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BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage , discipline , dominance and submission , sadomasochism , and other related interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing 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 terms "top" and "bottom" are also used: The two sets of terms are subtly different: 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. 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. 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;  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,  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. 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". 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: 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.
In addition to the excellent articles above, I asked my submissive to write a few words about the value of journaling to her. My journal is a place for me to capture my thoughts throughout the day, but more importantly it allows me to share these intimate thoughts with Sir in an unobtrusive way.
Because we are separated by thousands of miles, and given that we both lead busy lives, my journal allows me to share my day with Sir without disturbing him.
When he is able, he reads my journal and comments accordingly. One of the best things about having a journal is that it helps me be more expressive with my thoughts. On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, it helps me learn how to share my innermost thoughts with someone else. I have always been independent and I go out of my way to be completely self-sufficient. Once I discovered my submissive nature and understood my responsibilities and obligations to my Dominant, I knew that I needed to be better about sharing my thoughts with someone else.
To date, I feel I have improved a great deal in this area and I no longer hesitate to open up in my journal. And help you to maintain that reputation as a mind reader amongst your friends who are so envious of your relationship. Do you use journaling? Do you, as a Dominant, keep a journal yourself?
Your comment might be the basis of a future article. Posted in Dominance , Online Dominance , Training Tagged dominant organization , dominant tasks , homework , how-to , journal writing , journals , shared files , submission , tasks 12 Responses. Writing is a wonderful tool for self reflection and expression. How often do you and your submissive get to see each other? Do either of you have other relationships that are local? And honestly, I think Sir can read my mind.
He really is that good. The five documents that Sir references in this article help us a lot. In the beginning we established some ground rules and delegated tasks so that I have a framework. I have daily tasks morning check-in emails, updating my personal journal, etc and then I have rules. Technology helps in that we email, chat, video chat, and talk regularly. It is incredibly intense. We actually just met in person for the first time last month.
It was a work trip for me and a vacation for him. Of course, it was hard for me to focus on work when I was really thinking about his flogger, but…. For me, it has been difficult dealing with the separation after meeting in person, but again, we communicate so regularly that I feel like Sir is always with me. Thank you so much for your response, subtoJB.
This does help me get a clearer picture of what it looks like, at least in your case. I hope you continue to find much richness, love and intimacy together. And more visits in person. More visits in person are definitely on the list. That will serve two purposes: And I like being able to share what we do, and hopefully help others to learn from our experience along the way.
I just stumbled on your reply Dominant Gentlemen. It sounds like you have a great thing going on. Thank you for sharing it with us. And congrats to both of you. I have to thank the author of this post. I enjoy reading your articles and will continue to do so. Thank you so much for your kind words!
I am very new to this so I am doing a lot of reading. I am the submissive and have an an amazing teacher but I want to know more. Thank you for making this so clear and easy to understand. I can see how these relationships are very loving and it seems like to me it would make it even better than it would be otherwise.
My online potential Dom has asked me to send morning and evening emails. Should these simply be regarding events of my day, my inner thoughts, or questions I have for him? Does he want me to use it as a diary so he can understand me better? Thank you Dominant Gentleman. Female masochists, on the other hand, experienced greater: 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: Gay men preferred activities that tended towards hyper-masculinity while straight men showed greater preference for humiliation. 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. 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. Both terms were introduced to the medical field by German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his compilation of case studies Psychopathia Sexualis.
Pain and physical violence are not essential in Krafft-Ebing's conception, and he defined "masochism" German masochismus entirely in terms of control. This observation is commonly verified in both literature and practice; many sadists and masochists [ who? However it has also been argued Deleuze, Coldness and Cruelty that the concurrence of sadism and masochism in Freud's model should not be taken for granted.
Freud introduced the terms "primary" and "secondary" masochism. Though this idea has come under a number of interpretations, in a primary masochism the masochist undergoes a complete, not just a partial, rejection by the model or courted object or sadist , possibly involving the model taking a rival as a preferred mate.
