Are the Core Principles of BDSM Being Compromised by New Terminologies?


This past week has brought a firestorm of responses about my personal description of what an Alpha sub is as well as to a post I wrote for Lady Hecate's website about my thoughts on new terms that have been popping up around the BDSM online community such as #Alphasub, #brat, and #primal. I have received comments ranging from those that agree with me and those that adamantly oppose anything I write about. I never try to push my thoughts on others, but do speak my mind and stand by my beliefs.


I have been active in real life #BDSM communities since 1991 and online since around 1998. If you were a member of any groups or communities before the internet, you know there wasn't much change in BDSM since before the 1960s. With the invention of the internet, the popularity of erotica books and now Kink related movies growing stronger, there has been an influx of new (mostly online only) people into the Lifestyle. This influx has brought changes, new terminology, and new ways of thinking about roles, #protocols, #rules, and #punishments.


Life is all about growing and changing, learning new ways of thinking and adapting to advancements in the environment around you. This applies to practicing a BDSM #Lifestyle also. Learning new things or gaining knowledge from a different perspective on a subject you are already familiar with is always a blessing. This helps you grow as a person. But, when people start making up terms to describe submissive behaviors in ways that are not remotely submissive or inline with the core definition of submission, this can produce confusion and misrepresentation of what a true BDSM relationship is supposed to be or involve.


I have seen so many submissives come into the Lifestyle with a preset notion of how they are supposed to act and what they think is expected of them as #submissives. They like the thought of being told what to do by a #Dominant person and being #sexually #dominated. Now, when it comes to doing things they may not like, but is not on their #Hard or #Soft# limits list, they balk at the very idea!


Example, I had a person message me about what she perceived as a problem. She had entered into a D/s relationship with a Dominant and had a list of tasks she was supposed to complete each day. She only completed the tasks when she "felt like it". She would constantly tell her Dominant "No" for no reason other than she was lazy. Her Dominant would then punish her because she didn't complete the task. They had many discussions about their dynamic, rules and expectations. She told me that she was an Alpha Sub and therefore had the ability to pick and choose when, where, and how she submitted to her Dominant, despite their mutual agreement. My advice to her was to re-evaluate her own life and decide if she really wanted to be a submissive. I told her that submission is a need you have to feel inside, not just an act to put on.


There are people that are true submissives but need a title or category to explain what kind of submissive they are. Thinking back over the numerous submissives I have encountered throughout my time in the Lifestyle, I saw certain patterns emerge. I consulted with other long standing members of the community and gave those patterns names which I published as a blog post entitled What Type of Submissive Are You. I use these different descriptions to help guide new submissives when they are seeking meaning to what they are feeling. I never tell them that they are one type of submissive and that is it. The fact is that most submissives cross into more than one category.


Along with the influx of new people into the Lifestyle has come a huge amount of new blogs and books written on various parts of BDSM. Some of these have taken it upon themselves to invent new terms of submissives that in my personal opinion, no way reflect on what a real submissive is. There are some descriptors I have read that basically take all of the submission out of the word submissive. What do I mean? Basically, many #terms that are being used now are not a true reflection of the lifestyle and if followed by enough people, could actually influence or change the core of BDSM in a bad way.


At the core you have a Dominant and a submissive. The genders, race, age, and beliefs may be different from person to person, but they are still either a Dominant or a submissive. A Dominant is the one that takes control and responsibility for the submissive. The submissive is the one that feels the need to give up control and loves being controlled by a Dominant. The extent of Domination and submission will vary from each dynamic, scene and couple/group. But again, there is still a Dominant and a submissive.


We have many labels for what we call Dominants (Master, Mistress, Sir, Madam, Daddy, Mommy) and even submissives (sub, slave, babygirl, babyboy, kajira, pet). Even with all these different labels, we still only have a Dominant and a submissive.


So, what is my point exactly? My point is that I worry that the actual core and deep meaning of true BDSM relationships may be compromised in the future if people continue to make up new terms and meanings just to sell books or promote websites that do not reflect the core principles of BDSM. It's fine to use descriptors to describe various Dominant or submissive behaviours but it should be done so in a responsible way. Use terms that are widely accepted and have roots already in the real life kink community versus making up some term, such as the ones above, that can compromise the community.


Are the core principles of BDSM being compromised by new terminologies? Yes. Can we do something about it? Yes. If you are serious about being in a BDSM relationship, serious about practicing a true D/s lifestyle, then do your own homework. Research and talk to qualified members that have a proven track record in our world. Don't believe all these new terms that are popping up everywhere and make no sense in the grand scheme of the BDSM world.


You may or may not agree with me about how important descriptors and terms are to us, but as humans, it's almost a fundamental need for most people to fit into a category. That is why this is such an important topic to consider.

© 2018 by Michelle Fegatofi