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Get rid of the kids' toys, your laptop and the loads of dirty laundry. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practising BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent upon self-identification and shared experience. BDSM is now used as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships , and distinct subcultures. BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers , body modification enthusiasts, animal roleplayers , rubber fetishists , and others.

Activities and relationships within a BDSM context are often characterized by the participants taking on complementary, but unequal roles; thus, the idea of informed consent of both the partners is essential. The terms "submissive" and "dominant" are often used to distinguish these roles: the dominant partner "dom" takes psychological control over the submissive "sub".

The terms "top" and "bottom" are also used: the top is the instigator of an action while the bottom is the receiver of the action. The two sets of terms are subtly different: for example, someone may choose to act as bottom to another person, for example, by being whipped, purely recreationally, without any implication of being psychologically dominated by them, or a submissive may be ordered to massage their dominant partner. Despite the bottom performing the action and the top receiving they have not necessarily switched roles.

The abbreviations "sub" and "dom" are frequently used instead of "submissive" and "dominant". Sometimes the female-specific terms "mistress", "domme" or " dominatrix " are used to describe a dominant woman, instead of the gender-neutral term "dom". The precise definition of roles and self-identification is a common subject of debate within the community.

There are distinct subcultures under this umbrella term.


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Terminology for roles varies widely among the subcultures. Top and dominant are widely used for those partner s in the relationship or activity who are, respectively, the physically active or controlling participants. Bottom and submissive are widely used for those partner s in the relationship or activity who are, respectively, the physically receptive or controlled participants. The interaction between tops and bottoms—where physical or mental control of the bottom is surrendered to the top—is sometimes known as "power exchange", whether in the context of an encounter or a relationship.

BDSM actions can often take place during a specific period of time agreed to by both parties, referred to as "play", a "scene", or a "session". Participants usually derive pleasure from this, even though many of the practices—such as inflicting pain or humiliation or being restrained — would be unpleasant under other circumstances. Explicit sexual activity , such as sexual penetration , may occur within a session, but is not essential.

Whether it is a public "playspace"—ranging from a party at an established community dungeon to a hosted play "zone" at a nightclub or social event—the parameters of allowance can vary. The fundamental principles for the exercise of BDSM require that it should be performed with the informed consent of all involved parties. Some BDSM practitioners prefer a code of behavior that differs from "SSC" and is described as " risk-aware consensual kink " RACK , indicating a preference for a style in which the individual responsibility of the involved parties is emphasized more strongly, with each participant being responsible for his or her own well-being.

Advocates of RACK argue that SSC can hamper discussion of risk because no activity is truly "safe", and that discussion of even low-risk possibilities is necessary for truly informed consent. They further argue that setting a discrete line between "safe" and "not-safe" activities ideologically denies consenting adults the right to evaluate risks vs rewards for themselves; that some adults will be drawn to certain activities regardless of the risk; and that BDSM play—particularly higher-risk play or edgeplay —should be treated with the same regard as extreme sports, with both respect and the demand that practitioners educate themselves and practice the higher-risk activities to decrease risk.

RACK may be seen as focusing primarily upon awareness and informed consent, rather than accepted safe practices.

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The consent and compliance for a sadomasochistic situation can be granted only by people who can judge the potential results. For their consent, they must have relevant information extent to which the scene will go, potential risks, if a safeword will be used, what that is, and so on at hand and the necessary mental capacity to judge. The resulting consent and understanding is occasionally summarized in a written " contract ", which is an agreement of what can and cannot take place.

In general, BDSM play is usually structured such that it is possible for the consenting partner to withdraw his or her consent at any point during a scene; [9] for example, by using a safeword that was agreed on in advance. Failure to honor a safeword is considered serious misconduct and could even change the sexual consent situation into a crime, depending on the relevant law, [10] since the bottom or top has explicitly revoked his or her consent to any actions that follow the use of the safeword see Legal status. For other scenes, particularly in established relationships, a safeword may be agreed to signify a warning "this is getting too intense" rather than explicit withdrawal of consent; and a few choose not to use a safeword at all.

This model for differentiating among these aspects of BDSM is increasingly used in literature today. Individual tastes and preferences in the area of human sexuality may overlap among these areas, which are discussed separately here. Bondage and discipline are two aspects of BDSM that do not seem to relate to each other because of the type of activities involved, but they have conceptual similarities, and that is why they appear jointly.

