One of the things that's always fascinated me--and often troubled me--is the vast difference in intensity of the way people play. Kink and BDSM can be about the most mild and innocuous activities, or, for others, it can be about toeing that line between life and death.
I try to tell myself that all that really matters is what my preferences and limits are. But part of me still watches and judges others by my own views and beliefs about what is safe and sane, even though it's none of my business. My book Deep in the Woods was written at a time when I was struggling to understand people who pushed the envelope, and downplayed the importance of things like safety and consent.
But now, two or three years later, I'm learning to relax and just let people follow their impulses. I'm learning to accept the diversity of what turns people on, and to let them seek what they crave in the privacy of their own relationships without tacking on my own judgments and warnings. What about you? Do you ever get judgmental or stressed out about some of the edgier things people do within the "lifestyle?" Does it trouble you? Turn you off of BDSM? Make you more excited about BDSM?
I knew a D-type once...I wouldn't call him a Dominant because he did a kind of BDSM all his own, with his own labels. He was his OWN lifestyle, self contained. He was a very charismatic guy, intelligent to the point of scariness, and very manipulative. I would see journal posts from his various victi--er--submissives, and they would all speak with excited horror of this "icky thing" he made them do, or subjected them to. Of course, they were all over the moon about the experience (he only played with serious masochists.) I was fascinated to know this secret thing he was doing to all these women that was so awful.
What I came to understand is that the "icky thing" was actually different for each partner he played with. What he got off on, more than anything, was causing his partners deep emotional pain as a cathartic activity. Mindfucks, in a sense, but something more involved than the typical mental gags and tricks.
No, this D-type would take the time to really get to know his partner, learn everything he could about them until he pinpointed the thing he could do to them that would cause them maximum distress. He called this thing "the icky thing."
I have my own icky thing. A few of them really. The icky thing, for me, would depend on who I was with and the situation. But honestly, I have no desire to face my icky thing, no matter with whom or when or where. I just don't.
But I'm coming to accept that there are a lot of people out there searching for someone to do their ickiest icky nightmares to them. For them, that is the pinnacle of the BDSM experience. And I just have to accept that that's okay.