BDSM: The Three Ns


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Nature, need, and nurture are three invisible Ns hidden within the BDSM lifestyle and relationships.

 It is in the very nature, engrained in the personality and psyche of individuals, whether they are, generally speaking,  dominant or submissive.  They can resist it, for whatever reason, but only seem to find happiness and fulfillment through expressing and living the quality of either dominance or submission.   This nature of the individual drives and supports the second N: need.

 The need to express one quality or the other is inescapable for people in the lifestyle.  And it is best expressed through actions, behaviors,  thoughts, feelings, and communication with and to other people.

When this need is recognized and fulfilled, satisfied, we say the person receives the third N: nurturing.

 So these three often unspoken of Ns form a dynamic, a pulse and drive which moves through the relationship, inside and outside.  There are no conflicts between the three Ns, although sometimes when there is a lack of one or the other equally, the imbalance causes turmoil and emotional trauma.

If it is in your nature to be dominant or submissive and you feel the need to express it, but there is no object of affection available, you do not find nurture.  Nurturing is a communicative and shared dynamic or else it is an action that finds no equal reaction, a hunger without food, a thirst without drink.

 The newly-arrived into BDSM or D/s are often confused about these three Ns.  They may feel uneasy or confused about their nature.  Because of societical labeling, some may feel it is even wrong to have such feelings that are their truest nature.  Resolving the dichotomies of the human spirit is rarely easy until we learn to accept the differences as natural, as our individual nature.  How can she, for example, resolve the dichotomy of being outwardly a feminist with having submissive feelings, too?   How can he, instructed by social mores to be “sensitive” and “caring”, to also feel authoritative and confident enough to dominate?  Human beings are not simply on one-track.  They can feel opposing  extreme emotions, house seemingly opposite points of view.  By accepting that these are natural eases the apparent conflict within.   There may be black and white, but we inhabit a balance of grayness for peace of mind and spirit.

 Understanding that, despite how some may judge you, your feeling of need to dominate or submit is not weird or abnormal, or even freaky, provides the first step along the path to accepting that your nature expresses itself as needs.  Do you feel the need to be protected, urged to be a better self, to be a more sensually pleased person?  Do you feel the need to look after someone besides yourself, to lead them to a mutually pleasing and shared relationship, to offer advice and insight where confusion or indecision lurk? 

 The dynamics of a BDSM or D/s relationship should provide the nurturing required for the shared pleasures and growth of that relationship.  Natures of dominance and submission complement each other and form a balance or shared exchange between the two.  Needs are expressed and, when the needs are met and satisfied, nurturing happens.   So examine your relationship and yourselves to see where these three Ns are hidden and how they can best be brought into a more communicative openness and symbiosis.

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