We see the pictures all over Fetlife. Beautiful bruised bums… or backs…. or inner thighs… the list goes on. We gawk and smile, comment and “love”. While I, too, can admire marks left over from a fun, intense scene – and even be proud and look for bruises and marks on my own body, there are a couple of things I want to point out.
One issue is that everyone marks differently and some more than others, while many not at all (especially those of us who have been playing a while). So by making marks your goal or rating a scene based on the outcome of bruises or marks, you may end up disappointed. If you put a newbie and a veteran bottom side by side and hit their butt with the same implements and with the same force – you may find major bruising on the newbie and hardly a discoloration on the veteran. Our bodies adjust over time and if hit in the same general area enough, the body stops showing marks as easily. So by judging the scene on marks one would come to the conclusion that the scene with the veteran wasn’t “good enough”. Even without the factor of how long someone has been playing – bruising can be different from one person to the next. So by gauging a scene this way you can, at worst, make a bottom feel bad for something they don’t control (not bruising enough) or make a Top feel like they didn’t play well enough if marks and bruises aren’t accomplished.
The second issue, which I skimmed over already, is where your focus lies during the scene. If you have ever been to my classes you will recall my opinion on the two most important elements of a scene. Energy exchange and connection. In my opinion this is what drives a great scene. Are you both in the moment and connected to one another? Does the scene push you to new heights (or depths as it may be)? Does the energy between you push and pull like the tides of the ocean? Are your emotions being stirred up (from laughter to fear to arousal)? These are the feelings and elements of a scene that will stay with you long after marks fade. These are the things that, if playing with a significant other, will pull you closer and assist your growth in your relationship. These are the things I believe a scene should be measured by.
So while bruises and marks can be a lovely bonus and certainly they stand as reminders of the fun that was had over the weekend – they shouldn‘t be the goal. Focusing on them as anything more can lead to, at best, some disappointment and, at worst, negligence and oversight and possible damage to the bottom – both physically and/or emotionally. Some of the best scenes I’ve ever had resulted in zero marks – as well as the opposite being true. If you focus instead on having a wonderful scene then you can’t go wrong – marks or no marks!
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.