This complete rejection is related to the death drive todestrieb in Freud's psychoanalysis. In a secondary masochism, by contrast, the masochist experiences a less serious, more feigned rejection and punishment by the model. Secondary masochism, in other words, is the relatively casual version, more akin to a charade, and most commentators are quick to point out its contrivedness.
Rejection is not desired by a primary masochist in quite the same sense as the feigned rejection occurring within a mutually consensual relationship—or even where the masochist happens to be the one having actual initiative power this is the confusion of the distinctions of casual appearance and discrete motives which underlies the analyses of Deleuze and Sartre , for example. Both Krafft-Ebing and Freud assumed that sadism in men resulted from the distortion of the aggressive component of the male sexual instinct.
Masochism in men, however, was seen as a more significant aberration, contrary to the nature of male sexuality. Freud doubted that masochism in men was ever a primary tendency, and speculated that it may exist only as a transformation of sadism. Sadomasochism in women received comparatively little discussion, as it was believed that it occurred primarily in men. Both also assumed that masochism was so inherent to female sexuality that it would be difficult to distinguish as a separate inclination.
Havelock Ellis , in Studies in the Psychology of Sex , argued that there is no clear distinction between the aspects of sadism and masochism, and that they may be regarded as complementary emotional states.
He also made the important point that sadomasochism is concerned only with pain in regard to sexual pleasure, and not in regard to cruelty, as Freud had suggested. In other words, the sadomasochist generally desires that the pain be inflicted or received in love, not in abuse, for the pleasure of either one or both participants. This mutual pleasure may even be essential for the satisfaction of those involved. It is described as not simply pain to initiate pleasure, but violence—"or the simulation of involuntary violent acts"—said to express love.
This irony is highly evident in the observation by many, that not only are popularly practiced sadomasochistic activities usually performed at the express request of the masochist, but that it is often the designated masochist who may direct such activities, through subtle emotional cues perceived or mutually understood and consensually recognized by the designated sadist. Deleuze's counterargument is that the tendency toward masochism is based on intensified desire brought on or enhanced by the acting out of frustration at the delay of gratification.
Taken to its extreme, an intolerably indefinite delay is 'rewarded' by punitive perpetual delay, manifested as unwavering coldness. The masochist derives pleasure from, as Deleuze puts it, the "Contract": The sadist, in contrast, derives pleasure from the "Law": The sadist attempts to destroy the ego in an effort to unify the id and super-ego , in effect gratifying the most base desires the sadist can express while ignoring or completely suppressing the will of the ego, or of the conscience.
Thus, Deleuze attempts to argue that masochism and sadism arise from such different impulses that the combination of the two terms is meaningless and misleading. A masochist's perception of their own self-subjugating sadistic desires and capacities are treated by Deleuze as reactions to prior experience of sadistic objectification.
The epilogue of Venus In Furs shows the character of Severin has become embittered by his experiment in the alleged control of masochism, and advocates instead the domination of women.
Before Deleuze, however, Sartre had presented his own theory of sadism and masochism, at which Deleuze's deconstructive argument, which took away the symmetry of the two roles, was probably directed. Because the pleasure or power in looking at the victim figures prominently in sadism and masochism, Sartre was able to link these phenomena to his famous philosophy of the "Look of the Other".
Sartre argued that masochism is an attempt by the "For-itself" consciousness to reduce itself to nothing, becoming an object that is drowned out by the "abyss of the Other's subjectivity". Conversely, Sartre held sadism to be the effort to annihilate the subjectivity of the victim. That means that the sadist is exhilarated by the emotional distress of the victim because they seek a subjectivity that views the victim as both subject and object.
This argument may appear stronger if it is understood that this "look of the other" theory is either only an aspect of the faculties of desire, or somehow its primary faculty. This does not account for the turn that Deleuze took for his own theory of these matters, but the premise of "desire as 'look'" is associated with theoretical distinctions always detracted by Deleuze, in what he regarded as its essential error to recognize "desire as lack"—which he identified in the philosophical temperament of Plato, Socrates, and Lacan.
