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YouTube Video: BDSM 101
Kink (or Kinky) Lifestyle, often referred to as BDSM, represents a variety of
erotic practices involving dominance and submission, role-playing, restraint,
and other interpersonal dynamics. BDSM practitioners generally feel free to
engage in erotic improvisation and to act out sexual fantasies. Given the wide
range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who don't consider
themselves BDSM practitioners, inclusion in the BDSM community and/or subculture
is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in
BDSM can range from one-time experimentation to an active lifestyle. It is
sometimes referred to as kink sexual identity.
The term BDSM derives from combining the term B&D (bondage and discipline) with S&M (sadomasochism or sadism and masochism), or as a compound initialism from B&D, D&S (dominance and submission), and S&M. Regardless of its origin, BDSM is used as a catch-all phrase to include a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures.
BDSM is typically included under
the sexual minorities umbrella to include individuals with
alternative sexual expression. Researchers estimate that 5-10
percent of the US population engages in BDSM activities for
sexual pleasure on at least an occasional basis. The BDSM
community is made up of a good mix of heterosexual and
homosexual practitioners. Here is a breakdown on the sexual
orientation of BDSM people:
BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who likes to engage in kinky activities and exotic forms of sex play (usually referred to as fetishism) that might include such acts as spanking, whipping, pinching, flogging, binding, and more. Most activity centers on dominance and submission. Incidents are mild or staged activities that involve no real pain or violence. There is never an intent to exploit, demean, abuse, or harm a participant.
BDSM community includes a variety of subcultures, including individuals who
engage with leather, rubber, and latex. Others might engage with animal costumes
BDSM Activity: Whips and Chains
Since the popularity of the book, Fifty Shades of Grey (by E.L. James, 2011), there has been an increase in the number of people who are curious about BDSM. This phenomenon has given rise to newcomers who might not be aware of the cultural norms and protocols that have been established in the BDSM community.
BDSM activities are between consenting adults and might include such elements as tickling, teasing, spanking, paddling, hair pulling, pinching, bondage, biting, scratching, torture, punishment, begging, flogging, whipping, slapping, hand cuffs, ropes, chains, wax dripping, crossdressing, leather clothes, rubber or latex clothes, hoods and masks, collaring, and intricate role play. These activities, usually applied mildly and lightheartedly, are intended for fun and sexual exhilaration.
Sometimes these activities are carried out in specialized venues or dedicated kink zones called "dungeons." They are generally equipped with assorted torture apparatus, swings, shackles, stirrups, harnesses, yokes, racks, cages, and other restraining devices to facilitate a precisely calibrated, ritualized, or theatrical event.
BDSM activity often centers on
dominant and submissive play (master/slave, top/bottom,
boss/secretary, teacher/student, owner/pet, bears/cubs).
Dominant practitioners might be called Daddy Doms or Mommy Doms.
Submissive practitioners might be called Babygirls or
Leatherboys. Sometimes BDSM involves regressive activities in
which a person acts like a baby and seeks to be mothered (Age
Play, Infantilism). Sometimes BDSM involves role play or costume
play (Cosplay), in which participants dress up like specific
characters. Sometimes BDSM involves dressing up and acting like
animals (Puppy Play, Cat Play, Pony Play) and as manifest in the
Furries Community and Furry Fandom subculture.
The BDSM community insists that activities should always be safe, sane, and consensual. BDSM activities almost always involve planned or structured experiences. They can be staged or scripted scenes (sessions) or role plays. Activities are said to be conducted in a controlled environment. Oftentimes the activities are negotiated and agreed upon in advance and committed to a formal contract.
Do's and Dont's of Kinky Sex
BDSM: Part of Radical Queer History
National Coalition of Sexual Freedom
Sex Talk Realness: BDSM
BDSM and Better Mental Health
25 Facts About BDSM That You Won't Learn From 50 Shades of Gray
Three Couples Try Bondage for the First Time
Sometimes sessions might involve high-risk or "edgeplay" activities. Typically,
a "safe word" is utilized ("red" is a popular word) as a signal to give
participants a chance to slow down or stop at any time during the proceedings.
