How We Hold Space in BDSM

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Earlier this week I read This Article  about holding space which inspired me to write about some recent experiences that really made me aware of how we hold space in our daily lives. I went to a Play Party a few weekends ago now, which gave me a profound understanding of how we hold space in BDSM as well.

When I first started in the Perth BDSM community in 2008, though I’d been flitting around the sub cultures here since I was a teen, I came in with young, undeveloped ideas about myself and my relationship. I have never pretended to be filled with confidence or knowledge and have enjoyed the self development that has come from my experiences in the last 8 years. I remember one of the first posts I made on an online forum was seeking advice for what it felt like doing public play. What it felt like for those that were free, and comfortable in themselves and their bodies, to be nude or partially nude while others watched on while you received pain, or rope bondage. Other peoples ability to be comfortable is something I have been trying to peg for a long time, as I struggle with my own self acceptance.

I have always had elaborate ways of dressing my body to conceal the parts I hate the most. Body stockings, fishnets, specific underwear, sashes, dresses, lace garment etc. All my great defence in protecting myself from the commentary of judging eyes. To not ever want to burden others with my unsightly blubber, rolls, stretch marks and disgust. I’d never dreamed that I’d be like the other women I see and admire. 

Last week as we attended one of our much loved safe spaces for Kink and BDSM in Perth Black Forest , we were not expecting to get up onto the St. Andrews Cross for a one way tussle. I had only minor prepared to play, and certainly was not dressed to protect my shame, or other peoples eyes. I had only thought we’d do something simple like a back flogging and I knew the position of the cross. I knew I’d be able to bare people only seeing my back at most, if I wore a long skirt, it would be fine. So, as it was I took myself with heavy feet to the cross, cold in the crispness of our Midwinter Party and glared bullets at him as he ordered me to undress. I flinched, only to enquire that he didn’t need to me remove my skirt as well… surely. He did. To my mortification, there were already at least two people who had shuffled in to watch. I tried to be graceful, shaking and fumbling in the realisation that I was almost naked in company.

A month ago, I was a heaving, snotty crying mess just at the thought of getting naked in a safe space with likeminded, empowered women. I felt like an oddity and failure as I fought my body respond to stress and anxious in the most violent applications that day. Yet, there I was, almost naked in nothing but a bra, underwear and socks and boots. (I did mention it was cold right?)  From there we proceeded to play. It was a very different sort of play, I keep sorting my mind for insecurity, fear or noxious body responses. It never came. He tested my body, primed me hard with the flogger before laying into me with a crop that made we want to punch his face in. (lovingly of course) I felt challenged in more ways than I imagined, but I never felt weak. I didn’t feel like running away. It never even crossed my mind.

Though I don’t know who was there, I know that people did come and go from the room. They would have shared in the moment at different points, varying intensities and humour. What I have come to realise, is that in my time spent attending parties or events, or even replying to advice or questions posted online in regards to BDSM and Kink is that each and every time is example in how we hold space as kinksters, fetishists and BDSMers. We hold space for others as we watch on as they share themselves with strength, passion and vulnerability during a play scene. Whether that is in a sensual rope demonstration, a strict, sadistic caning, fire flogging, needle and blood play, hook suspension, each physical activity that we are privy to watch or share creates an opportunity for openness and a willingness to share beyond. A way that we not only share space, but hold space for people to be themselves. What a beautiful thing.

In the last six months, I have been on a journey to let go my preconceived ideas about myself. In this I have pushed my mind, my body and my anxiety to new levels in the pursuit of happiness. My experiences in the Perth BDSM community because of my personal growth has positively amplified explicitly how I regard myself, my relationship and kinky friends. Such events that I attend have become a haven, and the ultimate safe space for sharing ideas, concepts, challenges and dreams for which I am growingly grateful. To the people that I have had the privilege to hold space for, thank you. Thank you for getting to know me, share with me and trust me. To the people I have met that have held space for me, I am eternally grateful, so much more than I know how to express.

 

4 Replies to “How We Hold Space in BDSM”

  1. You have an interesting insight into the sharing aspects of public play…we all have to learn how to do things and this is a great way to do it.

  2. You were so brave. I’ve only played publicly a few times, and never in the manner of being the focus of attention. I remember being nervous, but quickly coming to the realization that I was in a safe place, and that I could let it all hang out so to speak.
    Even with those experiences under my belt, I know it would take a outright command for me to get on a cross like that and command the attention. Go You!

    As are as making space, I agree with you. One of the most beautiful things about this lifestyle, is that the community requires the acceptance of people as they are. It makes me proud to be amongst the ranks of people like you.

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