D/S Training for Tantrikas
by Om Rupani
I practice BDSM. I teach workshops in BDSM. I keep getting one particular inquiry from Tantrikas/Sex Workers/Courtesans over and over. Thought I’d write something about it.
The Tantrika’s request goes something like this:
I keep receiving requests from my male clients to Dominate them.
I don’t know much about Dominance & Submission.
I’m not even sure I want to know much about Dominance & Submission.
I have charge/discomfort/shame with my own submissive side.
I have charge/discomfort/shame with my own dominant side.
Can you teach me something so that I can handle my client?
I always get a knot in my stomach when this inquiry comes my way. This inquiry isn’t quite as dangerous as asking someone, ‘Hey, can you teach me just a little bit about how to dismantle a bomb?’ But it’s headed in that direction. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.’ That saying very much applies here. Acquiring just a little bit of knowledge about this realm and running home to use it on others is a bad recipe! On the lighter side of disasters, you will hopefully create nothing worse than some confusion and breakdown, some emotional turmoil and some bad scenes. On the dire end, you actually could hurt somebody.
My advice here may seem rather plain once you read it, but obviously it needs to be stated:
Don’t try to lead others in a journey you haven’t taken yourself!
Obvious, isn’t it? Would you hire a guide to guide you through a museum or a path or a city if that guide knows nothing about said museum, path or city? Why would you hire such a guide? More importantly, why would YOU want to be such a guide? You would be setting yourself up for frustration and failure.
The premise in my advice of course is this: BDSM is a JOURNEY. It is not a trick. It is not some bit of isolated skill like knowing how to do a few bondage ties or how to swing a flogger. The skills are useful. They are good to have. By all means, learn them well; learn to do them safely. But don’t confuse BDSM skills with the journey of BDSM. If you haven’t taken your own journey in this realm, please don’t rush forward and start leading other people through their journey. And if you have no desire to have a journey in this realm yourself, please bow out and refer your client to someone else.
Often times, confusion is created in this area because your client himself may make a request for a very specific type of handling. He may ask that you flog him or verbally humiliate him. And the reasoning and temptation on your part when you receive such a request is also understandable: ‘I should just learn some flogging or humiliation play so I can give this client what he wants.’ But there is a bunch that is lost between the lines in the request of your client. They may be asking you for flogging or humiliation, but what they are really seeking is TRANSPORT. Any submissive who is seeking any scene with any Dom is seeking this transport. Your client has had some peak experience in the past of entering SUBSPACE. They have come to you hoping you can take them back there again. They are trying to find their way back to that sweet spot they touched at some point. This is the desire beneath their desire.
Whatever helped get them to that sweet spot last time is what they will come request of you. If a flogging session got them to subspace last time, they will come to you and ask to be flogged. So the request for flogging is not just a request for flogging. Nor a request for humiliation or any other X, Y, or Z variety of d/s play.
It is part of a Dom’s knowledge, wisdom and mastery to be able to inquire what is the request underneath the request. And acquiring this mastery takes a bit of time and experience. It can only be reached by taking this journey yourself.
Have these experiences yourself. Feel these states of transport yourself. Walk this terrain yourself first so that you may lead others on this terrain with compassion and skill.
If you try to take a shortcut, the list and variety of harm you can do is rather long. For starters, BDSM play can be physically dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. The human body is full of vulnerabilities. If you are putting yourself in a positions where you are taking charge over another’s body, handling that body well and not damaging it is your grave responsibility. So please learn to do so properly; don’t just try to wing it. Putting rope on someone’s body without training or doing impact play without any knowledge or preparation is unadvisable. There are many forms of d/s play that are inherently more dangerous— breath play, choking, any kind of pressure around the throat and neck. Venturing into these areas without education, experience and a healthy dose of caution is courting disaster.
The emotional turmoil and mess that you might create if you just plunge into this play without preparation can be just as harrowing. SHAME is one such big boulder that can crush both you and your client if you have not dealt with it within yourself. One of the great possibilities in BDSM play is that of releasing one’s shame, and even possibly turning shame on its ears and converting it into arousal. But to be able to release or play with your client’s shame, you need to have done work to have released your own shame as much as possible. As a Dom, you need to be more advanced on this path of shame-release than your client. If you are not, you are in for a messy ride. Instead of offering your Subs a channel for releasing their shame, you are more likely to get hit and triggered by their shame; you are more likely to judge them and condemn them in exactly the same manner that they are already judging and condemning themselves. If this happens, at the end of your scene you are going to have two people who are cumulatively more messed up and upset than when they started.
If you have taken your own journey and cleared your own system first you will be able to hold a powerful and clear field of permission for your Sub. It’s this clear field of permission and acceptance in which another’s shame can find release. When this happens, there will be more levity and love and self-acceptance at the end of your scene. You will feel it, and your sub will feel it. This is what your sub really wants. This is what they are hoping you can guide them towards.
If someone is requesting or inviting you to Top them, to Dominate them, they are requesting/inviting you to take CONTROL. But control is not a toy. Control is a live grenade! The submissive’s request to a Dom to take control is a BIG request. And the Dom’s decision to take control from the sub is a BIG decision. Please do not enter into this exchange of power lightly. Respect the live grenade. Accept it only when you are solid and clear and masterful enough to do so. Someone offering to surrender to your will is a great gift. And this Surrender can also be a burdensome gift. Don’t take that power without also assuming responsibility for that power.