Often you will come across philosophies on D/s that conflict with one another on a fundamental level. When people of different types encounter one another it can be difficult for them to communicate effectively because their perspectives are so different. One example of this is people who engage in loving, romantic D/s relationships vs. those who engage in formal D/s arrangements without romantic involvement. Another common communication block occurs with the topic that I am writing about here, namely, consent.
People who adhere to BDSM principles tend to be vehement about consent. If it’s not consensual, it’s abuse. Consent, safe words, and the like flow along with their beliefs and in many ways these are wise beliefs to adhere to. SSC – Safe, sane, consensual, is usually a core mantra. There are those that adhere to BDSM principles that push the envelope a bit more. RACK – Risk aware consensual kink is one form. CNC – Consensual non-consent is another. All of these rely upon the fact that both parties are in full agreement, and in most cases, the situation offers mutual pleasure.
There are also a large number of people that do not adhere to BDSM principles in favor of alternative philosophies. Gender supremacy, FLR, Head of Household, and the like, rarely if ever mention consent. Discussion of these philosophies will often cause BDSM-oriented individuals to recoil quite strongly. Also of note is that people who favor lifestyle philosophies that do not have BDSM roots will often attempt to downplay the importance of kink and may even go so far as to call different philosophies “fake.”
Because the focal points are so different this can be a difficult gap to bridge with communication and understanding. I will lay a few things out. First, nearly all of the non-BDSM philosophies tend to be CNC. People wouldn’t agree to live that lifestyle unless they wanted it. The fact that they jump to one of those most extreme styles of consent may jar people from a BDSM background, but to assume that those situations are truly non-consensual is a mistake.
Second, many of the subs in non-BDSM philosophies tend to be emotional masochists. The people who engage in these relationships will rarely admit to it, but that is the logical and rational explanation for what drives people to consent to relationships where the pleasure is expected to be one-sided and in favor of the dominant. It is emotional masochism for a sub to get aroused by the idea that the dominant will have all of their needs met while the sub will have many of theirs denied or the idea of not being allowed to say “no.”
Basically, to put the non-BDSM philosophies into BDSM-oriented terms, most of them are just some form of CNC relationship where the submissive party is usually an emotional masochist. The consent happens at the start.
This may provide some understanding for people who follow BDSM principles when they look at alternate philosophies on D/s. Unfortunately, it is far more difficult to communicate in the other direction as many of the people who practice these philosophies will commonly favor to reject the idea of kink roots to the lifestyle… and there’s not really much that can be done about that.
I’m all for people doing whatever makes them happy. I just think in some ways it would be easier if there was better understanding of differences within the community as a whole.