A B C D...BDSM (The Basics)!

A B C D...BDSM (The Basics)!

By ANTONINA DĘBOGÓRSKA

So, what is BDSM?

It's an acronym of the words Bondage, Discipline/Domination, Sadism/Submission, Masochism.

BDSM often refers to sex or other activity with a dominant and a submissive person. In most cases, we associate it with sexual power-roleplay with consensual participants. 

Where BDSM differs from sexual violence is the word CONSENSUAL. It means that all the participants engaging in the activities fully agree to and discuss what they're going to participate in. It can be (a combination of) many different things; tying up, whipping, slapping, clamping, gagging and much more. It can also include physical pain and humiliation, climax control or even controversial, dangerous plays such as waterboarding or suffocation (don't try this at home!).

BDSM can also step out of the bedroom and playroom and be a certain lifestyle where the dominant person controls the submissive's daily life (sleeping, finances, eating, etc.)

So, if it's pain and/or humiliation or sadism...someone might ask: What's wrong with people who practice BDSM? How can they like to be in pain or enjoy humiliation? Or cause pain to others? That sounds dark, just really BAD. And extreme.

The abovementioned questions are the best examples of what I hear from others who have limited knowledge and a myopic view of BDSM and sex in general. The comments and questions are usually riddled with anxiety and disgust.

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But the main question is - What does science say about BDSM?

Scientific research of BDSM includes words like - pleasure, enjoyment, freedom and leisure. This is how the participants of a recent study described their experience of BDSM activities. And guess what...they scored better or equal (in comparison to the control group) in terms of many psychological factors like well-being, sexual satisfaction, neuroticism, or rejection sensitivity.

The study also showed that BDSM practitioners were more extraverted, more open to new experiences, and more conscientious than their control group peers.

Studies also show people spend years fantasizing about BDSM before they actually indulge in it. Participants of Andreas Wismeijer's research (Tilburg University, The Netherlands) were 33.15 years of age on average and had waited 6 years after becoming interested in BDSM to act on their interests. You can read more about the study and its conclusions here.

So far, the BDSM science shows one common tendency - there are no reasons pathologize BDSM, but we have some suggestions to see it as a happiness factor.

The common studies-related struggle is that we don't really know what was the basic cause. If happy are the ones who explore their sexuality or exploring it MAKES them happy.

In the midst of all this, the only conclusion I can draw is it's best to arrive from thoughts to actions than after 6 years of wondering and check it out...in practice (and with full consent)!

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