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They also state that the main point of feminism is to give an individual woman free choices in her life; which includes her sexual desire. While some feminists suggest connections between consensual BDSM scenes and non-consensual rape and sexual assault , other sex-positive ones find the notion insulting to women. It is often mentioned that in BDSM, roles are not fixed to gender , but personal preferences. Finally, some people switch , taking either a dominant or submissive role on different occasions.

Several studies investigating the possibility of correlation between BDSM pornography and the violence against women also indicate a lack of correlation. As an example, Japan is listed as the country with the lowest sexual crime rate out of all the industrialized nations, despite being known for its distinct BDSM and bondage pornography see Pornography in Japan. In , the media coverage of Jack McGeorge showed that simply participating and working in BDSM support groups poses risks to one's job, even in countries where no law restricts it. Nevertheless, it leads to a difficult psychological situation in which the person concerned can be exposed to high levels of emotional stress.

In the stages of "self awareness", he or she realizes their desires related to BDSM scenarios or decides to be open for such. Some authors call this internal coming-out. Two separate surveys on this topic independently came to the conclusion that 58 percent and 67 percent of the sample respectively, had realized their disposition before their 19th birthday.

Other surveys on this topic show comparable results. While homosexuals have created support networks in the last decades, sadomasochistic support networks are just starting to develop in most countries. In German speaking countries they are only moderately more developed. In the US Kink Aware Professionals KAP a privately funded, non-profit service provides the community with referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to the BDSM, fetish, and leather community.

The German Bundesvereinigung Sadomasochismus is committed to the same aim of providing information and driving press relations. In the website and mailing list Datenschlag went online in German and English providing the largest bibliography , as well as one of the most extensive historical collections of sources related to BDSM. Richters et al. They were, however, not any more likely to have been coerced, unhappy, anxious, or experiencing sexual difficulties. On the contrary, men who had engaged in BDSM scored lower on a psychological distress scale than men who did not.

There have been few studies on the psychological aspects of BDSM using modern scientific standards. Psychotherapist Charles Moser has said there is no evidence for the theory that BDSM has common symptoms or any common psychopathology, emphasizing that there is no evidence that BDSM practitioners have any special psychiatric other problems based on their sexual preferences.

Problems do sometimes occur in the area of self classification by the person concerned. During the phase of the "coming-out", self-questioning related to one's own "normality" is quite common. This, combined with the fear of discrimination in everyday life, leads in some cases to a double life which can be highly burdensome.

At the same time, the denial of BDSM preferences can induce stress and dissatisfaction with one's own "vanilla"-lifestyle, feeding the apprehension of finding no partner. The wish to remove BDSM preferences is another possible reason for psychological problems since it is not possible in most cases. Finally, the scientist states that BDSM practitioners seldom commit violent crimes.

Moser's study comes to the conclusion that there is no scientific evidence, which could give reason to refuse members of this group work- or safety certificates, adoption possibilities, custody or other social rights or privileges. The Swiss psychoanalyst Fritz Morgenthaler shares a similar perspective in his book, Homosexuality, Heterosexuality, Perversion He states that possible problems result not necessarily from the non-normative behavior, but in most cases primarily from the real or feared reactions of the social environment towards their own preferences.

Masochismus und Gesellschaft. Moser's results are further supported by a Australian study by Richters et al. The study found that BDSM practitioners were no more likely to have experienced sexual assault than the control group, and were not more likely to feel unhappy or anxious. The BDSM males reported higher levels of psychological well-being than the controls. It was concluded that "BDSM is simply a sexual interest or subculture attractive to a minority, not a pathological symptom of past abuse or difficulty with 'normal' sex.

Several recent studies have been conducted on the gender differences and personality traits of BDSM practitioners. They concluded that "men more often display an engagement in dominant practices, whereas females take on the submissive part. One common belief of BDSM and kink is that women are more likely to take on masochistic roles than men. Roy Baumeister actually had more male masochists in his study than female, and fewer male dominants than female. The lack of statistical significance in these gender differences suggests that no assumptions should be made regarding gender and masochistic roles in BDSM.

One explanation why we might think otherwise lies in our social and cultural ideals about femininity ; masochism may emphasize certain stereotypically feminine elements through activities like feminization of men and ultra-feminine clothing for women. But such tendencies of the submissive masochistic role should not be interpreted as a connection between it and the stereotypical female role—many masochistic scripts do not include any of these tendencies.

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Baumeister found that masochistic males experienced greater: severity of pain, frequency of humiliation status-loss, degrading, oral , partner infidelity, active participation by other persons, and cross dressing. Trends also suggested that male masochism included more bondage and oral sex than female though the data was not significant.

