The Truth About BDSM

You know those TV commercials that start with biking in the park, and a happy couple together, and the suddenly the voiceover announces the guy has genital herpes…but it’s all just perfectly fine!  Both partners feel safe and secure and it brought the relationship closer together and so on and so forth.  Then comes the sales pitch.

I imagine that almost every herpes sufferer rolls their eyes at those commercials about as much as every person into BDSM rolls their eyes when CSI/NCIS/L&O/all the other boring-to-the-point-I-want-to-break-my-cable-box TV shows out there that use racy sex or violence to boost their ratings.  And BDSM hits the lottery there.  Fuck all movies and shows who have ever portrayed BDSM, at all, ever.  This includes you, pornography.  All of you suck at it so bad that it makes all of it offensive on countless levels.  Except Secretary.  You get a pass.  I digress.

The reason I thought of all this, this morning, was because I began to think about dating and BDSM – at what point in the date do you mention that you like to be choked during sex?

For those who don’t know, BDSM is a tri-faceted abbreviation for “Bondage and Discipline,” “Dominance and Submission,” and “Sadism and Masochism.”  More on those later.  I’ve been actively into BDSM since I was around 14, but I exist external to any “BDSM Community,” which absolutely exists, both online and in the real world.  Often the people in those Underworld Scenes are just as pretentious and annoying and cling to their own status quo and judgmentalism as much as the “Vanilla People” the BDSMers complain so much about.  “Vanilla” is like the BDSM word for “straight” or “square,” for all you hip cats out there.

Find me a group of people whining about being discriminated against and I’ll show you a group of people who sees themselves as different from everyone else.

BDSM is a world filled with perverts, but the demographics might surprise you.  While you have a solid chance of running into a BDSMer who is a total nutcase, you’re just as likely to run into a highly successful individual leading a stable life but also heavily into BDSM.  It’s like any other broad-spectrum loose-knit organization like that – a religion or a TV show cult following or even a sports fandom.

I have my own prejudices: I hate Yankees fans.  Why?  Because fuck those loudmouthed arrogant assholes.  Now, how many Yankees fans do I legitimately know?  Maybe a dozen.  But fuck all of them!  Let me put it to you this way: I’m a moron, and so are we all.  Most people don’t have a deep desire to be tied up, whipped, or forced to eat from a doggie dish, but most people don’t have a deep desire to knit, sew, and quilt, either; we wouldn’t look at a bunch of people who are really into the latter activities as “freaks.”  We do with BDSM.  I think it’s got something to do with the leather-to-embroidery ratio.

But just like you’re going to walk into a knitting circle and meet a few real weirdos, so shall you in BDSM.  Nor do all that many who have these desires have mental disorders that are that much different from people who are addicted to shopping or people who are obsessed with motorcycling.  Well, I guess now’s a good a time to talk about this as any…

You’ll still find BDSM as a diagnosable mental condition, but only when it meets a super-vague criteria of interfering with one’s normal life.  The humor here is pretty good.  If the DSM-IV defines BDSM as only being diagnosable abnormal behavior only if it effects normal life, then either BDSM is generally normal behavior (that’s obviously not the case) or, in its always being abnormal, it always interferes with normalcy – the question, then, is of degree, and that’s a completely arbitrary thing!  It’s all pretty ridiculous.  Having your boyfriend spank you while you call him “Daddy” means you’ve got some psychological issues, but it should hardly be assumed they’re all that serious.

And we’re back to perception.  Everyone reacted differently to the last sentence in the previous paragraph.  Let’s be honest.  There were people who wanted to be one of those two people.  And there were people who thought both of those people need serious psychiatric help and that I’m an idiot for writing any of this.  And here we are.

Beyond the obvious absurdity of being freaked out about something you know nothing about (which we are all guilty of, in regards to something, to some extent), the general ignorance about BDSM and overall sense that it’s somehow dirty, raunchy, nasty, or disgusting, really only applies to the viewpoints of those with such puritanical sexual outlooks that they are, in fact, actual Puritans.  Chances are, you practice some form of BDSM every day.  The Puritans do, too.  Probably more than most people.  Let’s move on.

No matter what relationship you’re in – with a coworker or friend or boss – there is a power struggle.  This is the D/s of BDSM: Domination and submission.  The positive and negative energy that connects everything is undeniable, and our attitudes are no different.  Whether you want to call it “Type A/B Personalities” or whatever, people are who they are, but they are also different depending on who they interact with.  That means an individual’s Dominant/submissive behavior is fluctuating all the time.  You might be one way at work and another at home or one way with one person and another way with a different person.  This is how a guy will be a CEO all day and then pay $500/hour for a woman to whip his ass after work.  It can also be why “battered wife syndrome” exists, and I’m not one to gloss-over the irresponsible aspects of BDSM; there is a lot of abuse and neglect within the BDSM realm.  People are, naturally, who they are, and they want what they want – if they can’t find a healthy outlet, they will settle for an unhealthy substitute.  But, no matter who we are, we are all subject to behaving dominantly or submissively, at any given moment in life, to achieve our goals – these traits are simply primitive interpersonal traits.

