Tag Archives: BDSM

Resource List for Curious Students

21 Nov

This is a special and unusual blog update. Tomorrow, November 21st, I will be presenting a lecture called Pleasure in Darkness: BDSM and Kink as Healthy Sexual Options for Psychology of Sexuality at the University of Michigan, taught by the fabulous Dr Terri Conley. The lecture will be filmed and uploaded here in the next few weeks.

For now, a resource list for curious students:

BOOKS

Different Loving  offers a set of interviews with various kink practitioners and interesting insight to the psychology and appeal of BDSM/kink.

Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns is a classic how-to guide for BDSM topics.

The New Topping Book and The Bottoming Book offer a great introduction to how to be a top or a bottom.

Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink is a question and answer book created by Midori that looks into the psyche of many kinks.

ONLINE

Clarisse Thorn keeps a wonderful blog that explores  many different BDSM community related topics.

Fetlife.com is the kinky version of facebook, and a great way to get in touch with your local kinky community.

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom keeps a list of kink aware professionals.

This Xeromag Guide to BDSM is a great resource for “how to” on many BDSM topics.

For you cog psych people, here is a fabulous post about how to raise endorphins in a kink play session.

FILM

The Secretary is essentially a love story with kinky elements, and a lighthearted and sweet kinky movie.

I have not personally seen it, but I’ve heard wonderful things about Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Sadomasochist.

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Cross Post: 5 sources of assumptions and stereotypes about S&M

24 Oct

This article was originally posted at Clarisse Thorn: Pro-Sex Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism. It is written by Clarisse Thorn, a wonderful sex-positive activist and blogger.

Why do BDSMers often feel bad about being into S&M? Why do so many of us freak out once we discover our BDSM identity, or live in secret and repress our desires, or write only under false names, or fear openly joining the S&M community, or ….

Well, here’s a particularly sad example of how bad some of us feel. A BDSMer friend works as a therapist who does couples counseling. He once told me about a couple who had some random argument in his office — the argument, apparently, wasn’t even about sex — during which the wife lost her temper and turned away from her husband. “You know what this freak likes?” she snapped, and proceeded to describe her husband’s biggest fetish. Her husband looked humiliated and was quiet.

Now, from the perspective of my kinky counselor friend and my kinky self, the husband’s fetish wasn’t particularly weird — in fact it seems much tamer than, say, my own desire to have needles slid through my skin — but I can see how the fetish would seem weird to the mainstream. More importantly, it was obvious that this poor kinkster’s wife had been using his fetish as her ace in the hole — her secret back-pocket weapon — for quite a long time. Whenever she wanted to shut him up or shame him, she just mentioned his Deep Dark Fetish and he was silenced and shamed.

So. Obviously, there are a lot of poisonous assumptions and stereotypes surrounding S&M. There are so many of them that lots of kinksters have taken them into ourselves: not only do we fear society’s judgment, but we also feel tons of anxiety from internalized social norms.

And yet I’ve come upon people who tell me that the stereotypes around S&M “aren’t that bad”. I’ve had people (even other BDSMers!) tell me that all our anxiety is internal, that society is totally okay with S&M and if we’d just quit indulging our “victim complex” then everything would be fine. In fact, one person read my coming-out story — in which I wrote about the internal struggle and panic I experienced when I came into my BDSM identity — and snidely said that I was “just being dramatic”.

Then there are people who tell me that S&M is “mainstream”, which is just plain ridiculous. I can see the argument that very mild kink has gone mainstream, at least among young liberals: hickeys, silk scarves, mild choking, mild spanking, and furry handcuffs. Yeah, lots of people try those things, and you’d have a hard time finding a (young, white, well-educated) person who condemns them. But you know what’s not mainstream in any group? Needles in one’s back; blood. Screams for mercy; tears. What appalled me, during my coming-out process, was discovering my need for agony. And I assure you, my anxiety and my self-disgust were real. I wasn’t “making it up to be dramatic”.

Apparently, though, giving examples of BDSMers who feel (or felt) awful about ourselves isn’t enough, so I started thinking about how I internalized that disgust. How did I develop my stereotypes of S&M? I can remember people in my teens joking about how I’m so aggressive, I ought to be a dominatrix; I even remember a girl who brought a whip to summer camp and lent it to me for a costume party. And for years before my own awakening, I was aware that some of my friends were into “that stuff”. Given these positive messages, where did I pick up the negative messages? To put it in academic terms: where can I find instances of BDSM stigma?

Here they are: Continue reading

Storytime: Coming Out as a Survivor, or, How Kink Saved my (Sex) Life

10 Oct

Now for something completely different: Story time.

Trigger warning: I will be talking about issues surrounding sexual assault and survivor sexuality.

Continue reading

BDSM: An introduction to some kinky ideas and terminology

4 Oct

Credentials and a disclaimer: A wonderful professor at the University of Michigan pulls me in once a semester to talk about this stuff. My information is coming from the collected resources of many years of study and community involvement, conversations and events, and personal observation. That being said, milage will vary. Every kinkster experiences and adapts the rules of kink to their own tastes and needs. Do not take this as kinky law, just as my interpretation of the culture!

The following is a review of some basic terms and concepts used within the BDSM community. For a list of more comprehensive resources, I highly recommend Clarisse Thorn’s BDSM Resource List

Kink is usually used as an umbrella term that encompasses the worlds of BDSM and fetish. We will spend more time in future posts going into greater depth about what all of these terms mean, but for now, a brief definition of each follows.

  • BDSM stands for Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sado-/Masochism,
  • Bondage/Discipline encompasses the physical elements of kink, including restraints and sensation play.
  • Dominance/submission encompasses the emotional and psychological elements of kink, including role play and consensual power exchange.
  •  Sado/masochism refers to the roles of one who takes pleasure in giving a physical sensation (or sadist), and one who takes pleasure in receiving physical sensation (or masochist).
  • Fetish refers to the sexualization of a not-usually-sexualized object, such as an article of clothing or object. In the world of psychology, having a fetish as a condition is when a patient cannot become sexually aroused without the presence of the fetish object; however, in the world of kink, the term fetish is used to describe any object people may find sexy.

Continue reading