Female masochists, on the other hand, experienced greater: frequency in pain, pain as punishment for 'misdeeds' in the relationship context, display humiliation, genital intercourse, and presence of non-participating audiences. The exclusiveness of dominant males in a heterosexual relationship happens because, historically, men in power preferred multiple partners. Finally, Baumeister observes a contrast between the 'intense sensation' focus of male masochism to a more 'meaning and emotion' centred female masochistic script.

Prior argues that although some of these women may appear to be engaging in traditional subordinate or submissive roles, BDSM allows women in both dominant and submissive roles to express and experience personal power through their sexual identities. In turn, Prior was able to answer whether or not these women found an incongruity between their sexual identities and feminist identity. Her research found that these women saw little to no incongruity, and in fact felt that their feminist identity supported identities of submissive and slave.

For them these are sexually and emotionally fulfilling roles and identities that, in some cases, feed other aspects of their lives. Prior contends that third wave feminism provides a space for women in BDSM communities to express their sexual identities fully, even when those identities seem counter-intuitive to the ideals of feminism. Furthermore, women who do identify as submissive, sexually or otherwise, find a space within BDSM where they can fully express themselves as integrated, well-balanced, and powerful women.

The researchers found the majority of females identified as heterosexual and submissive, a substantial minority were versatile—able to switch between dominant and submissive roles—and a smaller minority identified with the dominant role exclusively. BDSM is not a sexual orientation or identity, but it is considered one by some of its practitioners.

Often this is a non-judgmental community where gender, sexuality, orientation, preferences are accepted as is or worked at to become something a person can be happy with. Demographically, Nordling et al. The gay men also had higher incomes than the general population, and tended to work in white collar jobs while straight men tended toward blue collar ones. Because there were not enough female respondents 22 , no conclusions could be drawn from them.

Sexually speaking, the same study by Nordling et al. From the questionnaire, researchers were able to identify four separate sexual themes: hyper-masculinity , giving and receiving pain, physical restriction i. As Nordling et al. In Steve Lenius' original paper he explored the acceptance of bisexuality in a supposedly pansexual BDSM community. The reasoning behind this is that 'coming-out' had become primarily the territory of the gay and lesbian, with bisexuals feeling the push to be one or the other and being right only half the time either way.

What he found in , was that people in BDSM were open to discussion about the topic of bisexuality and pansexuality and all controversies they bring to the table, but personal biases and issues stood in the way of actively using such labels. A decade later, Lenius looks back on his study and considers if anything has changed. He concluded that the standing of bisexuals in the BDSM and kink community was unchanged, and believed that positive shifts in attitude were moderated by society's changing views towards different sexualities and orientations.

But Lenius does emphasize that the pansexual promoting BDSM community helped advance greater acceptance of alternative sexualities. Brandy Lin Simula , on the other hand, argues that BDSM actively resists gender conforming and identified three different types of BDSM bisexuality: gender-switching , gender-based styles taking on a different gendered style depending on gender of partner when playing , and rejection of gender resisting the idea that gender matters in their play partners.

Simula explains that practitioners of BDSM routinely challenge our concepts of sexuality by pushing the limits on pre-existing ideas of sexual orientation and gender norms. For some, BDSM and kink provides a platform in creating identities that are fluid, ever-changing. Psychiatry has an insensitive history in the area of BDSM. There have been many involvements by institutions of political power to marginalize subgroups and sexual minorities. Sadism and masochism were also found in the personality disorder section. According to Kolmes et al.

There has also been research which suggests BDSM can be a beneficial way for victims of sexual assault to deal with their trauma, most notably by Corie Hammers, but this work is limited in scope and to date, has not undergone empirical testing as a treatment. Countertransference is a common problem in clinical settings. Despite having no evidence, therapists may find themselves believing that their client's pathology is "self-evident". Therapists may feel intense disgust and aversive reactions. Feelings of countertransference can interfere with therapy.

Another common problem is when clients conceal their sexual preferences from their therapists. This can compromise any therapy. To avoid non-disclosure, therapists are encouraged to communicate their openness in indirect ways with literatures and artworks in the waiting room. Therapists can also deliberately bring up BDSM topics during the course of therapy. With less informed therapists, sometimes they over-focus on clients' sexuality which detracts from original issues such as family relationships, depression, etc. A special subgroup that needs counselling is the "newbie".

