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The Ultimate Guide To BDSM in India

By Anonymous Author

Real Information for the Uninitiated

For those of you in India just discovering you have a kinky side, it is our belief that having access to the right kind of information is vital. In light of this, we kick-started a series of interviews with Asmi Uniqus to help you understand the philosophy behind BDSM and learn everything you need to know about India's BDSM scene. Whether you seek a 24/7 Total Power Exchange relationship or you just want to add a little kink in the bedroom, we hope this guide to BDSM helps you discover where to go, and what you need to know to feel comfortable and safe while exploring.

What does BDSM stand for?

What is ‘BDSM’ really? It seems everything falls under this acronym, the ultimate catch-all term. BDSM is an acronym made of 3 conjugate pairs. It means, BD (Bondage,Discipline), DS (Dominance, submission) and SM (Sadism, masochism). So it does actually cover a lot of activities, both physical and mental. Techniques like rope play, restraints, sensory deprivation like gags or blindfolds, would all fall under the gamut of Bondage.

Similarly, rules, structures, rewards, punishments, tease and denial will fall under Discipline. The Dominance – submission conjugate will usually include activities around power play, control, obedience, sexual submission, domestic servitude and, in the extreme, edge consensual non-consent. The jargon and the nuances are vast and can confuse someone who is new to them.

So simply put, let’s say that BDSM is more like an umbrella term for a lot of activities that revolve around power dynamics, pain, control and structure in interpersonal dynamics. Some people practice it only to spice their sex lives up, as a kink or fetish, while others also live it as a full-on lifestyle choice.

 

I am curious to try it. Where do I begin?

I would suggest begin with reading, especially non-fiction. Erotica or porn will not give you an insight into the mindset or the actual preparation that goes into a ‘session’ or the BDSM ‘play’ that practitioners explore. Reading non-fiction will help you understand the underlying basics and make you more aware of your own desires as well as those of your partner. Some of the good resources with an India – specific flavour written by Indian authors are as follows:

Some of the world famous books are:

The next step is to explore, find compatible partner/s to experiment with and embrace those aspects that you really resonate with. All you have to do after that is grow in your journey.

 

How can I find a BDSM partner in India?

How to find a kinky partner who is into BDSM is one of the most common questions I receive from my Indian readers and audiences where I’m a speaker. While there’s no black and white answer and what works for me may never work for others; I do understand why this question is so urgent, especially in a country like India where the BDSM community is less visible. The answer is, honestly, everywhere. While the easiest way to find other Indian kinksters might be online, I have also met BDSM partners offline. There are community organizations to be found in larger cities. There are so many ways to find access to India's BDSM community! That's why I wrote this article where I explain what I did to find a kinky partner in India.

 

Why do experts say that 50 Shades is a bad representation of BDSM?

Based on my reading of the novels, and also based on my discussions with lots of other seasoned practitioners, we all feel it’s a misrepresentation of how BDSM is practiced. To begin with, the novels portray the central characters in a negative light, especially the male Dominant. In real life, seasoned Dominants are usually older, responsible and mature. More than age, it’s the emotional maturity that they display. I will not idolize the way real life BDSM is practiced, but the fact is that no one in real life goes around stalking their submissives or fitting their cars with GPS. Of course, Dominants protect their submissives from stalkers and abusers, but they don’t use it as a way to compensate for their own control-freak behaviour.

 

50 shades of grey & real BDSM

 

Also, honest, real life BDSM is not about the riches of a Dominant, or Doms buying or manipulating the submissive’s consent with money. Most real life Dominants are not practicing BDSM because of issues in their own teenage and adolescence; but because BDSM is something that fulfills them on its own. BDSM, as commonly practiced, is not misogynist, or abusive, or manipulative, or only sexual in nature. It is far more about nurturing your submissive to be a CEO rather than appointing her to be one. It’s about responsibility, and the tenets of Safe, Sane, Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink (SSC & RACK) are upheld very strongly. None of this has been depicted in 50 Shades at all.

 

What is a typical dom/sub or slave/master relationship like?

Honestly, there are no typical relationships. A dom/sub relationship is very different from a master/slave dynamic. To quote an excerpt from BDSM Concepts: A Practical Guide by Asmi:

"The variety of interactions that revolve more around the Dominant – submissive spectrum is also fairly large. Top–Bottom is not the only type of interaction one gets to see. There’s the Dominant who needs a submissive counterpart; the switch who gets the best of both worlds or Daddy/Mommy who takes care of a baby girl / boy. Not to forget the other end of the extreme of TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationships like Mistress/Master-slave or the Owner-property/pet dynamics. While the dynamics seem to be listed in the order of increasing intensity and decreasing transience, one must not conflate the intensity and the depth of the relationship with its meaningfulness. The most transient dynamic can be as exhilarating and fulfilling for someone as the most intense total consensual slavery.
The dominant–submissive relationship is more intense and encompassing than the Top-bottom dynamic. It is also more inclusive of the non-sexual, mental and the emotional spaces of the people involved. Typically, while a Top and a Bottom are involved only in sessions, a Dominant and their submissive may actually end up discussing finances children, professions and often times; Dominants may instruct a submissive on behavior modification outside their relationship as well. In cases like this the dynamics would border upon mentorship. At the other end of the D/s spectrum are TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationships like Mistress/Master-slave or the Owner-property/pet dynamics. Such relationships are usually not legally valid and are punishable by the law of the land if exposed thus. However, whether or not are they valid emotionally and morally, especially if consensual, who is anyone to judge? After all, morality being as subjective as it is, one can’t stereotype any relationship, even those that seem violent or painful."

