Originally posted on Fetlife.
Despair is one of my kinks that resides within the darkness. I find that it isn’t talked about much. I don’t know many dominants that are drawn to pushing a sub to despair, at least I never hear it talked about. I’m not sure why. Is it because no one thinks that any sub actually wants to feel despair? Do they think that it is impossible for someone to truly consent to despair? Do they actually have no interest in causing consensual despair?
Typing despair into google gives this result: Despair – the complete loss or absence of hope.
I know quite a few dominants that enjoy dangling hope in front of subs. Nearly as many that enjoy dashing that hope as well, at least for now, until they can dangle it again. I know that gives the greatest swing of emotion and expression. It builds them up to make the fall greater.
But what about removing hope completely? It might seem absolute, but the reality is that despair is the gift that keeps on giving. Take away what they want. Make it known that this is the way that things are now. Let them know that nothing they can do will ever change it.
It’s easy to try to rationally accept finality like that. Psychologically accepting finality is far from easy. It tends to happen in stages and rarely happens linearly. There is a lot of backtracking. The original disappointment will gradually subside until they go long enough to really start missing it. What follows is a slow and agonizing cycle of wishful thinking, attempts at strengthening one’s resolve, grief of loss, hopeless longing for it to return, and other many other flavors of anguish depending upon the source of the despair.
Every time the sub thinks about it, they must confront the sense of loss surrounding it. Every time they miss it, they must face the reality of its absence. They have no control over it. They cannot make it better. How long will this continue? Forever, if the dominant drops continuous reminders of it.
Some of us think that this is hot.
Despair isn’t for everyone. It requires specific environments and ongoing long-term relationships to make it sustainable. Is that why it is less commonly found in BDSM communities with more casual play partners rather than specific communities that are primarily couples in long-term D/s relationships? I know that it is common in cuckolding. I have seen it used with chastity enthusiasts. I know quite a few couples doing 24/7 D/s that had some form of despair as one of the founding components of the relationship.
I do think that it is possible to dabble in despair. Mind-fucking gives a dominant the ability to drag someone into that space for a little while. Tell the sub what they will lose. Tell them how badly they will miss it. Tell them they can’t avoid that outcome. This can send the sub’s mind racing through a great number of worst-case scenarios. It can drag out their fear, desperation, and anxiety relating to it. Guide them correctly and they will cry.
That sort of play gives a glimpse into what the pieces of despair can look like. It also creates a bogeyman that will haunt the closet of their mind forever. Well, not quite forever. If it becomes reality, they no longer have to be afraid of it actually.