*This is a completely unscientific and un-researched expose, drawn entirely from my own impressions and experience. It’s my personal take on the language. I purposely did not go to the Internet to check facts or references, drawing instead from my own twisted little brain. In other words, this is just my opinion. Not a statement of fact. I welcome your comments and interpretations.
Four little letters. So much power. Bondage. Discipline. Sado-masochism. It wasn’t all that long ago you didn’t find those four letters lumped together. There was B&D, and there was S&M. B&D focused more on just what it implies—bondage, and enforcing behaviors via discipline, correction or punishment. The intent is sexual, with the added overlay of rope and obedience.
S&M is the darker stuff, the stuff Marquis the Sade (whose name, of course, gives us the term sadism) wrote about, that makes you cringe even if at the same time it arouses some darker impulse of desire. No safewords in his writings, but plenty of blood and horrible suffering, mixed in with an (un)healthy dose of misogyny.
BDSM is a sort of conglomerate of it all, a hodgepodge of “the scene” with all that entails. Plenty of room for whips, chains, rope, submission, Dominance, power exchange, Master and slave. In its common usage, at least as I understand it, BDSM is more about the physical aspects of the scene. What happens, and who’s doing what to whom. It’s about the leather, about the gear, about the proper etiquette and behavior, both public and private.
Over the past few decades a new term has emerged. D/s. Dominance and submission, but a new, softer definition than that contained in BDSM. D/s has evolved to be more about the emotional connection. The spiritual connection, if you will, between Dom and sub. At least, that’s the way I interpret it, and how I use it in my writing. BDSM is black leather and single tail whips. It’s hardcore bondage and a need for safewords. D/s is about romance. It’s about the power of erotic submission. D/s captures the emotional bond between a Dom and his/her sub, a connection at once fierce and tender, soft as velvet but stronger than steel.
Yes, I admit it—I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to D/s. How about you? What’s your take on the terms? BDSM vs D/s? Oh, and since you read this far, your comment will automatically enter you into a contest for a free ebook download from Romance Unbound. I’ll pick a winner this coming Friday, April 2.