The  Domination/Submission dynamic “includes a variety of behaviors that involve consensual power exchange between partners (…)”, as stated in the master’s thesis “Beyond pain: fantasies of pleasure, power, and surrender”, elaborated by Ana Mafalda Ventura Mota, June 2011. But dynamics (D/s) is just one of the three dynamics in the BDSM universe. Another is  Bondage and Discipline (B/D), which “involves physical retention and/or representations of power dynamics, there may be some physical sensual massage London but as an expression of psychological sexual discipline and not with the aim of causing pain”. And  Sadism and Masochism (S/M), which correspond to “sexual behaviors and activities that include experiences involving pain or threat of physical or psychological pain”.

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A sadist takes pleasure in causing pain. A masochist takes pleasure in receiving pain. A switcher enjoys both causing and receiving pain, depending on the situation.

Alexandra Oliveira was the supervisor of the study and is a professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto. It defines BDSM broadly as “an unconventional or atypical form of sexual relationship, a game between adults that offers mutual pleasure where there may be physical restriction and erotic pain.” It is a “consensual game of exchange of erotic power”, he explains. Consensual. Keyword. “Only here is whoever wants and only does what he wants and desires at every moment”, reads one of the documents given to practitioners to which the Observer had access.

This will be the only commandment to follow. For the rest, the practices, the objects, or the nature of the relationships are left to each one. There are people who only have sado/masochistic relationships, there are only like the psychological control of domination/submission, there are those who join domination/submission to sado-masochism, there are those who only like to cause or receive pain, there are those who like the two sensations, depending on the moment and the partner.

There are couples who adopt sadomasochistic practices in their sex life with each other, and there are couples who have a third element to these practices. The terms of BDSM work like “umbrellas”, which fit countless varieties of connections.

Relationships and “vanilla” sex don’t fit into BDSM

In BDSM everything fits, except the “vanilla sex”. The term is known among practitioners. It designates that common taste, which is neither good nor bad, “it’s not a big deal, it goes into any sweet”, explains Bernardo. Those who are in BDSM are interested in “something more than traditional sex”, explains the doctor, 38 years old. “Vanilla” is the idea of ​​“common sexuality”. And BDSM is more than that.

Ana had a boyfriend for seven years. I was dissatisfied. I thought something was missing. I didn’t know what it was. At the time, I was at the end of college. He met people who had done work on BDSM, went online to research, and identified himself with what he saw and read. He identified himself with the submission role. She spoke with her boyfriend about this interest in being “dominated”, but she didn’t have the receptivity she wanted. The relationship ended.

Today, the 30-year-old architect says it was a vanilla relationship. Like this? “A relationship where the two decide everything together or where decisions are made by both. For example, I decided I was going to do something and maybe I wouldn’t even say anything to my boyfriend because I forgot, but there was no problem”, she explains. It was all “much talked about” between the two and Ana’s room for maneuver was greater. In the relationship you have today, power is all on the owner’s side.

But let’s go by parts. After the mourning, he found a Portuguese website linked to BDSM, Dominatrix London that announced a party. It was, alone. “I was very nervous,” she recalls. She arrived, was “very well received” by the party’s owners, immediately assumed herself as a submissive, talked to many people, absorbed the atmosphere. “I saw some spanking, games with wax, things I had never seen live, only in images on the internet. Those people were (having those practices) two, three meters away from me, but it felt like they were in their world”, he recalls, in what was the first of many parties.

In these meetings, there are those who go to exercise sadomasochistic practices and there are those who simply go to watch. There are those who dress in an ordinary way, there are those who wear latex, there are those who opt for some masks or professional costumes. There are symbols – keys that are part of a kind of protocol. If someone has a collar, it means they are submissive and have an owner. If someone has a whip, it means they’re probably a dominator.