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Introductory Guide to BDSM. It’s All About Trust…

Introductory Guide to BDSM. It’s All About Trust…

In the child’s game, Trust Me, one person stands behind the other. The one in front falls backward, trusting the other to catch them before crashing to the floor. Trust Me contains an element of danger, the risk of not getting caught and getting hurt. The person falling places great trust in the person catching. When the falling player trusts the catcher enough to let go completely, and the catch happens as planned, both players experience a moment of exhilaration that’s difficult to duplicate any other way.

It’s About Trust

BDSM is similar. The myth is that it’s abusive and weird—whips and chains! Actually it’s about trust. When trust trumps the possibility of harm, the result can feel incredibly intimate and erotic.

There are several terms for BDSM: power-play or domination-submission (D/s) because one lover has control over the other, at least nominally; sado-masochism (SM), which involves spanking, flogging or other types of intense sensation; and bondage and discipline (BD), which involves restraint. But the current term is BDSM.

Many people consider BDSM perverted, dehumanizing, or worse. But aficionados call it the most loving, nurturing, intimate form of human contact and play. People can have sex without conversation, negotiation, or any emotional connection. But in BDSM, the players always arrange things in advance with clear, intimate communication, which creates a special erotic bond.

DeSade and Sacher-Masoch

Ancient Greek art depicts BDSM. The Kama Sutra (300 A.D,) touts erotic spanking, and European references date from the 15th century. But BDSM flowered during the 18th century, when some European brothels began specializing in restraint, flagellation and other “punishments” that “dominant” women meted out to willingly “submissive” men.

In 1791 the French Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) published the first SM novel, Justine, which included whipping, flogging, nipple clamping, and restraints. His name gave us “sadism.” DeSade was imprisoned for criminal insanity, one reason many people consider the sexual practices he popularized crazy.

In 1870, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895), published the novel, Venus in Furs, about male sexual submission. His name inspired “masochism.”

In 1905, Freud coined the word, “sadomasochism,” calling its enjoyment neurotic. The original Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-I, 1952) classified sexual sadism as a “deviation.” DSM-II (1968) did the same for masochism. DSM-IV (1994) lists SM as a psychiatric disorder.

Just Another Way to Play

But all available evidence shows that the vast majority of BDSM enthusiasts are mentally healthy and typical in every respect—except that they find conventional (“vanilla”) sex unfulfilling and want something more intense and intimate. Before condemning BDSM, remember that not too long ago, oral sex and homosexuality were considered “perverse.”

Two to three percent of American adults play with BDSM, most occasionally, some often, and a few 24/7. That’s around 5 million people. Meanwhile, around 20 percent of adults report some arousal from BDSM images or stories.

There are public BDSM clubs and private groups in every major metropolitan area and throughout rural America. Many cities have several.

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What do I say? I'm a little shy... But that doesn't stop me from exploring my sexuality. You could say that I'm a little bi-curious ;) Anyway, happily married to a great guy. My interests are travel, staying fit, and having fun... Maybe a too much fun. Lastly, I'm passionate about the lifestyle and sex positive movement that is happening around us.

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