When you practice any elements of BDSM away from a community, either online or in person, it can be very difficult to gauge how what you are doing relates to what others are doing, either in terms of practices or intensity. Even as part of an online community, I only know that what we do suits Mr Hunt and myself and don’t quite know where this fits in with the practices of others.
While sex is important in our relationship, it is not everything, neither are routines and rules and rituals. We have been together 17 years or so, married for 14 and parents of special needs children for all but the first 9 months. It is important that we communicate and support each other. There are many different ways to practice BDSM, but communication is key. Being very aware of each other, our verbal and non-verbal tells, as well as explicit communication is vital to our survival as a couple.
I am a sensory seeking autistic, with children who are also sensory seeking autistics, and we all enjoy what is termed by the occupational therapist “heavy touch”. This might include tasks to calm the children from the health team that involve squashing them with a therapy ball or restraining them with what is called deep pressure. My eldest has a very fidgety body and likes to have things to push against. In a school lesson situation this includes tying a therapy band around chair legs that they can push against, but in the evening, when watching tv at home, he is calmed by having his legs tied together with the same band. Some people with autism find things like weighed blankets very relaxing and the feeling of this can be very similar to the feeling I get from bondage.
In the last week, Mr Hunt and myself have been experimenting with a mermaid tie around my legs. He can be very exacting about how these things appear on camera, so we often have one or two practice ties to decide photo angles and what sort of underbeneaths I would feel I wanted to be wearing. This tie was very relaxing, but scored low on the turn on factor from the actual rope. The calming factor was very strong and it reminded me of the calm brought on by having a therapy band to push against.
Other ties have a very high turn on factor. Usually, for me, these include rope around the torso and perhaps a little constriction around my ribs that I can feel when I’m breathing. The feeling of being manoeuvred and controlled as well as other cues from touch and words turn things sexual. Rope is the thing most likely to push me out of myself into a dreamy state of turned on relaxation.
We mainly play with rope but have begun to branch out after I had an experience I wasn’t expecting at Eroticon trying out the Vac bed. The whole point of the Saturday pm session was to try new things, and it is all very light hearted and giggly…so I gathered all my personal confidence to try the vac beds at the second opportunity. What I didn’t expect was to find myself sliding under and to come out feeling completely disorientated and lost. It was only when I’d scurried back to my hotel room and had a little cry that I realised that I had full on sub drop and needed to ring home for a virtual hug and treat myself with water and get my blood sugar up a little. Bondage can be sexy, or it can be calming, and on that occasion, it was just extraordinarily powerful without being particularly either, and it really took me by surprise.
Whether you read the D as discipline or domination, again I can find this is a sliding scale for me, between calming me down or turning me on and sometimes both. I struggle with disordered mood and executive function as part of my autism, so handing decision making over to someone I love and trust completely is a relief. But just like being a sub doesn’t make you less, being autistic also doesn’t mean someone should take control of your life. Knowing someone can when I need it, gives me room to recover.
I wouldn’t characterise our relationship as being solely a D/s dynamic, but before we got married and before we were more than occasionally spanky in bed, we defined where we thought our relationship dynamic was going. We talked about it in terms of agreeing a direction, or a way of choosing a direction. Not that we don’t discuss things and work to change each other’s opinions, but ultimately, he is steering the ship. With that power comes responsibility. With our vanilla families that is the joke- anything goes wrong, it’s Mr Hunt’s fault.
It delighted us to be able to marry with the traditional words where I promised to obey and he to cherish. For us, it is core to the total dynamic of our relationship, and sex is an extension of that rather than the defining feature. Whether he is helping me with my executive functioning by sitting with me to work out a list of things I need to do in my work life, breaking a huge chore I need to do into small achievable goals with frequent rewards to help me when my head is fogged up with overload or responding calmly and firmly to me effectively bratting when I burn out, our dynamic is both in line with D/s but also with good autism structure.
I am comforted knowing that give or take a few kids, I am the focus of his life and he is the focus of mine.
But yes… there is a “D” dynamic in the bedroom. And sometimes there is cross over. Sometimes I will brat just to get a rise from him. Sometimes his instructions are just a path to our mutual pleasure…and especially if my pleasure is found from him taking his.
I am also in another relationship that is impossible to define by traditional characteristics, but when you understand the vibe Mr Hunt and I live at home, perhaps makes more sense. I fell in love with a friend, and the defining feature of that relationship is that she is firmly Dominant within our interactions, but we are not sexually intimate. Does that stop what I feel for her being love? Definitely not. She appreciates my submissive behaviours, meets my needs by taking control and letting me let go. Mr Hunt appreciates she can do this for me sometimes when he can’t, maybe because of work commitments. Sometimes he sends me to her because I need her specific brand of control. She presses every submissive button I have, and at the same time, just like Mr Hunt, I trust her when sometimes I’m exhausted from trying to navigate life. We came into this relationship from an autism community stance, so some of the behaviours from that over-spilt, but when I realised more was involved we did discuss it fully and she went away and read up on the type of domination she was unconsciously providing. Now it is consciously delivered.
And then we are back in the sensory experience.
Does Mr Hunt like hurting me? Probably not as much as I would find manageable. He loves to experiment and I like to be experimented on. It is a niggly frustration that I don’t mark up well when I’ve been spanked or caned, but that because I have poor healing and potentially circulation issues we can’t go as hard as we might like.
One of our future goals would be to perhaps train with someone as to new techniques we can use at home. In reference to the prompt, I think we’d both feel comfortable that this is not lust driven experience.
Sometimes stimulation can be helpful in our normal lives too. I have periods where my brain doesn’t work well and I struggle with social anxiety and the inability to focus. One of the ways to support me to work through or around this is to raise my endorphins, and a quick route to this is a little targeted discomfort. Mr Hunt has lots of tricks up his sleeve to help. There is nothing ground breaking about this, as the science for pain raising mood is well understood, but having the trust and openness as a couple to use it like this is, I think, unusual.
The takeaway for me from this prompt is that my life is underpinned by principles that whilst they align with BDSM, cannot be principally characterised as kinky sex or as a lust driven experience. For Mr Hunt and myself, our relationship is an expression of communication and trust through the media of restraint, pain and discipline, through acts of service and denial. From rope bondage and pictures on the internet, to cooking dinner for the family and cleaning the bathrooms, from fisting and staples to the school run, which I delight in being able to ignore as it triggers my social anxieties, we do what we do because it meets each other’s needs. . He is dominant from a position of love because he knows that is what I need. I can be safely submissive because I trust him to value my contributions to our family and challenge me to be the best person I can be.
And if that involves sex…all to the good!