Sadism and masochism are fun ones to play with, because we all have some weird thing we can think of that hurts but feels good.  Massages.  Or…when you’ve worn a tight pony tail or under a hat all day, and then you take it out/off, and run your fingers through your hair.  Working out is another great example.  Hell, even taking a shit isn’t a bad example!  There are plenty of things we do, daily, that are not strictly pleasurable in themselves and yet we find some sort of pleasure in the activity – sometimes, the activity is even unpleasant, on certain levels, but we still find it pleasurable overall.  The sadism side is another that exists in us all, on a number of levels.  Outside of the few pure pacifists of the world, most of us have the capacity to inflict pain and feel not simply OK with it, but feel happy about it.  Yeah, I said it.  You might not be able to torture a person, but you could punch certain assholes in the face and feel very OK about it.  And that dude breaking into your kid’s bedroom is about to feel a lot of pain, and you’re going to feel perfectly happy to deliver it.  So, sadism can work for us.  Joys of sadism and masochism are complex, but can be as simple as sex; many women like to, at least on occasion, get fucked so hard it hurts a little – and most guys get turned on by both doing that and watching that happen.    Sadism and masochism – the SM of BDSM – is simply the study of the effects of pain and how we deal with it on the levels that excite us.

The final portion of the acronym is B&D: bondage and discipline.  This one’s the fun one because it’s another that everyone does, but even just based in the words, it sounds really freaky.  For most of us, bondage=slavery and discipline is contrary to our ideas of freely expressing ourselves.  Unless a person is a naturally ultra-submissive or ultra-dominant person, neither of these concepts immediately appeal.  But bondage as a broader concept – as in, restraint – changes that meaning a lot.  Most people out there have experimented with being tied up, or tying someone up, or have the fantasy; you’ve at least gotten turned-on by a tight wrist-holding during passionate sex.  Now, if someone wants to take that to the extent where they’re bound in chains so tight they can’t twitch their butt cheek…well…that’s just the other side of that coin.  In terms of discipline, it’s the same duality.  Some people just know they need their wives to remind them to do things (despite claiming their wives nag them) – I’ve known women who, at the end of a bad day at work, want to be spanked until they cry.  They say it lets them “let go.”

But this is the world – the question isn’t whether or not you’re into BDSM – the question is, to what extent are you into it?

As a final note, consider Taboo, your own and others’.  It’s interesting that almost everything that we do would be seen as offensive by someone else on this planet, from the food we eat to the way we dress or wear our hair or even sit.  There are so many things for people to get upset about, it’s not any real surprise that sexuality would be one of them.  People love to judge behavior – what I really want to make clear is the cycle we’ve seen throughout this piece.  There is something someone does out that there in the world that you would find absolutely repulsive – you know this – unless you live in a cave, you know these people exist.  But know that no matter who you are, you and your lifestyle is found to be absolutely repulsive by others’ standards, for countless people for countless reasons.  Whoever you are, someone thinks that the way you live your life is bad enough for you to be locked away or even killed because of it.

If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.

6 thoughts on “The Truth About BDSM

    • I am not certain if it’s how much of a loser I look like or sound like that got me to approve your ridiculous comment, written by someone with such a lack of confidence or authority that she maintains total anonymity and simply trolls around online judging people to bolster her pathetic codependent feeble self-esteem. But…yeah…I’m the loser.

      Let me tell you what really happened here. I clearly hit a nerve with what I wrote on this particular blog, and whoever this “Sarah” is found her chord a bit too struck, and thought she’d bring out her Big Guns. Chances are she’s actually into BDSM and saw some of this apply to her, and that got her upset. Instead of look at herself, she lashed out irrationally towards me, as the author. What can I say other than “case in point”?

  1. leather-to-embroidery ratio… cute 😉

    I really enjoyed this post… a great read. BDSM really can be quite simple and, truly, it is in all of us, in one way or another. I’ve been an avid student of the subject for quite some time, and the biggest surprise for me, a reformed prude, is that it isn’t the big, bad thing that we are all led to believe is true… the one thing I’ve learned over the years (and am still learning on a daily basis) is acceptance, in all things, whether we choose to participate or not.

    Just my quick two cents… wanted to leave a brief comment to let you know I enjoyed this article.

  2. “lack of confidence”… says the man who has to “dominate” girls to feel good about himself. I think it is clear that you have never had a proper girlfriend. It does not surprise me. Or maybe your mother did not give you enough attention as a child.

    • For those still paying attention to what this Anonymous Coward is typing…it’s worth mentioning that I never used the word “dominate” once, in this article. In fact, I only used the word “dominant” four times, and never to describe myself. Nor did I say anything about what makes me feel good.

      Isn’t it sad, to see people like this, who push their psychological issues onto others, all under the guise of anonymity? In the end, all she has is a shot at my mother? Talk about someone who appears to be a loser with no friends. It really is just…pathetic and sad. Sorry, “Sarah” – I hope you can make a better life for yourself – it might help if you saw a shrink.

Leave a Reply