For Deleuze, insofar as desire is a lack it is reducible to the "look". In this view of sado-masochism, the violence of the practices are an expression of a peripheral rivalry that has developed around the actual love-object. There is clearly a similarity to Deleuze, since both in the violence surrounding the memory of mimetic crisis and its avoidance, and in the resistance to affection that is focused on by Deleuze, there is an understanding of the value of the love object in terms of the processes of its valuation, acquisition and the test it imposes on the suitor.
Nichols compiled some common clinical issues: Countertransference is a common problem in clinical settings. 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.
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. Therefore, therapists need to facilitate couple's counselling and disclosure. It is important for therapists to consider fairness to partner and family of clients. In situations when boundaries between roles in the bedroom and roles in the rest of the relationship blurs, a "bleed-through" problem has occurred. Therapists need to help clients resolve distress and deal with any underlying problems that led to the initial bleed-through.
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. 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 John Cleland 's novel Fanny Hill , published in , incorporates a flagellation scene between the character's protagonist Fanny Hill and Mr Barville.
Composed and Delivered with Birch Discipline c. Other sources give a broader definition, citing BDSM-like behavior in earlier times and other cultures, such as the medieval flagellates and the physical ordeal rituals of some Native American societies.
BDSM ideas and imagery have existed on the fringes of Western culture throughout the twentieth century. Charles Guyette was the first American to produce and distribute fetish related material costumes, footwear, photography, props and accessories in the US.
His successor, Irving Klaw , produced commercial sexploitation film and photography with a BDSM theme most notably with Bettie Page and issued fetish comics known then as "chapter serials" by the now-iconic artists John Willie , Gene Bilbrew , and Eric Stanton. Stanton's model Bettie Page became at the same time one of the first successful models in the area of fetish photography and one of the most famous pin-up girls of American mainstream culture.
Italian author and designer Guido Crepax was deeply influenced by him, coining the style and development of European adult comics in the second half of the twentieth century. The artists Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe are the most prominent examples of the increasing use of BDSM-related motives in modern photography and the public discussions still resulting from this.
Leather has been a predominantly gay male term to refer to one fetish , but it can stand for many more. Members of the gay male leather community may wear leathers such as Motorcycle leathers, or may be attracted to men wearing leather. Leather and BDSM are seen as two parts of one whole.
Much of the BDSM culture can be traced back to the gay male leather culture , which formalized itself out of the group of men who were soldiers returning home after World War II — They formed leather clubs and bike clubs, some were fraternal services.
The establishment of Mr. Leather Contest and Mr. Drummer Contest were made around this time. This was the genesis of the gay male leather community. Many of the members were attracted to extreme forms of sexuality, for which peak expression was in the pre-AIDS s. In , the publication of Coming to Power by lesbian-feminist group Samois led to a greater knowledge and acceptance of BDSM in the lesbian community. Today the Leather Movement is generally seen as a part of the BDSM-culture instead of as a development deriving from gay subculture, even if a huge part of the BDSM-subculture was gay in the past.
In the s the so-called New Guard leather subculture evolved. This new orientation started to integrate psychological aspects into their play. In the late-eighties, the Internet provided a way of finding people with specialized interests around the world as well as on a local level, and communicating with them anonymously. When that group became too cluttered with spam , the focus moved to soc. With an increased focus on forms of social media, FetLife was formed, which advertises itself as "a social network for the BDSM and fetish community".
It operates similarly to other social media sites, with the ability to make friends with other users, events, and pages of shared interests. Once a very niche market , there are now very few sex toy companies that do not offer some sort of BDSM or fetish gear in their catalog. Kinky elements seem to have worked their way into " vanilla " markets. The former niche expanded to an important pillar of the business with adult accessories. Padded handcuffs, latex and leather garments, as well as more exotic items like soft whips for fondling and TENS for erotic electro stimulation can be found in catalogs aiming on classical vanilla target groups, indicating that former boundaries increasingly seem to shift.
During the last years the Internet also provides a central platform for networking among individuals who are interested in the subject. Besides countless private and commercial choices there is an increasing number of local networks and support groups emerging. These groups often offer comprehensive background and health related information for people who have been unwillingly outed as well as contact lists with information on psychologists , physicians and lawyers who are familiar with BDSM related topics.
