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.
“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