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Hello There Pervert: A look into BDSM


Are you a pervert?


I believe you are. I know I am!


This statement might offend you. Perhaps you wonder what would compel me to say something like that about you, especially since we’ve never met. However, a voice deep down inside of you might wonder if I am right. Maybe that voice is telling you that things you did or liked may make you abnormal.


Whatever your take on this may be, I invite you to open your mind and explore what might be beyond your comfort zone. Let me entice you with a little bit.


Throughout history, those who have not lived under the conformity of social standards of sexuality have been tortured, ostracized, convicted and, in general, have lost their social standing.


Non-conventional sexual practices - and fetishes - are not deviant. Yet there’s a well- established tradition of judging them as if they are. The repercussions of this societal judgment cause the social stigmatization of people we most likely don’t know at all.


One of the most common targets is the Bondage, Domination/Submission, Discipline, and Sado-Masochism (BDSM) culture. BDSM is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of consensual sexual or erotic practices. BDSM communities commonly welcome anyone who identifies with their practices. Consider it akin to a book club if you like to read, or like an orchestra if you want to play classical music.


The History of BDSM: Not So New


Explore a little more and you’ll also discover that BDSM is nothing new. Among BDSM’s historical high points:

• Art and texts from ancient Greece and Rome show physical pain being used as an erotic stimulus, per the book An Illustrated History of the Rod, by William M. Cooper, first published in 1868.


• The Kama Sutra, the revered Sanskrit text on sexuality written in India about 2,000 years ago, describes six appropriate places to strike a person with passion and four ways to do it. It also has chapters titled “Scratching,” “Biting,” and “Reversing Roles.”


• The Marquis de Sade, a French aristocrat who lived from 1740 to 1814, wrote a variety of erotic novels and short stories involving being beaten and beating others. Eventually, the author’s name gave rise to the term “sadism.” Similarly, the term “masochism” is derived from the name of Austrian nobleman and author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch


• Back in 1953, a Kinsey Institute study found that 55 percent of women and 50 percent of men were aroused by being bitten.


• And even pre-Fifty Shades of Grey, 36 percent of U.S. adults reported having had sex using masks, blindfolds, or other forms of bondage.


What's a BDSM chat without Freud

The terms sadism and masochism were first coined by Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840– 1902) in his extensive work Psychopathia Sexualis, published in 1886. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) subsequently brought together the two concepts to form sadomasochism. Noticing that a person could experience pleasure from both receiving and inflicting pain, Freud concluded that sadism and masochism were two sides of the same coin.

However, it is from the 1970s onwards that sociological research of BDSM as a collective, consenting, and social behavior has progressed and diversified.


So Do you Belong or Not?!


You may imagine or know some of the BDSM practices. But what makes you part of the BDSM culture? Well, there are no rules, but there are three fundamental principles that guide any BDSM practice: consent, safety, and respect.


Physical and psychological well-being are a priority over anything: There is no pleasure in a sexual act when one of the parties is not enjoying it.


BDSM is organized in environments with shared rules, values, and norms that members must adhere to. Social events are based on interaction and ritual practices in social contexts including clubs, private parties, pub evenings, or workshops, where practitioners meet to socialize, learn and practice BDSM. People practicing BDSM often describe the BDSM ‘community’ as important to them, because it adds meaning and offers security and a sense of belonging. Continuity and mutual recognition are arguably crucial factors in providing this sense of security. At the same time, it should be stressed that a minority, or a self-defined group such as a BDSM community, does not constitute a fixed identity. It can be reformed, and the community can jointly create new ideas about what identity is and should contain at a given moment.


Sadly, let's Talk Child Abuse (rolling my eyes)

While earlier theories supposed that prior childhood sexual abuse might account for adult participation in BDSM, several empirical studies show that BDSM cannot be explained in terms of psychopathology. In contrast to pathologizing discourses, some studies point to the psychological benefits for people who engage in BDSM.


In Wismeijer and van Assen’s study from the Netherlands, for instance, 902 BDSM practitioners scored significantly higher than matched controls of 434 persons on several measures associated with psychological health. The authors commented that BDSM

psychopathology. Ranging from exploration of the spiritual to the therapeutic.

More recent studies show that BDSM practitioners do not generally report sexual abuse or childhood trauma. BDSM practitioners also display fewer depression, anxiety, and post- traumatic stress symptoms compared to “normal” population standards. Furthermore, BDSM practitioners also report significantly less benevolent sexism, rape myth acceptance, and victim-blaming attitudes compared to college students and the general population.

This trend away from pathologizing discourses is also demonstrated by the diversification in research focus. In recent years, studies have looked at a variety of dimensions of the practices, notably issues of communication, negotiation, and consent.


The Facts on Kink and Desire


One landmark 2008 study found that people who engaged in BDSM were more likely to have experienced oral sex or anal sex, to have had more than one partner in the previous year, to have had sex with someone other than their regular partner, and to have taken part in phone sex, visited an internet sex site, viewed an X-rated film or video, used a sex toy, had group sex, or taken part in manual stimulation of the anus, fisting, or rimming.


However, they were no more likely to have been coerced into sexual activity and were not significantly more likely to be unhappy or anxious. Indeed, men who had engaged in BDSM scored significantly lower on a scale of psychological distress than other men.

Nearly 47 percent of women and 60 percent of men have fantasized about dominating someone sexually, while slightly more women and fewer men are aroused by the idea of being dominated, according to a 2016 study. The same study also found that almost 47 percent of adults would like to participate in at least one nontraditional type of sexual activity, and 34 percent said that they’d done so at least once in the past. No wonder if you search the phrase “BDSM” on Google it will return more than 500 million results. (The phrase “missionary sex” returns about 163 million results.)


So Did I Call You Right? Are you a Pervert?!


BDSM is a healthy expression of sexuality.

People engaging in BDSM are usually people who have thought a lot about their sexuality! They have explored and faced their sexual boundaries. They know what they like, and they do it. This has a positive outcome on their sexual experiences and the overall quality of their lives.


Do you explore? Do you know what you like? Can you name your kinks (if not, you will soon)? Did you relate to all of this?


Welcome home.


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1 Comment


Delante Jackson
Delante Jackson
Apr 22, 2023

Great educational resource. I am new and didn’t realize all of this great history.


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