Why is BDSM so popular?

Why is BDSM so much more popular than Taken In Hand, and why is it that some BDSM folk are so disapproving of Taken In Hand?

Someone asked me in email recently why there are so many more websites and books devoted to BDSM than there are to Taken In Hand which has some similarities to BDSM but is in some ways closer to more conventional relationships. The Taken In Hand website has only existed for a little over a year, so not everyone who might be interested has found us yet. (Do tell everyone about it and mention the site when you post elsewhere on the internet!) But I think there is another reason for the popularity of BDSM over Taken In Hand—one that won’t necessarily always be the case, and one that also sheds light on why some Taken In Hand folk find BDSM as distasteful as many BDSM folk find Taken In Hand (even if none of us would want to impose our own preferences on others).

Those in the BDSM community have worked tirelessly to develop an ethos that is responsible (anti-abuse, etc.) and acceptable to more conventional folk. This work has been very successful. Whilst most people are not particularly drawn to BDSM themselves, they do not regard those in the BDSM community as mentally ill (any more). To the extent that they know of its existence, most people are aware that BDSM is firmly a part of the liberal tradition rather than a throwback to the bad old days. The BDSM community has successfully argued that BDSM is not a threat to the individual rights we have rightly fought so hard for, it is a sexual kink or lifestyle individuals can legitimately choose. BDSM writers typically stress consent and safety, often advocating the use of a “safeword” when “playing” or in a “scene”. Some devote much space to stressing that the control and dominance expressed in these “scenes” is just pretend, not real. BDSM people are proud of the fact that their forums are open to people of all inclinations and orientations.

BDSM is thus seen as a sexual kink, safe, sane and consensual, non-sexist, nondiscriminatory, an equal opportunities lifestyle, tolerant, inclusive, trendy, thoroughly liberal, and not having an atavistic tendency in sight! All in all, what could possibly upset anyone about BDSM? It meets all the criteria for political correctness.

By comparison, Taken In Hand has a loooooong way to go to achieve the same level of acceptance from the wider community. Taken In Hand casually violates just about every taboo in the book. For a start, whilst Taken In Hand is very much a choice and highly consensual in a deep sense, you won't find the BDSM maxim safe, sane and consensual peppered around this site. Secondly, this site is aimed strictly at those whose preference is for a relationship in which the man is in control of the woman. This is because Taken In Hand is my website, and I am more interested in exploring my own preferences than in toeing the line or winning any popularity contest. So Taken In Hand has been accused of being sexist, discriminatory, old-fashioned, and atavistic. (I don't think it is at all.) And I have been accused of advocating taking away women’s rights, and of avocating even non-consensual “violence against women”. (I'm not.) Taken In Hand folk tend to have little interest in “safewords” and “scenes” (or indeed, in “the scene” or “the lifestyle”), and unlike many in the BDSM community, we stress that the control is real. To some, if it is real, then it is by definition abuse. Is it any wonder then that Taken In Hand triggers a little social disapprobation both from society in general and to an even greater extent from some corners of the BDSM community?

Most people would not want to be part of something likely to attract huge disapprobation so BDSM is the safe option. Moreover, success breeds success, and the more well-known and acceptable BDSM has become, the more likely it has become that anyone interested in relationships in which there is an element of control will investigate BDSM. But not everyone involved in BDSM is at heart BDSM. I myself assumed that I must have BDSM inclinations many years ago, because there was nothing else out there at the time that I knew of. This seems to be a common experience of those who are drawn to Taken In Hand. People try to squeeze themselves into the BDSM shoe, but it doesn’t always fit very well.

One of the reasons I often say that I hate to be put in a box or labelled as being BDSM, DD, D/s, TPE or anything else is that I think that tying oneself down to a particular defined box tends logically to exert pressure upon oneself to become a better fit for the label instead of forging one’s own path. Often, people are very much in the process of exploring their nature and preferences, and evolving a better understanding of these things, and in that case, defining themselves can impede the evolution of the self-knowledge that could be so extremely valuable to them in the long-run. It is much easier to discover and develop your own unique preferences and ideas if you aren't stuck in the mire of a lot of fixed ideas.

