sex

Bondage: What does it involve and is it 'consensual domestic violence'?

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Is BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism) a taboo practice? Is it an off-limits topic of conversation?

Granted, it’s probably not something you want to openly discuss with say, your boss or your grandparents but [insert inevitable mention about the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy] the rise of ‘kink’ has meant that BDSM is increasingly becoming more socially acceptable.

News network ABC (in America) report that between 15 to 20 percent of the American public have “done something kinky in the bedroom” with a rise in professionals teaching “regular people how to engage in non-standard sexual practices called ‘kink'”.

Kink or kinky sex refers to the umbrella term to describe BDSM practices and the community.

Bondage encompasses the practice of tying, binding, or restraining of a person for the sexual, aesthetic, and/or psychological pleasure of the parties involved. According to Wikipedia, BDSM represents “a continuum of practices and expressions, both erotic and non-erotic, involving restraint, sensory stimulation, role-playing, and a variety of interpersonal dynamics”.

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So if ‘kink’ is on the rise and on the way to becoming mainstream, is that a good thing?

In the last month the New York Times reported on the rise of the bondage, domination and kink sex communities in America, ABC News (in the US) profiled Mistress Nina Payne, a professional dominatrix in their documentary exploring the world of BDSM and Slate’s William Saletan wrote a controversial piece on the topic outlining what he thinks is “The Trouble With Bondage”.

Saletan is of the point of view that the social acceptance BDSM is a real problem. He refers to bondage and other BDSM practices as “consensual domestic violence,” which will never be an acceptable lifestyle choice.

“BDSM can be quite dangerous. Responsible practitioners insist it must be “safe, sane, and consensual.” But it attracts people who like to push boundaries. Some submissives are adrenaline junkies: They don’t believe in safety. Recently, several men have admitted to or have been charged with or convicted of crimes including sexual abuse, kidnapping, and murder, all under the cover of BDSM,” writes Saletan.

Saletan goes on to compare the practices of BDSM to human rights violations: “While human rights activists denounce caning and waterboarding, BDSM lecturers teach the joys of caning and waterboarding. Abduction, slavery, humiliation, torture—everything we condemn outside the world of kink is celebrated within it.”

While some argue there is potential for physical harm, that is the case with any consensual activity. Clarisse Thorn a contributor on Buzzfeed admitted there is a danger and sometimes abuse in the community, but points out that goes for any group with status and power, “yet Saletan isn’t calling for the abolition of government. Or sports teams. Or the Catholic priesthood”.

Similarly Jessica Wakeman on the Frisky wrote: “This shallow understanding of S&M assumes it is purely physical: a lot of what we do with bondage, dominance and dominance/submission/sadomasochism is psychological. BDSM is about anticipation. BDSM is about experiencing excitement-mixed-with-fear in a controlled environment. BDSM is about that satiation that comes with dominating or submitting,” says Wakeman.

Like all forms of sexual contact, it’s an area fraught with misunderstanding and miscommunication. Trust and consent are the most critical elements and if they’re not there or there is a potential for them to be confused, then that’s a major problem.

Without putting our nose in too much of your business, tell us have you tried BSDM or would you? 

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