BDSM: The Other Bondage


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Bondage has two similar meanings and yet we rarely talk about the other bondage that takes place in a relationship.  Mostly, especially in BDSM dynamics, we think of bondage as tying someone up or down or the use of some other form of restraint.  This exterior bondage forms a strong part of the expressed imagery of D/s.  Restraint can be erotic.  Symbolically it means a submissive is physically under the control of the Dominant and has the trust that she will not be abused in that condition.

 The other meaning of bondage is less visible.  Like its counterpart, it means binding or bonding, but by it, we mean instead the emotional bondage that is also a strong part, if not the strongest part, of the relationship dynamic.  This type of bondage may express itself right from the beginning of the relationship or develop through the actions of the partners.  Unlike physical bondage, this emotional form usually increases in strength the more time the partners spend together.  Symbolically, the more time invested, the stronger and more lasting this bondage grows.

 Routine protocols can reinforce this kind of bondage through sheer repetition.  The Dominant and submissive bond through the dynamic processes of the relationship.  While displays of affection will vary from relationship to relationship, nevertheless, they are the outward expressions of strong passions and emotional attachment between the partners.  Even simple gestures like the kneeling of the submissive and the Dominant’s caress of the submissive’s cheek or hair result in a stronger emotional  bondage between the two, but the impact can be lost by thinking of these gestures just in terms of established protocol.

Emotional bondage or bonding is a continual process throughout the relationship, no matter how it is expressed.  By arranging situations where the bonding strengthens, both partners demonstrate their commitment.   When a submissive, for example, writes a daily journal, diary entry, or report for her Dominant, she connects through that other form of bondage in ways the rope tying or restraint cannot.  While Dominants often seem not to express the inner emotional bondage, they, too, demonstrate it by their concern, attention, care, and the particular dynamic they choose in the relationship, whether it be protective, sexual passion, emphasizing ownership, or some other form of expression.

 Creating personalized rituals such as oaths of surrender and ownership again show this other kind of bondage at work.  When the Dominant asks “To whom do you belong?” a powerful bonding message is sent to the submissive, just as when she answers “I belong to you.”  It can be seen that such rituals and protocols can be simple or more complex, such as when other symbolic elements are added.  Candlelight, incense, ambient lighting, particular clothing (or lack of), fetish items, “mood” music, and so forth can add to the performance of the ritual and enhance the feelings of the bonding itself.

 Examine the rituals and protocols, the gestures, and other outward expressions of your own relationship dynamics to see where this inner and shared bondage is taking place.  It may surprise you how tightly you are bound to each other.

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5 Responses to “BDSM: The Other Bondage”

  1. TheOthers1 Says:

    Interesting. I read ’emotional bondage’ as ’emotional attachment’. The relationships (vanilla and kinky) parallel each other a lot in what must be present in order for it to work.

    I enjoy your pieces; always enlightening. Thank you.

    • Thank you! Yes, emotional bondage is similar to emotional attachment and, well said, that vanilla and D/s relationships share some commonalities.

      • TheOthers1 Says:

        I’ve been noticing that more and more. If either type of relationship is emotionally unstable, it won’t work out regardless of kink level.

  2. angelquest Says:

    I’ve been thinking similar thoughts recently, however, you said it with much more eloquence.

  3. Reblogged this on thekinkyworldofvile and commented:
    A lot of awesome information

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