BDSM is very good at being inclusive and tolerant in some respects, but I find it terribly rigid and fixed in other respects. Some of the most heated criticism on this site has been from BDSM people, for example, on the article When rape is a gift. Indeed, individuals who consider themselves BDSM have started their own forum on consensual “ravishment” because they have been shunned by the BDSM community. Visit any BDSM forum and you will see tedious amounts of arguing about protocol, who may address whom and how, who has been “in the lifestyle” for how long (the implication being that those who have been BDSM for the longest are likely to know more or be more right in their ideas than those who have not), people castigating one another for incorrect form, and lots of stress on how to become “a better submissive” and who may call himself a “master”. With its tendency to have quite rigid protocols, assumptions and fixed ideas about how people should interact and what it's all about, BDSM is bound to feel stifling to anyone who wants to explore their own preferences and ideas in this sphere in an unfettered way.

And because BDSM scenes must be “pretend” or “just fantasy” to avoid upsetting the political applecart, a whole rigmarole of jargon and artificial-seeming modes of address and interaction, strange clothing and equipment, and stylised rituals and scenes has developed in BDSM. Even those who do not take the line that the control is just “pretend” (such as D/s, M/s and TPE folk) have been influenced greatly by these things. These things are not really the point at all, they are merely a way of stressing the consensual and harmless nature of BDSM. If we look at the idea of authority and control in itself, there is nothing in those ideas that necessarily leads to BDSM-style forms of expression. People of good will can have different preferences.

Some might like one BDSM element but not others. Not all men who want control in a relationship are interested in rules and rituals or making the woman beg or kneel or sit on the floor or eat out of a dog's bowl. Not all men want the woman to call them sir or master or speak in the third person. Not every woman who wants to be under the authority of a man wants to be a BDSM slave, or to wear a BDSM collar, or engage in anything undignified, humiliating or degrading, and not all such women want to be with a man who is into BDSM-style sexual activities.

Lots of different individuals have an interest in relationships in which the man is in control. BDSM people might like highly planned and stylised “scenes”; D/s people might stress the idea of protocols, training and service; DD people might stress punishment spanking; and Taken In Hand people might not want to get too fixed on any one way a man can control a woman.

Another effect of the insistence of many in the BDSM community that the control is just pretend, not real, is that logically, that means that to get the same level of intensity and erotic tension as real control can give, much more extreme practices are needed. Thus, BDSM tends to be associated with extreme sexual activities, kinks and fetishes and (from an outsider's point of view) peculiar protocols and rituals than found in more conventional-seeming or traditional relationships.

Both because of its rather odd culture and despite it, BDSM is and will continue to be popular, and probably a lot more popular than Taken In Hand for many years to come. You might think that BDSM is too liberal for Taken In Hand folk, but in my case at least, you'd be wrong. For me, BDSM culture is too rigid and intolerant! Taken In Hand is by no means for everyone, but if you are a person who is drawn to the idea of male-controlled relationships and you want to be free to explore your interest without rigid prescriptions and proscriptions about how to behave and what to think, you might find Taken In Hand worth a look.

See also:
Why do many Taken In Hand folk reject the D/s label?
Overview
How to read this site
Are your labels preventing you from seeing what you have?
BDSM practices in our Taken In Hand relationship
SM / D/s / BDSM in a Taken In Hand relationship?

The Taken In Hand Site Owner and Creator

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[This is an answer to a frequently-asked question: this page is part of the FAQ. Please try to ensure that your post is answering the question or discussing the above post. The question is: Why is BDSM so much more popular than Taken In Hand, and why is it that some BDSM folk are so disapproving of Taken In Hand?]

Comments

A Slightly Different Perspective

When contrasted with taken in hand relationships, BDSM is much like the course, raw, over the top humor that is popular in America. In contrast to the subtleties of British wit, American comedians are often almost caricatures of themselves on stage.

Of course, the reason for the comic hyperbole is that the United States is the country's incredibly ethnic and socioeconomic diversity and loosely defined culture. Despite frequent portrayals abroad as eternal gun toting cowboys, shooting each other at the drop of a hat, Americans who might be blowing each other to bits with bombs if they lived in the *old country* frequently live in relative harmony as next door neighbors. Over-the-top humor is one thing that holds it altogether.

In time, as happened with England, America will develop its own reasonably well-defined culture. Along with that will come its own brand of more subtle humor. Meanwhile, America endures a brand of comic relief that is widely understood by the diverse masses.

So it is with BDSM—as little more than an exaggerated resurgent ritual performance of traditional values in a diverse but politically correct vacuum where traditional roles vary from ill defined to absent altogether.

