I have recently received the following email:
Hello Uncle Agony,
Thank you for your invitation to ask you questions. Here is mine.
I have an interest in exploring bondage and the infliction and receiving of pain and sensual stimulation, control and submission. But for me (at the moment anyway - my experience is extremely limited) there is no interest in incorporating a sexual element in this, or dressing up in fancy fetish gear or taking any/many clothes off to do it. I have no preference about doing this with a woman or a man.
All the resources and clubs I have seen described so far incorporate most or all of the things I'm not keen about.
I'd be interested in your thoughts about whether I'm very unusual in this and whether there is anyone out there like me? Any resources you could point me to? My google-fu has let me down here.
First of all S can I reassure you that there are many who prefer not to incorporate a sexual element into their BDSM and D/s play. For instance most professional Dominatrices and subs rule out any sexual contact.
My approach is different as I enjoy mixing sensuality with BDSM and D/s. But everyone is different in their desires and needs. I am not over bothered about dressing up and certain fetishes whereas for others that is central. There are also those who see sex as being totally irrelevant to BDSM. I recently read a thread on a message board where someone was arguing strongly that in BDSM play sex was not appropriate. They implied that true BDSM excluded sex and that if one was truly into BDSM the sex of one's play partner should not matter a bit.
However many clubs and resources tend to try to be as inclusive as possible so that you will find they may cater for people who just like to dress in fetish gear through to those who are into much more serious and intense bondage and pain play. Though others do emphasise certain elements. Because there seems to be a fetish or sexual element included in a club or resource that does not mean that they may not also cater for your particular desires. Clubs insist on respect and safe play with no unwanted sexual contact allowed. Play is usually also supervised - so it could be a safe place to start. There are generally those who will meet you and introduce you to others.
Remember your particular set of needs and desires are as relevant as those of any other there. If you treat the fetishists and those interested in sensual play with respect then I am sure they will treat you in exactly the same way.
One of the advantages of BDSM play being part of a relationship is that trust and respect is central to it so that play can take place safely. I worry that if you want to put yourself in the position of receiving pain, possibly in bondage, from someone who you do not know well and trust well that you could put yourself at risk.
You might find it useful to discuss this - and possibly make friends along the way - by joining some BDSM contact sites or message boards. Yes, some of these are just meat markets where sex is a key driver. But you may find that Fetlife.com is more broad based and there are some reasonable message boards on the UK site informedconsent.co.uk
I hope other readers may be able to point you in the direction of other resources or may have much better advice than mine.