Non-Sexual BDSM

This was written for the December 2014 Carnival of Aces on “Touch, Sensuality, and Non-Sexual Physical Intimacy”

For me, BDSM is completely non-sexual and I never desire for it to lead to anything sexual.  My mind just doesn’t make an intuitive connection between the two.  The pleasure I get from BDSM is simply about playing with the physical sensations and emotional states that BDSM involves.

It might be ouchy, thuddy, stingy of impact play.  The heat from dripping wax, or the cold of an ice cube.  Or tickly, scratchy, soft sensation play.  The coarseness of hemp rope.  It might be feeling scared, safe, trapped, free, in control, vulnerable, powerful, comforted.  Or the shared experience with a friend or partner, creating a beautiful play scene together.  Being a canvass for another’s creativity.

For me, it’s not about being turned on or sexual pleasure.  It doesn’t matter if I’m not sexually (or romantically or sensually) attracted to the other person.  I do BDSM because I want to feel something, with my whole body, mind and soul.  And as a way of connecting with a friend or lover.

It’s difficult to describe exactly what is non-sexual BDSM.  Everybody feels or thinks differently about where exactly the boundary between sexual and non-sexual lies.  To me kissing doesn’t feel sexual at all, but for other people it does.  On top of that how something feels isn’t always rational or easy to put into words.  Roughly the things I feel to be sexual are any intimate activity that involves genital contact or sight.  But my feelings don’t follow that as a hard and fast rule, and there are exceptions.

So when it comes to negotiating non-sexual play, just saying I don’t want to do anything sexual isn’t really enough.  It needs to be much more specific.  Which sexual acts or behaviours are okay, and which are hard limits.  Whether all genital contact is off the table, or just genital contact with hands/body, or are certain toys are fine.  Which parts of your body are okay to touch, or are breasts, nipples, mouth, genital region, etc off limits.  Whether clothing or underwear needs to be worn, or if you are comfortable with full nudity.  I still find these conversations really awkward, but it is better than miscommunications ruining a play session or relationship.

Another thing I like knowing when negotiating play is what the other person enjoys about BDSM and their reasons for doing it.  I find this helpful anyway for finding a play style that suits us both, and knowing what to expect from each other.  But also find it reassuring to know if they can enjoy BDSM for reasons other than sex.

For many people BDSM is intensely sexual, and there’s obviously nothing wrong with that.  It just means that if somebody doesn’t enjoy BDSM without sex being involved, then we’re not compatible.

But finding people who are open to non-sexual play isn’t particularly difficult.  The fetish clubs I’ve been to have tended not to have much – if any – sexual play going on.  So I’ve always felt pretty safe playing with people in clubs.  And since being involved in the kink community, I’ve met plenty of people who are able to enjoy BDSM without it being sexual.

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9 thoughts on “Non-Sexual BDSM

  1. Pingback: December 2014 Carnival of Aces Roundup | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

  2. I feel the same as you – and you write so beautifully about the reasons I felt really, really interested in getting involved with BDSM in my community. I’ve been meaning to get around to writing about kink on my own blog for ages. I’m an asexual person who is incredibly sensitive to most things, in particular touch. I have a life where I don’t get nearly enough touch of any kind – I live alone, work in an office job rather than with my hands, am very shy – and reading about the kink community made me feel like there’d be a safe space where negotiated, consensual non-sexual touch of all kinds would be acceptable and OK. I want to feel overwhelmed by touch sometimes, I want to feel like I’m out of control, I want to be restrained and (in a safe way) not allowed to control how I’m touched. The idea excites me.

    But the realities, in my case, simply didn’t match up with the ideals. Certainly where I live, the kink community feels incredibly judgemental. I’m a trans* woman, but at the time I started attending munches I wasn’t ‘out’ to the rest of the world – so I went as a fairly androgynous and feminine but male-presenting individual. The entire crowd was made up of young, conventionally attractive, cisgender, relatively affluent middle-class folk – I felt like a round peg in a square hole. It felt like cis women were made far more welcome, for evidently sexual reasons.

    I never did get to a play event. I know they take place in my area, but the early experiences meeting kinky people felt so cold – I felt like I was being judged, weighed-up, assessed as a potential threat as soon as I walked into the room, it didn’t feel like a space I was welcome in. Part of it is that people who are interested in sexual play are sort of lumped-in with people who aren’t. And kink communities, munches, events etc *do* get a lot of liggers turning up who are after sex or sexual play – and as an asexual person it’s really hard to put your intentions across in a clear way, to end that suspicion, without seeming like a pompous git.

    I’d love to know how you got involved with the community without coming across the same issues as I did – it’s something I wouldn’t be averse to trying to get involved with again, but not if I’m going to feel unwelcome as a trans* person, an asexual person or a person with a penis. 🙂 Again, thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading 🙂

      Most people tend to perceive me as female so that probably had a big impact on going to my first munches/clubs. And likely was seen as less of a threat by some people. Though some of the attention that young women get, is not altogether welcoming, so don’t think it’s easy for anyone.

      I’ve had a few people who lost all interest in me once they found out I was trans* (or asexual or poly or have a penis – not always sure what puts people off!). But the majority have been pretty open-minded.

      I don’t know if there’s many munches around where you live. But one thing I found was that different munches attract different crowds. Some around me are more younger people, others I’ve rarely seen anybody under 30 go. Some attract more boisterous folk, some attract quieter folks. So it’s a case of finding one that suits you,

      When I went to my first munches and clubs, I was all excited with thoughts of finding people to play with and date. And I really think that was a big mistake on my part. It just led to disappointment when things didn’t live up to the unrealistic expectations I’d built up over years of wanting kinky playtimes. And frustration when I didn’t find anyone to play with at an event, or things didn’t work out with a date. And I most likely came across as pretty desperate at times, which really wasn’t attractive.

      So if I could redo that whole experience of starting going to munches and clubs, I would just focus on finding people I enjoy chatting to and making friends. After that, the kink stuff sorts itself out. And going to munches aiming to just enjoy yourself and make friends, I found made the asexuality or trans* stuff less of an issue – my identity matters far less when not looking for a play partner. And I also found myself a lot less nervous talking with people who I was completely incompatible with sexually/kinkily.

      Sorry I’m rambling an awful lot. I think I’ll blog about my first munch/kink experiences at some point in more detail, though have to check people involved are okay with it first. 🙂

      Hope you do decide to give the kink community another try. There will be people who welcome and accept you for who you are. Just a case of finding them 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Wrapping Up the December 2014 Carnival of Aces | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

  4. Pingback: Sex Positivity, Traumatic Sex, and Asexuality | Gender, Mental Illness, and Psychiatry & Sex and Trauma

  5. When you go to events do you tell people you are asexual and find yourself explaining it? I’ve been called names at more than one event for not engaging in sexual activities and I guess some advice for how you deal with it would be lovely so I don’t have to feel like I need to avoid events entirely.

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  6. I couldn’t believe how well this related to my feelings when it comes to bdsm and sex. I’ve never been able to clearly explain it to people, but this is the perfect explanation. This is me to a “T.”

    Like

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