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Being Disabled, Kinky, & Into BDSM: Exposing the Truth for National Kink Month (Part 1)

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October is National Kink Month, an observance established by Stockroom.com in 2012.  October seemed to be a fitting month for such a recognition to be held due to the fact that Halloween is a very popular adult holiday – the costumes men and women wear are provocative, and allows for one to express themselves publicly in attire that would not be deemed “suitable” any other day in the year.  This acceptance of sexual exploration and expression on Halloween caused those within Stockroom to view it as the perfect season to create understanding about BDSM and fetish play, and debunk the myths and inaccuracies that surrounds the lifestyle.  Stockroom’s founder Joel Tucker sums the idea surrounding National Kink Month in the following statement:  

“Kinky sex is based on experimentation, adventure, and exploration of roles and dynamics that are often different from the day-to-day lives we lead.  Halloween, for adults, is an occasion for playing with sexy costumes, assumed identities, and the enjoyment or humor in the darker side of life.  (Think of ‘The Addams Family.’) Kink, Halloween, and the month of October are a natural fit.”

(Excerpted from “Stockroom.com Declares October is National Kink Month” from MarketWired.com.)

What is Exactly is BDSM?

There are many ways people define BDSM, or kinky sex.  Here are two descriptions I found online.  

According to WhatIsBDSM.com:  

Generally, BDSM denotes a set of erotic preferences; it’s a form of sexual expression (although you can, without trying too hard, find splinter groups who will say it’s not about sex at all) that involve what’s called “power play”, or the taking of complementary roles that set two or more participants at different levels of power.  Among the roles common in BDSM relationships or sessions, you might choose from top and bottom, dominant (dom or domme) and submissive, master or mistress and servant or slave, [Daddy Dominant and Little] and many more.  Even among those black-and-white-sounding names, though, you can find grey areas – switches are people who feel equally comfortable in more than one role, sometimes even in the same session. An important thing to understand when learning about these roles, though, is that in many if not most cases, the bottoms, submissives and slaves are just as likely to be dictating the terms of the session as their more powerful-sounding counterparts.

Some choose to describe the types of acts that can be involved in BDSM:

Bondage dominance sadism masochism. It’s a form of sexual expression that includes everything from sexual kinks, to pain and sensation play, where one person gives intense sensations, and the other receives it.  Flogging, whipping, hot and cold sensations, controlling and being controlled, being held down or tied up while someone sexually pleased you or in some cases, causes you pleasurable pain.  There’s a lot to it honestly.  I guess the short version is extreme acts that can physically or emotionally impact you.  Submissive people can get pleasure by being told what to do or being forced into submitting, while dominant people get pleasure by controlling and ordering others around.  Consensual of course.  There must be an agreement between two or more people to ‘play’ together.

From what I have seen within the Kink/BDSM community, there are many ways to describe the kinds of sex play and acts, and relationship dynamics and meanings of this particular lifestyle; however, there is one thing that those who are serious about the lifestyle tend to agree on – what BDSM is not.

BDSM ≠ Abuse – Understanding the Difference

Just as there are many interpretations of what BDSM is, there are an incredible amount of misinformation about it, as well.  Those within the BDSM community are very adamant in educating practitioners and inquiring souls about the reality of BDSM.  

One point that is reiterated is that BDSM is NOT what is depicted within 50 Shades of Grey; the relationship Ana has with Christian is not BDSM – that relationship is abusive, controlling, and places BDSM is a terrible light when it comes to the power dynamics of partners.  Sadly, 50 Shades is responsible for shining a bright light on the lifestyle, and practitioners have been outraged that the horrible perpetuation and justification of abuse is erroneously considered an “example” of how BDSM works.  

To explain further the difference between BDSM and abuse, and the core emphasis of the lifestyle, I decided to share an infographic that I have broken down into four section that details this information easily:  

 

IMG_1766

Diagram depicting the difference between BDSM and Abuse. (Click the image to enlarge for better view.)

 

BDSM vs. Abuse. (Click the image to enlarge for better view.)

BDSM vs. Abuse. (Click the image to enlarge for better view.)

 

BDSM Domestic Cycle vs Domestic Abuse Cycle. (Click the image to enlarge for better view.)

BDSM Domestic Cycle vs Domestic Abuse Cycle. (Click the image to enlarge for better view.)

 

IMG_1763

BDSM is not abuse image. (Click the image to enlarge for better view.)

What Are the Different Roles Within BDSM?  

