For a while now I have wanted to write about possessiveness within the BDSM scene. I am not sure where the idea originated from but it must have come from somewhere because I found it obviously interesting enough to make a note about wanting to visit the topic at some point.
For me, the terms are something that for me are quite often used within BDSM. They seems to come quite natural as part of the process on behalf of Dominants in BDSM based relationships. But as we shall see further down possessiveness and even protectiveness are not entirely uncommon traits to be found in dominants but are available in spades in submissives as well.
The classic definitions for possessiveness and protectiveness are as follows:
possessiveness, noun: Excessive desire to possess or dominate
protectiveness, noun: The quality or state of being protective. A feeling of protective affection
It is interesting to see how the definitions are worded. Words have their own meaning and we can immediately see from the description of possessiveness that it has a rather negative overtones. Also notable is the inclusion of the word dominate. So from the get go there seems to be semantic link between possessiveness and domination and bdsm in general. Perhaps not entirely that much of a surprise but still.
Let us have a look and see what these traits mean and what we can learn about them…
Possessiveness has, as already mentioned very much negative overtones. And how often do we read in the media about relationships that have turned to abuse because one of the partners involved was so possessive that it made it impossible for the other partner to do anything without them knowing it. Such possessiveness not only in the long term kills the fire in any kind of relationship but it also kills often a person from the inside. Not literally perhaps, but to an extend that it makes it very hard for the person to blossom again.
Possessive traits among others are; trying to isolate you from others, keeping check on where you are and checking your email, phone and social networks (as in logging in, rather than through normal means, although that certainly happens as well). They are all actions to limit your freedom and free space, making sure you are under constant surveillance as it were. It is not uncommon, or rather very often possessiveness goes hand in hand with jealousy.
So let’s shelf this part for the moment and look at protectiveness. As we can see from the definition protectiveness is clearly a lot more positive and includes words such as affection and feeling. So being protective is seen generally as a good thing. But is it?
There are I am sure more than enough situations where protectiveness when gone into excess will have overtones of possessiveness it can have the same effects on a person as someone who is in an over possessive relationship. Some of the traits that are applicable for possessiveness are also applicable for protectiveness; especially such as keeping tap on where a person is and wanting to be able to be in touch. However, often (if we look at the protectiveness on its own), we often see that it would not go as far as breaking into someone’s accounts to make sure where they are.
Possessiveness and protectiveness seem at a first glance to be something that is an entirely dominant trait. And admittedly it is one of the things that dominants seems to have in abundance. But I think it is highly unfair to say that that is entirely the case.
I, for one, and I know many submissives with me, are very protective of their own dominants and partners and will almost literally claw your eyes out if they feel you are threatening their relationship harmonics or upsetting their dominant. Even a word against their dominants can often be enough to put you on their bad side for a prolonged time, and they are often no inclined to forget, nor to forgive you either.
Looking at the above, I do not think that the feelings of protectiveness and possessiveness is something that is really unique to bdsm relationship. In fact if you read back, I think we can conclude that these are core human feelings that we all have in more or lesser degree.
So what makes it okay, for people in BDSM relationships to have heightened degrees
The bigger difference is that within such relationship dynamics the people negotiate, explore and seek this kind of control (at least to an extend) out of their own. In short, they consent and assent to having that control, the possessiveness and protectiveness in their lives. And that makes just all the difference.
The sceptics among us, or those unknowingly so, are of course apt to point out that consent to such thing is at best perhaps an unstable platform, but I am to counter that in BDSM the motion of consent carries a lot more weight and people are often known to discuss concepts, ideas, ad nauseam at times, to make sure that everyone understands what they are getting involved in and how things will proceed.
So what is my opinion on possessiveness and protectiveness. It really depends. To a certain degree I love it. But not to the point it actually stifles me. I like a certain amount of freedom, know that I can be trusted but at the same time, when Mistress puts it in no certain terms that I am hers, I get a little shiver running over my back and get all warm and fuzzy feels. Being reminded periodically that you are owned and belonging to someone with all the trimmings that come with it is, is for me the icing on the cake (okay, I really need to stop making food related euphemism).
Which leads to the fact that even in BDSM or rather even in language, there are different meanings to the word, based on the situation and based on the context people give to the word, which is directly related to their frame of reference.
But remember, no matter what, the truth of this relationship is that I consent to this. I like being looked after. As a submissive that is part of what makes me thick. But, I will say this: my definition of possessiveness is mostly rather positive, and does not equate on a level that Mistress checks my phone records or emails and so such.
A lot is depending on the context of the relationship and as mentioned if the partner willingly and knowingly consent and assents to it. And frankly, in just the right am mount, being protected and possessiveness gives me a wonderful warm feeling and it is what makes me feel adored and loved. But I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am hers and she does like reminding me.
So I hope you found this an interesting read and a hope that you understand that possessiveness and protectiveness are not always a bad thing, if they are applied in a sane, safe and consensual way. However I leave you with this, perhaps sobering thought.
If you are in a situation where your partner oversteps your boundaries and forces you to give up your freedom, and displays possessives traits towards you that you are not happy with, sit down and think about what is happening. Try to bring it up for discussion. Research what can be done. Because let us be clear about this. Unless you consent and assent to this freely, willingly and openly, this should not happen to a person.
I know this a bit of a down note, but I wanted not to leave this blog without having written something about the darker side of this and while I am fully aware I am not qualified to offer help, as such things should be judged on a case by case basis, I neither wanted to sidestep this issue and pretend such things never happen.
Stay safe, be wonderful, be happy.