Many people in various countries already sense the deadly reality of political correctness as unhealthy, unnatural, and unworkable. They are searching for something more stable than the single lifestyle foisted on Western culture by political correct machinations.

Consequently, absent a firm framework, or one eroded by politically correct propaganda, men and women are searching for a means of reestablishing the traditional, comfortable, and stable interaction. As an elementary precursor, BDSM fulfills that need to reestablish gender contact.

Much like American comedy, BDSM is little more than a widely understood exaggeration. It appeals to people from diverse backgrounds. BDSM also allows for role swapping—allowing people to rediscover which arrangement of relationships works best. BDSM is also a product of societies that has the time and resources to devote to amusing diversions rather than the need to make long-term relationships work.

In time, however, as men and women fit more comfortably together once again and the need for more stable relationships becomes evident, the role-playing associated with BDSM will become a more subdued taken in hand reality.

The Thread Is About The Popularity of BDSM

The original topic of this thread was ***POPULARITY*** of BDSM. Thus, it was the ***POPULARITY*** of BDSM to which my post was addressed.

Egalitarian conventional relationships will remain the most popu

BDSM has nothing to do with being a precursor to settling into outmoded values. It is, I repeat, pansexual. You have M/F, F/M, M/M and F/F groupings, not to mention polyamory. It is going to be vastly more popular than Taken in Hand because Taken in Hand only thrills a small set of people.

BDSM will also remain a minority. Let's face it, the most popular lifestyle is, and will continue to be, egalitarian conventional relationships.

"Pat"

Interesting comments

Hmm. This is really interesting. I am not a part of the BDSM community in that my dh and I don't do any public/party type stuff but we do do BDSM type activities in bed. We also have a DD/Taken In Hand style relationship.

First of all, I would like to say that our DD is totally about changing behavior. My husband would not spank me assuming that the behavior will continue. He is not just here to wear out his arm. If he says that there are going to be hacks if A, B and C are not done, that is because he expects those things to be done. If he says you are getting this because you did X, Y and Z and if you do it again you will get this plus more, it is not because he wants to wear out his arm, it is because he doesn't want me to do it again. We choose spanking as a punishment because it is connective in a way that writing lines or corner time or grounding is not. That does not mean that connection is the only purpose. If spanking was distasteful to either of us, we would find some other punishment that would serve as well as a deterrent to me.

That said, there are times when I ask for a spanking because I need it but haven't done anything to be punished for. Sometimes I need the release of a good cry without emotional ties. Sometimes it is because I or he need the connection (though a good bondage session reconnects very well, too). We also do erotic spanking and some pretty extreme sexual control, though not to the point of humiliation. All these things are about connection, but our discipline/punishment type spankings have another purpose that is just as important.

And yes, his control in our day to day living is real. I would not think to disobey him without expecting consequences. Regardless of the laws of our country and society, my disposition and his make his control very real.

My point here is that a DD/Taken In Hand style relationship can be very much about behavior modification. That is, by definition, what discipline means, after all.

One other thing, I think the M/f emphasis may be part and parcel of the Taken In Hand website and not so much DD. I am not sure when posters say "Taken In Hand" if they mean this site specifically or DD in general. I am acquainted with many people on line who practice F/m type DD and have a Female head of the household. Great discussion.

Otter*

Changing behaviour

Do you really find that being spanked changes your behaviour? it doesn't change mine at all. I try to obey my husband because I want to, no amount of spanking could change my behaviour if I didn't. Spanking makes me better-tempered, and more amenable to being obedient, but it doesn't actually change anything; fear of punishment does not work for me as a way of modifying behaviour. I believe that only your own will can change your behaviour.

Fear of punishment

I can certanily identify with the spending thing, I've always been hopelessly extravagent with money, and the discovery of ebay last year was a financial disaster for me. I spent a fearful amount of money, but my husband's attempt to curb my ebay habit was a result of me telling him I was worried about it. I was terrified to tell him how much money I owed on my credit cards, I thought he'd go through the roof, but actually he couldn't have been sweeter about it. He has severely restricted my shopping activities, I'm not allowed to buy anything non-essential now without permission, but he wasn't angry, and that was a great thing for me.