The BDSM umbrella also includes couples who engage in swinging and polyamory.
BDSM clothing might utilize such fabrics as leather, rubber, or latex. The strong fashion influence of BDSM is evident in such groups as motorcycle gangs, heavy metal, glam rock, goth, and punk.
The BDSM community mandates that activity should never involve children. It should never cause permanent harm or injury. It should never cross over into exploitation, abuse, rape, incest, domestic violence, or any criminal acts.
SAFE / SANE / CONSENSUAL
In the BDSM community, safe, sane, and consensual (SSC) are the three key words that represent the common principles guiding relationships and activities. BDSM activities should be:
Safe - Being responsible. Taking care of each other. Being knowledgeable about safety concerns. Attempts should be made to identify and prevent risks to health. Don't be reckless. Minimizing dangers. Protecting yourself and your partner from STDs and other hazards.
Sane - Activities should be undertaken in a sane and sensible frame of mind. Establishing trust. Using good judgment. Activities should be reserved for mentally and emotionally healthy individuals. Knowing the difference between fantasy and reality.
Consensual - All activities should involve the full consent of all parties involved. Respecting limits and honoring agreements. Observing rules and protocols. No pressuring.
BDSM Terms and Definitions
Age Play - Usually referring to mommy/baby role play, implying a nurturing relationship
Animal Play - Acting like or dressing like an animal (puppy, cat, pony, furry)
Bondage - Acts involving the physical restraint of a partner
Bottom - One who receives physical sensation from a top in a scene... The one done-to rather than the doer
Collared - Submissive or slave who is owned in a loving intimate relationship
Collaring - Formal acceptance by a dominant, of a submissive's service, or the "ownership"
Consent - Mutual agreement to the terms of a scene or ongoing BDSM relationship
Contract - Written agreement between the dominant and submissive, outlining what structure, guidelines, rules and boundaries to the relationship are agreed upon by the participants
(Dominant) - Person who exercises control... Contrast with submissive
Domme - Woman who exercises control (Dominatrix)
Fetish - Specific obsession or delight in one object or experience
Furry - Acting like or dressing like an animal
Masochism - Act of receiving pain for sensual/sexual pleasure
Masochist - Person who enjoys pain, usually sexually
Munch - Meeting or get-together of a group of BDSM people, usually in a "vanilla" setting in street-appropriate attire
OTK - Over the knee... Refers to spanking or paddling
Rope Bunny - Woman who enjoys being bound with rope for sexual pleasure
Spanking - Erotic spanking of another person for the sexual arousal or
gratification of either or both parties
Sadism - Act of inflicting pain
Sadist - Person who enjoys inflicting pain, usually sexually
Safeword - Codeword a bottom can use to force BDSM activity to stop
Sub (Submissive) - Person that gives up control
Switch - Person who alternates between "top" and "bottom" roles
Person "doing the action"... Contrast with bottom, person receiving the action
Vanilla - Someone who is not into BDSM... Sexual behavior which does not encompass BDSM activity... Sometimes a derogatory term to refer to "straight" people
BDSM practitioners utilize a "contract" to ensure their activity and interaction is consensual, safe, and sane. It is a written agreement between the dominant and submissive. It can be formal, and is usually composed after much negotiation by the dominant and the submissive, outlining what structure, guidelines, rules and boundaries to the relationship are agreed upon by the participants.
National Coalition of
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is a sex-positive advocacy and educational organization founded in 1997 in the United States. It claims to represent 50 coalition partners and over 100 supporting organizations. NSCF advocates on behalf of adults involved in "alternative lifestyles" with respect to sexuality and relationship composition, specifically for tolerance and non-discrimination of those so identified, as well as education for adults involved in such lifestyles. The organization's main office is in Baltimore, Maryland, with members, coalition partners, board, and volunteers based across the United States.
The NCSF's mission is: "The NCSF is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the US that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions. The NCSF aims to advance the rights of, and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM, Leather, Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory communities. We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach, in conjunction with our partners, to directly benefit these communities."
