Marking in BDSM

An example of very heavy bruising or "marking"

An example of very heavy bruising or “marking”

“Marking,” in our lifestyle, is a very broad term. It can refer to the temporary marks of the cane, it might mean writing something like “Master’s Slave” with a Sharpie or it could mean a tattoo or brand of ownership. The technicalities of all three differ widely; but the implications of all of them are quite similar.

Temporary markings are usually caused by the use of a flogger, riding crop, cane, paddle or toy on the bare butt of the submissive. If your aim is to mark your submissive in this manner, remember that marks usually appear quite a bit later. Usually all you will see during the scene is a reddening of the skin. Thus, it takes skill to know when you have spanked enough to cause marks – as you will rarely see them appear right then and there.

The beauty of marks, as many submissives have stated, is that the emotive impact of the scene can stay with you for as long as the marks are there. They are physical and sensory reminders of the spanking. It is one thing to just recall a scene; but looking at the marks can actually trigger deeper memories of the scene. Besides being a trigger to relive or replay the scene in the submissive’s head, the marks can also be seen as a literal mark of submission. From the Dom/me’s point of view, marking can be a total turn-on. Just seeing their handiwork after a scene can reinforce all the hottest aspects of Dominance. Of course, there are those players where marks are no big deal and have little significance. There are no hard and fast rules; there is no one way to do BDSM. That said, for many there can be great significance attached to marking; some Tops will only mark a partner who is their collared submissive. No matter what, if you are marking your submissive in play, make sure you listen for his/her safe word. You might not have to go too hard — even a very light caning can cause marks. So, keep this in mind.

Another popular way of “marking” a submissive is with, duh, a marker! Writing phrases like “Master’s Property” or “Slut” with a Sharpie can add a lot to a scene. As there is no physical danger involved (unless the submissive is allergic to Sharpies, a very rare condition,) one must negotiate what areas might damage the submissive’s psyche. For example, she might object to “Whore,” so one should be aware of your submissive’s hard psychological limits.

When a couple takes the “Sharpie concept” to the tattoo level, that is where one must exercise caution. While we admit that a tattoo that proclaims the submissive to be “Master’s Property” to be very hot and powerful, most tattoo artists seem to concur that this is often the kiss of death for the relationship for some unfathomable reason. It might be that many choose an ownership tattoo to strengthen a D/s relationship that is going downhill. Whatever the reason, the following posting perfectly illustrates the “ownership tattoo” dilemma.

“Are you a Dominant male legally named Derrick? Beautiful
slave tattooed ‘Property of Derrick’ and now released, ISO
a new Master with same legal name. If interested, email…”

Whether real or fictional, it demonstrates the problem a slave tattoo can cause. Even with a laser, the removal process is far from foolproof. So, if you are deciding to mark your slave with a tattoo, make sure it is done for the right reasons. If it is done within a great Dom/sub relationship, it can raise it to an even higher level. If it is to salvage a deteriorating one, then it is likely to end at Dr. Tattoff’s.

Branding, which we have covered in greater detail in a previous Kink Weekly article, has bit more range than tattooing; there are temporary and permanent brands. Temporary brands are usually referred to as “surface burns.” A skillfully done surface burn will usually begin to fade within a few months; after a year, the most that will remain is a residual redness – depending upon the skin type.

Although there are those who get permanently branded just for the thrill of it, or masochists who like extreme pain, permanent branding is usually reserved for the most serious of D/s couples as a mark of ownership. It demands the highest level of trust — the submissive must have total trust in the Dom/me’s branding skill or judgment in choosing a brander. A permanent brand is even harder to remove than a tattoo. So, the same warnings apply to a permanent brand as to the tattoo.

No matter what markings you choose, from Sharpie to branding, remember that any of them can amplify the intensity of your scene or your relationship. None of them is superior to the other. I personally have never branded a slave; but I have chosen my slave’s tattoos and also marked mine during play. In the context of my BDSM relationship, that is ideal. So, just choose what works for you and your submissive — and your marks will be perfect!

By BaadMaster
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.

Comments

  1. I remember when I first started exploring the lifestyle I shuddered at the thought of leaving marks after a session. I told myself that I wasn’t into that “heavy scary crazy” type of play and would never hit anyone hard enough to leave a mark.

    Then I started talking to subs and bottoms. I realized how much the marks meant to them and went from hating them to loving them!

    I WISH I had some reminders of some marks I’ve left but sadly…I’ve played with shy types who aren’t fans of photography.

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