The term bondage describes the practice of physical restraint. Bondage is usually, but not always, a sexual practice. Bondage can also be achieved by spreading the appendages and fastening them with chains or ropes to a St.


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Andrew's cross or spreader bars. The term discipline describes psychological restraining, with the use of rules and punishment to control overt behavior. Another aspect is the structured training of the bottom. It explores the more mental aspect of BDSM. This is also the case in many relationships not considering themselves as sadomasochistic; it is considered to be a part of BDSM if it is practiced purposefully. The range of its individual characteristics is thereby wide. Often, " contracts " are set out in writing to record the formal consent of the parties to the power exchange, stating their common vision of the relationship dynamic.

Such documents have not been recognized as being legally binding, nor are they intended to be. These agreements are binding in the sense that the parties have the expectation that the negotiated rules will be followed.

Often other friends and community members may witness the signing of such a document in a ceremony, and so parties violating their agreement can result in loss of face, respect or status with their friends in the community. In general, as compared to conventional relationships, BDSM participants go to great lengths to negotiate the important aspects of their relationships in advance, and to take great care in learning about and following safe practices.

The term sadomasochism is derived from the words sadism and masochism. These terms differ somewhat from the same terms used in psychology, since those require that the sadism or masochism cause significant distress or involve non-consenting partners. Sadism describes sexual pleasure derived by inflicting pain , degradation, humiliation on another person or causing another person to suffer.

On the other hand, the masochist enjoys being hurt, humiliated, or suffering within the consensual scenario. The terms sadism and masochism are derived from the names of the Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch , based on the content of the authors' works. Although the names of de Sade and Sacher-Masoch are attached to the terms sadism and masochism respectively, the scenes described in de Sade's works do not meet modern BDSM standards of informed consent.

The concepts presented by de Sade are not in accordance with the BDSM culture, even though they are sadistic in nature. With his work the originally theological terms "perversion", "aberration" and "deviation" became part of the scientific terminology for the first time. In , Sigmund Freud described "sadism" and "masochism" in his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality as diseases developing from an incorrect development of the child psyche and laid the groundwork for the scientific perspective on the subject in the following decades. In the later 20th century, BDSM activists have protested against these conceptual models, as they were derived from the philosophies of two singular historical figures.

Both Freud and Krafft-Ebing were psychiatrists; their observations on sadism and masochism were dependent on psychiatric patients, and their models were built on the assumption of psychopathology. Advocates of BDSM [ who? On a physical level, BDSM is commonly misconceived to be "all about pain". Of the three categories of BDSM, only sadomasochism specifically requires pain, but this is typically a means to an end, as a vehicle for feelings of humiliation, dominance, etc. In psychology, this aspect becomes a deviant behavior once the act of inflicting or experiencing pain becomes a substitute for or the main source of sexual pleasure.

Many BDSM activities might not involve any kind of pain or humiliation, but just the exchange of power and control. Some use the term "body stress" to describe this physiological sensation. The philosopher Edmund Burke defines this sensation of pleasure derived from pain by the word sublime. There is a wide array of BDSM practitioners who take part in sessions for which they do not receive any personal gratification. They enter such situations solely with the intention to allow their partners to fulfill their own needs or fetishes. Professional dominants do this in exchange of money for the session activities, but non-professionals do it for the sake of their partners.

In some BDSM sessions, the top exposes the bottom to a wide range of sensual experiences, for example: pinching, biting, scratching with fingernails, erotic spanking or the use of objects such as crops , whips , liquid wax , ice cubes , Wartenberg wheels , and erotic electrostimulation devices. The repertoire of possible "toys" is limited only by the imagination of both partners. To some extent, everyday items like clothes-pins , wooden spoons or plastic wrap are used as pervertables. Trust and sexual arousal help the partners enter a shared mindset.

Aside from the general advice related to safe sex , BDSM sessions often require a wider array of safety precautions than vanilla sex sexual behaviour without BDSM elements. In practice, pick-up scenes at clubs or parties may sometimes be low in negotiation much as pick-up sex from singles bars may not involve much negotiation or disclosure. These negotiations concern the interests and fantasies of each partner and establish a framework of both acceptable and unacceptable activities. Safewords are words or phrases that are called out when things are either not going as planned or have crossed a threshold one cannot handle.

