When Dominance Crosses the Line to Just Plain Abuse

How do you tell the difference between BDSM and abuse?  The line can admittedly be rather narrow and grey sometimes, especially when you get into the area of consensual nonconsent, but there are some real differences.

While there are many possible signs, consent is the primary dividing line – along with adherence to limits, and whether or not the whole experience overall, whether in a single scene or an entire relationship, leaves the sub feeling more built up or more torn down.

A good dominant (hell, any good partner) will always seek to ensure that not only is his partner/sub well taken care of overall, but will make sure that any tearing down he may do in scene is reversed and the issues raised dealt with sensitively until the sub is put back together again.

If the experience is more of being torn down and not put back together again, then it’s abuse.

Someone said:

“When the party involved… does not enjoy an activity, can see no benefit to the activity aside from the other party’s enjoyment/amusement/benefit and is in some way injured by the activity on more than simply a bruised basis (bruised ego, bruised skin). If an activity causes non consensual damage and is continued after the damaged party has requested it to stop, it is abuse. This point of view of abuse does not have to be shared by anyone BUT the victim party…”

I think this sums it up beautifully.

I’d emphasize that “injury” doesn’t necessarily have to involve visible bruises, especially for those of us who do not mark easily. Continue reading

Sadism For the Sake of Sadism – or What is Pure Sadism?

I consider a pure sadist, in the BDSM context, to be someone who gets off in some way from hurting others, regardless of whether or not that person likes it, and even prefers it when they don’t – or at least doesn’t let the bottom’s not liking it or not being able to take what gets dished out get in the sadist’s way of doing it anyways.

As long as the bottom agrees to those parameters, everything is copacetic.

There’s nothing wrong with consensual nonconsent – and many people definitely get off on it.  But it’s *got* to be agreed upon in advance.

That consent is also the only thing that separates BDSM-type sadism from the form described in the DSM that is considered pathological.

If there is no agreement that pushing those limits to the point that the bottom really cannot take it is OK, and especially if it’s stated in advance that it’s *not* (and is therefore a hard limit), then it becomes abuse instead – or even outright assault and battery.

It can certainly take some time to learn where those limits actually are, but once established, if not respected, then deliberately exceeding them (except by obvious accident) becomes pretty much a nonconsensual act, even if the overall play is consensual.

Obviously this can also take some real technical skill to avoid stepping over those boundaries in some cases – as well as a desire and intent to respect them.  It also takes open communications with one’s partner to determine when those limits may have also changed for some reason, especially things like the time in the menstrual cycle, any health issues, etc.

A pure sadist of the BDSM type may or may not also be a dominant as well, but often is not.