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It’s spring and many of us will be trying something new with the new season but it makes me think of an aspect of the BDSM lifestyle that is troubling to many who have entered it recently.

There is a large category of people who enter the lifestyle and then leave it a few months or years later, frustrated that it no longer provides the excitement and thrill that drew them to it in the first place. It’s a challenge for many who discover BDSM and latch onto the addictive newness quality of it.

It starts innocently enough. One girl shares with another in a locker room that her man was incredible the night before.

“He held both my wrists in one hand above my head and I was *helpless*!” she gushes. Her friends become all aflutter at the exciting news and the girl revels in her newfound submissiveness.

Her partner is also all excited though probably not talking about it in the locker room (Men tend to do that much less than most women think they do.) He’s quietly thinking about how hot that moment was and figures he’ll recreate the excitement that very night.

But that night things don’t go quite as well as either hope. The anticipation is high, the expectations even higher but holding her wrists this time seems artificial, silly even and the hot passionate arousal that came from the first night is elusively absent.

Some couples end their domination/submission experiment right there. They have the one-strike rule. But many will carry on. A few nights or weeks later, he gets adventurous and tells her she’s been naughty and needs a spanking. The hearts of both start to race. The excitement is back. She gets her panties pulled down and her bottom spanked and, sure enough, the thrill is back.


But the next night, a simple spanking is also not enough. With their newfound experience though, both parties realize what they need. They must escalate the play each time. It’s the newness and the increased intensity of the play that is obviously the attraction. They will have to become even more inventive.

This is such a common occurance, that even if they consult with others they meet online or in person in the lifestyle they will find plenty of agreement and probably too much advise. Before you know it, the play has gone from spankings to paddlings, paddlings to floggings, floggings to canings, wrists held to bondage, bondage to public play at the local dungeon, then electrical play and more.

The good news is that there are countless new fetishes and BDSM activities to try so running out of ideas doesn’t happen quickly. At some point the couple may try to switch. He realizes that the thrill isn’t quite the same and wonders if it might come back if he were to put on the panties in the family and let her swing the flogger. That can work for a while too but in the end, this culture of escalation comes to a point where it becomes very, very difficult to continue and then this couple has a crises.

If you and your partner are in that spot right now, you are not alone. This is a remarkably common phenomenom. The problem is that at some point, one of the partners realizes that they are not comfortable escalating to whatever the next increment is and puts a pause on the idea. Then they worry that their partner will become bored and leave or, their partner actually does become bored and looks elsewhere.

There is, however, a way out of this dilemma for many people who experience it. The basic premise of this entire exercise is that it’s the newness and the newfound intensity of the experience that causes the thrill. There is no doubt that doing something for the first time always carries some kind of exciting adrenaline rush. It’s new. It’s uncharted territory. You don’t actually know how it will be in the next moment because you’ve never been there. So there’s no doubt there is an element of excitement in that it’s new.

But here’s a thought: Maybe, just maybe, the newness of a new BDSM activity is not what is most attractive to you about it. You’ll have to sit with that thought for a moment.

When you meet people who have been in the BDSM lifestyle for a very long time and are clearly still empowered by it, don’t you ever ask how that’s possible?

I did. It has been a great many years since wondering about it for the first time and the introspection that I spent has helped keep me involved in a D/s lifestyle for over three decades now. I realized that for me there was an essence; a kernel of the D/s experience that touched me deep in my core and I discovered that if I kept going back to that kernel, to that essential dynamic, I found it thrilling and empowering every single time.

For me the experience comes from the dominant perspective but I know the same can be true for a submissive. When I have someone submit themselves to me, even in a small way, I feel how they are putting their lives into my hands and in that moment I can relish that experience, treasure that gift of someone’s trust that is so deep that it can literally mean I am responsible for their life for the next little while.

The activities might vary but having found that core for myself, the activities aren’t nearly as important. “I’d love to see you and Chris scene,” someone once told my submissive.

“Ummmm, we don’t really scene,” she replied, confused as to how to answer. It’s not a big surprise. The activities don’t define my D/s dynamic. It is less of a “doing” realm and more of a “being” domain. That is to say, I concentrate less on the particular activity and more on my “being” dominant with my submissive partner. D/s can be experienced in ordering her meal for her, deciding on what she’ll wear (or not wear) or just in a simple proprietary touch.

Now, is what’s true for me, true for you? Only you can say but the answer is probably not. It is that introspection into what the essence of the D/s lifestyle is for you that is important, not whatever the answer to that introspection was for me. But, if you find that you love your D/s play now, it might be a great investment for you and your partner to put some quiet time aside for a conversation into what about the lifestyle is so attractive to you and then have some part of your evolution as a dominant or submissive be aligned with that rather than an escalation from one spanking instrument to another.

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