They are something both parties can remember and recognize and are, by definition, not words commonly used playfully during any kind of scene. Words such as no , stop , and don't , are often inappropriate as a safeword if the roleplaying aspect includes the illusion of non-consent. The most commonly used safewords are red and yellow , with red meaning that play must stop immediately, and yellow meaning that the activity needs to slow down. BDSM participants are expected to understand practical safety aspects. For instance, they are expected to recognize that parts of the body can be damaged, such as nerves and blood vessels by contusion , or that skin that can be scarred.

Using crops, whips, or floggers , the top's fine motor skills and anatomical knowledge can make the difference between a satisfying session for the bottom and a highly unpleasant experience that may even entail severe physical harm. It is necessary to be able to identify each person's psychological " squicks " or triggers in advance to avoid them. Such losses of emotional balance due to sensory or emotional overload are a fairly commonly discussed issue.

It is important to follow participants' reactions empathetically and continue or stop accordingly. Safewords are one way for BDSM practices to protect both parties. However, partners should be aware of each other's psychological states and behaviors to prevent instances where the "freakouts" prevent the use of safewords. At one end of the spectrum are those who are indifferent to, or even reject physical stimulation. At the other end of the spectrum are bottoms who enjoy discipline and erotic humiliation but are not willing to be subordinate to the person who applies it.

The bottom is frequently the partner who specifies the basic conditions of the session and gives instructions, directly or indirectly, in the negotiation, while the top often respects this guidance. Other bottoms often called "brats" try to incur punishment from their tops by provoking them or "misbehaving".

Nevertheless, a purist "school" exists within the BDSM community, which regards such "topping from the bottom" as rude or even incompatible with the standards of BDSM relations. BDSM practitioners sometimes regard the practice of BDSM in their sex life as roleplaying and so often use the terms "play" and "playing" to describe activities where in their roles. Play of this sort for a specified period of time is often called a "session", and the contents and the circumstances of play are often referred to as the "scene".

It is also common in personal relationships to use the term "kink play" for BDSM activities, or more specific terms for the type of activity. The relationships can be of varied types. Early writings on BDSM both by the academic and BDSM community spoke little of long-term relationships with some in the gay leather community suggesting short-term play relationships to be the only feasible relationship models, and recommending people to get married and "play" with BDSM outside of marriage. A study, the first to look at these relationships, fully demonstrated that "quality long-term functioning relationships" exist among practitioners of BDSM, with either sex being the top or bottom homosexual couples were not looked at.

Amongst the respondents, it was typically the bottoms who wanted to play harder, and be more restricted into their roles when there was a difference in desire to play in the relationship. Many of those engaged in long-term BDSM relationships learned their skills from larger BDSM organizations and communities [57] There was a lot of discussion by the respondents on the amount of control the top possessed in the relationships with almost non-existent discussion of the top "being better, or smarter, or of more value" than the bottom.

The respondents valued themselves, their partners, and their relationships. All couples expressed considerable goodwill toward their partners. The power exchange between the cohorts appears to be serving purposes beyond any sexual satisfaction, including experiencing a sense of being taken care of and bonding with a partner. A professional dominatrix or professional dominant , often referred to within the culture as a "pro-dom me ", offers services encompassing the range of bondage, discipline, and dominance in exchange for money.

The term "dominatrix" is little-used within the non-professional BDSM scene. A non-professional dominant woman is more commonly referred to simply as a "domme", "dominant", or " femdom " short for female dominance. There are also services provided by professional female submissives "pro-subs".

A professional submissive consents to her client's dominant behavior within negotiated limits, and often works within a professional dungeon. Professional submissives , although far more rare, do exist. However it is much more rare to find a male in this profession. A male "pro-dom" typically only works with male clientele. A BDSM activity can, but need not, involve sexual activity or sexual roleplay. A characteristic of many BDSM relationships is the power exchange from the bottom to the dominant partner, and bondage features prominently in BDSM scenes and sexual roleplay.

Thus someone who is on 'the Scene', and prepared to play in public, might take part in 'a scene' at a public play party.

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BDSM elements may involve settings of slave training or punishment for breaches of instructions. A scene can also take place in a club, where the play can be viewed by others. When a scene takes place in a public setting, it may be because the participants enjoy being watched by others, or because of the equipment available, or because having third parties present adds safety for play partners who have only recently met. Standard social etiquette rules still apply when at a BDSM event, such as not intimately touching someone you do not know, not touching someone else's belongings including toys , and abiding by dress codes.

