BDSM III: Roles: Leontii Holender

BDSMIII

When last we met, we spent some time talking about the major intrapersonal dynamics found in BDSM. In some of our favorite ManLove romance we can see these broad-spectrum relationship themes, but what if you’re looking to spice up your manuscript with a specific type of role-play without changing the major character traits of your heroes? That’s where role-playing, or using the roles explained below, can give your writing even more creative release. Not every type of role we discuss will be conducive to erotic romance, but having a foundational knowledge on the diversity of roles in BDSM can lead to inspiration down the road.

Role-playing is not limited to the domain of BDSM, but it is a significant facet in the lifestyle. In a role-play scenario, one (or both) of the partners transform their behavior to assume a specific set of characteristics, defined as a role. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the motivation of this change is to act out a social role that is different from their customary conduct, and possibly into one that is considered taboo in traditional society. For this reason, roles are distinguishable from the more general dynamics found in BDSM. The player controlling the scene will be referred to as the top or Dominant in this article, while the controlled individual will be called the bottom or submissive.

In BDSM, more often than not, role-play involves power roles that form part of that Dominance and submission dynamic. While these themes can be a general influence throughout the entire relationship, they usually form for a negotiated time of play, known as a scene. In example, a Dom and sub that enjoy pet play could enact those roles often, but it does not always have to be a part of their routine interaction. On the flipside, some lifestylers might only enjoy BDSM if their desired role is associated with the whole relationship or in every instance of play. The expression of these roles can range from involvement in a specified and detailed fantasy to broad general designations of power positions.

The content, duration of the roles, and the goals of the role-play vary widely from participant to participant and are subject to personal desires. Role-play scenes can range from the mundane to the bizarre, but the enjoyment and fulfillment of a base need in both parties is the key to a successful scene. The adaptation of a role different from a person’s real-world character allows a person to imagine and implicate themselves in roles and scenarios that would not normally be accessible to them. For the steamy hunks of ManLove, this could be a great way for couples or ménages to share their fantasies and in turn feel closer to one another, gain more intimacy, forge a new level of trust, heighten arousal, or even gain a more powerful physical release.

Common roles found in BDSM scenes are as follows:

 

Gender Play

In gender play, one or more participants take on the role of a gender identity that is different than their biological gender. There’s also a possibility here to strip a person of any gender identity at all. When we consider what it is that defines gender as we know it, toying with the concept and forcing a person to confront the gender roles they readily assume can be a powerful thing. A prevalent form of this is forced feminization, in which a male submissive is forced to adapt “feminine” traits.

 

Gorean

Gorean philosophy and play is based on a series of science fiction novels written by John Norman that promote sexual master-slave relationships. The books are centered on an entire civilization, which has an elaborate caste system and natural order. Part of this natural order dictates that men have a natural predisposition toward dominance and females have a predisposition toward submission. Most Gor slaves are female and known as kajiras, while the males are known as kajirus.

Some BDSM lifestylers even fashion their lives and relationships according to the series of books and often do not consider what they to do be BDSM, but still function as part of the kinky community. In that context, the focus is on a 24/7 kind of Master and slave lifestyle rather than specific scenes of play. That being said, BDSM theories typically play a key role in Gorean dynamics.

 

Littles & Age Play

In age play, one or more participants act or treat another as if they are a different age than their biological one. It’s important to note right off the bat that this is role-playing between consenting adults, in no way involves actual children, and is not considered pedophilia or related to pedophilia by professional psychologists. While the portrayal of age can range from the elderly, teenagers, to younger ages (known as littles), the prevalence is once again upon an altered mental state rather than exploitation. In BDSM, these roles can be completely non-sexual, in which a person can explore feelings of vulnerability and the need to be nurtured in a safe environment, to mildly sexual, or very sexual.

Oftentimes, sexual age play does not involve the sexual attraction to a biologically underage person, but rather the enjoyment of roleplaying the mindset of a younger person. When this happens, they can re-experience emotional states and social interactions of their youth, and might be pleasurable in a sexual context. A good example of this is in Daddy/boy relationships. The dominant takes on the role of a nurturing father figure that can teach, punish, and dominate the submissive with a loving, but firm hand.

 

Pet Play

During this kind of play, a person behaves or is treated as a particular type of animal (i.e. kitties or puppies). The range of activities while indulging in this kind of role-play can focus on task training, posing as a caretaker, or even breeding partner. The principle theme is the voluntary transformation of a human being to an animal status and thereby, the focus of an altered mental state. It can be used either as a spiritual release for someone who identifies with a certain animal, a nurturing experience, or for the purpose of consensual degradation and humiliation.

I’d like to note that for most participants, there is no connection whatsoever with bestiality. In BDSM circles that practice the safe, sane, and consensual, it’s the extreme altered state of mind in this role-play that holds the appeal.

 

Pony Play & Dressage

Pony play varies from pet play in a variety of ways. While the focus is still on one or more participants enacting the role of an animal, in this case a horse, there is a very different dynamic. There are two main classifications of pony play:

– Forced: The participant playing the pony most likely considers themselves still a human, but is treated as an animal and compelled by his handler/owner/trainer to behave as an animal. This type of pony play will usually involve humiliation and degradation with a focus on the fact the human is forced to take on the role of a horse.

– Pony role-play: In this type of dynamic, the human takes on the role of the horse and relinquishes their identity with humanity. Humiliation doesn’t often play a role in this type of role-playing.

In either type of role-play scenario, the general type of play is centered on the training of a variety of activities. Be it to be ridden, pulling carts in which their trainers are seated, for shows or competitions (often actual BDSM events), or for pure aesthetic display. What usually contributes to this experience is a prevalence of tack equipment specially designed for pony play in the form of elaborate headdresses, saddles, bridles, gloved cuffs for the hands that appear as hooves, heel-less boots shaped as hooves, and various other pieces of tack.

 

Takedowns, Kidnapping, & Imprisonment

Any type of play that pushes the boundaries of safe, sane, and consensual is considered edge play, and that is a very true term for this bracket of roles. While there usually is no prevalent physical harm here, as there are in other types of edge play, there is a mental aspect to these roles that make it not for the faint of heart. The basis of this type of role-play is consensual non-consent and that is where the motivation usually stems from. A participant consents to the capture (known as a takedown or kidnapping) and subsequent actions, but will feign coercion into the unwelcomed act at the time of play. This is a great way to explore forced seduction while still maintaining the safety of all the characters.

 

Uniform & Interrogation Play

One participant will dress in a uniform, while oftentimes the dominant participant plays an authority figure. In example, a common role is the naughty schoolboy, forced to admit his rule breaking, and subsequent punishment by his teacher. Uncommonly in this type of role-play is the focus of the dominant partner being the one in uniform and the submissive the one subject to interrogation and/or punishment. A good example for this would be the role-play of a prison guard and prisoner.

 

Medical Play

Medical play can either refer to a fetishism of objects, practices, environments, or situations of a clinical nature, or the adaptation of one participant to a role of medical authority. In example, the dominant becomes the doctor or nurse and the submissive the patient. In BDSM, there’s a focus on the actual medical procedures and situations—intimate examinations in the form of rectal or gynecological exams, catheterization, saline injections, prostatic massage, and medical gags.

On the edge play end of the spectrum, the use of anesthesia masks can be used to restrict the flow of oxygen and therefor serve as a form of breath play. Needles can be used to create play piercings, which would be removed at the end of the scene or used as recreational acupuncture.

 

photo credit: Muscle Dominator via photopin cc

One comment

  1. This is a very interesting article, and I enjoyed reading it.