Trust a dominating force in BDSM relationships

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, especially one that involve whips, handcuffs and choking.

BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism. It is a type of erotic play for two consenting people who enjoy either dominating or being dominated.

Maria Duong, a freshman at SF State, was introduced to this kind of kinky sex by the first boyfriend she ever had sex with when he surprised her with a pair of black leather bondage cuffs with metal spikes so he could restrain her during sex.

“I’m a total sub. I love being dominated. Especially because I’m a very outspoken person, I’m not dominated in any other situation so it’s fun to not be in control and not know what’s going on. It’s the mystery aspect of it,” Duong said.

Duong believes that BDSM sex is safer than other sex practices because there has to be a strong foundation of trust.

“I think it’s emotionally safer ’cause, once you establish a whole sub/dom relationship, at least you know what the ground rules are as opposed to going out to the bar and being like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna have sex and we’re gonna find out what happens,'” Duong said.

Breath control is one of Duong’s favorite aspects of BDSM sex, which involves restricting the airflow of the other person. She uses the double tap rule where she taps her partner two times as a means to let them know when she’s had enough.

“There have been times where I thought I was going to pass out before, but it’s one of the things you kind of risk. My partners have known when to stop so I don’t feel in danger,” Duong said.

SF State senior Mario Fernandez has what Duong considers to be “vanilla,” or “boring,” sex. He has friends in the BDSM community, but has found that he is not into it himself.

“I think it would be unfair to say that (BDSM) is safer but I would think that there would overwhelmingly be more trust involved,” Fernandez said before he told the story of when he witnessed a man’s scrotum being torn at the 2010 Folsom Street Fair.

San Francisco’s BDSM community gathers together for more than just the popular Folsom Street Fair. There are also lounges like SF Citadel, where Duong is a member, for people to meet, hang out and play out their fantasies in front of each other.

But these public displays of kinky affection aren’t for everyone.

SF State student Taylor McElroy discovered her fascination with BDSM when she read a master/slave scene on an erotica website. She then introduced the idea to her girlfriend of five years and it became an aspect of their sex life that they both find very enjoyable.

“We’ve matured and tried things together that I don’t think we would have explored with anyone else,” McElroy said.

For her, BDSM is a special and personal experience that she shares with her girlfriend, just the two of them. They like to switch back and forth on who plays the dominant role and who plays the submissive.

“Being controlled is a really interesting feeling, and so is controlling. It gives you power you wouldn’t normally have in your everyday life,” McElroy said. “I think that BDSM is really good for people who are stressed in their everyday life. They can take that stress and turn it into something that will help them get closer to another person.”

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