A specific scene takes place within the general conventions and etiquette of BDSM, such as requirements for mutual consent and agreement as to the limits of any BDSM activity. This agreement can be incorporated into a formal contract. In addition, most clubs have additional rules which regulate how onlookers may interact with the actual participants in a scene.

BDSM play parties are events in which BDSM practitioners and other similarly interested people meet in order to communicate, share experiences and knowledge, and to "play" in an erotic atmosphere. The requirement for such dress codes differ. While some events have none, others have a policy in order to create a more coherent atmosphere and to prevent onlookers from taking part.

At these parties, BDSM can be publicly performed on a stage, or more privately in separate "dungeons". Slings, St. Andrew's crosses or similar restraining constructs , spanking benches, and punishing supports or cages are often made available. The problem of noise disturbance is also lessened at these events, while in the home setting many BDSM activities can be limited by this factor. In addition, such parties offer both exhibitionists and voyeurs a forum to indulge their inclinations without social criticism.

Sexual intercourse is not permitted within most public BDSM play spaces or not often seen in others, because it is not the emphasis of this kind of play. In order to ensure the maximum safety and comfort for the participants certain standards of behavior have evolved; these include aspects of courtesy , privacy , respect and safewords. This scene appears particularly on the Internet, in publications, and in meetings such as at fetish clubs like Torture Garden , SM parties, gatherings called munches , and erotic fairs like Venus Berlin.

The weekend long festivities include a wide range of sadomasochistic erotica in a public clothing optional space between 8th and 13th streets with nightly parties associated with the organization. There are also conventions such as Living in Leather and Black Rose.

It has often been assumed that a preference for BDSM is a consequence of childhood abuse. Research indicates that there is no evidence for this claim. There is also a link between transgender individuals who have been abused and violence occurring in BDSM activities. For some, taking on a role of compliance or helplessness offers a form of therapeutic escape; from the stresses of life, from responsibility, or from guilt. For others, being under the power of a strong, controlling presence may evoke the feelings of safety and protection associated with childhood.

A sadist, on the other hand, may enjoy the feeling of power and authority that comes from playing the dominant role, or receive pleasure vicariously through the suffering of the masochist. It is poorly understood, though, what ultimately connects these emotional experiences to sexual gratification, or how that connection initially forms. It's a problem only if it is getting that individual into difficulties, if he or she is not happy with it, or it's causing problems in their personal or professional lives.

If it's not, I'm not seeing that as a problem. But assuming that it did, what I would wonder about is what is his or her biology that would cause a tendency toward a problem, and dynamically, what were the experiences this individual had that led him or her toward one of the ends of the spectrum. It is agreed on by some psychologists that experiences during early sexual development can have a profound effect on the character of sexuality later in life.

Sadomasochistic desires, however, seem to form at a variety of ages. Some individuals report having had them before puberty, while others do not discover them until well into adulthood. The prevalence of sadomasochism within the general population is unknown. Despite female sadists being less visible than males, some surveys have resulted in comparable amounts of sadistic fantasies between females and males. Following a phenomenological study of nine individuals involved in sexual masochistic sessions who regarded pain as central to their experience, [82] sexual masochism was described as an addiction-like tendency, with several features resembling that of drug addiction: craving, intoxication, tolerance and withdrawal.

It was also demonstrated how the first masochistic experience is placed on a pedestal, with subsequent use aiming at retrieving this lost sensation, much as described in the descriptive literature on addiction. The addictive pattern presented in this study suggests an association with behavioral spin as found in problem gamblers. BDSM is practiced in all social strata and is common in both heterosexual and homosexual men and women in varied occurrences and intensities.

Estimation on the overall percentage of BDSM related sexual behaviour vary but it is no longer [ when? A representative study done from to in Australia found that 1. Of the entire sample, 1. BDSM activity was significantly more likely among bisexuals and homosexuals of both sexes.

But among men in general, there was no relationship effect of age, education, language spoken at home, or relationship status. Among women, in this study, activity was most common for those between 16 and 19 years of age and least likely for females over 50 years. Activity was also significantly more likely for women who had a regular partner they did not live with, but was not significantly related with speaking a language other than English or education.

