I'm honored to be asked to hang out here with these very talented ladies.
Sindra's post yesterday definitely caught my attention. I like the idea of switches. Really, it makes sense to think there are some people who have to experience something to truly learn it. This comes, not from a background in BDSM, but from both my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Education. Learning is about experiencing, applying relevance to actions, not rote memorization of information. Each person learns differently, therefore experiential memories, concepts accepted based on 'doing' form more concretely, for some, than any amount of reading or discussing can provide.
How does this all relate to what I write? Well, in my world (yes, I have to admit, I do tend to spend more time in the world of my characters than in the actual world where my physical body resides) all of my Doms have experienced life as a sub. Like Sindra pointed out, what rationale can a Dom base his selection of a particular toy on unless he (I use the masculine here since the majority of my Doms are male) has 'hands on' experience with it. Unless he's felt the sting of the tails on a flogger, or the rub of leather cuffs on his wrists, how can he know what sensory element he's attempting to enhance with his sub?
I write very strong female characters. Submission for them comes only with a specific man, otherwise they don't knuckle under. They can't, it isn't in their genetic make up. And the submission isn't based on power or strength or sheer force of will from the Dom. It is based on trust. Knowing that the person they selected to guide them into a world they've been curious about but never dared to explore until now, is knowledgeable in what they are about to experience. They trust him to make the right choices and to understand why a specific task is a deal breaker.
Sindra mentioned the image that started her thinking. A picture of a man, bound and submerged in water and forced to stay afloat. I've seen that image. I've watched films on BUDs training for Navy SEALs as well as SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract) training for not only SEALs, but Force Recon and Special Forces units in the Marines and Army. I have the utmost respect for every person who goes through that training.
But in real life, the picture Sindra mentioned would be a deal breaker for me. I. Don't. Do. Drowning. I won't play sexy games in water. At least I haven't found the man yet who can make me think of doing that. That's why my Doms train the way they do. So they can understand the breaking point not only for someone else, but also for themselves.
Knowing the person you're with has been through what you have can intensify the emotions connecting you. That's what I strive to convey in my stories.