Love and BDSM

I have been having a discussion with a friend about the role of love in relationship, in particular BDSM-based relationships.

In essence he asked, “Is it okay if I don’t love her or have any deep emotional connection to her? Is it possible to have this type of relationship without that?”

I think that is a very good question, a legitimate question, and an important one. Is it possible to do what we, to reach for the levels of intensity we do, to be that connected in this space, without sharing your heart with another? Is it possible to achieve that level of intensity and connection without loving each other?  If you do not, does it demean the relationship, or render it shallow?

I believe it is very possible to have a deep, committed connection with a BDSM partner without being in love, or even loving, the other person. The interactions we crave and engage in in BDSM are not inextricably intertwined with love. I have experienced profound BDSM connections that were never about love. Respect and trust, yes, friendship and caring, but love never entered the picture. And they were (and are) fulfilling relationships for all involved. The important thing is that we all understood what we each needed in the relationship and what each was able-and willing-to provide. Different relationships live at different levels, fulfill different needs. As long as everyone is aware of where everyone else within that structure, then it works. It is when one (or more) of the parties has different expectations, or their needs go unmet, that trouble surfaces. If everyone is on the same page, and a BDSM-relationship-without-love is acceptable and desirable to all, then yes, it can work, and does.

That said, from my own personal experience, a BDSM relationship that includes love has the potential to go so much deeper than one without. In fact, in my own life, I need that emotional connection to go deeper than just play partners. I need emotional connection to be okay with what it is that we do, when what it is we do goes deeper than just the surface play, than just bottoming. I can “play” easily with someone I like and respect, someone I have the hots for, someone I don’t love. But true depth of relationship needs more than that for me. If I had not come to love W, I could not have allowed him to take me the places he does. Love binds me to him as deeply as submission, perhaps more so; if we stopped relating to each other via BDSM, I would still care deeply for him as a man, as my lover, as my friend.

I couldn’t tell my friend if not loving his play partner was “okay” or not. You feel what you feel. Trying to force a relationship into some preconceived notion of what it “should” be is the surest way to kill it–relationships need air and room to grow on their own, to blossom into themselves. I can say that it is possible, yes, to have a fulfilling love-less BDSM relationship, if all parties are in agreement that this is what fulfills their needs, but the fact that he is asking the question makes me think that there is concern that one or the others needs aren’t being met. But of course that is a question that only he and she can answer.

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2 Responses to Love and BDSM

  1. At one time I would have had a difficult time being able to share such intimacy and pleasure with another, but I suppose that I have evolved over time and find myself being able to have a circle of play partners with whom I feel a connection, but it is not love. Over time I have found my feelings growing stronger, perhaps forming a friendly love verses that of a life partner.

    • piecesofjade says:

      When I first started my journey into BDSM, I think I also had a hard time separating love from it. Kind of like when you first start having sex, and think that everyone you have sex with you are in love with-it’s only later that (some) of us realize that sex doesn’t have to equal love. BDSM doesn’t have to equal love.

      Sometimes I miss the purity of that first time tho, those first, emerging, awe-inspiring, all-consuming feelings where it was all so inextricably bound to being “in love.” Hmm, maybe a good topic for another post, eh?

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