Thus both black leather clothing, sexual jewellery such as chains and dominance roleplay appear increasingly outside of BDSM contexts. Reflecting changes in social norms , modern medical opinion is now moving away from regarding BDSM activities as medical disorders, unless they are nonconsensual or involve significant distress or harm. Section F65 of the current revision, ICD , indicates that "mild degrees of sadomasochistic stimulation are commonly used to enhance otherwise normal sexual activity".

The diagnostic guidelines for the ICD state that this class of diagnosis should only be made "if sadomasochistic activity is the most important source of stimulation or necessary for sexual gratification". This was followed by Sweden in , Norway in and Finland The population with related fantasies is believed to be even larger. The ICD is in the process of revision, and recent drafts have reflected these changes in social norms.

The final advance text is to be officially presented to the members of the WHO in , ready to come into effect in Some people who feel attracted by the situations usually compiled under the term BDSM reach a point where they decide to come out of the closet , though many sadomasochists keep themselves closeted.

Even so, depending upon a survey's participants, about 5 to 25 percent of the US population show affinity to the subject. Public knowledge of one's BDSM lifestyle can have devastating vocational and social effects for sadomasochists. Many face severe professional consequences [] or social rejection if they are exposed, either voluntarily or involuntarily, as sadomasochists. Within feminist circles the discussion has been split roughly into two camps: some who see BDSM as an aspect or reflection of oppression for example, Alice Schwarzer and, on the other side, pro-BDSM feminists, often grouped under the banner of sex-positive feminism see Samois ; both of them can be traced back to the s.

Some feminists have criticized BDSM for eroticizing power and violence, and for reinforcing misogyny. They argue that women who engage in BDSM are making a choice that is ultimately bad for women. They also state that the main point of feminism is to give an individual woman free choices in her life; which includes her sexual desire. While some feminists suggest connections between consensual BDSM scenes and non-consensual rape and sexual assault , other sex-positive ones find the notion insulting to women. It is often mentioned that in BDSM, roles are not fixed to gender , but personal preferences.

Finally, some people switch , taking either a dominant or submissive role on different occasions. Several studies investigating the possibility of correlation between BDSM pornography and the violence against women also indicate a lack of correlation. As an example, Japan is listed as the country with the lowest sexual crime rate out of all the industrialized nations, despite being known for its distinct BDSM and bondage pornography see Pornography in Japan.

In , the media coverage of Jack McGeorge showed that simply participating and working in BDSM support groups poses risks to one's job, even in countries where no law restricts it. Nevertheless, it leads to a difficult psychological situation in which the person concerned can be exposed to high levels of emotional stress. In the stages of "self awareness", he or she realizes their desires related to BDSM scenarios or decides to be open for such. Some authors call this internal coming-out.

Two separate surveys on this topic independently came to the conclusion that 58 percent and 67 percent of the sample respectively, had realized their disposition before their 19th birthday. Other surveys on this topic show comparable results. While homosexuals have created support networks in the last decades, sadomasochistic support networks are just starting to develop in most countries. In German speaking countries they are only moderately more developed. In the US Kink Aware Professionals KAP a privately funded, non-profit service provides the community with referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to the BDSM, fetish, and leather community.

The German Bundesvereinigung Sadomasochismus is committed to the same aim of providing information and driving press relations. In the website and mailing list Datenschlag went online in German and English providing the largest bibliography , as well as one of the most extensive historical collections of sources related to BDSM. Richters et al. They were, however, not any more likely to have been coerced, unhappy, anxious, or experiencing sexual difficulties.

On the contrary, men who had engaged in BDSM scored lower on a psychological distress scale than men who did not. There have been few studies on the psychological aspects of BDSM using modern scientific standards. Psychotherapist Charles Moser has said there is no evidence for the theory that BDSM has common symptoms or any common psychopathology, emphasizing that there is no evidence that BDSM practitioners have any special psychiatric other problems based on their sexual preferences. Problems do sometimes occur in the area of self classification by the person concerned.

During the phase of the "coming-out", self-questioning related to one's own "normality" is quite common. This, combined with the fear of discrimination in everyday life, leads in some cases to a double life which can be highly burdensome. At the same time, the denial of BDSM preferences can induce stress and dissatisfaction with one's own "vanilla"-lifestyle, feeding the apprehension of finding no partner.