I understand what you mean about borrowing his self control, but with me the thought of the stinging bottom does not work as an incentive for self-control, because basically I like having a stinging bottom. with me, the certain shift in attitude has come from allowing myself to feel that my husband has the right to tell me to do, or not do, certain things, and the knowledge that he is right to curb my extravagent spending habits. I am more or less managing to keep to this (with occasion unfortunate lapses). Although I know it is a matter of common sense not to go on spending in the manner I had been in the past, I do find that the notion that I am being obedient to my husband by not spending too much does help me with this, but knowing that I will get spanked, hard, for breeaking the shopping rule, is not the incentive that makes me try to obey.

The things I mostly get spanked for, rudeness, sulkiness, bad temper etc, are faults of character that I know will occur again and again, and I don't think my husband expects spanking to cure them permanently, and I would find it terribly stressful if I thought he imagined that spanking me was going to make those things disappear permanently, because unfortunately I don't think they will!

That is true for me, too

Your comment about respecting his right to tell you what to do and his competence and all that hit home for me. This is the major difference between our life now and pre-DD/Taken In Hand. This is what truly changes my behavior. The spankings serve to remind me that he is really serious about certain rules, so they aid a bit. And I am not too fond of the level of pain that those punishment spankings get to, though we do some purely connective and purely erotic spanking as well. The punitive ones are of a different caliber and they are a deterrent for me. I like the stinging bottom, I would just rather get it from a less severe spanking, LOL.

Otter*

Policing woukd not be necessary

I know this is something of a 'spin-off' from the original subject of this thread, but I would like to comment on Otter's post in the context of something I read in another discussion forum.

This concerned a couple who have been married for many years and have practised spanking purely for discipline (personally I can see a small element of indirect sexuality in their posts, but I don't think they are conscious of this), for as long as they have known each other. He is isn't domineering and they don't have rules, regulations and set goals as such, nor do they go in for rituals, submission exercises or control for the sake of control, but if she deviates from the realms of common sense or responsible behaviour or is repeatedly careless or thoughtless about the same thing, then he will eventually spank her.

Recently they posted about how this way of life has changed her in a way that they feel is for the better and someone suggested that her whole demeanour was dependent on his discipline and that if he could no longer spank for health reasons, she would go off the rails because he wouldn't be able to 'police' her and she would know it.

My feeling is that this would not happen, because, although her husband can act as her strength and support, ultimately the grass roots changes have to come from the lady herself, and all the spankings in the world would not affect a single thing unless she wanted them to. Thus, if it were no longer possible for one reason or another to keep spanking as part of the relationship, the basic principles on which it is founded would still prevail.

Ros

Cars and Chryslers

If you compare BDSM with Taken in Hand you compare Cars with Chryslers.
BDSM include many things which often has nothing to do with each other. I think you can say very few things in general.
They are more popular because they are more. And they exist very much longer.
But as you say, Taken In Hand casually violates just about every taboo. Did you expect only friendly comments?
Because there are so much people with BDSM interests out there it is unavoidable that there much people with limited minds come to this site.
But I sincerly hope that you can stand the heat.
Horst

BDSM is pansexual and inclusive

Taken in Hand will never outstrip the allure of BDSM. BDSM has a great deal going for it and people can certainly pick and choose what protocols they care to observe. BDSM is pansexual and inclusive; Taken in Hand caters only to those who prefer Maledom/femsub relationships.

BDSM as I mentioned above incorporates the importance of safety and of consensuality, issues that Taken in Hand practitioners, feeling very secure in a 1 to 1 committed relationship, often play fast and loose with. The BDSM community instructs newbies on safety precautions before meeting someone new and offers a lot of instruction on practices. In total it may look scary and freaky to an outsider but in my opinion its community standards are more stringent and protective of its own than are Taken in Hand's.

Proving a point?

I wonder if the anonymous pro-BDSM, anti Taken In Hand poster realises that the somewhat narrow-minded, our-way-is-the-best-and-only stance they're taking is rather proving the OP's point?

Personally, I don't think one is inherently safer than the other—given that no amount of instruction and advice is going to stop the rogues taking advantage of the naive, whatever you call your practises. There's abuse and danger in all walks of life.

And finally, it struck me earlier that a Taken in Hand relationship is the way of life whereas BDSM is the hobby. And there is, of course, no reason why people can't do one, the other, both or neither according to their own preferences, desires and needs.

Which is the more openminded viewpoint?

Fact: BDSM takes no position on who should be on Top.
Taken in Hand may not take a position on this either, but this website only caters for relationships in which the man is in control.

Fact: BDSM allows for bisexual, heterosexual and homosexual groupings. Taken in Hand only caters for those having a preference for M/F relationships with the man in control.