Fifty Shades of Grey / Book Series by E.L. James (2011-12)
The Story of O / Book by Anne Desclos (1954)
Nine & Half Weeks / Book by Elizabeth McNeill (1978)
Dezemberkind / Book by Leander Sukov (2004)
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty / Book Series by Anne Rice (1983)
Gor Series / Gorian Novels by John Norman (1966-13)
Fifty Shades of Grey / US Film starring Dakota Johnson & Jamie Dornan
The Secretary / US Film starring James Spader & Maggie Gyllenhaal
Nine & Half Weeks / US Film starring Kim Basinger & Mickey Rourke
Quills / US Film starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslett, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine
Preaching to the Perverted / British Film
The Piano Teacher / French Film
Myth: BDSM is mostly about the "dominant" partner getting his/her way with a passive, exploited "submissive"
Fact: BDSM community emphasizes the use of negotiation and the creation of scripts. This view fails to recognize that submissive individuals consent for pleasure. It also fails to recognize the simple metaphysics that 'fulfilling the masochists needs" is central to finding and keeping the submissive partner. Frequently one hears of Topping from the Bottom, where the submissive partner manipulates the relationship, while appearing passive, submissive and obedient.
Myth: BDSM is about physical pain
Fact: Kinky preferences are highly variable and not all forms induce pain. Although pain can be involved, it is in a sexual nature. Pain is experienced in the context of love, trust, and arousal.
Myth: BDSM activities inevitably escalate to extremes and/or become addictive
Fact: We see a "making up for lost time" phenomenon with some individuals who are late in coming out. However, this high level of activity usually levels off, though this level may be "occasional" for some and "24/7" for others.
Myth: BDSM is self-destructive
Fact: This is simply inaccurate and not supported by any evidence. Self-destructive behaviours are experienced no more frequently by BDSM practitioners than the general public. On that note, anything pleasurable is subject to abuse and BDSM is no exception.
Myth: BDSM stems from childhood abuse
Fact: There is no evidence for this claim, and it has been disproven by various research.
Myth: BDSM is an avoidance of intimacy
Fact: BDSM is no more or less prone to intimacy amplification or aversion than more standard sexual practices.
Myth: BDSM is separate from "vanilla" sex
Fact: For most practitioners, BDSM activities and "regular" intercourse are often combined or intertwined in one way or another.
Books on the Subject
Domination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship Handbook by Michael Makai
Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance & Submission by Gloria Brame, John Jacobs, William Brame
S&M 101 by Jay Wiseman
Master's Manual: Handbook of Erotic Dominance by Jack Rinella
Erotic Slavehood by Christina Abernathy
Come Hither: Common Sense Guide to Kinky Sex by Gloria Brame
Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan
When Someone You Love is Kinky by Dossie Easton
Defense of Masochism by Anita Phillips
Radical Ecstasy by Dossie Easton
leather subculture denotes practices and styles of dress organized around sexual
activities that involve leather garments, such as leather jackets, vests, boots,
chaps, harnesses, or other items. Wearing leather garments is one way that
participants in this culture self-consciously distinguish themselves from
mainstream sexual cultures. Leather culture is most visible in gay communities
and most often associated with gay men (enthusiasts are nicknamed "leathermen"),
but it is also reflected in various ways in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
straight worlds. Many people associate leather culture with BDSM
(Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sado/Masochism, also called "SM" or
"S&M") practices and its many subcultures. But for others, wearing black leather
clothing is an erotic fashion that expresses heightened masculinity or the
appropriation of sexual power; love of motorcycles, motorcycle clubs and
independence; and/or engagement in sexual kink or leather fetishism.
Gay male leather culture has existed since the late 1940s, when it likely grew out of post-WWII biker culture. Early gay leather bars were subcultural versions of the motorcycle club with pioneering gay motorcycle clubs including the Satyrs, established in Los Angeles in 1954; Oedipus, also established in Los Angeles in 1958, and the New York Motorbike Club. Early San Francisco clubs included the Warlocks and the California Motor Club, while early clubs in Sydney included the South Pacific Motor Club. Leather Clubs for gay men started in Amsterdam and Berlin in the 1950s, and in Sydney from 1970.
