Discovering the kink in love: 50 shades of BDSM

by Chinki Sinha Feb 14, 2016 16:53 IST

"I

can give not what men call love,

But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above
And the Heavens reject not
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

In an old book of poetry, he had found this. The poem could be a "soundtrack to teenage crush" to many but to him it was a way to understand love, even momentary love, amidst his fantasies of what the outside world refers to as perversion – whipping, flogging, gagging.

The Kolkata-based lawyer reserves the right to love as many people as he wants, crisscrossing genders, and being unapologetic about it all. His ways of loving include getting tied up, and gagged, or being the dominant master who can control a submissive. And he can get a power high via the same pain through which the sub can find release.

As a child, he would tie himself up in ropes, and think of the bad guys coming for him. When he was old enough to watch porn, he felt odd. It didn't excite him enough. Later in Internet chatrooms he finally understood the term for what turned him on. BDSM - Bondage, Discipline, and Sado-Masochism. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders calls it paraphilia or unusual sexual behavior. Much of the world regards it as deviant. But in this power exchange of bondage and discipline he found his turn-on.

"Specific fantasies like of female dominance are my thing…I give up control to a woman who is also necessarily intelligent and knows what she is doing and I am serving her in any manner she chooses me to serve being it a form of humiliation or bondage where I am blindfolded and gagged and unable to move. It is the humiliation and the giving up on ego.”

This is theatricality complete with costumes, and drama, and whipping and lashing, and hot wax. "It is role-play, are we are choosing to serve or to dominate,” he says. While for the larger world E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey broke the silence around BDSM, many in the community burned the book as a fundraiser, saying it misrepresented them. Consent had to be key. Even when it comes with what looks like obvious inequality between the dom and the sub. In fact, it is also the suspension of self. The idea of surrendering to the other to the point where the dom could ask you to do anything is appealing to the sub. To the dom, it is the possibility of power. They want the moment of purity even if the moment exists in fantasia, and is not a forever concept. But it is still a relationship based on rules and consent rather than conventional notions of morality.

50 Shades of BDSM

 

"I am not moral, or immoral,” he laughs. "I am amoral.”

Physical injury can't be ruled out, and it has happened. In the Kinky Collective, a small advocacy group that is trying to establish BDSM as an alternative sexuality and de-stigmatize the idea, they have sessions where they counsel practitioners, and train them on safety measures. There are limits that must be negotiated and set mutually before a session, a BDSM checklist made or downloaded, and safe words decided because things can spiral out of control during a session high.

BDSM sessions are called "scenes” and participants carefully choreograph their moves in advance like the woman who had to learn and rehearse an item number at the command of her dom who she referred to as "Huzoor”. It can come with its own rationalisations. For instance, the lawyer once put Ben Wa balls in a woman's vagina. She was a lower middle class woman and shackled, he says, by her own conservative beliefs. He took her to a mall as her dom, and she could have had an orgasm right there.

"That was our secret,” he had said. "I was controlling her. I liberated her.”

***

It is raining outside, and the couple looks at each other in between conversation, laugh easily and nibble at the sandwich they share. They are married. People ask me what they looked like. I said they looked like any couple. Not dressed in leather, and carrying whips if that's what you mean, I added.

50 Shades of BDSM

 

She is assertive at work place, and was a bully in school. But in the confines of her personal space, she wants to surrender, and be tamed with whips and chains.

He grew up in a small town in Rajasthan in a middle class family, and used to be a bully in school. His neighbour, a woman 18 years older than him, seduced him first. It started with a plea to massage her foot, and then she introduced him to his own kinky side. They hadn't known the terms then. The woman introduced him to her friends. He says the other women were like a hungry pack of dogs and he served them in the presence of his mistress, though it wasn't easy. The woman who also was his mother's friend would smoke cigarettes and stub the butts on his hands and feet.

"I still have those marks,” he says. He says it gave him "peace of mind” when he did her bidding. "It was everything. Even involved drinking her piss.”

But he was exploring his dom side when he met the woman he would marry. They met in 2010, and got married in 2011. But she says they realised that their sessions were suffering. The husband's submissive side was unsatisfied. She liked to receive pain. She couldn't satisfy him.

