I had an interesting discussion with a person the other day where I tried to explain the difference between abuse and BDSM. The hard part with a discussion like that is that I am into BDSM and it becomes natural to me to see a distinct difference between the two. That also makes it a bit harder to communicate the differences and why BDSM has nothing to do with real abuse.

The most important thing that differs BDSM from real and destructive abuse is the consent. All BDSM is built upon trust and consent. Real abuse doesn’t include consent.

The other big difference is what I would like to describe as a theft, the fact that your powers are stolen from you by the abuser in real abuse. In BDSM the submissive hand over the powers to the dominant, voluntarily and with consent. The dominant then treats that with respect and care.

These are two major and distinct differences between BDSM and real abuse, but there are also other differences. Below is a list which DomSubFriends have on their website and it sums up the differences in a good way.

 BDSM  Is based on the safe, sane, consensual theory

  • BDSM is a controlled environment
  • BDSM has safe words to stop the scene
  • In a BDSM scene the dominant looks out for the
    well being of the submissive
  • BDSM can be an erotic sexual encounter
  • In BDSM both partners are enjoying themselves
  • in BDSM the dominant respects limits
  • In BDSM there is mutual respect
  • In BDSM the relationship is fulfilling
  • In BDSM both parties feel they contribute towards
    the relationships
  • In BDSM one can ask their partner to “play”
  • In BDSM relationship there is trust
  • In BDSM a submissive voluntarily serves the dominant
  • BDSM is about building trust
  • BDSM builds self esteem
  • BDSM builds the spirit of a submissive

Real abuse is actually the opposite to all the pionts made above:

  • Abuse is not negotiated
  • Abuse is an out of control environment
  • Abuse does not have safe words
  • An abuser does not give a damn about the victim
  • Abuse is always one sided
  • Abuse is never negotiated.
  • In abuse, no one is enjoying the results
  • The abuser is into non consensual violence
  • The victim has no respect towards the abuser
  • In abuse the victim is harmed
  • In abuse both parties are left unfulfilled
  • The abuser always feel they are superior
  • A person does not ask for abuse
  • In an abusive relationship there is no trust
  • The abuser does not care for consent
  • Abuse has no trust
  • Abuse destroys self esteem
  • An abuser destroys the spirit of the victim

Consent = Is an agreed approval of what is done and/or proposed by another

Abuse = To use so as to injure or damage: MALTREAT

The foundation, which everything revolves around, in BDSM is always the consent. This should never be underestimated and that is, yet again, why boundary discussions is really important. Limits should be discussed and established. This should, in my opinion, also be done even if the dominant and submissive are comfortable with each other – And it should be done on a regular basis as it is a discussion that should be revisited.

We always change as human beings and with that evolves our sexuality and so does our boundaries.