January/February 2002
Usefulness Of Fantasies; Part One
by Raven Shadowborne

Many people first become aware of BDSM through their own sexual fantasies. Others become aware of it through books, magazines, or web sites. Usually contained within erotic fiction, pictures or factual retelling of scenes within those books, movies or web sites. There are other ways to become aware of bdsm and how one becomes aware of it affects how they view the lifestyle to a certain extent. What can be read or viewed as erotica often does not depict reality, or depicts more advanced methods of rope bondage and pain play than a beginner should be attempting. Instead of reality many erotic books depicts the author's personal fantasies, a fantasy created by the author that may not be at all related to their personal fantasies, or just one aspect of the relationship; that being play. Books such as The Story Of O, Anne Rice's Beauty Series, and 9 Weeks can be highly arousing and enjoyable to read. They allow the readers to place themselves in the character's position and imagine what it would be like to be that character. Fantasizing in this manner is a good thing in that many of bdsm' s activities are enactments of the participant's fantasies and desires. Such erotica can easily lend itself to new ideas for the readers to try out. Trying new things, pushing limits and enjoying bdsm play activities are a major part of bdsm. So fantasizing often is part of the play aspect of bdsm and thus important. This can apply to viewing pictures or films as well as reading books or articles.

If fantasizing is beneficial to bdsm, then why do so many people go to great lengths to discount fantasy by focusing on and strongly advocating only reality? The answer can vary from person to person but usually boils down to this; trying to educate new people so as to help them avoid some common pitfalls. One of the most common pitfalls a new person can fall into; is believing that a bdsm power exchange relationship will be exactly like what they have read or viewed and expecting that from any partners. It is a mistake, which is most often done by new people, but can also be done by those with experience. I do not see this pitfall as a newcomer only possibility.

People's fantasies can be quite intense. This intensity can affect the actions a person takes and in some areas fantasy is not the best reasoning upon which to base a decision or action. The Story Of O (for example) presents a wonderful fantasy; that of a totally submissive woman at the complete disposal of her masters. Her behavior is rigidly controlled through such rules as keep lips and legs parted at all times to not being allowed to look into the eyes of any male unless directly ordered to do so. For many people, this is an extremely arousing and exciting fantasy. If that excitement and arousal is used as the basis for entering into such a relationship (or situation) as this one, without seriously considering the full impact of such a relationship, it can and will cause problems. It is easy to mistake the arousal and excitement a fantasy causes for a true desire to live that fantasy setting and everything it entails. This is often an underlying reason behind a new person's decision to enter into a relationship that does not fit their personality, needs, wants and/or limits. Such structured tpe relationships, that are entered into because a story of forced slavery was arousing, often end painfully. The breakup can cause participants to seriously doubt their self worth because they could not maintain a relationship that they fantasized about.

Safety is another reason for the advocacy of reality only when it comes to bdsm. Books, articles, pictures and movies can often show kinds of play, which a beginner should not be attempting without further experience. It is not often made clear that the viewer should gain more experience before trying those things at home. Also they can contain situations that are just not feasible for the viewer's or readers real life. In The Story Of O, O is taken to Roissy, without any warning, by her boyfriend where she spends some time (at least a couple of weeks) being trained as a slave. Most people in real life can't just up and disappear for a couple of weeks to be trained. Also in The Story Of O, O is to submit to any man who wears the mark of Roissy and she has sexual intercourse with more than one person. This kind of action requires safety precautions to prevent the receipt of or transference of sexually transmitted diseases. In fictional books or movies, sexually transmitted diseases are not a concern. Because of these, and other safety issues, focusing on the reality of bdsm is quite simple; it is just one part of a person's whole life. Bdsm is not immune to the same things that affect every other kind of relationship out there. Being involved in bdsm does not make someone immune to stress, his or her own needs/desires, mistakes, mood changes, or anything else that affects a person in their day to day life. Those same things that affect a person now, will continue to affect them once they are involved in a bdsm relationship. Bdsm is an addition to a person's life (in varying degrees or manners), on top of or alongside of many other things. It is a part of one's personality, but not the whole of it.

Due to length and other aspects of this topic I wish to cover, I will continue in Usefulness Of Fantasies; Part Two.