BDSM'ers know that most people..gender and gender preferences notwithstanding, prefer the bottom role. There are far more bottoms than tops in every category. Not in your marriage maybe, but two people is hardly a majority world view.

So which is the more openminded viewpoint? It's pretty obvious.

Openminded...

The anonymous poster said:

So which is the more openminded viewpoint? It's pretty obvious.

It is indeed.

My husband and I prefer a Taken in Hand style relationship, but we don't claim that our preferences are better or worse than those who are purely into BDSM. The same goes, as far as I can see, for most of the people on this website.

We also don't claim that our practises are safer, more tolerant, more whatever, than anyone elses.

There is no reason on earth why couples of any orientation or preference can't have a Taken in Hand type of relationship. The slant this website has reflects the bias of it's owner/creator, and therefore attracts people with similar interests, as well as people who think we're wrong (or perverted, or sick, or any number of other insults that get thrown at people living "non-standard" lives).

What most of us here accept (I think!) is that there is no right or wrong way to conduct a relationship. No way is better or worse than any other. The only thing that matters is that the people in the relationship are happy. Horses for courses and all that.

I'm not replying because I think a Taken in Hand style relationship is better than BDSM. I'm replying because I know it is different from BDSM. Not better. Not worse. Just different.

--

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

Men Want Subordinate Women

BDSM'ers know that most people..gender and gender preferences notwithstanding, prefer the bottom role. There are far more bottoms than tops in every category. Not in your marriage maybe, but two people is hardly a majority world view.

You should get out more. According to a recent paper, reported in an article on WebMD—Men Want Subordinate Women.

Perceived Dominance Matters to Men in Relationships, Say Researchers

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Dec. 15, 2004—Men prefer subordinate women for relationships, suggests new research in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

Brown and Lewis studied more than 300 college students, 120 of whom were men. The researchers wanted to see if dominance affected opinions about potential partners.

...

Men preferred the women who were described as their assistants. That was especially true for long-term relationships with higher stakes, such as marriage or dating, compared to a one-time fling or a fitness partner.

Women weren't concerned about dominance. ...

SOURCES: Brown, S. Evolution and Human Behavior, November 2004; vol 25: pp 406-415. News release, University of Michigan.

Jed

The point of scenes and safe words

I am new to this web site. My husband and i are trying to find our way. We've been D/s for 8 years, married for 17. I've spent hours in the past few days trying to discern whether i am submissive, taken in hand, or some combination. When I read this thread, I felt that, at least in our instance, scenes and safe words were being misunderstood.

Scenes in the BDSM play world are just how they sound. They are fantasies being lived. They can be exclusively for play. Our scenes as a D/s couple are not as such. We don't dress up or use complicated equipment. It is merely a chance for him to exercise more extreme control and help me challenge my limits. In doing so, i am allowing myself to be much more vulnerable to him, which builds trust. I see scenes for us as a time for learning. They don't have to involve pain, and most of the time, ours don't. The absolute control he exerts over me in scenes allows me to escape to what is commonly referred to in the BSDM world as "sub space". It gives me peace and contentment that is indescribable, and it helps me cope with daily living.

Among those who just play, safe words are simply used for safety. For those in a 24/7 relationship, a safe word is a means by which the wife can express that she really can't take anymore. I understand that many stories glorify the sub who never must use her safe word, but in my instance, we need a definitive way of knowing when what we are doing, whether in play or in life, is too much for me. This is not a sign of failure. It means we need to regroup. It may be that I'm sick, or stressed, or there is some other reason that the challenge he's given me cannot be met. This way, he doesn't have to guess whether or not what he is doing is consensual non consent, or seriously non consent. It allows him to challenge me without guilt or doubt.

Taken In Hand people are not irresponsible

My husband and I recognize that for us Taken In Hand is not primarily about changing behaviour. We recognise that for us many things he may take me in hand over will very likely re-occur. But we do not really just practice a spanko relationship, which he is very good at convincing me that the scene is real.

One thing I have found that the spankos I know do not understand is discipline spankings. They seem not to get the "consensual non-consent" that takes place in our relationship. They either think it is abusive or that we are somehow not right in the head. I can say no, and he can proceed. It is still within the framework of our relationship. I have given him consent in advance to proceed under this condition. He will spank me even when I do not in the moment desire a spanking. Not only will he proceed, but the decision to spank will be the best way for our relationship.

