What is a scene?

So tell me, what is a scene?

I was asked some time ago what a scene was. The question came via a comment on my blog and the commenter said she had searched my blog for more information or some sort of definition.  I promised at the time that a post would follow but here I am, on a plane without WiFi to check my drafts, and pretty sure that the post never grew further than a copy of the reply that I posted at the time. I think a scene is just one of those terms that we use; part of our secret language as it were. It is a BDSM thing and one that we have adopted, here in the married lifestyle D/s couple world.  I suppose in a sense, like any label, we have taken aspects of it and made them fit; so what is a scene is for me? Really it is just about what HL and I see it as being. 

Take what fits and leave the rest

This is my best piece of advice and my constant justification that what I am doing is a thing. I am reminded now of the first online community we were part of and the fact that we live in the shadow of not wanting to be those people. Not that they weren’t nice enough but they did have a serious case of the emperor’s new clothes. You can read that post if you want but, footnote, THEY DID NOT INVENT MARRIED D/S (D/s -M™️) Neither for that matter did we and neither did we invent the idea of scenes. We borrowed this term for the kink community and have taken years and years of tradition and made it into what you read below. 

So, what actually is a scene?

A scene is the term used to describe a (usually very carefully planned) session of D/s play.  This would be different than everyday lifestyle D/s where the rules and rituals will be observed as an extended part of the power exchange. Whilst play doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual, it often will be and there would certainly be a strong sexual charge about a scene. Within D/s, a scene will be about a demonstration of the power exchange. The types of play will vary depending on your own preference and kinks but your Dominant and submissive roles will be evident. There will usually be an agreed set of behaviours that are observed and this is often referred to as the protocol.

Although a scene could be impromptu in that the Dominant has planned it without the sub’s awareness, usually it will be known to both that this is something you are going to engage in. In a long term relationship your limits, both soft and hard, will often be so well discussed that there may no need to do this as part of scene negotiations, but where there are other play partners involved this could be the case. For us, there can be some instructions as a build up and to create the right mindset, but apart from that, we tend to be comfortable just to put our trust in each other. 

The format

Like all good plays, a scene will have a beginning, a middle and an end. It will also often have a focus which means that people will describe them, for example, as impact scenes, or roleplay scenes, or humiliation scenes. Calling it a scene seems apt as it can be a bit of theatre in a sense. Often due to the timescale and the emotional involvement what happens can seem magical and extremely intense, making it feel as if it is something beyond what would normally be experienced. It can also be made up of different parts which form part of the greater whole. 

For example, an impact scene may begin with a flogger warm up, progressing through hand spanking, to the crop, the paddle and then the cane. If the outcome is sexual, there will be the introduction of touching and possibly a toy such as the wand; it will build to a climax where one or both will be brought to orgasm, but if not then the climax may be to do with the impact itself. Whichever the case, there will always be aftercare following a scene as this is an important part of safety. A good scene can take a lot from both of you and having this time to come back down together is a large part of the connection. 

The difference between a scene and play

All scenes are made up of play, but not all play would be a scene. For us, play tends to be shorter, less thoroughly planned and less ambitious in terms of what is involved. Play is more spontaneous and less elaborate. Usually our play will last about an hour and will involve one main type of play – electro-play, wax play, bondage etc.  While these things will also form part of a scene, they would tend for be taken further. For example, bondage which leads to forced orgasms, or spanking which is part of a school girl role-play. Due to the more complex nature of a scene, it would usually tend to last for a period of hours so would be much longer than our regular play. In addition, the natural chemicals produced by the body during this sort of extended play can lead to a feeling of subspace so coming down or back out of it would take longer than for shorter types of BDSM play. 

Scenes are often viewed as being the ultimate for expression of the dynamic as they rely on such a strong emotional connection between you. The level of trust required is huge, as is the intimacy and vulnerability. This leads to an intense emotional bond being created and is the reason that good aftercare is essential. While a lifestyle D/s relationship will rely on lots of other things to keep the right mindset during the non-play parts of your life, a scene can go along way to feeding that mindset in a sexual sense. It is a demonstration of the passion and the excitement and the thrill that is key to the dynamic working well. 



If you are looking for something more informative about how to manage and structure a scene then you might want to read a joint post written by HL and I for The SWC called Ready, Get set, Go!

For other posts which are specific to our scenes you might want to check out my Scene it, Done it posts.

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  1. It’s been my experience that one of the downfalls of using these two words in my past year and half of blogging, is the vanilla connotations of both. Where what we do is considered to be ‘theatrical’ or ‘acting’ and therefore the activities involved are seen to be ‘just for fun’ and ‘pretend’ … when in reality much play and many scenes are very serious indeed (but also there is humour now and again, of course :>)) … which is why this is a great, educational post, Missy … nj … xx

    • Thanks nj. I didn’t mean to imply that we didn’t take them seriously. I mean some theatre as in the use of suggestion and mind fuck etc which is so often present. The pain, the humiliation which is not the same outside of the scene as it is inside if that makes sense. Perhaps I should have added that in? x

      • Sorry … I didn’t mean you didn’t didn’t take them seriously … it’s just I’ve had discussions (behind the blog) where the words were interpreted incorrectly … which is why I appreciate your explanations :>)) … nj … xx

        • I didn’t think that’s what you meant but thought I would check. It’s hard when you know what you mean yourself as you never know how it can be interpreted by others. Thank you ?

  2. Yes I think a scene is more thought out and has some degree of structure compared to a more spontaneous play. Both are good though, and I certainly agree with the connection and bond that comes from it. Nicely put missy, we can always count on you to put into words what others can’t.

  3. Really well explained missy. I like the distinction you have made between scene and play. It is difficult when we use these terms so often and know what they mean to us, that I almost forget that vanilla wise it may not seem so clear!

  4. Very succinct explanation, this will be useful and informative to many readers I’m sure. We don’t tend to have an element of theatre in scene (except in public play I guess) but we do have clear distinctions between play and scenes, I also agree that scenes can have many intentions behind them.

    • Thanks kis. By element of theatre I meant the use of fantasy in dialogue, mind fuck etc. When the senses are confused then things can appear other than they are. Things become exaggerated and more intense and we are open to suggestion. I lose sense of time and space, for example. A lot of what we experience is not really as it seems. 🙂

      • Yes, I understand what you mean by theatre for you, you explained it well and I can definitely also relate to the element of the psychological effect driving the physical and creating an amazing otherworldly experience.

        I meant that, for me, theatre in a scene for us would be more literal I guess and encompass things like dressing differently to express our roles more explicitly visually, verbal and/or acted role play, adopting alternative personas within the Dom and/or sub (sadist/pet/toy etc) and an element of a show for others, or each other either in public or in private company, none of which we really ‘do’ in a scene, or certainly not regularly. Sorry, I should have clarified.

        It’s always really interesting though how others incorporate and interpret things and the analogy of theatre within a scene is a really good one.

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