There are a plethora of terms and relationship types within Kink / BDSM.  Here is just a small listing of acronyms of some of the more common names used by practitioners within the lifestyle:

DD – Daddy Dominant (Daddy Dom)
MD – Mommy Domme
CG – Caregiver
LG – Little girl
LB – Little Boy
LO – Little One
CGL – Caregiver & Little
DDlg – Daddy Dom & little girl
DDlb – Daddy Dom & little boy
MDlg – Mommy Domme & little girl
MDlb – Mommy Domme & little boy
ABDL – Adult Baby Diaper Lover
AB – Adult Baby
DL– Diaper Lover
LDR – Long Distance Relationship
SSC – Safe Sane consensual
RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink
BDSM – Bondage/Discipline Dominant/Submissive Sadism/Masochism
D/s – Dominant/submissive
NSFW – Not Safe For Work
SFW – Safe for Work
SO – Significant Other

All of these terms and titles have roles and responsibilities within them that each person and couple defines for herself/himself that fits who they are and the kind of interactions they will agree to engage with their partner(s).   For this series, however, we are going to focus on the relationship dynamic of Little (LG, LB, & LO) and Daddy Dominant (DD or Daddy Dom).  The reason we will be exploring this particular dynamic is because I am a Little, and I have decided to share not only my awakening of this part of my sexual expression, but also those who are disabled and are Littles (or switch between being Dominant and Little).  

Who Are Littles?  

There was a great explanation of what Littles are that I have found on Tumblr, and decided to share for this post.

A Little is an individual who

  • Retains childlike mannerisms into maturity
  • Retains a childlike joy and enthusiasm into maturity
  • Retains a childlike curiosity for the world around them into maturity
  • Feels or may regress to 17 years old or younger
  • A bottom/submissive in a BDSM relationship
  • An Age player in a BDSM relationship

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what Littles are and what they are not.  In order to clear some of that up here’s some important information.

Littles are:

  • Intelligent
  • Capable
  • Worthy of respect
  • Wonderful partners-often among the most loyal and loving
  • Whimsical and enthusiastic
  • Valid

Littles are not:

  • Acting to get attention
    Remember this is a part of our personalities, it’s inherent.
  • Pedobait
    As a community, we in no way shape or form condone pedophilia.
  • Playing out a twisted fantasy
    Being a Little has literally nothing to do with incest despite the fact some Littles call their partner Daddy or Mommy.
  • Unintelligent
    When we regress or enter Little space this does not mean we’re unintelligent, it just means we’re Little.
  • Bound by gender, race, orientation or physical appearance
    You do not need to be a thin white cis girl to be a Little.  Littles can be any race, any size, any gender [and disability].  You don’t even have to have a gender, or any orientation – Asexual Littles are a thing too!
  • Cookie cutter
    All Littles are different, no two are exactly alike theretofore there is no right way to be a Little. It’s all subjective.

Few additional points to make about Littles to understand that we are a diverse group in how we view ourselves and our roles as Littles:

  • A Little may be a switch, Dom/me, or top as well.  There is no rule saying a Little must be a bottom/sub.
  • A Little does not have to be into BDSM
  • A Little does not have to be in a relationship at all. Some Littles are aromantic or asexual or just prefer to be a solitary Little. All are valid.
  • A Little does not have to be in a BDSM relationship.
  • A Little does not have to be an age player however some age players are Littles.

BDSM + Disability, Not An Uncommon Mix As You’d Think

In unearthing my interest into BDSM, I decided to seek out the voices of other disabled people who were also into BDSM, particularly the Little/Daddy Dom (or Mommy Domme) community.  I discovered that there are many of us out there, and we enjoy finding other disabled people who share similar interests, as well.  Finding these individuals sparked the idea of creating this series during National Kink Month.  

The names of the persons who shared their stories will be changed to protect their privacy, but the importance of their stories is needed – the sexuality of disabled people are disregarded in our society, and that leaves us to struggle with finding, expressing, and accepting ourselves in an oppressive, ableist world.  I have not seen much coverage surrounding BDSM/Kink and disability, but I hope that the stories shared will shed the invisibility cloak that exists.   

Final Thoughts  

“Being Disabled, Kinky, & Into BDSM” will be the mini series that will take over the remainder of the month.  I want to have enough space to share the stories of those who opened up to me about being a Little, as well as share my own journey of discovery.  This series is not meant to be provocative only; but instead, be educational and helpful, especially for those who belong to both communities.  

If you liked Part 1, go ahead and read Part 2 & Part 3, which pertains interviews about the experiences of disabled Kinksters, & Part 4, which is my Kinky story!

(Featured headlining image:  Courtesy of ShutterStock.)

Special Note:  I decided not to share links directly from Tumblr for this blog series to protect and be respectful of the anonymity of BDSM bloggers.  That is why I am using direct quotes for any information I found via Tumblr in this article to showcase that these interpretations are not my words.  If you are the author/writer of anything that I have shared that you’d like credit for, please email me [Vilissa@rampyourvoice.com] with the appropriate links, and I will place them within the article.  

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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