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Many people are often intrigued when they come across the subject of BDSM. It often attracts people’s curiosity, yet it remains quite a taboo area, surrounded by a lot of stigma. There is a lot of misinformation out there about this non-conventional sexual practice, and some people even believe that anyone into practicing BDSM must have been abused, or is suffering from some form of mental disorder for them to want to be involved in such practices.

So what exactly is BDSM? BDSM refers to a type of kinky sex-play that involves different types of pleasure. When we say kinky, this can mean a lot of things; whatever is kinky for one person may not be another. In other words, a kink is subjective. Something being kinky means that something classified as non-conventional, or unusual, such as a sexual practice or a fantasy, gives a person sexual satisfaction.  So, BDSM is classified as kinky sexual behaviour.

BDSM is an acronym that stands for common types of non-conventional sexual behaviours. These are: Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism (Mc Greal, 2019). These words seem to come in pairs as you cannot really have one without the other; they tend to go hand in hand. If there is a person that is into dominance, they have to pair up with a partner who will enjoy submission so that they can act out their sexual fantasies. More specifically, let’s explore what BDSM involves:

Bondage: Bondage is the act of restraining and restricting your sexual partner’s movement, by using handcuffs, for example.

Discipline: This involves enforcing a submissive person to obey by using a form of punishment, such as spanking.

Dominance: A dominant person is the person in control of the scene, which would be the one bonding and restraining, making rules and giving punishment.

Submission
: The partner that submits completely to the dominant partner, and would be the one receiving orders, punishment and bondage. (There is a power-play when it comes to dominance and submission, and while some people always stick to one role, others might be what are called ‘switches’, meaning that they sometimes act as the dominant partner, and sometimes as the submissive partner.)

Sadism: A person who gets sexually aroused by inflicting pain on others, such as by using clamps and spanking.

Masochism
: A person who gets sexually aroused through receiving pain. (It is important that in BDSM, you have a partner that enjoys giving pain, and another receiving it. Otherwise, someone will definitely not be enjoying themselves.)

Part 2 of this blog will explore more information and ways in which partners can begin introducing BDSM.

References:

Alberts, N. (2020). What Is BDSM? Fundamentals, Types and Roles, Safety Rules, and More | Everyday Health. Retrieved 7 February 2020, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-sex/bdsm/

Castleman, M. (2012). The Truth About BDSM Relationships. Retrieved 9 February 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/all-about-sex/201206/the-truth-about-bdsm-relationships

Lehmiller, J. (2020). How the Practice of BDSM is Linked to Relationship Satisfaction — Sex And Psychology. Retrieved 9 February 2020, from https://www.lehmiller.com/blog/2018/4/20/how-the-practice-of-bdsm-is-linked-to-relationship-satisfaction

Mc Greal, S.A (2019). Sexual Satisfaction in BDSM. Retrieved 12 February 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/unique-everybody-else/201905/sexual-satisfaction-in-bdsm

Becky Faenza is one of the Triage Officers that form part of the Triage Team with Willingness. She is a University graduate, with a B.A Degree in Philosophy and Psychology, and also a Higher Diploma in Psychology (H.DIP).