(c) August 2013 All Rights Reserved
I keep thinking about Intent vs. Intentions because, in my mind, these are a huge integral part of BDSM, and yet can be quite difficult to describe during discussion or negotiation, Especially if you haven’t thought about it much previously. I finally decided to simplify things~from my perspective~as much as possible.
‘Intentions’ are what we want to do, or are trying to accomplish.
Intent is ‘Why’ we are doing those things.
As kinky folks, we do some interesting things and we tend to talk about what we enjoy, and what we’d like to give/do to, or receive from, others. We talk about dribbling wax in various ways, about suspension in rope. We discuss inflicting pain with floggers, crops, whips, or maybe being required to dress in a specific manner (cissification, costume play, adult baby/diaper lover).
It’s not as common to discuss ‘Why’ we want to do something with another person, even when we’re negotiating with them. For many of us, just discussing what we want to do with our partner is enough. For those of us that enjoy sensation play, just getting to participate in giving or receiving can be its’ own justification. We enjoy different sensations. Some of us enjoy being in control, or being controlled to various degrees. It can be 24/7, a bedroom/play activity or something we need at various points in our life.
I have found that explaining my Intent, the ‘why’ I want to do something, a plan I want to implement, often leads to a better understanding between myself and others. It doesn’t always help get agreement on my terms, but its’ a great way to steer everyone who consents towards the same goal. I think sometimes we don’t discuss the reason behind pursuing our kink activities because we don’t want to leave ourselves vulnerable to ridicule or rejection because of the ‘Why’.
I love explaining the intent behind things with people I trust & want to build trust with. Telling someone ‘you’re really attractive’ and that I’d like to have them over my knee and spank them is a good opening for negotiation (though not real classy). I find it much better to follow up as part of negotiation with ‘because it arouses me to see a gorgeous woman’s backside turn the colour of a ripe peach’. It explains my motivations.
Sure you don’t need the flowery wording, but explaining the ‘Why’ can be a powerful part of negotiation. When you can explain the ‘why’ of what you want to do or explore, you are opening yourself up to your partners, which can be a great trust building aspect of any discussions you have.
However, more than a trust building tool, the Intent of any scene can be more important than any actual play. The Intent can be cathartic, it can be therapeutic, it can be simply for stress relief, it can be to work towards personal growth. I’ve seen, and heard, folks use BDSM activities as a tool for getting in touch with their Spirituality, and/or as a vehicle for performing ‘sex magic’. Sitting down and discussing the reasoning about why a series of actions should, or needs to, happen is a damn good way of helping to get what you need and want, in the manner that will work best to achieve that end for all involved.
It’s a reason I actively try to discuss Intent rather than just my desired intentions.
Oh, and doing something just because it arouses you and or your partner(s) is definitely an extremely valid reason too!