We do not use a safe word, but honestly, for what we are doing it is not necessary. If I was in true distress he would stop anyway. He knows me well enough that I trust this would happen. We do not practice anything that would really injure me in any way. In the beginning he insisted that we use a safe word. I found it more distressing having it than not having it. Always I was worried I would "need" it. Anyway I asked him to get rid of it, and told him he had blanket consent to decide. If I expressed a desire for a safe work, he would likely agree to one, but we have just found them useless to us.

Consenting to non-consent is seemingly a confusing thing. I find it difficult to explain really how it is different from straight out consent. If I say no to him when he takes out the paddle, he will continue. I find the fact that he will makes me feel secure, loved and cherished. I can only guess how I might feel if it was not real consent. If a stranger grabbed me and tried to spank me I think I would feel terrified, violated and attacked.

Knowing that behaviour changes are not really what our relationship is about does not make it somehow artificial. I am not just a confused spankee who has been somehow tricked by her very good actor husband. If we are fighting for instance, spanking me will not guarantee that we will never fight again; it will however stop the fight and allow us to reconnect and feel close again. I suppose in the short term it does change the behaviour that is causing our relationship distress. In the long run however I can expect that a similar fight will very likely occur somewhere in our future.

I do not think that the Taken In Hand community is somehow more superior to the Spanko community. I belong to both and I enjoy both. In my relationship, a Taken In Hand one, a relationship where my husband has real authority, just works better for us. Do we engage in erotic spanking? Yes sure we do. But there are times when it goes further than just a fun spanking and this is what we want.

I think that most Taken In Hand head of the households are responsible enough to learn about using implements safely. I know my husband tries out and practices any new implement before he uses it on me. That is only reasonable. He cares very deeply about me; he would be horrified if he were to hurt me because he misused an implement. Like all tools they need to be used safely. I do not think that people in Taken In Hand relationships are somehow less responsible than spankos and people into BDSM. In fact Taken In Hand relationships are never casual spanking situations. By nature the couple must be committed. I would think this would motivate the people involved to be very careful. They love each other very much. They have a lot of reasons to be safe.

Take care,
Tevemer

There are unsafe practices everywhere

Pat,

I'm glad you have a sense of humour! I would not condone unsafe practices in any place, DD, Taken In Hand, BDSM which ever alphabet jumble you prefer. When it comes down to it there are people who ignore safety in all areas of sexual practices. It should neither be condoned nor accepted no matter your lifestyle. If you are head of the household and you are doing things that are really unsafe, then you are doing a bad job of being head of the household. If the person in control knowingly does so, then it is wrong, no matter if you call yourself a Dom, Top, Sir, Master, Mistress, Spanker or head of the household.

Just because you know of a couple who calls themselves DD or Taken In Hand and they condone unsafe practices does not mean that it is condoned or widely practiced by the whole community. I can only speak from my own experiences. If someone pointed out to my husband that he could potentially hurt me by what he is doing, he would consider what they are saying. He cares about my safety before all else. I would bet that is true for the majority on this site.

Take care,
Tev

Taken In Hand is not about spanking

To my mind, Taken In Hand isn't about spanking. We don't have a spanking relationship (with horse or without!) but my husband is in control.

Karen

the shoe didn't fit

I'm one of those who has tried to fit myself into the BDSM culture.

My first serious boyfriend considered himself a dominant in the BDSM sense. I was drawn to the idea of being under his control. We turned out not to be a good fit primarily because I wanted it to be "real" and not merely a sexual kink or "just pretend." I wanted it to be that he really cared about me and that this was part of his expression of it, not that it was just a game we played that was sexually arousing. There was much whipping and paddling and handcuffing and humiliation, but it seemed sort of hollow and did not bring any peace, at least not to me.

I've also tried asking for "punishment" spankings from strangers, but that turns out hollow for different reason—they don't care about me and it feels like we are just going through the motions.

Now I'm in a truly wonderful relationship in which the man I'm with naturally asserts his authority in an extremely caring way, when needed. For example, if I get myself into a mood because something has gone wrong with school or lab work, he'll comfort me with hugs and kisses and "are you okay's" for a while, but if I don't snap out of it, he'll say with a lot of firmness in his voice, "You're being silly now. Stop it." And I -love- him for it.