In 1964 an article on Life magazine with a significant amount of prejudice, drew attention to the gay leather community. The "Tool Box" bar in San Fransisco was the target of the prejudice, although not specified, it was heavily speculated. The fourteen page article titled, "Homosexuality in America" also brought leather subculture to the attention of isolated and closeted gays.
These gay clubs, like the clubs of straight motorcycle culture in general, reflected a disaffection with the mainstream culture of post-World War II America, a disaffection whose notoriety — and therefore appeal — expanded after the sensationalized news coverage of the Hollister "riot" of 1947. The 1953 film The Wild One starring Marlon Brando wearing jeans, a T-shirt, a leather jacket, and Muir cap, played on pop-cultural fascination with the Hollister "riot" and promoted an image of masculine independence that resonated with some gay men who were dissatisfied with a culture that stereotyped gay men as effeminate. To that end, gay motorcycle culture also reflected some men's disaffection with the coexistent gay cultures more organized around high culture, popular culture (especially musical theater), and/or camp style. Perhaps as a result, the leather community that emerged from the motorcycle clubs also became the practical and symbolic location for gay men's open exploration of kink and S&M.
Wikipedia: Leather Subculture
BDSM Wiki: Leather Culture
Wikipedia: Sexual Fetishism
The Furries Community or Furry Fandom are enthusiasts for animal characters with human characteristics, in particular a person who dresses up in costume as such a character or uses one as an avatar online. The Furry Fandom is a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Furry fandom is also used to refer to the community of people who gather on the Internet and at Furry Conventions.
Anthropomorphic animal characters created by Furry Fans, known as Fursonas, are used for role-playing in MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) and on internet forums.
Role-playing also takes place offline, with petting, hugging, and "scritching" (light scratching and grooming) common between friends at social gatherings. Fursuits or furry accessories are sometimes used to enhance the experience.
When compared with the general population, homosexuality and bisexuality are over-represented in the furry fandom by about a factor of 10. Of the US population, about 1.8% of persons self-identify as bisexual and 1.7% as homosexual according to a 2011 study from scholars at UCLA. In contrast, according to four different surveys 14–25% of the fandom members report homosexuality, 37–52% bisexuality, 28–51% heterosexuality, and 3–8% other forms of alternative sexual relationships. Approximately half of the respondents reported being in a relationship, of which 76% were in a relationship with another member of furry fandom. Examples of sexual aspects within furry fandom include erotic art and furry-themed cybersex. The term "yiff" is sometimes used to indicate sexual activity or sexual material within the fandon. This applies to sexual activity and interaction within the subculture whether in the form of cybersex or offline.
Vox: Questions About Furries You are Embarrassed to Ask
Psychology Today: What's the Deal with Furries?
Vanity Fair: Pleasures of the Fur
Life of a Furry
Sexual fetishism or erotic fetishism is a sexual focus on a nonliving object or nongenital body part. The object of interest is called the fetish. The person who has a fetish for that object is a fetishist. A sexual fetish may be regarded as a non-pathological aid to sexual excitement, or as a mental disorder if it causes significant psychosocial distress for the person or has detrimental effects on important areas of their life. Sexual arousal from a particular body part can be further classified as partialism.
While medical definitions restrict the term sexual fetishism to objects or body parts, fetish can also refer to sexual interest in specific activities in common discourse.
In common parlance, the word fetish is used to refer to any sexually arousing stimuli, not all of which meet the medical criteria for fetishism. This broader usage of fetish covers parts or features of the body (including obesity and body modifications), objects, situations and activities (such as smoking or BDSM). Paraphilias such as urophilia, necrophilia and coprophilia have been described as fetishes.
Originally, most medical sources defined fetishism as a sexual interest in non-living objects, body parts or secretions. The publication of the DSM-III in 1980 changed that by excluding arousal from body parts in its diagnostic criteria for fetishism. In 1987, a revised edition of the DSM-III (DSM-III-R) introduced a new diagnosis for body part arousal, called partialism. The DSM-IV retained this distinction. Martin Kafka argued that partialism should be merged into fetishism because of overlap between the two conditions, and the DSM-5 subsequently did so in 2013. The ICD-10 definition is still limited to non-living objects.