Individuals just coming out might have internalized shame, fear, and self-hatred about their sexual preferences. Therapists need to provide acceptance, care, and model positive attitude; providing reassurance, psychoeducation , and bibliotherapy for these clients is crucial. The average age when BDSM individuals realize their sexual preference is around 26 years. However, they may have married or had children by this point. Cuneiform texts dedicated to Inanna which incorporate domination rituals.

In particular she points to ancient writings such as Inanna and Ebih in which the Goddess dominates Ebih , and Hymn to Inanna describing cross-dressing transformations and rituals "imbued with pain and ecstasy, bringing about initation [ sic? During the ninth century BC, ritual flagellations were performed in Artemis Orthia , one of the most important religious areas of ancient Sparta , where the Cult of Orthia , a pre olympic religion, was practiced. Here ritual flagellation called diamastigosis took place, in which young adolescent men were whipped in a ceremony overseen by the priestess.

One of the oldest graphical proofs of sadomasochistic activities is found in the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping near Tarquinia , which dates to the fifth century BC. Inside the tomb there is fresco which portrays two men who flagellate a woman with a cane and a hand during an erotic situation. In Pompeii, a whip-mistress figure with wings is depicted on the wall of the Villa of Mysteries , as part of an initiation of a young woman into the Mysteries.

The whip-mistress role drove the sacred initiation of ceremonial death and rebirth. The Kama Sutra of India describes four different kinds of hitting during lovemaking, the allowed regions of the human body to target and different kinds of joyful "cries of pain" practiced by bottoms. The collection of historic texts related to sensuous experiences explicitly emphasizes that impact play , biting and pinching during sexual activities should only be performed consensually since only some women consider such behavior to be joyful.

From this perspective the Kama Sutra can be considered as one of the first written resources dealing with sadomasochistic activities and safety rules. Further texts with sadomasochistic connotation appear worldwide during the following centuries on a regular basis. There are anecdotal reports of people willingly being bound or whipped, as a prelude to or substitute for sex, during the 14th century. The medieval phenomenon of courtly love in all of its slavish devotion and ambivalence has been suggested by some writers to be a precursor of BDSM.

Flagellation practiced within an erotic setting has been recorded from at least the s evidenced by a John Davies epigram, [] [] and references to "flogging schools" in Thomas Shadwell 's The Virtuoso and Tim Tell-Troth's Knavery of Astrology John Cleland 's novel Fanny Hill , published in , incorporates a flagellation scene between the character's protagonist Fanny Hill and Mr Barville. Other sources give a broader definition, citing BDSM-like behavior in earlier times and other cultures, such as the medieval flagellates and the physical ordeal rituals of some Native American societies.

BDSM ideas and imagery have existed on the fringes of Western culture throughout the twentieth century. Charles Guyette was the first American to produce and distribute fetish related material costumes, footwear, photography, props and accessories in the US. His successor, Irving Klaw , produced commercial sexploitation film and photography with a BDSM theme most notably with Bettie Page and issued fetish comics known then as "chapter serials" by the now-iconic artists John Willie , Gene Bilbrew , and Eric Stanton.

Stanton's model Bettie Page became at the same time one of the first successful models in the area of fetish photography and one of the most famous pin-up girls of American mainstream culture. Italian author and designer Guido Crepax was deeply influenced by him, coining the style and development of European adult comics in the second half of the twentieth century. The artists Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe are the most prominent examples of the increasing use of BDSM-related motives in modern photography and the public discussions still resulting from this.

Leather has been a predominantly gay male term to refer to one fetish , but it can stand for many more. Members of the gay male leather community may wear leathers such as Motorcycle leathers, or may be attracted to men wearing leather. Leather and BDSM are seen as two parts of one whole. Much of the BDSM culture can be traced back to the gay male leather culture , which formalized itself out of the group of men who were soldiers returning home after World War II — They formed leather clubs and bike clubs, some were fraternal services.

The establishment of Mr. Leather Contest and Mr. Drummer Contest were made around this time. This was the genesis of the gay male leather community. Many of the members were attracted to extreme forms of sexuality, for which peak expression was in the pre-AIDS s. They also formed leather clubs, but there were some gender differences such as the absence of leatherwomen's bar.

In , the publication of Coming to Power by lesbian-feminist group Samois led to a greater knowledge and acceptance of BDSM in the lesbian community. Today the Leather Movement is generally seen as a part of the BDSM-culture instead of as a development deriving from gay subculture, even if a huge part of the BDSM-subculture was gay in the past. In the s the so-called New Guard leather subculture evolved. This new orientation started to integrate psychological aspects into their play.

