For many years, BDSM has been a form of sexual expression for a small number of people. Now that the phenomenon of 50 Shades of Grey has taken over, the idea of BDSM has taken the spotlight in couples bedrooms. Now the question is, is it really a healthy form of sexual expression or is there an ugly truth behind the practice and pleasure people get when engaging in these activities.
Before the release of the DSM-V, the idea of BDSM was considered to be some type of Paraphilic Disorder. According to Susan Wright, BDSM was known to one of these disorders and was used against parents in custody battles (Wright, 2014). Most of the parents that were engaging in BDSM activities were seen to have some type of sexual disorder and were thought to be incapable of taking care of their children (Wright, 2014). Others like, Dr. J Paul Fedoroff, talks about the criteria of having sexual sadism and how the idea of sex and violence can be seen as pleasurable to those who are believed to have this type of disorder (Fedoroff, 2008). He also talks about how these types of behaviors are seen in criminals and their desire for getting pleasure from seeing others in pain (Fedoroff,2008).
While there may be ideas that BDSM is more of a mental disorder, others believe that it is a form of eroticisms (Picker, 2013). William Picker reviewed the book Sexual Outsiders and summaries the main points about BDSM. He mentions that those who engage in BDSM like the idea of BDSM is about power and that it is no form of “mental disorder or criminal behavior” (Picker, 2013).
As most people may know, sex is an important part of a relationship and it is part of being a human. The way I see BDSM is the same way I see any other type of sexual activity like fellatio or just regular coitus. Just like Picker mentions, BDSM is a way of forming a power of eroticism in individuals. For some couples it may be a way of spicing up their sex lives and exploring their sexuality. While some of these things may be good things about BDSM, there may also be some downfalls to engaging in this type of activity. For example, not everyone may be into this type of activity, so that is why consents and having safe words are important.
BDSM can be seen as a healthy form of sexual expressing for some people, while for others it may seem as an activity for those with a mental disorder.
Fedoroff, J. P. (2008). Sadism, sadomasochism, sex, and violence. The Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry / La Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie, 53(10), 637-646.
Picker, W. (2013). Review of Sexual outsiders. Journal Of Sex & Marital Therapy, 39(5), 470-473. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2013.792687
Wright, S. (2014). Kinky parents and child custody: The effect of the DSM-5 differentiation between the paraphilias and paraphilic disorders. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 43(7), 1257-1258. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0250-6