Types of Fetishisms
In a review of 48 cases of clinical fetishism, fetishes included clothing (58.3%), rubber and rubber items (22.9%), footwear (14.6%), body parts (14.6%), leather (10.4%), and soft materials or fabrics (6.3%). A 2007 study counted members of Internet discussion groups with the word "fetish" in their name. Of the groups about body parts or features, 47% belonged to groups about feet (foot fetishism), 9% about body fluids, 9% about body size, 7% about hair (hair fetish), and 5% about muscles (muscle worship). Less popular groups focused on navels (navel fetishism), legs, body hair, mouth, and nails, among other things. Of the groups about objects, 33% belonged to groups about clothes worn on the legs or buttocks (such as stockings or skirts), 32% about footwear (shoe fetishism), 12% about underwear (underwear fetishism), and 9% about whole-body wear such as jackets. Less popular object groups focused on headwear, stethoscopes, wristwear, and diapers (diaper fetishism).
The ICD-10 defines fetishism as a reliance on non-living objects for sexual arousal and satisfaction. It is only considered a disorder when fetishistic activities are the foremost source of sexual satisfaction, and become so compelling or unacceptable as to cause distress or interfere with normal sexual intercourse. The ICD's research guidelines require that the preference persists for at least six months, and is markedly distressing or acted on.
Under the DSM-5, fetishism is sexual arousal from nonliving objects or specific nongenital body parts, excluding clothes used for cross-dressing (as that falls under transvestic disorder) and sex toys that are designed for genital stimulation. In order to be diagnosed as fetishistic disorder, the arousal must persist for at least six months and cause significant psychosocial distress or impairment in important areas of their life. In the DSM-IV, sexual interest in body parts was distinguished from fetishism under the name partialism (diagnosed as Paraphilia NOS), but it was merged with fetishistic disorder for the DSM-5.
The ReviseF65 project has campaigned for the ICD diagnosis to be abolished completely to avoid stigmatizing fetishists. Sexologist Odd Reiersøl argues that distress associated with fetishism is often caused by shame, and that being subject to diagnosis only exacerbates that. He suggests that, in cases where the individual fails to control harmful behavior, they instead be diagnosed with a personality or impulse control disorder.
According to the World Health Organization, fetishistic fantasies are common and should only be treated as a disorder when they impair normal functioning or cause distress. Goals of treatment can include elimination of criminal activity, reduction in reliance on the fetish for sexual satisfaction, improving relationship skills, or attempting to remove deviant arousal altogether. The evidence for treatment efficacy is limited and largely based on case studies, and no research on treatment for female fetishists exists.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one popular approach. Cognitive behavioral therapists teach clients to identify and avoid antecedents to fetishistic behavior, and substitute non-fetishistic fantasies for ones involving the fetish. Aversion therapy can reduce fetishistic arousal in the short term, but is unlikely to have any permanent effect.
Antiandrogens and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed to lower sex drive. Cyproterone acetate is the most commonly used antiandrogen, except in the United States, where it may not be available. A large body of literature has shown that it reduces general sexual fantasies. Side effects may include osteoporosis, liver dysfunction, and feminization. Case studies have found that the antiandrogen medroxyprogesterone acetate is successful in reducing sexual interest, but can have side effects including osteoporosis, diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, feminization, and weight gain. Some hospitals use leuprolide acetate and goserelin acetate to reduce libido, and while there is presently little evidence for their efficacy, they have fewer side effects than other antiandrogens. A number of studies support the use of SSRIs, which may be preferable over antiandrogens because of their relatively benign side effects. None of these drugs cure sexual fetishism, but they can make it easier to manage.
Relationship counselors may attempt to reduce dependence on the fetish and improve partner communication using techniques like sensate focusing. Partners may agree to incorporate the fetish into their activities in a controlled, time-limited manner, or set aside only certain days to practice the fetishism. If the fetishist cannot sustain an erection without the fetish object, the therapist might recommend orgasmic reconditioning or covert sensitization to increase arousal to normal stimuli (although the evidence base for these techniques is weak).
Drag and Cross Dressing
Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama