If you’ve been a fan of mine for some time, you’ve seen this symbol because I’ve adopted it for my logo.
It’s called a tomoe (pronounced do-moe) or Hidari-mitsudomoe for those semantics freaks among you.
It’s a Taoist symbol of the Japanese god of war, Hachiman. It represents the balance of three elements: man, earth, and the sky. It can also be used to represent the flow of water. It is a symbol I have appropriated for myself, mostly for its aesthetics, but also because of its symbolism.
Anyone who has been in the BDSM scene has seen a very similar symbol to the tomoe: the BDSM triskelion (pictured above).
The BDSM triskelion was originally designed as a symbol allowing for complete strangers to recognize their shared love of the BDSM subculture. It has since taken off and can be found on all kinds of merchandise from t-shirts to keychains. It is, in my not-so-humble opinion, pretty fucking ugly. It is a symbol filled with soft curves, something I just don’t understand in the context of BDSM. Of course, not all kinds of BDSM are hard, many fetishes like Adult Baby fetish are pretty damn soft, though they are all hardcore when compared to normal vanilla lives. On top of that, there are these horrendous yin & yang type dots further distilling the aesthetics of the symbol and taking away from the power of brutal, efficient design.
BDSM to me is exciting, dangerous, provocative. It is not safe, which is why all participants must always do everything they can to make it as safe as possible. It is sex (and relationships) mixed with the added spice of danger. The unpredictable actions of an angry Dom, the contemplating of what is about to be done to a lovely little thing all tied up, the mixture of the unpleasant with pure pleasure, the uneasiness that mounts in a sub waiting for a response from their master…
To me, BDSM (in its most basic parts) is four things:
Relationships, Danger, and Sex the individual components
Communication, that which holds it all together.
The first, most crucial part of BDSM is the relationship. What is a master without a servant? And what is a servant without a master? They are both incomplete beings, perfectly capable of living separately yet both will always feel like something is missing without their missing complimentary partner. Humans are not meant to live alone and BDSM can never be truly experienced alone. At best, you can only be a voyeur to it alone (unless it’s some kink that can be enjoyed alone, but I digress). Relationships are what make life interesting: the people you decided to share your life with. Each relationship you have is something that should be cherished and not taken for granted. They do have their downsides and those downsides can be hard to overcome, sometimes even too big, thus forcing you to end them. Should you make it work, however, and outlast the bad times, nothing can even come close to the fulfillment a great relationship can bring to you. That being said, you should still know when to end the relationship and burn that bridge, no looking back.
Next, is danger. Now danger might not be the best word to use here but it is the word that I find most convenient in attempting to describe what I want to here. BDSM requires two people to reveal deep, dark secrets to each other, secrets that others might find offensive or morally vile. If there were no taboos, there couldn’t be BDSM. BDSM is a shadowy way of life, filled with all of the outcasts of society. What we do is not normal, and it will never be because when a kink is normalized and widely adopted, it loses its power. Being not normal doesn’t make BDSM bad, but you must remember that your tastes are probably not held by your neighbor (possibly because he’s got some other kink of his own). These confessions of deepest desires must be given in confidence and require both to be extraordinarily vulnerable, bearing all weakness to the other. There are few things more dangerous than making yourself vulnerable before someone else and yet, there are even fewer things more rewarding. We may live in a comparatively liberated world, it is still not always proper to be kinky.
Added onto this level of interpersonal danger is the danger inherent in many BDSM acts. Let’s take bondage as an example: tying someone up too tightly or incorrectly can result in a loss of blood flow to certain body parts. Without proper corrections, the person who is tied-up can suffer all kinds of nasty ailments, including loss of limb due to necrosis! Needle play and blood play require all kinds of knowledge on the human body as well as all kinds of hygienic and safety standards. Many subs want to be punched and beaten, yet how many doms know how and where to hit to not cause severe damage? Danger is always going to be present and a part of BDSM and to not be aware of it is to be foolish.
The most fun part of BDSM is sexy, sexy sex. Hell, it’s the sexiest of sex. It’s the sex of wild temptation, fiery desire, and dirty, filthy, deviance. Vanilla sex is safe pop music, BDSM is punk, jazz, hip-hop, and metal. Vanilla is safe, repetitive, predictable. BDSM is rebellious, a rejection of the status quo, a yearning to explore new ground. It is the refined distillation of all of humanity’s most base desires and instead of shying away from it, it is a celebration, an embracement of the lustful self. Fat or skinny, tall or short, white or black, all have a place in BDSM, all are fetishized, all are equally turned into sexual objects.
Someone might claim that they just really like feet, nothing sexual there, but I don’t believe them. I know full well just how adaptable human perversion is. I know that anything that you can think about will turn someone on. Fuck, there’s probably even some porn of it on the internet. From furries to the prevalence of MINECRAFT porn, there is nothing we humans can’t make sexual. It’s just one of those things we do, like waging war, creating art or getting high as a kite.
The final part to BDSM (and the secret to good relationships, avoiding real danger, and amazing sex) is communication. BDSM doesn’t work without good and honest communication, both parties won’t have their expectations met or exceeded. Without communication, injuries will happen, be they physical or mental. Without communication, the sex will always be lacking. You have to talk, and if you aren’t comfortable expressing yourself, learn to be. Your happiness (and your partner’s!) depends on the work you do to become a good communicator.
I’ve had to work on my communication a whole lot and I’ve found that it does significantly improve the quality of my life. I’ve found that running this blog and talking to so many of you, my readers and fans, has made me open up a lot about all kinds of things I never really talked about before. If you don’t know where to start in learning to communicate, start small. Learn to be honest with yourself: don’t overestimate yourself and don’t underestimate yourself. Learn who you are as a person so that you can tell others who you are.
The tomoe serves me well as a symbol, wouldn’t you agree?
*Note* Interestingly, I realized further connections between the components after editing:
Danger requires us to be in relationships to survive them. Finding safety in a relationship, we have sex. Having sex, we encounter danger because there is always danger to be found in sex.
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