If you’ve ever fantasized about getting kinky in the bedroom, you’re not alone.
Don’t tell that you don’t remember E. L. James’s novel Fifty Shades of Grey or the movie, well that is just a reference that interest in BDSM — bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism — is anything but rare. (1)
Aipapii summarized the fundamentals, types and roles and safety rules.
How Many People are doing it?
Nearly 47 percent of women and 60 percent of men have fantasized about dominating someone sexually, while slightly more women and less men are aroused by the idea of being dominated, according to a study published online March 3, 2016, in he Journal of Sex Research. (2) the same study also found that almost 47 percent adults would like to participate in at least one nontraditional type of sexual activity, and 33.9 percent said that they’d done so at least once in the past.
Not surprised that if you search the phrase “BDSM” on Google it will return more than 500 million results.
The History of BDSM: Then and Now
Checking up on historical data and you’ll discover that BDSM is nothing new. Here are some of the BDSM’s high points back in time:
- 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. (3)
- 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.” (4)
- 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, whose 1870 novel Venus in Fursdescribes a dominant-submissive relationship. (5)
- Back in 1953, a Kinsey Institute study found that 55 percent of women and 50 percent of men were aroused by being bitten. (6)
- 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, according to the 2005 Durex Global Sex Survey. (7)
The Psychology of BDSM: Why does it feel good?
“People always ask if it’s normal to be interested in BDSM,” says Michal Daveed, a spokeswoman for The Eulenspiegal Society, a nonprofit organization in New York City that describes itself as the “oldest and largest BDSM support and education group” in the country.
One landmark study published in 2008 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine backs Daveed up. (9) It 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.
“Our findings support the idea that BDSM is simply a sexual interest or subculture attractive to a minority, and for most participants not a pathological symptom of past abuse or difficulty with ‘normal’ sex,” the researchers concluded.
“BDSM is a healthy expression of sexuality,” says Filippo M. Nimbi, PhD, a researcher at the Institute of Clinical Sexology and in the department of dynamic and clinical psychology at Sapienza University, both in Rome.
“People engaging in BDSM are usually people who have thought a lot about their sexuality,” Nimbi explained. “They have explored and faced their sexual boundaries. Basically, they know what they like, and they do it. This has a positive outcome on their sexual experiences and on the overall quality of their lives.”
In general, everyone is different. We can develop the same fantasy from different stories, and we can develop different fantasies from the same stories. Some people find in BDSM a way to be free, to get wild, to let go, and to play a different role from their everyday lives. If they get satisfaction and respect the ‘rules,’ why should it be abnormal?”
Roleplaying and BDSM: The Variety is in your mind
Doctor and patient. Teacher and student. Role-playing is a common aspect of BDSM “play.” It may involve two or more people who “act out” a particular scene or fantasy. BDSM role play can happen in person or virtually. It almost always involves at least one individual being dominant and another being submissive. It may be simple, or it may be complicated enough to require a script. And actual sex is not the focus.
Some of the most popular themes for BDSM role play include:
- Law Enforcement–prisoner
Asking to have clothespins attached to your tongue. Being mummified with plastic wrap so that you’re completely immobilized. Living as a submissive wearing a leather collar while serving a dominant partner. Yes, there are people who choose these activities — the key word being “choose.”
It is always voluntary, and the reason people do it is because it feels good.
Common forms of BDSM play include:
- Bondage (restraint or restriction)
- Wax (dripping hot wax on the skin)
- Impact (spanking, slapping, caning, flogging)
- Sensation (using tools such as feathers, a paddle, burlap, on the skin)
- Sensory deprivation (blindfolds, earmuffs, ear plugs)
The Importance of Communication
How can having someone strike you, perhaps to the point that you cry out in pain, not be abuse? “Consent is the magic word,” says Nimbi.
In a dominant-submissive “scene,” for instance one in which one person is going to be flogged, it’s standard practice for the “dom” or “top” and the “sub” or “bottom” to first negotiate at length and then contract, often in writing, what the sub is definitely willing to do, what he or she might be willing to do, and what is absolutely off-limits before they begin to “play.”
They also must agree on a safe word or gesture that the sub can use at any time to stop the action. That means that if there’s any potential for pain, both players are aware of the rules and of their own limits. Ironically, it also means that the sub actually has more control of the scene than the dom since he or she defines the parameters and has the power to stop the action at any time, for any reason.
How to Try It Safely at Home
If you’re planning on trying kink at home, experts advise going to a class, reading a book, listening to a podcast, or checking out informational videos on YouTube before trying anything other than light BDSM at home to see and learn how to engage in this type of erotic expression safely.
You have to learn this. You don’t just go to Home Depot and buy a rope and tie your husband up. BDSM play is not random. It’s not built on spontaneity. It’s built on anticipating a set of behaviors that are negotiated beforehand.
Social Etiquette and BDSM
It might sound contrary, but there’s most definitely a code of behavior with regard to practicing BDSM properly. If you’re thinking about trying BDSM at a social gathering, often dubbed a “play party,” which can be an informal gathering hosted by someone or an organized event, you’ll need to do some prepping beforehand about the social mores. Can you touch someone else’s toys? How do you handle consent? Can everybody play? Learning the ropes before you go will ensure that you have a good time.
BDSM and the Law: What You Need to Know
The legality behind BDSM is murky.
Legally, for instance, you cannot consent to be tortured or assaulted. And, to the outside eye, some BDSM activities can appear to fall into that category. So, for example, if police raid a BDSM event and see activities that they object to, they can charge the participants even if there is consent. While it’s unlikely you’ll encounter a problem, especially in the confines of your own home, it’s good to know the lay of the land, legally. And there are special cases — like custody battles — where people need to know how this kind of information can be used in court.
Aipapii owes the credit for the article to EverydayHealth