 

Isn’t BDSM just abuse? A lot of it seems like abuse.

No. A main difference between BDSM and abuse is the sub's ability to stop it on command. In BDSM, the three basic tenets are safe, sane and consensual (SSC); all of which are missing in abuse. In BDSM, the submissive or the masochist has the power to stop it. In the case of abuse however, the victim is helpless. In BDSM, a session is followed by aftercare, in abuse it’s all about beating. In BDSM, the intent is to derive pleasure, while in case of abuse, the intent is to harm and negatively control.

 

But people who enjoy BDSM have at least had some history of abuse right?

Not true. People are not dominant, submissive, bondage enthusiasts or disciplinarians because they necessarily have a history of abuse. A lot of people do it only as a fun activity which heightens their sexual pleasure, just like a simple kink or fetish such as tickling, or pinning someone’s hands over their head would do. Quite a few people enjoy pain because it helps release endorphins (a sub high) just like a heavy workout would. Similarly, people practice rope bondage because of its aesthetics. You may want to explore and read more about the Japanese art of bondage called the Shibari. So no, a history of abuse is not what defines lifestylers.

 

I enjoy the pain aspect of BDSM. Does this mean something is wrong with me?

No, it just means that you enjoy a certain sensation better than others. As long as your desires are safe for you, as long as sanity is maintained and everything that happens is consensual; it’s OK to have such desires. Gone are the days when sadism and masochism were psychopathic conditions. It’s only a desire that gives you a high like a heavy workout, or like intense love making. So, nothing is wrong with you. You do not have a history of abuse, you have no PTSDs, no self esteem issues. You just happen to like the sensation of physical pain.

 

couple in bed with blindfold

 

Some of it looks painful though. What if I do not want to try all that?

It’s absolutely OK to want to try some things and not want to try the others. One of the major myths around S/m that really needs to be broken is that S/m is not synonymous or equivalent to D/s. My usual verbatim for it is – “Don’t conflate D/s with S/m; they are complementary but not the same." The reason why I say this is because a lot of submissives are also sadists. A lot of them are certainly not masochists and do not enjoy pain. Quite a few Dominants are masochists, when it comes only to the sensation. For these people, pain is only about the pleasure or the sensation it brings and not the Dom-space or the sub-space. To share an example, irrespective of the fact whether I lie down while making out, or whether I ride my partner, I still remain a woman. Similarly, even if a Dominant chooses to give pleasure to their partner or to receive pain, it doesn’t necessarily make them a submissive.

 

What are the limits? How do we set them?

Limits are about self-awareness, honesty, and full communication. A Dominant is not a know-it-all. The submissive has an important responsibility to explicitly outline what works and what won't. So the submissive needs to discuss which techniques or actions make her or him uncomfortable. Different people have different limits. The first step to setting them is about introspection. I may imagine that I will enjoy being called names, but when I’m actually called a ‘whore’ it’s demeaning to me. Yet, there are situations and people around whom this word is not a deal breaker. So actions and techniques being conformable are totally dependent on situations, and those situations are dependent on trust and communication.

Limits are both physical and mental. For example, in case of people suffering from claustrophobia, blindfolds could cause panic attacks. They key is to talk, share. Start with your ‘hard limits’. These are your deal breakers; activities or things that trigger strong negativity or physical distress. Keep soft limits as activities that you’ve not tried and are not sure about; but you’re open to trying and gauging your reaction to them. The key to experimenting safely is to take it slow, steady and only with a person you trust.

 

What about consent? Can I stop at any time if I am not enjoying it?

Yes, you can. A core tenet of BDSM is Consent. If you want to try the safest possible way, then SSC or Safe, Sane, Consensual is your key. If you want to try the edgy, more extreme forms of activities, even then, RACK or Risk Aware Consensual Kink is there to ensure that your consent isn’t violated. So, if you want to stop something, use your safe word and any Dominant worth their salt will stop. If they don’t, you need to run away. Like, NOW!

Safe words are your exit mechanism. It could be a single word or a set of words that you can use to indicate to your Dominant that an activity or the entire experience is going too far. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes into the safe words. Try keeping a word you’re unlikely to use in common speech. ‘NO’ and "STOP" are not good safe word. For there are moments when we utter no to shake our mind off the pain while still craving for more of it.

‘Red’ or 'Yellow' however is a sure safe words. Red to indicate extreme distress and the need to end the entire session, orange to indicate the need to stop that particular activity, yellow to indicate that you’re uncomfortable but still not at orange, green to indicate pleasure, enjoyment or a go-ahead signal. So yes, if you are with a person you trust to respect your consent, you can stop it by using your indicators.

 

How should I go about planning my first BDSM session with a partner?

Ideally, any session has a few stages - 1) discussion and negotiation, 2) agreement, 3) actual session, 4) aftercare, and 5) post-session discussion (analysis). You may want to add BDSM sex toys or fetish wear as well, but my advice is to keep it simple for your first session! In this article, I walk you through the details of planning your first BDSM session.

 

As well, take a look at this video by Vice on India's growing BDSM scene.

 

 

Asmi Uniqus is an active BDSM practitioner and lifestyle coach based in India. She has been a lifestyle submissive for over 10 years now and is very vocal about her lifestyle choices. She believes in self–empowerment through empowerment of others; has a wide experience of writing both poetry and prose around themes of feminism, LGBT, sexuality and erotica. She has also been very active in several real-world BDSM communities and has close connections with a wide spectrum of other practitioners both in India and globally. The speaker is also the author of a series of simplified guides to various aspects of BDSM, which are undergoing the publishing process. She can be reached on Facebook or via email at: asmi.uniqus@gmail.com