Case law from the Austrian Supreme Court has consistently shown that bodily injury is only offensive to moral sensibilities, thus it is only punishable when a "serious injury" a damage to health or an employment disability lasting more than 24 days or the death of the "victim" results. A light injury is generally considered permissible when the "victim" has consented to it. In cases of threats to bodily well being the standard depends on the probability that an injury will actually occur.
If serious injury or even death would be a likely result of a threat being carried out, then even the threat itself is considered punishable. In a judge in Canada ruled that videos seized by the police featuring BDSM activities were not obscene, and did not constitute violence, but a "normal and acceptable" sexual activity between two consenting adults.
In , the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. The Court ruled that it is a criminal offence to perform a sexual act on an unconscious person—whether or not that person consented in advance. False imprisonment can be charged if the victim—when applying an objective view—can be considered to be impaired in his or her rights of free movement.
On 26 May the Criminal Panel No. Following cases in which sado-masochistic practices had been repeatedly used as pressure tactics against former partners in custody cases, the Appeals Court of Hamm ruled in February that sexual inclinations toward sado-masochism are no indication of a lack of capabilities for successful child-raising.
In Italian law BDSM is right on the border between crime and legality, and everything lies in the interpretation of the legal code by the judge. This concept is that anyone willingly causing "injury" to another person is to be punished. In this context though "injury" is legally defined as "anything causing a condition of illness", and "illness" is ill-defined itself in two different legal ways.
The first is "any anatomical or functional alteration of the organism" thus technically including little scratches and bruises too ; The second is "a significant worsening of a previous condition relevant to organic and relational processes, requiring any kind of therapy". This could make it somewhat risky to play with someone as later the "victim" may call foul play citing even an insignificant mark as evidence against the partner.
Also any injury requiring over 20 days of medical care must be denounced by the professional medic who discovers it, leading to automatic indictment of the person who caused it. In September a Swedish court acquitted a year-old man of assault for engaging in consensual BDSM play with a year-old woman the age of consent in Sweden is This parallels the stance of the mental health professions in the Nordic countries which have removed sadomasochism from their respective lists of psychiatric illnesses.
Certain practices however require granting consent for light injuries with only those over 18 permitted to give consent.
On 1 April Articles and of the Swiss Criminal Code were tightened to make ownership of "objects or demonstrations [ This law amounts to a general criminalization of sado-masochism since nearly every sado-masochist will have some kind of media which fulfills this criterion.
Critics also object to the wording of the law which puts sado-masochists in the same category as pedophiles and pederasts. In British law, consent is an absolute defence to common assault, but not necessarily to actual bodily harm, where courts may decide that consent is not valid, as occurred in the case of R v Brown.
The Spanner Trust states that this is defined as activities which have caused injury "of a lasting nature" but that only a slight duration or injury might be considered "lasting" in law. United Kingdom that no violation of Article 8 occurred because the amount of physical or psychological harm that the law allows between any two people, even consenting adults, is to be determined by the jurisdiction the individuals live in, as it is the State's responsibility to balance the concerns of public health and well-being with the amount of control a State should be allowed to exercise over its citizens.
In the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill , the British Government cited the Spanner case as justification for criminalizing images of consensual acts, as part of its proposed criminalization of possession of " extreme pornography ". In this case, the act was deemed to be sexual. Jovanovic , 95 N. However, many individual states do criminalize specific BDSM actions within their state borders.
Some states specifically address the idea of "consent to BDSM acts" within their assault laws, such as the state of New Jersey, which defines "simple assault" to be "a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent , in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense".
Oregon Ballot Measure 9 was a ballot measure in the U. It would have added the following text to the Oregon Constitution:. All governments in Oregon may not use their monies or properties to promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality , pedophilia , sadism or masochism. All levels of government, including public education systems, must assist in setting a standard for Oregon's youth which recognizes that these behaviors are abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse and they are to be discouraged and avoided.
It was defeated in 3 November general election with , votes in favor, , votes against. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom collects reports about punishment for sexual activities engaged in by consenting adults , and about its use in child custody cases.
