BDSM Basics: Cathartic Scenes


What is a Cathartic Scene?

In the context of BDSM play, a cathartic scene is one wherein the players achieve a certain level of emotional release (catharsis) from the giving and receiving of pain and sharing in a power exchange dynamic. Often times, this will involve pushing against boundaries and soft or hard limits provided that fully informed consent has been given beforehand. Not all scenes in BDSM play are necessarily cathartic. Some scenes are for performative purposes, some scenes are purely for the ethos of pain play, and other scenes are for nurturing or role-play scenarios, just to name a few. The distinction of a cathartic scene can be made in that the play often (but not always) is of a more heavy or intense nature. The end goal is to inspire some sort of emotional expression on the part of the players, which can be anything from crying to screaming and beyond. Everyone is different and therefore no two scenes are completely alike. There are, however, many common intentions behind the execution of a cathartic scene.

Why Do People Do Cathartic Scenes?

The purposes and methods of a cathartic scene will vary from player to player but there is a great deal of overlap to be noted. Often times, those engaging in a cathartic scene have experienced some sort of trauma and, in playing with the intention of achieving a catharsis, can use BDSM play to process their emotions in a controlled environment. For example, if an individual has recently experienced a loss in their life, the tools of BDSM play can allow them to grieve in a manner that is both outside of conventional methods and also tailored to their specific needs. Cathartic scenes are not the one and only means by which one can achieve an emotional release of course. Participating in a cathartic scene is simply another way for those who are inclined towards a BDSM lifestyle to deal with pent up emotional energy that could otherwise manifest negatively elsewhere in their lives.

How Can I Negotiate a Cathartic Scene?

There is no right or wrong way to do a cathartic scene; however, there are some key elements to which attention and care should be paid. Because of the nature of handling trauma and grief, it is important that the emotions of those involved are handled delicately. Engaging in a detailed negotiation prior to beginning the scene is crucial as is an understanding of potential triggers and how far is “too far”. It would be irresponsible to go ahead with a scene if the potential for emotional damage is greater than that of emotional release. Make sure that all parties involved are truly ready to process their emotions in such an intense manner. Confirm safewords first and watch for signs of distress during a scene in case it is necessary for anyone involved to stop the scene and go straight to aftercare. An incredibly important part of culminating a cathartic scene is the attention paid during aftercare. For example, if your submissive is crying and in a highly emotional state, it is your responsibility to comfort and reassure them. To put someone through the paces of a cathartic scene and then leave them in a vulnerable state without any aftercare is negligent. Players, be sure to care for one another, especially within the context of a cathartic scene. The fragile vulnerability inspired by heavy play and pushing boundaries is not to be taken lightly. When done improperly, a cathartic scene has the potential to be damaging. However, when care is taken to see that the scene is done right, beneficial and liberating emotional release can be achieved.


About the Author

Dee Voyse is a proud kinkster who has been active in the BDSM scene for over a decade. She enjoys sharing her experiences in order to inform and educate and, at times, titillate.

Comments

  1. littleone says:

    Lovely piece!

  2. hogwartscutie says:

    Very well-written!

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