It is odd to me that the fact that he doesn't spank me or beat me or anything of the sort (and has in fact told me that he finds the idea of hitting me aversive). I feel so amazingly loved and so wonderfully cared for, and so beautifully protected, and so intelligently encouraged.

I honestly can't believe how lucky I am. I can hardly believe I could feel this way without being spanked, because I've wanted to be spanked for all of my adult life. (I'm 23).

I wanted to say that I really like this site. It's what I've been looking for.
-K

No spanking but he is still in charge

I do not find it in the least bit surprising that you feel the way you do, K. It might well be that you wanted to be in a Taken In Hand relationship, and that that was represented in your mind by the idea of being spanked, but actually, the spanking bit is not fundamental to it. Many Taken In Hand men do not spank their wives but are nevertheless in charge. And conversely, it is possible for there to be lots of spanking but no real authority.

Being owned raises eyebrows

Like some Taken In Hand women (but not all) I'm owned, and there are no levels to ownership.)

I'm replying to the comment on why "taken in hand" is not more liberal. I don't think the point was necessarily that it was liberal, so much that it is subversive in our culture. If you want to be a real rebel, let your husband totally control you. I guarantee it will raise eyebrows.

Though in many ways this is a more traditional type relationship, in the 21st century most people balk at it.

One objection

Your comments on the BDSM comunity are true I feel.

Only one sentence struck me as weird:

"And because BDSM scenes must be ‘pretend’ or ‘just fantasy’"

I don't know what you are talking about here. I have a poly relationship with high S/M tones and never ever have I heard anyone utter the words pretend or just fantasy. A slave that would like a relationship like that is most likely not going to like a relationship with me. I demand real control and although fantasy's can be used for spice, there is nothing unrealistic about the life I lead with my slaves. They need to be slaves on bad days as well as good, on the bus as well as in my house and we have no On/Off buttons.

I'm intrigued by this comment though.

Greetings,
Goddess Lillith

Reply to Goddess Lillith's objection

Great comments, Goddess Lillith. Thanks!

No doubt the following BDSM writer does not speak for all BDSM folk, but this is the idea I was alluding to there (quoted in the boss's article, The erotic power of the unshackled man):

In her BDSM book, Erotic Surrender: The Sensual Joys of Female Submission, Claudia Varrin says something similar to the chap quoted above:

These playtime characteristics are just that—playtime, pretend, like a child's game to be put away when the mantle of adulthood and its responsibilities are again around your shoulders. Enjoy the playtime and pretend world you and your partner create for yourselves. … Although it is sometimes tempting to blur the line between fantasy and reality, the distinction must always be made. (p. 16)

You might like to read the comments on this in this article.

Re: One objection

Goddess Lillith objected that BDSM is not just pretend or fantasy, and perhaps it is not for her, but those writing about BDSM do make such assertions often. Here, for example, Jake says:

Within the BDSM community, a Master may be dominant toward his Sub in bed, but rarely does that relationship ever leave the bedroom.

If it is restricted to the bedroom, it is hardly unreasonable to call that fantasy or just pretend, is it? Call it whatever you want, but that is not Taken In Hand. Taken In Hand is nothing to do with acting a part in the bedroom, BDSM culture, rituals, protocols and toys, it's about the husband wearing the trousers, and that informs the whole relationship, not just what happens in the bedroom.

Just my thoughts...

