Befriend your body. Rewrite the story of your life.

Why BDSM is my Favorite Spiritual Practice

by | Sep 27, 2022 | Journal, Risk, Self-love, Surrender, The Spiritual Side of Sex | 0 comments

(listen to the audio version)

 

Of all the spiritual practices that I do, the ones I value the most are those that bring me fully into my body.

Of all of the practices that connect me this way, I value sex among the highest.

Of all my spiritual sexual practices, I value BDSM as one of the best.

Yes, I believe that getting tied up and flogged (by someone who cares about me deeply) is one of the most spiritual things I can do.

First, a Definition

For the newbies: BDSM is an acronym that means many things to many people, among those: bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism.

This type of sexual practice is incredibly varied in how it’s played out, depending on how the humans involved are wired. The way I human is to always look for new ways to understand my body’s limits, desires, and needs as a way to connect to my spirit. So, when I pull out the ropes, this is how I play.

Which explains why I don’t play like this with everyone. Not everyone wants to go where I go. Not everyone gets why I want to use sex to break apart barriers between my true self and my form. But when I find a person with whom I can identify a current of trust, desire for exploration, and support for what each of us wants, I will invite them willingly to this shadowy playground.

The Point of Connection

Sex has been a point of spiritual connection since we first started having sex. In other words: we noticed a very, very long time ago that when two (or more) bodies merge together as agents of the divine, we can touch the universal source from which we came and remember our true creative potential – just for a fleeting moment before we go back to the rest of our lives.

But while that’s the underlying reason we swipe right, it’s rarely the conscious reason.

Lying on top of that underlying reason are other underlying, often unconscious reasons we seek sexual connection. One of the biggies: trying to heal a past emotional wound.

This explains why we find ourselves dating the same kind of person over and over again (even after we swore it would never happen again, read here if you want a new perspective) – we are trying to fill past-tense holes with present-time experiences.

The framework of conscious BDSM gives the opportunity to direct the terms of filling that hole or ask for someone to fill that hole (pun absolutely intended).

I have italicized the word opportunity, because it’s not a given. It takes intention to know what we’re going after.

Tie Me Down

Let me explain like this: Many years ago a professional dominatrix shared with me the reason that people would pay to create an elaborate fantasy of humiliation and pain. They explained it like this: Submissive clients often ask to recreate scenes that mirror or speak to painful experiences in their past. By doing that, they set the terms, make the experience exactly as they want, and create the potential to heal.

That tracks with what we know about how trauma is released from the body. When a past experience is unresolved, we subconsciously recreate the painful experience as a way to release the flood of emotions and chemicals that are stored in our bodies from it. We only get off the treadmill once we recognize what we need to complete the cycle and have that need met.

So let’s say I am stuck in a damaging cycle of an insatiable need for absolute freedom from any and all restrictions to my movement that results in impulsive geographical and relational moves (totally hypothetical, right?). By asking my partner to clip on a collar and leash, I can wrestle with that urge to break free in a physical way and release the stress chemicals associated with the original wound that makes me run like a fugitive whenever I am held down. That (totally hypothetical, of course) wrestling match can lead to a breakthrough of surrender to my true desire to have stability, family, and community hold me in unwavering support, which is only possible by making like a tree and putting down roots.

If that’s what it takes to heal, then tie me down, baby.

Man, I Feel Like a Woman

I would be remiss if I didn’t share one particularly damaging cycle that BDSM has helped me heal – my socialization as a woman. Because I’ve been raised in society and not by a pack of wolves (who would have surely taught me a different set of hang ups), I’ve been trained to believe that my needs don’t matter. That I should give up everything for another’s dreams and accept crumbs of love in whatever form they’re offered, no matter the consequences on my tender little heart.

BDSM has given me a process of cultural deprogramming – I’ve learned to identify my needs, ask for what I want, and clearly state when a boundary has been crossed. And I’ve learned to do this while maintaining respect for the other’s good intent (in other words, no blame, no victims).

But all of that requires having a partner who can listen.

Since many of my partners have been men – you know, the types who have been socialized to push toward what they want and blow past another’s boundaries – using my voice like this is showing them how to put their attention entirely on me and listen to what I am asking.

See what I mean when I say that this is God’s work?

Believe It or Not

I didn’t believe it either the first time I heard that BDSM could heal. But what I’ll say is that not all of it will heal. Not all partners can handle going into the shadowiest of shadowy places. Some are out to abuse. Some are out to be abused, reinforcing messages that they are worthless, rather than repatterning them. That’s not the type of BDSM that results in a spiritual awakening.

The type that I’m talking about is different. It is a meeting on a playground of life.

On this playground we get to try on different personalities. We get to set a scrimmage with our demons. At the very least this kind of play offers respite from the cold, hard world. But at its best, this fantasy world brings us to a place of total alignment with the parts of our wholeness that we forgot.

We just might find ourselves to be the savior we’ve been looking for.

If You’re Into It

If you’re intrigued, know this – your intention matters. Your partner’s intention matters. Talk openly and freely about what you do and don’t want. Let your intuition lead you, listening all the time to what your body is asking for and listening even more.

Because your body will know if you want this type of play or not. Just like, if you are a yes, your body will know when the grip can be tighter or the rope needs to be loosened. Just like your body knows where your edge is and if the person who is there with you will actually catch you, or if they are only wondering what it’s like to push someone to their death.

It’s risky sex. But risk is a part of any relationship. In the right context, and context is what matters most in any sexual encounter, the risk can lead us to an inner alignment that can only be called a spiritual awakening.

 

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