They made a pact not to abandon each other, but they ventured out for the sake of desire. With consent. There are no betrayals, they insist. The wife was the first to allow her husband to get into a session with another woman, a friend she trusted. That night she was in the other room as the husband and the other woman enacted a scene. When she woke up the next morning, he was back, and nothing looked out of place.

Both had to learn how to map the desire that felt true to themselves against the conventional notions of relationships out there. He fell in love with the older neighbour who had initiated him. When he proposed to her, she broke up with him. He moved to Chandigarh, became an alcoholic and a drug abuser. "With her, it had gone on for four years. And then I was alone, and I didn't know if I was normal,” he says. He once told a girl he had a foot fetish, and would do whatever she would ask him, and would like to be spanked, and she had asked him to go see a doctor. He finally found likeminded people on a social networking site for BDSM community. His remembers his first BDSM session outside. He cleaned a woman's boots with his tongue; she hit him, and commanded him to crawl on all fours and fetch her a drink. He says he could get orgasms without even touching her. That's what it is ultimately - a turn on through power exchange.

50 Shades of BDSM

 

His wife met a man online who initiated her into BDSM. Until then, she thought she was weird. She travelled to another city to meet him. He was 11 years older than her, married and unhappy, but told her he wouldn't leave his wife. He was good with aftercare and she fell in love, and distanced herself. She was only 23 then. She says she didn't feel cheated or used but got into another relationship to get over him.

"He was in Delhi, and he called me, and I didn't meet him. I regret it now. He suppressed the rebellious part of me, and I had told him I loved him, and I wished there was more,” she says.

"Am I not your Prince Charming?” her husband teases her.

He says he is planning on having a session with his wife along with a friend where they would share power in trying to dominate her. It would be tough because there would be ego clashes, but if they have come this far, why not go further, he reasons.

"When people are possessive, they get insecure. I had a lot of narcissism in me but I was scared of losing my connection with her,” he admits.

"We are normal people. We are not deviants. We want others to understand this. Beyond this. what we do in our bedrooms is our life,” he says. "This is alternative sexuality. We need to be understood.”

What is hardest for the outside world to understand though is the pain which is real amidst the rest of the theatre.

The lawyer from Kolkata remembers going to Bombay to be part of a gathering of the community in 1993. There he met a woman who invited him for a session. She had smiled when she saw the hard limits on the list he had drawn, and then penetrated him with a strap on. Later when he sat on her lap, and she asked him how he was feeling, he addressed her as Mistress and asked if he was allowed to speak, and then said "Women have all the fun”. The next day he went back, and there was another woman with her. They had asked him to come "shaven” and he had shaved his beard, but when they asked him to strip, they said he hadn't completed the task. They pulled out hair from around his nipples with a tweezer.

"But the pain was giving me pleasure. They designed their names on my nipple with a marker and they said 'good boy' and I was yelling in pain.” He says, "I think I might have fallen in love.”

However he says his problem with love is that "when people say they are in love, they are in love with the idea and want to convert and remodel that person in their way.” He admits it's not easy to keep love at bay. He has felt love and sometimes faced situations where others have fallen in love with him. "There is good pain and bad pain. The emotional pain is not what I want. If I fall in love, I suffer. I choose not to. My love is for sharing,” he says.

During his Bombay trip, the woman had said she wanted to be with him, but he wasn't willing to leave Kolkata. And so they parted. He remembers sitting at the train station in Bombay in 1993, and being in a perfect state of ecstasy. He could have died right there and then, he says.

He wrote an update recently on social networking site.

"I can not mingle with people whom I can't trust and who doesn't trust me. I am dedicated to the cause of kink in my country even at the cost of my professional benefits. A friend described me as a mix of "a missionary & a politician" !

I enjoy playing with multiple partners. I am not looking for a short/long term relationship of any sort. Please do not expect 'exclusivity' from me. And, though I value the importance of after care, I have very little time for it. I enjoy being with biological females of any gender. I am exploring my bisexual side. I am hoping to try out with a ladyboy, to start with. (UPDATE: Been there, done that!) I like effeminate men who are comfortable with their gender identity. I love talking about BDSM and anything erotic. I have major problem with 'love' which, I strongly believe, doesn't exist. It is merely an extended form of 'caring' that we term as love.”

And so they love. And play. With pain, and power.

"No pain, no gain”, they say, and laugh.

"it is a dangerous wisdom
let me show you, if you dare
love without restraint” - BDSM poem