The wish to remove BDSM preferences is another possible reason for psychological problems since it is not possible in most cases. Finally, the scientist states that BDSM practitioners seldom commit violent crimes. Moser's study comes to the conclusion that there is no scientific evidence, which could give reason to refuse members of this group work- or safety certificates, adoption possibilities, custody or other social rights or privileges. The Swiss psychoanalyst Fritz Morgenthaler shares a similar perspective in his book, Homosexuality, Heterosexuality, Perversion He states that possible problems result not necessarily from the non-normative behavior, but in most cases primarily from the real or feared reactions of the social environment towards their own preferences.

Masochismus und Gesellschaft. Moser's results are further supported by a Australian study by Richters et al. The study found that BDSM practitioners were no more likely to have experienced sexual assault than the control group, and were not more likely to feel unhappy or anxious. The BDSM males reported higher levels of psychological well-being than the controls. It was concluded that "BDSM is simply a sexual interest or subculture attractive to a minority, not a pathological symptom of past abuse or difficulty with 'normal' sex. Several recent studies have been conducted on the gender differences and personality traits of BDSM practitioners.

They concluded that "men more often display an engagement in dominant practices, whereas females take on the submissive part. One common belief of BDSM and kink is that women are more likely to take on masochistic roles than men. Roy Baumeister actually had more male masochists in his study than female, and fewer male dominants than female.

The lack of statistical significance in these gender differences suggests that no assumptions should be made regarding gender and masochistic roles in BDSM. One explanation why we might think otherwise lies in our social and cultural ideals about femininity ; masochism may emphasize certain stereotypically feminine elements through activities like feminization of men and ultra-feminine clothing for women. But such tendencies of the submissive masochistic role should not be interpreted as a connection between it and the stereotypical female role—many masochistic scripts do not include any of these tendencies.

Baumeister found that masochistic males experienced greater: severity of pain, frequency of humiliation status-loss, degrading, oral , partner infidelity, active participation by other persons, and cross dressing. Trends also suggested that male masochism included more bondage and oral sex than female though the data was not significant. Female masochists, on the other hand, experienced greater: frequency in pain, pain as punishment for 'misdeeds' in the relationship context, display humiliation, genital intercourse, and presence of non-participating audiences.

The exclusiveness of dominant males in a heterosexual relationship happens because, historically, men in power preferred multiple partners. Finally, Baumeister observes a contrast between the 'intense sensation' focus of male masochism to a more 'meaning and emotion' centred female masochistic script. Prior argues that although some of these women may appear to be engaging in traditional subordinate or submissive roles, BDSM allows women in both dominant and submissive roles to express and experience personal power through their sexual identities.

In turn, Prior was able to answer whether or not these women found an incongruity between their sexual identities and feminist identity. Her research found that these women saw little to no incongruity, and in fact felt that their feminist identity supported identities of submissive and slave. For them these are sexually and emotionally fulfilling roles and identities that, in some cases, feed other aspects of their lives.

Prior contends that third wave feminism provides a space for women in BDSM communities to express their sexual identities fully, even when those identities seem counter-intuitive to the ideals of feminism. Furthermore, women who do identify as submissive, sexually or otherwise, find a space within BDSM where they can fully express themselves as integrated, well-balanced, and powerful women. The researchers found the majority of females identified as heterosexual and submissive, a substantial minority were versatile—able to switch between dominant and submissive roles—and a smaller minority identified with the dominant role exclusively.

BDSM is not a sexual orientation or identity, but it is considered one by some of its practitioners. Often this is a non-judgmental community where gender, sexuality, orientation, preferences are accepted as is or worked at to become something a person can be happy with. Demographically, Nordling et al. The gay men also had higher incomes than the general population, and tended to work in white collar jobs while straight men tended toward blue collar ones.

Because there were not enough female respondents 22 , no conclusions could be drawn from them. Sexually speaking, the same study by Nordling et al. From the questionnaire, researchers were able to identify four separate sexual themes: hyper-masculinity , giving and receiving pain, physical restriction i.

The Day Begins

As Nordling et al. In Steve Lenius' original paper he explored the acceptance of bisexuality in a supposedly pansexual BDSM community. The reasoning behind this is that 'coming-out' had become primarily the territory of the gay and lesbian, with bisexuals feeling the push to be one or the other and being right only half the time either way. What he found in , was that people in BDSM were open to discussion about the topic of bisexuality and pansexuality and all controversies they bring to the table, but personal biases and issues stood in the way of actively using such labels. A decade later, Lenius looks back on his study and considers if anything has changed.

