Vir Cotto's BDSM Blog

Label the relationship, not the individual

We kinksters seem to love to discuss our labels, or even occassionally our lack of labels. When we take our labels too litterally, when we start to feel defined or justified by them, we can easily find ourselves juding not only ourselves, but others.

Let's all be honest with ourselves- anyone who has either seen or read BDSM porn has enjoyed the depiction of the cold, powerful, probably sadistic dominant figure, and the week, meek (possibly transformed) submissive figure. We've enjoyed the posturing, the force, power, etc. It's hot, it's exciting, and it speaks to something deep inside us.

And when we come into the scene to replay those sexy scenes we saw or read. We long to be in those roles. And in BDSM, we get to!

We get to live out the kinds of hot, sexy, powerful action that for many remains a dream, a guilty pleasure that's often relegated to bad literature or pornography. We live our fantasies out.

For many of us, this is kink. And it's wonderful, and amazing, and fulfilling.

For others, like myself, we want something else. We want a whole relationship that's built on this premise.

That doesn't mean we want to wear leather or latex all the time, or that we need to quit our jobs to dedicate every waking moment to being in a certain role, but we need these roles as guideposts for our personal (often romantic) relationships.

In discussions about "dominant personalities" or "submissive personalities", we often lose sight of the fact that these "personalities" aren't personalities but desires for relationships, to control or be controlled. To be guided or to guide.

Understanding them as relationships explains all the nuance of masters, daddies/mommies, brats, and hundreds of other permutations of labels that we all use. They're not labels to describe ourselves; they're labels to describe ourselves in relation to others.

These desires can be short lived, for an hour, or for a lifetime. For switches they can change between individuals, or even within a scene, but that does not make them any less meaningful, any less powerful or speak any less to someone's inner spirit.

Labels can be comforting; they can reassure us that our desires are understood, they can help us find our place, and even help guide us, but they should not be used to measure us, to speak to "truth" of our experience or the "strength" of our character or resolve.

So let's stop with the "alpha" doms, the "strong" subs, and the one true ways, in whatever form they take.