BDSM is an ideology, and like all ideologies, it works backward from desired conclusions. This is how expressions that are so obviously meaningless, like “abuse is not BDSM” can be so easily accepted as having meaning. Starting with an ideal or a conclusion and then creating its justification means that you perceive reality with self-imposed blinders.
I am not an ideologue. I am an empiricist. I try to start with naked phenomena, treat it as evidence, and search for patterns and principles. I believe this approach will lead me closer to the truth, even if that truth is not as pleasant as the pretty lies of ideologues.
I will attempt to begin this exploration…
It’s often said that the mind is the most important sexual organ. I would take this further and suggest that it would appear that sex only happens in the mind. Although we think of it as a mostly physical act, we can easily see that that is never the case.
First, there is the fact that the two can be completely separated. We can remain unaroused during genital contact, and most likely, that’s because of our state of mind. By the same token, we are sexually aroused much more often than we can engage in genital contact. The physical and mental can be connected, but they don’t have to be, and even when they are, the mind is always primary. The human mind is how meaning enters the world. The mind can signal the genitals to prepare for a certain act, and certain physical acts can arouse a reaction from the mind, but the physical aspect of sex is always in service of the mental aspect, and the mental aspect is both the only necessary aspect of sex, and it is sufficient on its own for sex.
Another consideration: when two people approach a sexual act, especially if they are approaching it in a D/s context, each person comes with a completely different perspective, a completely different conceptual framework. Although they are both participating in a joint act, they find it arousing for different (and it would appear, opposite) reasons. The outward experience is shared, but the minds are different. Sex only occurs in the mind.
Now consider that it is commonly said that BDSM, D/s, FLR, etc., are not about sex, but that is only true with a very narrow and unsatisfactory definition of sex that is limited to genital contact. But we’ve already dispelled that. In fact, the truth appears to be quite the opposite. Everything can be sexual, that is, anything can have a sexual component to it as far as the mind is concerned, and this further suggests the possibility that everything is sexual, fundamentally. I love to serve my owner. I do it because of my love for her. This makes me feel good emotionally, and it is sexually exciting. Now, serving her could mean performing oral sex for her, or it could mean cleaning the dishes. The motivations and the feelings inspired are the same. Sex only occurs in the mind.
We are socialized to separate love and sex, to the point that they exclude each other in most circumstances. Sex has largely negative connotations, while love is infinitely positive. I have never believed this. Perhaps men simply do not make an artificial distinction between sex and love. It certainly appears that every act in relation to my owner is both sexual and loving at the same time.
And if we could separate the two, we would have to favor sex. Although you can have sex without love, I would argue that you cannot have love without sex. Sex is the foundation of love. Love is simply an aspect, or side-effect, of sex.