He concluded that the standing of bisexuals in the BDSM and kink community was unchanged, and believed that positive shifts in attitude were moderated by society's changing views towards different sexualities and orientations. But Lenius does emphasize that the pansexual promoting BDSM community helped advance greater acceptance of alternative sexualities. Brandy Lin Simula , on the other hand, argues that BDSM actively resists gender conforming and identified three different types of BDSM bisexuality: gender-switching , gender-based styles taking on a different gendered style depending on gender of partner when playing , and rejection of gender resisting the idea that gender matters in their play partners.

Simula explains that practitioners of BDSM routinely challenge our concepts of sexuality by pushing the limits on pre-existing ideas of sexual orientation and gender norms. For some, BDSM and kink provides a platform in creating identities that are fluid, ever-changing. Psychiatry has an insensitive history in the area of BDSM. There have been many involvements by institutions of political power to marginalize subgroups and sexual minorities.

Sadism and masochism were also found in the personality disorder section. According to Kolmes et al. There has also been research which suggests BDSM can be a beneficial way for victims of sexual assault to deal with their trauma, most notably by Corie Hammers, but this work is limited in scope and to date, has not undergone empirical testing as a treatment. Countertransference is a common problem in clinical settings. Despite having no evidence, therapists may find themselves believing that their client's pathology is "self-evident".

Therapists may feel intense disgust and aversive reactions. Feelings of countertransference can interfere with therapy. Another common problem is when clients conceal their sexual preferences from their therapists. This can compromise any therapy. To avoid non-disclosure, therapists are encouraged to communicate their openness in indirect ways with literatures and artworks in the waiting room.

Therapists can also deliberately bring up BDSM topics during the course of therapy. With less informed therapists, sometimes they over-focus on clients' sexuality which detracts from original issues such as family relationships, depression, etc. A special subgroup that needs counselling is the "newbie". Individuals just coming out might have internalized shame, fear, and self-hatred about their sexual preferences. Therapists need to provide acceptance, care, and model positive attitude; providing reassurance, psychoeducation , and bibliotherapy for these clients is crucial.

The average age when BDSM individuals realize their sexual preference is around 26 years. However, they may have married or had children by this point. Cuneiform texts dedicated to Inanna which incorporate domination rituals. In particular she points to ancient writings such as Inanna and Ebih in which the Goddess dominates Ebih , and Hymn to Inanna describing cross-dressing transformations and rituals "imbued with pain and ecstasy, bringing about initation [ sic?

During the ninth century BC, ritual flagellations were performed in Artemis Orthia , one of the most important religious areas of ancient Sparta , where the Cult of Orthia , a pre olympic religion, was practiced. Here ritual flagellation called diamastigosis took place, in which young adolescent men were whipped in a ceremony overseen by the priestess. One of the oldest graphical proofs of sadomasochistic activities is found in the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping near Tarquinia , which dates to the fifth century BC.

Inside the tomb there is fresco which portrays two men who flagellate a woman with a cane and a hand during an erotic situation. In Pompeii, a whip-mistress figure with wings is depicted on the wall of the Villa of Mysteries , as part of an initiation of a young woman into the Mysteries. The whip-mistress role drove the sacred initiation of ceremonial death and rebirth.

The Kama Sutra of India describes four different kinds of hitting during lovemaking, the allowed regions of the human body to target and different kinds of joyful "cries of pain" practiced by bottoms. The collection of historic texts related to sensuous experiences explicitly emphasizes that impact play , biting and pinching during sexual activities should only be performed consensually since only some women consider such behavior to be joyful.

From this perspective the Kama Sutra can be considered as one of the first written resources dealing with sadomasochistic activities and safety rules. Further texts with sadomasochistic connotation appear worldwide during the following centuries on a regular basis.

Reporter's Notebook

There are anecdotal reports of people willingly being bound or whipped, as a prelude to or substitute for sex, during the 14th century. The medieval phenomenon of courtly love in all of its slavish devotion and ambivalence has been suggested by some writers to be a precursor of BDSM. Flagellation practiced within an erotic setting has been recorded from at least the s evidenced by a John Davies epigram, [] [] and references to "flogging schools" in Thomas Shadwell 's The Virtuoso and Tim Tell-Troth's Knavery of Astrology