In the late-eighties, the Internet provided a way of finding people with specialized interests around the world as well as on a local level, and communicating with them anonymously. When that group became too cluttered with spam , the focus moved to soc. With an increased focus on forms of social media, FetLife was formed, which advertises itself as "a social network for the BDSM and fetish community". It operates similarly to other social media sites, with the ability to make friends with other users, events, and pages of shared interests. Once a very niche market , there are now very few sex toy companies that do not offer some sort of BDSM or fetish gear in their catalog.

Kinky elements seem to have worked their way into " vanilla " markets. The former niche expanded to an important pillar of the business with adult accessories. Padded handcuffs, latex and leather garments, as well as more exotic items like soft whips for fondling and TENS for erotic electro stimulation can be found in catalogs aiming on classical vanilla target groups, indicating that former boundaries increasingly seem to shift.

During the last years the Internet also provides a central platform for networking among individuals who are interested in the subject. Besides countless private and commercial choices there is an increasing number of local networks and support groups emerging. These groups often offer comprehensive background and health related information for people who have been unwillingly outed as well as contact lists with information on psychologists , physicians and lawyers who are familiar with BDSM related topics.

Case law from the Austrian Supreme Court has consistently shown that bodily injury is only offensive to moral sensibilities, thus it is only punishable when a "serious injury" a damage to health or an employment disability lasting more than 24 days or the death of the "victim" results. A light injury is generally considered permissible when the "victim" has consented to it.

In cases of threats to bodily well being the standard depends on the probability that an injury will actually occur. If serious injury or even death would be a likely result of a threat being carried out, then even the threat itself is considered punishable. In a judge in Canada ruled that videos seized by the police featuring BDSM activities were not obscene, and did not constitute violence, but a "normal and acceptable" sexual activity between two consenting adults.

In , the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. The Court ruled that it is a criminal offence to perform a sexual act on an unconscious person—whether or not that person consented in advance. According to Section of the German criminal code, the charge of insult slander can only be prosecuted if the defamed person chooses to press charges. False imprisonment can be charged if the victim—when applying an objective view—can be considered to be impaired in his or her rights of free movement. According to Section , a person inflicting a bodily injury on another person with that person's permission violates the law only in cases where the act can be considered to have violated good morals in spite of permission having been given.

On 26 May the Criminal Panel No. Following cases in which sado-masochistic practices had been repeatedly used as pressure tactics against former partners in custody cases, the Appeals Court of Hamm ruled in February that sexual inclinations toward sado-masochism are no indication of a lack of capabilities for successful child-raising.

In Italian law BDSM is right on the border between crime and legality, and everything lies in the interpretation of the legal code by the judge. This concept is that anyone willingly causing "injury" to another person is to be punished. In this context though "injury" is legally defined as "anything causing a condition of illness", and "illness" is ill-defined itself in two different legal ways. The first is "any anatomical or functional alteration of the organism" thus technically including little scratches and bruises too ; The second is "a significant worsening of a previous condition relevant to organic and relational processes, requiring any kind of therapy".

This could make it somewhat risky to play with someone as later the "victim" may call foul play citing even an insignificant mark as evidence against the partner. Also any injury requiring over 20 days of medical care must be denounced by the professional medic who discovers it, leading to automatic indictment of the person who caused it.

In September a Swedish court acquitted a year-old man of assault for engaging in consensual BDSM play with a year-old woman the age of consent in Sweden is This parallels the stance of the mental health professions in the Nordic countries which have removed sadomasochism from their respective lists of psychiatric illnesses. Minors i. Certain practices however require granting consent for light injuries with only those over 18 permitted to give consent.

On 1 April Articles and of the Swiss Criminal Code were tightened to make ownership of "objects or demonstrations [ This law amounts to a general criminalization of sado-masochism since nearly every sado-masochist will have some kind of media which fulfills this criterion. Critics also object to the wording of the law which puts sado-masochists in the same category as pedophiles and pederasts.

In British law, consent is an absolute defence to common assault, but not necessarily to actual bodily harm, where courts may decide that consent is not valid, as occurred in the case of R v Brown. The Spanner Trust states that this is defined as activities which have caused injury "of a lasting nature" but that only a slight duration or injury might be considered "lasting" in law. United Kingdom that no violation of Article 8 occurred because the amount of physical or psychological harm that the law allows between any two people, even consenting adults, is to be determined by the jurisdiction the individuals live in, as it is the State's responsibility to balance the concerns of public health and well-being with the amount of control a State should be allowed to exercise over its citizens.

