This is an excerpt of an interview conducted with Sladjana, member of BDSM community in Serbia. She prefers Dom/sub relationships which is more about power than about physical sensation (although some use these terms more interchangeably). In D/s activities one person generally dominates the other, or has power over them. The interview is part of the ongoing research that evolves within the realms of duality (philosophy and psychology), gender roles and identity, female sexuality, etc.
K: When did you become Dom Sladjana?
S: It happened unexpectedly and unintentionally, and then I didn’t even know that what we were doing was Dom/sub relationship, although we both changed our roles periodically, which I later found out that this dynamic is called switcher. In my first relationship where I noticed this power exchange (ten years ago), it wasn’t just about kinky sex, although it started through our sexual activities. And then it somehow moved to our everyday activities, making it a part of our everyday life. It started with small things, such as bondage underneath the clothes while we were in public. We would send tasks to each other while we were at school or at work, the one who would send tasks was the Dom for the week, and the sub had to obey everything, complete the task and send a photo as a proof. Tasks didn’t involve other people, they were private, they included for example masturbation in public, etc. We didn’t live together so we had to check in every hour, or ask the permission to do basic things, such as peeing, or taking a shower when we weren’t together. Of course I could cheat or simply say that I completed a task, but that didn’t happen because I felt very comfortable of giving control over myself to someone else, and vice versa. This relationship after three years didn’t end up well, there were some trust issues and boundaries that were crossed without consent. And consent is very important part of such relationship.
The second relationship was defined by my dominance over my then partner, it lasted for four years. He was an experienced sub, ten years older than me, and I could say that during that relationship I became Dom Sladjana. People around me, my friends did not know, and still don’t know about this dimension in the relationship between me and my partner. At some point we lived together, and it ended smoothly, he went away due to his business plans and we stayed friends.
K: Have you always been in Dom/sub relationships, how does it work with you, do you have acquaintances? Are you in a relationship now?
S: I am single now, but I have a few play partners. While I was in this second relationship, my partner introduced me to BDSM community, we were going to kinky parties, I started meeting other people that were part of this so called subculture. We had some gatherings in public too, just to hangout and talk, because a lot of these people have normal life, steady jobs, but unfortunately BDSM is still a taboo in an environment such as this. When we broke up I stumbled upon a social media platform that is basically just for “kinksters”, there I communicate with a lot of people and often I meet them in person. First I like to go for a drink, to hangout, which for me is like a test – if we click, if there is this mutual energy, then we meet to “play”. This kind of dynamic is very different, you don’t know the person, you don’t know their soft/hard limits, you have to communicate. I also wanted to experience how it is when I meet a total stranger and when the trust is uncertain, there is this danger element that makes things even more enjoyable. I can’t say that I’ve always had positive experiences, there were some complicated situations, but nothing that I couldn’t deal with.
K: How does this dynamic in your private life influence your daily life, your job, or your other relationships?
S: Emotionally they are quite intertwined. I like the feeling of being in control, of someone trusting me and depending on me. I am often in the position of being a decision maker and I like telling people what to do. My job is sort of organizational, I work within the collective where there is this mutual trust and understanding, but I’ve always had an issue with authority, I’m very stubborn. My friends are aware of my character and that I am a “control freak”, but as I mentioned, they are not aware of BDSM preferences, they do joke around that I would make a great Dominatrix though. It’s funny how vanilla people see it, all my friends are vanilla actually. The portrayal of BDSM in this environment has tended to be very negative, often associating it with violence, danger, abuse, madness and criminality. But actually people who are into BDSM are no different from others in terms of emotional well-being or upbringing, and that they are no more likely to get serious injuries from their sex lives, or to be criminal, than anybody else.
To be continued
*Featured photo: Screenshot of BDSM test results by Sladjana (https://bdsmtest.org/)