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No doubt about it - we humans have a strong desire for sexual intercourse. It certainly makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, as the desire helps further humanity. But some are programmed for more than basic sexual desires. They want mental and physical stimulation an order or magnitude greater than the norm.

There are effectively two roles in a BDSM relationship: that of the master (aka tops or dominants) and that of the slave (aka bottoms or submissives). Depending on the role you play in the relationship (which can change in the case of switches), there are certain behaviors expected of you. But BDSM is more than just a role, a series of actions, or a lifestyle choice. BDSM is as much about the mind as it is about sex (if not more so). In a sense, it's mind sex. That's probably one of the reasons why there are so many intellectuals in BDSM relationships. Ergo, how you think matters.

The story of Juliette The story of Justine engravingIn its most abstract form, the purpose of philosophy is to understand the principles or nature of reality. We use philosophy to think properly, which leads us to determine the proper choices to make in our lives. Ergo, to better understand how BDSM can benefit our lives, we should consider it from a philosophical perspective. Consider the five branches of philosophy as they apply to BDSM from the theoretical to the application:

  • Metaphysics (i.e., what's out there?): What is sexuality? Is sex a purely physical act, or is there a spiritual aspect as well? Where do our sexual urges and feelings of dominance or submissiveness come from? When we perform a BDSM act on someone else, what is the nature of that action? What are the characteristics of a BDSM power structure? What is love?

  • Epistemology (i.e., how do I know it?): Why is a top justified in feeling pleasure when dominating a bottom, and vice-versa? What evidence is required to know that a BDSM relationship is more than just kinky sex? How do we know we love someone, or that someone loves us? What is the basis of trust? Is it contradictory to love someone and want to put them in pain or see them in pain? Psychologists classify fetishes as a "disorder" in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but what is the proper standard of normal?

  • Ethics (i.e., what should I do?): What makes BDSM a moral kind of relationship? Is it ever ethical to be a slave, even voluntarily/consensually? Why do some choose BDSM relationships while others choose differently? What values are we achieving when we feel pleasure from a BDSM relationship? Are the dom and sub equal? Are polygamy or polyamory relationships ethical? At what age is it appropriate to explore or enter into a BDSM relationship? Should sexual preference or orientation play into someone's moral character?

  • Politics (i.e., what actions are permissible?): Is it proper to use violent force on someone who consents? What types of force are not permissible in any BDSM relationship, no matter the voluntary nature or agreed-to power exchange? Is a sub justified in defending himself/herself? What freedom is each role allowed? Is it proper for like-minded adults to do whatever they want to each other? Can voluntary BDSM ever be considered rape? What should be the limits of slavery?

  • Esthetics (i.e., what can life be like?): In what ways are BDSM encounters or scenes artistic expressions? Can bondage, pain, torture, humiliation, or suffering be considered art? Is there beauty or poetry to be found in BDSM acts? What are the qualities of eroticism that make it beautiful?

As Simone de Beauvoir suggested in her defense of 120 Days of Sodom called Why Must We Burn Sade, is "eroticism the mainspring of human behavior?" Is the libido the driver of all human action? Are we slaves to our sexual nature? If human progress is furthered by going against the normal and mainstream, should we be further exploring BDSM? Are virtue and vice in sexuality subjective? What are the consequences of our sexual desires? What's the difference between BDSM and hedonism? Does pain heighten our sense of pleasure? Is Nietzsche's "will to power" the will to pleasure? What role does reason play in BDSM?

Here is the speech they then delivered to O:

"You are here to serve your masters. During the day, you will perform whatever domestic duties are assigned to you, such as sweeping, putting back the books, arranging flowers, or waiting on table. Nothing more difficult than that. But at the first word or sign from anyone you will drop whatever you are doing and ready yourself for what is really your one and only duty: to lend yourself. Your hands are not your own, nor are your breasts, nor, most especially, any of your bodily orifices, which we may explore or penetrate at will. You will remember at all times - or as constantly as possible - that you have lost all right to privacy or concealment, and as a reminder of this fact, in our presence you will never close your lips completely, or cross your legs, or press your knees together (you may recall you were forbidden to do this the minute you arrived). This will serve as a constant reminder, to you as well as to us, that your mouth, your belly, and your backside are open to us. You will never touch your breasts in our presence: the bodice raises them toward us, that they may be ours. During the day you will therefore be dressed, and if anyone should order you to lift your skirt, you will lift it; if anyone desires to use you in any manner whatsoever, he will use you, unmasked, but with this one reservation: the whip. The whip will be used only between dusk and dawn. But besides the whipping you receive from whoever may want to whip you, you will also be flogged in the evening, as punishment for any infractions of the rules committed during the day: for having been slow to oblige, for having raised your eyes and looked at the person addressing you or taking you - you must never look any of us in the face. If the costume we wear in the evening - the one I am now wearing - leaves our sex exposed, it is not for the sake of convenience, for it would be just as convenient the other way, but for the sake of insolence, so that your eyes will be directed there upon it and nowhere else, so that you may learn that there resides your master, for whom, above all else, your lips are intended. During the day, when we are dressed in normal attire and you are clothed as you are now, the same rules will apply, except that when requested you will open your clothes, and then close them again when we have finished with you. Another thing: at night you will have only your lips with which to honor us - and your wide-spread thighs - for your hands will be tied behind your back and you will be naked, as you were a short while ago. You will be blindfolded only to be maltreated and, now that you have seen how you are whipped, to be flogged. And yes, by the way: while it is perfectly all right for you to grow accustomed to being whipped - since you are going to be every day throughout your stay - this is less for our pleasure than for your enlightenment. How true this is may be shown by the fact that on those nights when no one desires you, you will wait until the valet whose job it is comes to your solitary cell and administers what you are due to receive but we are not in the mood to mete out. Actually, both this flogging and the chain - which when attached to the ring of your collar keeps you more or less closely confined to your bed several hours a day - are intended less to make you suffer, scream, or shed tears than to make you feel, through this suffering, that you are not free but fettered, and to teach you that you are totally dedicated to something outside yourself. When you leave here, you will be wearing on your third finger an iron ring, which will identify you. By then you will have learned to obey those who wear the same insignia, and when they see it they will know that beneath your skirt you are constantly naked, however comely or commonplace your clothes may be, and that this nakedness is for them. Should anyone find you in the least intractable, he will return you here. Now you will be shown to your cell."

The Story of O, by Pauline Réage


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Jul 11, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=598

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We all admire beauty, but the mind ultimately must be stimulated for maximum arousal. Longevity in relationships cannot occur without a meeting of the minds. And that is what Braincrave is: a dating venue where minds meet. Learn about the thoughts of your potential match on deeper topics... topics that spawn your own insights around what you think, the choices you make, and the actions you take.

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