I agree with others that it seems that BDSM could be more popular than Taken in Hand primarily because so much of it is set within the confines of certain times, places, etc. Act 1, Scene 2, cut... Then it's over and you go back to your life. Notice I said *so much of* and not *all* of it, because there are certainly many BDSM folk who live it 24 hours a day.
Taken in Hand is all about the *relationship*, and the one you have it with. You may very well enjoy the control in a sexual way, but the heart of it is not about that, it is about the closeness and connection to your partner. Taken in Hand women have no desire to be controlled by anyone but their husband, and Taken in Hand men wouldn't dream of having this kind of dynamic with anyone but their loving and trusting wife. Being controlled by your loving, understanding partner is a far cry from having it happen with some who is, for all intents and purposes, basically a stranger.
One can be single and be into BDSM because it only requires a willing partner to play with. However, you can't be single and be Taken in Hand, because again, Taken In Hand is about the relationship and the depth of that relationship.
I don't really think that BDSM is more popular than Taken in Hand because it is more widely accepted. After all, even though there are MANY people who practice BDSM, I haven't found any that are really enthused to admit that fact to anyone other people of the same mind. Most feel embarrassment at the thought of their families or co-workers finding out about their kink. In my mind, it is people who practice BDSM that are in line to receive much more criticism and misunderstanding from the general, conventional public, because to them, people must surely be sick and twisted to subject themselves to or dole out all those things that haunt their conventional minds.
All of that said, I summarize again that I think that BDSM is popular because it doesn't have to be permanent, it doesn't have to be with the same person, you certainly don't have to love that person, there are set limits and boundaries, there are safewords, and it can be as temporary as you want it to be. You can be a naughty sub and your husband a tyrannical Dom (or vice versa) for a few hours then go pick up your kids from school and go back to "regular" life. However, for those who engage in play with strangers, you could get with an inexperienced or psychotic partner who pays no attention to safewords, limits, boundaries, etc. and you wind up in the hospital or dead, which is why I'm personally shocked that anyone would be willing to engage in BDSM play with anyone that wasn't a trusted, long-term partner. I just inherently do not trust people that haven't earned my trust, and that takes a long time with me. But I digress. The popularity seems to stem from the appeal that BDSM has the option of being playful and temporary—Taken in Hand is full time and is based on deepening/intensifying the love in your relationship, thereby hopefully extending the longevity.
(Please note that I don't find either one any better or worse than the other. It is all about what makes YOU happy and fulfilled—being true to yourself and good to yourself.)

Basic contradiction

> With its tendency to have quite rigid protocols,
> assumptions and fixed ideas about how people should
> interact and what it's all about, BDSM is bound to feel
> stifling

I think that BDSM insistence on rigid protocols stems from the need to address a problem that Taken in Hand doesn't really address. The problem is, what is abusive and what isn't.

You assume that abusive relationships by definition are not Taken in Hand, that is, Taken in Hand relationships by definition are not abusive. But when you enter into the intimate relationship (even an egalitarian one) there is no sure way to tell in advance whether it will become abusive at some point in future or not (although likelihood of it is wildly different for different couples). And if you find yourself in an abusive relationship, looking back you realize that some things that didn't seem abusive previously were in fact quite abusive, you just did not realize it at that time. So, it follows from your assertion that it is not possible to know whether you are in a Taken in Hand relationship or not until after that relationship ended!

On the contrary, BDSM community starts with assertion that some relationships are BDSM, some are not, and it is perfectly possible to tell one from another right away. Of course in doing so it accepts that there are some BDSM relationships that are harmful and abusive. So there is a need to minimize the likelihood of harm while retaining the BDSM nature of interaction. Hence the protocols.

I think that people in BDSM or Taken in Hand-style relationships struggle with the same basic contradiction.

We are living beings, that is, clusters of highly ordered matter, living in the universe where the second law of thermodynamics holds. That is, the natural course of events tends to disrupt our lives and ultimately disorder our bodies (kill us), and we have to struggle against it all the time. So once a person stops attending to his/her needs and wants those needs and wants will be frustrated all the time until that person's premature death. We have to be active, to actively pursue our needs one way or another, if we want them to be met.

On the other hand, due to many reasons people choose to forgo some of their needs and wants for the sake of somebody else. This may be an expression of love and devotion, an attempt to appease real or perceived aggression of another person, a sacrifice to something "bigger than oneself" and so on.

I think here is the basic contradiction of BDSM, as well as Taken in Hand. On the one hand, supposed "underdog" makes certain sacrifices (accepts pain, restrictions of her freedom and so on), chooses to agree to having her desires frustrated (while it could be otherwise if she chose differently). It is a free will of that person to live her life that way. On the other hand, it is in her best interests to minimize her pain and frustration, and maximize her pleasure and freedom. And most of the time she is doing just that!

It's really hard to reconcile the desire to get pleasure, avoid suffering and act freely (or at least a need to act freely—even if she does not feel the desire to be free she will still need a fair amount of freedom to live a bearable life) with the desire to experience certain suffering (pain or humiliation IS suffering), forgo some pleasures and have one's freedom restricted.

Taken In Hand is only five years old; BDSM has had more exposure

I think the bottom line is that BDSM has had more exposure over time than Taken In Hand. Taken In Hand—I don't think is new—it is just that only recently have there been any serious conversations (such as on this site) in the 'public square' on the subject.

With time, adherents to Taken In Hand will most likely rise to the surface and be able to openly discuss their relationships—just as BDSM folks can [somewhat] openly discuss their relationships.