In the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill , the British Government cited the Spanner case as justification for criminalizing images of consensual acts, as part of its proposed criminalization of possession of " extreme pornography ". In this case, the act was deemed to be sexual. Jovanovic , 95 N. However, many individual states do criminalize specific BDSM actions within their state borders.

Some states specifically address the idea of "consent to BDSM acts" within their assault laws, such as the state of New Jersey, which defines "simple assault" to be "a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent , in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense".

Oregon Ballot Measure 9 was a ballot measure in the U. It would have added the following text to the Oregon Constitution :. All governments in Oregon may not use their monies or properties to promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality , pedophilia , sadism or masochism. All levels of government, including public education systems, must assist in setting a standard for Oregon's youth which recognizes that these behaviors are abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse and they are to be discouraged and avoided.

It was defeated in 3 November general election with , votes in favor, , votes against. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom collects reports about punishment for sexual activities engaged in by consenting adults , and about its use in child custody cases. Today the BDSM culture exists in most western countries. This culture is often viewed as a subculture , mainly because BDSM is often still regarded as "unusual" by some of the public.

Many people hide their leaning from society since they are afraid of the incomprehension and of social exclusion. In contrast to frameworks seeking to explain sadomasochism through psychological, psychoanalytic, medical or forensic approaches, which seek to categorize behaviour and desires and find a root "cause", Romana Byrne suggests that such practices can be seen as examples of "aesthetic sexuality", in which a founding physiological or psychological impulse is irrelevant.

Rather, sadism and masochism may be practiced through choice and deliberation, driven by certain aesthetic goals tied to style, pleasure, and identity. These practices, in certain circumstances and contexts, can be compared with the creation of art. One of the most commonly used symbols of the BDSM community is a derivation of a triskelion shape within a circle. The BDSM Emblem Project claims copyright over one particular specified form of the triskelion symbol; other variants of the triskelion are free from such copyright claims. The leather pride flag is a symbol for the leather subculture and also widely used within BDSM.

They are three separate items, that are normally associated together. The BDSM rights flag, shown to the right, is intended to represent the belief that people whose sexuality or relationship preferences include BDSM practises deserve the same human rights as everyone else, and should not be discriminated against for pursuing BDSM with consenting adults. The flag is inspired by the leather pride flag and BDSM emblem, but is specifically intended to represent the concept of BDSM rights and to be without the other symbols' restrictions against commercial use.

It is designed to be recognisable by people familiar with either the leather pride flag or BDSM triskelion or triskele as "something to do with BDSM"; and to be distinctive whether reproduced in full colour, or in black and white or another pair of colours. BDSM and fetish items and styles have been spread widely in western societies' everyday life by different factors, such as avant-garde fashion, heavy metal , goth subculture , and science fiction TV series, [] and are often not consciously connected with their BDSM roots by many people.

While it was mainly confined to the Punk and BDSM subcultures in the s, it has since spread into wider parts of western societies. Although it would be possible to establish certain elements related to BDSM in classical theater, not until the emergence of contemporary theatre would some plays have BDSM as the main theme. Exemplifying this are two works: one Austrian, one German, in which BDSM is not only incorporated, but integral to the storyline of the play. However, it is worth noting that the Marquis de Sade describes unconsented abuse in his works, such as in Justine.

Venus in Furs describes a consented domme-sub relationship. A common part of many of the poems of Pablo Neruda is a reflection on feelings and sensations arising from the relations of EPE or erotic exchange of power. The Fifty Shades trilogy is a series of very popular erotic romance novels by E. In the 21st century, a number of prestigious university presses, such as Duke University , Indiana University and University of Chicago , have published books on BDSM written by professors, thereby lending academic legitimacy to this once taboo topic.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about consensual adult sadomasochistic activity. For the medical condition involving non-consensual ideation or behaviour, see Sexual sadism disorder. Woman wearing a collar with attached chain. A handcuffed and blindfolded man.

Man with gagged mouth and clamped nipples. See also: Risk-aware consensual kink. Left: A typical slave collar , along with ring for possible attachment of a leash. Such collars are worn by bottoms on their neck as a symbol of ownership to their masters. Right: The ring of O as a finger ring. See also: Sexual sadism disorder and Sexual masochism disorder. Main article: Leather subculture. Main article: BDSM and the law. Sex and torture acts done at public BDSM events like the Folsom Street Fair in the United States have been accused of being against the law, even when the events are promoted by the local administration and police, and all acts are done with consent.

Right: Breast torture and vibrator sex toy used on a woman at the Fair. See also: BDSM in culture and media. Main article: Sadism and masochism in fiction. Oxford English Dictionary Online draft ed. Oxford University Press.

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