Submission and domination in the bedroom
Do you enjoy wearing a French maid’s outfit and indulging your partner’s every whim? Or maybe you like tying him up and blindfolding him while wearing thigh high leather boots... Sexual liberation means everyone has the right to experiment and dare to try different things to spice up their sex lives. But it begs the question: just what is it that compels some of us to brandish whips and order our men to call us “mistress”? And vice versa, of course!
What's at play
“In reality, there’s always some kind of power play going on in sex, whether it’s conscious or subconscious. It’s like a playoff, where one must eventually succumb and let the other win,” says psychoanalyst and writer Sophie Cadalen. When it comes to sex games based on dominance and submission, the battle is more conscious and subject to certain rules and symbolism. “According to Freud, everyone was secretly deviant on the inside! As children, we explore many different compulsions, such as voyeurism, sadism and masochism. However, when we grow up these things serve only as sexual fantasies and are only rarely acted out,” explains Dr. Mimoun.
When one person submits totally to the other and the other’s sexual desires, the boundaries are agreed beforehand and sexual impulses are codified. “In practice, this can even be reassuring in the sense that both partners know what they’re aiming for,” Sophie Cadalen adds.
“Being completely submissive and handing yourself over to someone can be very arousing,” says Sophie Cadalen. It’s an erotic situation where you give yourself up to the unknown and surrender control. When you become the object of desire, resistance doesn’t come into the picture.
This is a sex game where you’re free from judgement and worry about how the other person sees you, which can affect pleasure. It might seem paradoxical, but “women who like being tied up are actually playing an active role in the game,” Dr. Mimoun points out. And the same goes for men.
Daring to take control is more enjoyable that you might think. “We all have a taste for dominating the other person, and this willingness to assume authority is actually present in all of us,” says Sophie Cadalen. When you're in charge, what you say goes! It can be really arousing to get into the role fully, while still respecting your partner’s boundaries. Without generalising too much, it seems that these impulses really spice things up between the sheets for some people – and especially those who are normally shy socially!
In S&M, you should stop playing your roles if at any point the other person feels uncomfortable. This is an erotic game played by two consenting adults. The real question is who takes on which role and how far you go. “The rules are clear from the start ... and neither of you can overstep the mark,” explains Dr. Mimoun.
There's a difference between games that explore these kind of impulses and only being able to feel sexual pleasure in this way. If this is the case, then the situation is more about perverted sexuality (inability to escape these impulses). This can cause real problems if the other person isn’t turned on by the scenario. The individual becomes totally focused on his or her own sexual gratification.
Blindfolding or spanking your other half is far from being degrading if it's what you want, and can enrich your sex life. When both of you experiment together, it can be as erotic and loving as whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears in the missionary position!