Better BDSM Scenes with the 5 Big Themes

Learn the 5 big themes of BDSM scenes

As I thought back to all the BDSM scenes I’d been involved in, I realised there were five core themes that ran through all of them: 

  • Training 
  • Arousal
  • Play
  • Performance
  • Discipline

Whenever I run a scene I make sure to pick one of these as the main theme. The scene theme dictates the overall feel and goal of the scene. 

The 5 BDSM scene themes 

In a Training BDSM scene the objective is to improve a skill. Perhaps you are teaching your Submissive to give a better blowjob, or you are both learning rope bondage together. There’s no pressure for either party to become excited or turned on. 

In an Arousal BDSM scene the goal is for the Dominant to provide his Submissive sexual gratification, often resulting in orgasm.

In a Play BDSM scene the goal is to embrace the power dynamic of dominance and submission, with the objective of your Sub experiencing being physically and psychologically pushed into a submissive mental state of mind and feelings of subspace

An example of a play BDSM scene would be a pet play scene where the Submissive crawls on all fours, drinks from a bowl of water on the floor, and is walked around on a lead. Or it could be a dungeon scene where the Submissive is bent over and spanked. Or it might be a light-hearted cockwarming session on the sofa in front of the TV.

The Performance theme is reserved for those who practise BDSM publicly or are kink performers. For example, a couple performing a Shibari routine at a play party would be using the performance theme. The objective is to entertain the crowd and their reward is satisfaction. 

You could also put displays of exhibitionism into the performance theme, although often exhibitionist behaviour could also be Play themed or Arousal themed. 

If you like this article, you’ll love…

Sensational Scenes

How to heighten arousal, induce Subspace, and have mind-blowing sexual experiences.

And finally there’s the Discipline theme, which is the act of training your Sub to follow rules and enforcing punishment for unwanted behaviour. 

Although related to the Training theme, I see the distinction between it and the Discipline theme being the intensity with which the training is carried out.

Discipline is carried out in a more formal, strict fashion, whereas Training is informal and playful. 

The Submissive benefits

Note the theme of the scene is not what the Dominant is getting from it, but viewed from the perspective of the Submissive. 

If the Dominant’s goal is to have an orgasm, it doesn’t necessarily mean the scene theme is Arousal, because the Submissive may not come. 

As an example, my Submissive and I may run a scene where I sit in a chair and she pleasures me to orgasm with her mouth at the end of a stressful day. I have an orgasm but she doesn’t.

The scene theme in this instance is not arousal but Play (because the act of her giving me pleasure puts her into a submissive mindset). It could also be a Training themed scene if the goal wasn’t orgasm but to help her learn how I am best pleasured so she can make me climax in future scenes.

One versus many scene themes

 I like to have one core theme in my BDSM scenes. 

They all have an undercurrent of dominance and submission of course, given that’s the dynamic in my relationship and what I write about. The scene theme lays on top of that. 

I choose one theme per BDSM scene because it sets the arc of the narrative and gives me the direction. Within the scene I still have much freedom, but the scene theme acts as the boundary lines beyond which I don’t stray. 

It’s like bowling with the bumpers in place. When the ball hits them they divert the ball back on course towards the pins. 

You might be thinking a scene with only one theme is going to be boring. But it really isn’t for three reasons. 

First, the number of BDSM ideas and activities to choose from is vast. Yes, the end result of the Arousal theme is orgasm, but there are so many ways to get there. 

Second, a single activity has a dramatically different impact depending upon the intensity with which it is performed.

A light spank gets a different reaction to a hard spank. A soft kiss feels different to a tongue down the throat kiss. A pull of the hair can be disciplinary, caring, arousing, playful or aggressive depending on how it is done. 

Third, just because you are in one scene theme doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate other moments of intent into the scene. 

Suppose you are running a Play theme (with the goal of subspace). You could still give your Sub sexual pleasure in the scene, even though the primary goes isn’t orgasm. 

Likewise in an Arousal themed scene you could incorporate elements of pain (which you would normally associate with the Discipline theme). 

It’s why as well as the 5 Big Scene Themes there are also 5 Key Intents. By mixing Themes and Intents you can skillfully build a BDSM scene which takes your Submissive on a unique journey, heightens her sensations, gives her out of body experiences, and intensifies her orgasms. 

Take your BDSM scenes to the next level

All of the concepts above and more are explained in depth in my book Sensational Scenes. In it I explore what I believe makes a scene great and share my formula for making any BDSM scene more memorable. 

Sensational Scenes will be available for purchase soon. 

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