Today the BDSM culture exists in most western countries. This culture is often viewed as a subculture , mainly because BDSM is often still regarded as "unusual" by some of the public.
Many people hide their leaning from society since they are afraid of the incomprehension and of social exclusion. It is commonly known in the BDSM culture that there are practitioners living on all continents, but there is no documented evidence for many countries due to restrictive laws and censorship motivated by politics or religion except their presence in online BDSM communities and dating sites.
In contrast to frameworks seeking to explain sadomasochism through psychological, psychoanalytic, medical or forensic approaches, which seek to categorize behaviour and desires and find a root "cause", Romana Byrne suggests that such practices can be seen as examples of "aesthetic sexuality", in which a founding physiological or psychological impulse is irrelevant.
Rather, sadism and masochism may be practiced through choice and deliberation, driven by certain aesthetic goals tied to style, pleasure, and identity. These practices, in certain circumstances and contexts, can be compared with the creation of art. One of the most commonly used symbols of the BDSM community is a derivation of a triskelion shape within a circle. The BDSM Emblem Project claims copyright over one particular specified form of the triskelion symbol; other variants of the triskelion are free from such copyright claims.
The leather pride flag is a symbol for the leather subculture and also widely used within BDSM. They are three separate items, that are normally associated together. The BDSM rights flag, shown to the right, is intended to represent the belief that people whose sexuality or relationship preferences include BDSM practises deserve the same human rights as everyone else, and should not be discriminated against for pursuing BDSM with consenting adults.
The flag is inspired by the leather pride flag and BDSM emblem, but is specifically intended to represent the concept of BDSM rights and to be without the other symbols' restrictions against commercial use.
It is designed to be recognisable by people familiar with either the leather pride flag or BDSM triskelion or triskele as "something to do with BDSM"; and to be distinctive whether reproduced in full colour, or in black and white or another pair of colours. BDSM and fetish items and styles have been spread widely in western societies' everyday life by different factors, such as avant-garde fashion, heavy metal , goth subculture , and science fiction TV series,  and are often not consciously connected with their BDSM roots by many people.
While it was mainly confined to the Punk and BDSM subcultures in the s, it has since spread into wider parts of western societies. Although it would be possible to establish certain elements related to BDSM in classical theater, not until the emergence of contemporary theatre would some plays have BDSM as the main theme. Exemplifying this are two works: However, it is worth noting that the Marquis de Sade describes unconsented abuse in his works, such as in Justine. Venus in Furs describes a consented domme-sub relationship.
A common part of many of the poems of Pablo Neruda is a reflection on feelings and sensations arising from the relations of EPE or erotic exchange of power. The Fifty Shades trilogy is a series of very popular erotic romance novels by E. In the 21st century, a number of prestigious university press, such as of Duke University , Indiana University and University of Chicago , have published books on BDSM written by professors, thereby lending academic legitimacy to this once taboo topic.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about consensual adult sadomasochistic activity. For the medical condition involving non-consensual ideation or behaviour, see Sexual sadism disorder. Woman wearing a collar with attached chain. A typical slave collar with ring for possible attachment of a leash. Such or comparable models are sometimes used by bottoms as a symbol of ownership to their tops.
The ring of O as a finger ring. Sexual sadism disorder and Sexual masochism disorder. Feminist views on BDSM. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. BDSM and the law. Sex and torture acts done at public BDSM events like Folsom Street Fair , USA, have been accused of being against the law, even when the events are promoted by the local administration and police, and all acts are done with consent.
Demonstration of Cock and ball torture on a man at the Folsom Street Fair. Use of breast torture and vibrator sex toy on a woman at the Fair.
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Some people look to long distance to 'prevent' the odds of making a relationship real or to allow them to have casual affairs (regardless of what they say!). Mar 10, 5 Things You MUST Watch Out For As A 'Submissive' Seeking Your First . D/s relationship from the get-go, this can be a real sign of trouble. This post explores dominant/submissive relationships, explaining what these are, one person does more of the looking after, one person takes the lead in sex). are no more likely to get serious injuries from their sex lives, or to be criminal.