I learned a lot about power through my “classical” Dominatrix training. Unfortunately, a lot of it was through watching how power was misused. I trained at a ‘world renowned, old-guard, classical BDSM training chateau’. The kind that respects protocol, leather history, and hierarchies. The kind that isolates itself from other BDSM communities, the kind of place that calls itself “the best” without meaningfully engaging in other things.
I found a formalized BDSM structure and community before I even knew what BDSM stood for. It quite literally fell into my lap and gave me language for my interest in power play. Despite the ambivalence I now hold towards my old-guard BDSM upbringing, there is a reason I was drawn to it. I get a certain sexual satisfaction on structure and rules, primarily on making them. The ability to create a world that serves you and your needs is a powerful skill to hone, and an incredibly dangerous weapon if you aren’t open to accountability when your methods harm others.
“Old-Guard” BDSM of the 1950’s takes its strict protocol and aesthetics from formalized military code and biker culture. “New-Guard” BDSM evolved out of the many social and cultural changes leading into the 1980’s. But, as with most things, it isn’t really a simple binary. Most kinksters pull from kink history and from their personal history to create something that works for them, and for many others, not a lot of thoughtfulness goes into it at all.
I recently saw a tweet by Mistrix Sade which said, “I am decidedly NOT a ‘classical’ Dominatrix. And proud of that. I am an experimental one: a modern, de-constructivist sensory artist, and power exchange practitioner. Question everything, especially the ‘old school.’” I, for one, love the idea of an experimental dominatrix, the idea that we are always growing. That we are not infallible. The last few years, I’ve been thinking of my play as that of a curious scientist. Collecting data. Doing experiments. And learning.
Kink doesn’t have to look a particular way or adhere to certain structures or language. To me, kink should be expansive. It is about exploration, connection, and finding attunement with a partner. A good scene comes from engagement, communication, and a flow of energy between the top and the bottom. A good scene comes from knowing yourself and your desires and taking the time to find a partner who has similar interests. A good scene is an act of co-creation, where both the top and the bottom are engaged, empowered to share their needs and desires, and ultimately enjoying themselves.