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This article is written by me – Kim Debron – it is owned by me. If you copy it, please give the credit to me, otherwise you are committing an act of plagiarism – you are stealing my work.

Is This Abuse?

Flogging, spanking, whipping, bondage, humiliation, pleasure from pain – we may enjoy these and many other similar things – either as the giver, or receiver, or sometimes both. However, the consensus of opinion from people who do not understand what we do, would be that these activities are abusive.

People think we are crazy, I have had comments from friends who are horrified at the way I choose to live my life. They ask why would I want to put myself through that? Why would I want to associate with those awful individuals who are “into whips and chains and kinky sex!”


They simply don’t understand how much more there is to it – they see only the literal, and in the literal form, it appears to be abuse.


There are several different definitions of the word abuse:

  • To use wrongly or improperly; eg: abuse alcohol, abuse a privilege.

  • To hurt or injure by cruel and inhumane treatment; ill use.

  • To force sexual activity on; eg: rape or molest.

  • To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words,

  • To inflict physical or emotional mistreatment or injury purposely or through negligence or neglect, and often on a regular basis.


Abuse, then, is the word used to describe the inflicting of pain, either physically or emotionally, by one person on another. Certainly, we would all agree that belting or hitting a child or other person, or verbally berating someone without their consent, is considered abuse, and should not be condoned, anywhere, ever.


However, in the world of BDSM, a lot of these activities happen on a regular basis in a safe, sane and consensual environment. This is not abuse, not when it is done safely, and properly and with the most important ingredient – CONSENT.

Even when consent is given, there is still a danger, as not everyone who claims to be experienced plays safely. There are a good many submissives who can tell horror stories of being placed in danger, or hurt badly, by people who supposedly knew what they were doing, and in reality didn’t have a clue.


In an abusive situation the submissive can be injured, and in extreme cases can even be killed. Any relationship be it D/s or otherwise - that causes suffering - physically, mentally or emotionally, beyond whatever limits are set, is abuse.


There is no place for abuse in a D/s relationship. If you are a Dominant, it does not give you the right to “belt some sense” into another human being. If you are a submissive – it does not mean that anyone has the right to harm or injure you in any way.


From my own personal experiences, I have been in abusive situations, not realising that it was indeed abuse. I was so new to things, I had no idea that what was happening was unsafe.

One instance was with candle wax. I had almost a cup full of hot melted candle wax literally poured on my breast, I was restrained to a bed, and was gagged, when the gag was removed and I used my safeword, the response was to gag me again and continue. I had quite severe burns and blisters, and was very distressed that I could not stop what was happening. That situation was akin to criminal abuse.


Another incident has left me with a deep tissue bruise in the kidney area of my back. This was from a Dominant who was angry and frustrated after a bad day at work. He took it out on me, using a dressage whip (which is like a very long riding crop) amongst other things, and quite obviously did not know the safe way to flog or use impact toys. The tenderness and bruising is still there almost 18 months later.

The sad thing is, I did not know that what he was doing was dangerous. I was new and had no idea, he had told me he knew what he was doing, why would I disbelieve him? I had chatted to him for around 3 months before we even met, and he certainly knew how to “talk the talk”. He convinced me that he was an experienced Dominant and that he had played with several other submissives before me.

I only found out some months afterwards, that the pain in my lower back was not from a strain, but from a still very visible bruise and swelling, which was a direct result of this person hitting me in the wrong area.

The problem is, he is still out there, still preying on unsuspecting “newbies” and one day someone is going to be more seriously hurt than I was.


However, there is not only physical abuse, many submissives or slaves also suffer mental or emotional abuse at the hands of unscrupulous Dominants.

One thing to remember, is that even with consent, an unknowing or new submissive can be abused. Emotional abuse can take many forms, such as isolation from friends and family, or being constantly set up to fail at things, and there are also incidents such as the submissive being collared and then a week later being uncollared because the so called Dominant had changed his mind! That sort of thing can have terrible consequences for the submissive. The mindset of many submissives is to be totally owned - to be collared - and offering that and then taking it away in the next breath can cause much emotional anguish.


Also, there are some people in the BDSM world who do consent to these type of activities and so, even though others who see these things going on, would call it abuse, the submissive in question has willingly consented, and even likes those particular things, therefore this is NOT abuse, within the D/s scene.

For example, there maybe a submissive who likes having her face slapped, or punched, and who likes being set up to fail at every task she is asked to do. To me, and to many others, this would be both physical and emotional abuse, but to that submissive, it is what she craves and what she needs.


So how do people new to D/s, and even those who have been in it for some time, know whether or not they are being abused?


When you are new to BDSM, you don’t really have much of an idea about what is safe. No amount of research can make up for the reality of a flogging or spanking. You can read about the safe areas to be flogged, but how do you know if it’s too low down or too high up – apart from the obvious of course, such as the tails of a flogger connecting with your face!

Probably the best way is to ask around and make sure that the person you are playing with knows what He or She is doing. Ask for contact with others that He or She may have played with, ask other Dominants about that particular individual, and even if you have chatted to or have known the person a while, be mindful that there are plenty out there who can “talk the talk.”

The other crucial thing is a safeword, make sure that the Dominant knows your safeword and your limits, these things should ALWAYS be discussed well before any play takes place.


Abuse is definitely a reality in life, whether it be in D/s or out in the vanilla world, and no matter what, it is something that we should all try and avoid where possible, and try to help others that are being abused.

Remember though, that for those of us who enjoy such activities, it is not abuse, but sheer euphoria that keeps us coming back for more.




© Kim Debron 2005

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