Thanks for your supportive comments yesterday. We did get our youngest daughter off on her adventure yesterday. We were all pretty chipper on the ride to the airport, only to lose it in a swamp of tears as we shared hugs with her for the last time for the next 10 months of so. But we know it will leave all of us changed, hopefully for the best, once this adventure is over. And there’s always Skype! (Last night she was “too busy” making new friends at a pre-Europe orientation to talk with us. A good sign as far as we were concerned).
This morning we pack up the car for our older daughter’s trip to College. And it’s wonderful that Donna, our Senior Correspondent stepped into the breach with some thoughts on the charms of the BDSM lifestyle. And as a bonus, I’ve thrown in an HNT outtake (above) from our little detour to that Bed and Breakfast over the weekend.
So there I was, just scrolling through some research, when I came across a 2009 study: Hormonal Changes and Couple Bonding in Consensual Sadomasochistic Activity, from The Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Who could resist?
So I opened it up and there I found this:
“...hormonal changes associated with Sadomasochistic activities including spanking, bondage and flogging, suggest that it could bring consenting couples closer together. The increases in relationship closeness combined with the displays of caring and affection observed as part of the SM activities offer support for the modern view that SM, when performed consensually, has the potential to increase intimacy between participants.”
So, while I think the hormone changes, spanking, bondage and flogging are fairly clear, what displays of caring and affection observed as part of the SM activities would be noteworthy?
The first that comes to mind for me is that of the Dom/Domme regularly checking in with the sub, not just verbally, but visually. Usually when gagged, there is a hand signal rather than a safe word, but I really haven’t heard of safe words being used terribly often. An attentive Dom usually picks up the visual clues long before the sub is ready to safe word. The muscles, the breathing patterns, changing of the coloring of the skin, the heat of the body, these are just a few of the non-verbal things a Dom checks to keep careful watch on the sub. That level of knowing a partner's body so well and paying such close attention has to have carry-over to everyday life, even if scaled back a bit.
From my own experiences, as well as talking with friends, I also think it is common for BDSM couples to make a special point of regularly adding new things to the mix, dildos, plugs, whips, canes, leathers, new techniques, clubs, dungeons and more. That says the partners are thinking about the relationship, planning ahead and looking forward to their time together, and probably showing up with some surprises for one another from time to time, not just on Valentine’s Day. Who doesn't appreciate knowing that someone is thinking of playing with them often and is willing to put the time, energy and money into spicing things up?
There is also the aftercare. How many jokes are there about vanilla sex and the men who want to just roll over and go to sleep after sex while the females want to talk? With BDSM, I haven’t found that to be the case. Aftercare is a very special time between participants to check out their physical and psychological situation following activities. It might be spent cuddling, rocking, discussing the scene, or sharing water or a quick energy snack. It is a time of settling, offering words of gratitude. I have friends who have a ritual of a rubdown, checking for any abraded areas or places that might need some TLC, and I have heard of people who brush their partner’s hair. It’s probably different for every couple or ménage, and it is very important, not only as a check-up and check-in, but as something that bonds us together.
And finally, something else that comes to mind when I think of this is that our friends who have been into BDSM for a period of time seem to generally have a little extra spark when they talk about one another. I suspect it might have something to do with having a shared secret, a secret stash of toys and BDSM paraphernalia. Or maybe it’s a secret language, like that special wink that means.”Send your parents home soon and I’ll go put on my leather bustier and be waiting in the bedroom with the flogger!”
Although I imagine that extra spark is really due to a combination of all of the above.
Every group of people, including the group of people involved in BDSM, has its fanatics, those out on a limb people, but I think this study is basically on target. I do think that BDSM, when performed consensually, has the potential to increase intimacy between participants. Of course I didn’t need a study to tell me that, but it is so nice when a study supports what we have already decided. Don't you agree?