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What is BDSM?

Posted by in Guides on August 06, 2012 . 0 Comments.

The term BDSM is generally used as a catch-all phrase to describe a number of different sexual behaviours and is generally regarded as an acronym for Bondage and Domination, [Discipline and  Submission] Sadism and Masochism.

Many of the perceived practises and activities surrounding BDSM are those that, when performed in a non-sexual context, are generally deemed as being unpleasant and undesirable.  Most people would consider that activities involving pain, servitude or physical restraint would be inflicted on persons against their will and to their detriment and would probably not consider any form of sexual connection. However, in BDSM, these practises are commonly engaged in within the confines of a mutually consenting partnership and are normally done for mutual enjoyment.

BDSM activities are practised by both genders and by all sexualities, be they straight, gay or bisexual.  Many, if not most, practise their BDSM activities in private and prefer not to share their predilections with the outside world – this is probably largely due to such activities still being very much misunderstood and frowned upon.  Others however are more open and socialize with others in the BDSM community where the BDSM community can be considered as a subculture within mainstream society.

Physically, BDSM is often perceived as administering or receiving pain and although this is often the case, it is by no means limited solely to this activity.  Remember here that BDSM is a very broad term and although such activities do normally involve pain at some level (pain can be defined here as anything from just a touch to drawing blood and anything in-between) it is not always necessarily required.  The bondage, domination and submission elements of the acronym certainly do not necessitate pain.

Within mainstream society the relationship between BDSM and pain is largely misunderstood and unknown and this is that pain is used in order that endorphins are released. Stress and pain are the two most common factors leading to the release of endorphins. Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine. In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria and release of sex hormones.  Endorphins have been suggested as modulators of the so-called “runner’s high” that athletes achieve with prolonged exercise and it is this state that is achieved with the use of pain.

Some Pointers to bear in mind:

  1. BDSM may or may not involve sex in any way,
  2. BDSM often encompasses the particular fetishes of the participants, but a fetish should not be directly related to BDSM,
  3. Many people that enjoy BDSM activities do so with others in a non-sexual way while maintaining a sexually monogamous relationship,
  4. Couples may enjoy BDSM activities sexually by have an otherwise normal relationship,
  5. How dominant or submissive a person is in their normal life does not determine in any way their preferred roll within BDSM play.   
Last update: October 26, 2012

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