caretaker other than the satisfaction of doing the right thing. It addresses the deeper existential need for caretaking in a sustainable way and doesn’t seek to satisfy a sexual craving. Roleplay caretaking can dry up when one party is bored, takes on a new partner, is no longer horny or busy at work, etc. Real caretaking also requires some level of ongoing commitment, which is something that an emotionally unavailable person cannot abide.

Know what you are getting or giving in a given moment: are your feelings real, or simply the heightened, horny tornado of emotion that is a common side effect of BDSM? The brain lights up in the same ways and in the same areas when you experience feelings during BDSM as you do in vanilla life–although I have read these studies in the past I can’t find them online now. Anyone with any links please email me! The study showed that “love” chemicals that occur in session are the same as when you are actually in love with a partner in your normal life. This means what you feel in session is real. The crucial difference is that being in love with someone, and feeling love in a BDSM scene, have different infrastructures. There is not a structure in place after a casual BDSM scene to support a longterm commitment or relationship, but your brain is receiving cues that you have already entered into a loving relationship with all of the advanced stages of intimacy and caretaking that go along with it. Kink moves fast, and it can knock you off your feet if you’re not ready for it.

belle Gif

Belle has him wrapped around her finger. Stupid male Dom Gaston.

Cheat-sheet to Staying Grounded

Common Emotional BDSM Misunderstandings:

  • Nurturing vs. Nurturing Roleplay
  • Rejection vs. Rejection Roleplay
  • Loving Partner vs. Loving Partner Roleplay
  • Daddy or Mommy vs. Daddy Figure or Mommy Figure Roleplay
  • Punishment vs. Punishment Roleplay
  • Cuckolding/Cuckqueaning vs. Cuckolding/Cuckqueaning Roleplay

A sub should try to get a handle on what is real and what is fake before agreeing to an emotional BDSM scene. The dominant can provide some very realistic-seeming emotional roleplay, but it is for the purposes of learning, growing, entertainment, and erotic satisfaction. Real emotional needs should not be conflated with the transitory delights of emotional BDSM. Get your emotional support from other relationships, unless you have an explicit understanding with your scene partner that you are in an emotionally committed relationship or some form of ongoing partnership. Emotional commitment takes much more time and trust to build than the fantasy of emotional commitment, and both Dom/me and sub should try to have an intimate understanding of the boundaries and distinctions between the two, otherwise much heartache can ensue.

bele

Let Mommy Belle take care of you…oh, okay. Maybe not.

Withdrawing from an Emotional BDSM Relationship

On occasion a Domme will encounter a sub that can’t handle emotional play, she herself will not be ready to engage in emotional play safely, or the dynamic is simply not healthy for one or both parties. The entirety of BDSM is an experiment in emotion, really, so mistakes do happen and we do on occasion go to far. However, if you start to notice that something you’re doing in a scene or in a relationship, over time, is creating a net negative for yourself or your submissive, and there doesn’t appear to be any long-term fix, it’s time to start to withdraw from the emotional bond. It may not be what you wish to do, but continuing to stay in an emotionally unhealthy relationship is a huge disservice for yourself and your partner.

Time to end an emotional BDSM relationship:

  • Net negative for you or your partner
  • No long-term fix in sight
  • Several conversations (or more) with your partner yield no change

There are ways to do this WELL and ways to do this NOT WELL. It is important to draw clear boundaries about what you need as you withdraw, including how much and what kind of contact you desire as well as what your submissive can expect from you. You should also make an effort to both show and tell them that you care about them as a human being, even if your emotional bond is no longer what it once was. Treat your partner with respect and kindness in this process of separation. It is a small scene, and cruelty travels. On the other hand, reputations are easily destroyed by anyone with a personal vendetta and false allegations. I have come to think that the true character of a person shows through in a breakup, not in the early stages of dating as we so often choose to believe.

It is important to sweep up whatever remaining duties you have agreed upon, including things like money owed, clothes borrowed, networking or introductions, projects, guidance on personal development goals, crisis management, etc. Some of that is basic relationship etiquette, but I have been appalled at the ethics of partners that I myself have had in the past, so I felt it worth mentioning.

snow-white-the-prince-disney-princess-19089827-1024-768

Those roofies sure were strong…

In Summary

Know yourself going into a scene. What are your deeper emotional needs? What are the relationships that are lacking in your life? Are you getting the emotional support that you need from your friends, parents, family, peers and romantic/sexual partners? Do you love yourself? Or are you just trying to Band-aid the problem in the bedroom? The Catch-22 is, of course, that those of us drawn to emotional BDSM are usually seeking to fill some kind of emotional void with our emotional fetish. At the very least, I have seen this in my own scenes and the scenes of countless D/s friends. Rarely is someone with a clean emotional slate drawn to intense emotional BDSM, either giving or receiving. I would even go so far as to say that most people who fetishize emotional connection are, outside of the fetish, emotionally unavailable in some major way. The beauty of BDSM, however, is that it can be a wonderful laboratory in which to learn what parts of ourselves are lacking or weak, so that we can work on ourselves and, hopefully, come back to our partners a stronger, better person.

On the other hand, who really has a clean emotional slate? Who loves him or herself without fail? The human condition is predicated on separation; we spend our entire lives trying to feel not separate. Anyone who has emotions is capable of emotional play, and the key is to take the same rules about being a good human being and apply them doubly to BDSM, and triply to emotional BDSM. Be honest with yourself, keep your word, don’t harm others, create a net positive in every interaction, exercise compassion, anticipate consequences, and take responsibility for your actions.

snowwhite15

I forgive you!

Know that there is a difference between a sexually driven fetish for emotional bonding and non-sexual, sustainable emotional bonding. There is nothing wrong with pursuing the former, but don’t call it the latter–not to your partner and not to yourself. If you’re in an emotionally unstable place or are prone to deep loneliness, panic attacks, anxiety, or depression, high-intensity psychological domination or emotional BDSM is probably not a safe space for you. If your sub comes to you and you sense that he or she might be on tenuous psychological ground, resist the urge to jump in and roll around in their chaos, and don’t try to save them from past trauma or salvage their wellbeing. If you do, you will create emotional bonds from that sub that you probably aren’t prepared to handle, and it will cease to be sexy fun times and will instead become long, hard work that frankly the sub should be doing on his own.

I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on the downsides and risks of emotional BDSM in this article, but it’s all in the hopes of maximizing good times and happy scenes. When done properly, the highs of emotional BDSM exceed any sexual high I’ve ever had. Emotional bonds are pre-sexual and even pre-verbal, and as long as you know when a bond is formed through the fleeting pleasures of roleplay versus when it’s soldered in the fire of long-term commitment, you can play safely and enjoy emotional BDSM without guilt or anxiety. It’s one of the most thrilling, nuanced types of sexual expression out there. I love it more than almost any other kink!  (Real love it, not fake love it.)