BDSM Checklists – Not the Usual Debate

Most BDSMers have used (or at least know about) those bdsm checklists.  Usually, people debate whether they’re a good or bad thing, but I’m not getting deep into that discussion here.  I see the checklists as a useful jumping-off point for conversation, though they don’t replace lots of time talking with each other.  It works well as a quick reference to get you in the ballpark.

What I don’t understand is why so many people see them as a list of things to do once, just to check them off.  I’ve run into quite a few people who approach it this way, and I don’t comprehend that approach at all.

I understand wanting to try new things.  Exploring is interesting and can be really sexy.  You learn even from the things you don’t like.  If you don’t like it, don’t do it again.  But what if you do like it?  Sometimes people do an activity on the list just to put a check mark next to it, then never think of it again.  If you like it, why not add it to your repertoire?  Do it regularly if it does something for you or your partner.

The purpose of these lists isn’t to be simply a list of accomplishments in which you’re trying for quantity.  Trying to get more things checked off than the next person means precisely squat.  You don’t get a medal for having tried more things than everyone else.  These lists are intended to make you think about things you have and haven’t tried, and maybe provide inspiration for expanding your horizons.  It’s not about “I have more check marks than you, nyah nyah!”; rather, it’s about “hmm, this looks kind of hot, want to try it?”  The list can provide one more step towards fulfillment.

For example, let’s say you’ve never tried public foot-kissing before.  So you talk about it, and you try it.  And you both find it incredibly hot (even if one of you is thinking “oh, fuck, please noooooo…”).  Do you mark it off your list and never do it again?  Or do you start to do it more frequently?  If that particular activity works for you, then do it.  It really is that simple.  Both people might not be getting the same exact thing out of the experience, but that’s okay.  If it works for you as a couple, do it.  Often.

One Response to “BDSM Checklists – Not the Usual Debate”

  1. Quietlisten Says:

    I agree that a public “keeping score” approach is stupid, kind of an attempt to quantify “experience” with numbers on a page. What I do enjoy, however, is re-doing these inventories every now and again and comparing them over time to see how I’ve changed. Amazing how much used to be in the “hell no” category that now leans more “no, I guess, probably, well maybe okay.” That’s a function of my changing and spending time with people who are not exact duplicates of my wants/needs, natural learning and growing. So I agree: as a social status symbol “blech,” as a tool for personal communication and understanding, “yay!”


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