November/December 2002
Rough Sex, BDSM and other Mushy Deliniations

by Sensuous Sadie

My first summer in Vermont I discovered Alberto selling collectible books at an outdoor flea market. Even as we flirted in the bright summer sunshine, he impulsively grabbed me and kissed me. I was astonished by a stranger kissing me, and took him as a lover that very weekend. Alberto was a lady's man, a man who loves women, who loves to please, and that pleased me.

I hung with Alberto because he liked rough sex, or at least he liked rough sex with me. I knew he did the slow hand thing with other women, but his dalliances didn't distract me any. He was the closest thing to BDSM when BDSM was just wishful thinking for me.

I have another lover now who is a lot like Alberto, although discovered under the aegis of the D/s community. Jeremy is one hell of a lay, and likes to please, too. More rough sex. Sometimes play rape scenes on the livingroom carpet. Sometimes the "39 steps" where I get a flick of tongue, a pat on the fanny, or a soulful kiss each time I took another step up. A lot of positions and a lot of hair pulling; a bit of rough and tumble as they used to say.

I like it well enough, although it doesn't seem much like BDSM to me. Jeremy thinks it is, though because he's a novice Dominant, and for the novice, moving from regular sex to regular sex with a spanking is BDSM. I don't argue with him. Let him have his delusions, as my mom used to say. They'll be forfeited soon enough.

Jeremy is also laboring under the misconception that after six months in the lifestyle, he has graduated from novice to intermediate. Maybe ten rolls in the hay with me plus some on the side. But does this a Dominant make? Perhaps, perhaps not. Depends on his state of mind I suppose. As I see it he was a great lay as a novice, and he's still a great lay as an "intermediate." But this still ain't BDSM.

I hope I'm not being too hard on him. I suppose some of my confusion stems from the night I first met him at a party. Just before we all went home, he knelt and laced up my party boots. His own submissive side is so close to the surface that I cannot easily see the Dominant he says he is. He's a switch, but to me his submissive side is what resonates. Maybe I'll always have that image of him in my mind, his soft grey eyes, bedroom eyes, gazing up at me.

His dominant style is not too different from his submissive style, pleasure oriented. He does whatever he can to make me happy, focussing wholly on giving me pleasure. The result is my feeling his submission to me, even though technically he's dominating me. He may be tossing me over the kitchen table to do me, but he's doing it because I want it. I'm not really sure what he would do if left to his own devices.

I wonder if there is a such a thing as "dominant" dominance and "submissive" dominance. In theory, if Jeremy wants to caress me all night long, it's my job as submissive to go along with it. Not to mention it would be ludicrous to complain about too much. But somehow, something is missing and I'm not sure what that something is. There are touches of bondage, pain, control, but all hesitating, not followed through to someplace where I might forget myself. Never beyond lighthearted. There is more, but he's not there yet.

Rough sex can morph into BDSM, but where does one become the other? Fuzzy, very fuzzy. A novice or an intermediate? Depends on who's doing the measuring. A dominant Dominant or a submissive Dominant? Both or neither in the novice explorer. Is pleasure enough? No, not enough.

What is refreshing about Jeremy is that he is joyful and unfettered by "shoulds." He is a welcome change from some of the lifestyle folk who take BDSM so darn seriously. Together we gossip, we tickle, we giggle. Yes, we fuck. A lot.

Jeremy has no philosophy, no construct, no style. Not yet. Rather, he is present and rapt with passion. He kisses me impulsively, slides his hand into me, leaves me breathless. Maybe not BDSM, but enough to take him as my lover this weekend, and maybe longer.


Sensuous Sadie is a BDSM columnist and edits SCENEsubmissions, a free e-newsletter for the New England area and beyond. She is the founder and leader (1999 - 2001) of Rose & Thorn, Vermont's first BDSM group. Comments, compliments and complaints, as well as requests for reprinting can be addressed to her at or visit her website at Sadie believes that the universe is abundant, and that sharing information freely is part of this abundance, so she allows reprints of her writing in most venues.

Copyright 2002.