Kink 101: BDSM

15 Facts Everyone Should Know

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1. BDSM is an acronym that represents a wide range of erotic behavior between consenting adults, including mental and physical restraint, dominance, sadomasochism, role-playing, and other fetishes.

2. The term “BDSM” is a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/S (Dominance and Submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism), and first appeared in a 1991 Usenet posting. 

3. But the origin of BDSM behavior is probably as old as human kind, since evidence exists that erotica has been a part of every human civilization all the way back to the Paleolithic Era.

4. Although BDSM is nothing new, only a few decades ago it was still largely taboo in our society. At the time, only 10 to 15% of Americans surveyed reported having tried BDSM at least once, and only 15% said they engaged in BDSM occasionaly

5. Since then, and especially in recent years, BDSM has experienced an explosion of renewed interest and mainstream popularity, with a reported 90% increase in people who try or practice it. Likewise, BDSM book, toy, and apparatus sales have skyrocketed, Internet searches about the topic have increased 80%, and membership in FetLife, a BDSM social networking site, has doubled to over 2 million members.

6. Even students at Harvard, Tufts, and other universities are embracing “kink”-legitimization of alternative lifestyles – by partnering with the NCSF (The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom), The Society of Janus and other international BDSM groups, as well as aiding counselors and therapists professionally explore kink

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7. Sadism is a form of BDSM that entails drawing pleasure from pain. In fact, the word, “sadism” comes from a man named Marquis De Sade, a French Aristocrat who was revolutionary for his liberal sexual attitudes in 18th and 19th century France. 

*When he wrote Juliette, a novel about a nymphomaniac, Napoleon sentenced him to imprisonment for the last 13 years of his life, creating sexual martyr. 

8. BDSM usually adheres to carefully defined roles among participants as they enact sexual fantasies, like a dominant partner (top/dom/or domme for a female), and a bottom/submissive partner. Safe words are also common.

9. BDSM was brought to the forefront with Fifty Shades of Grey, a 2015 blockbuster film based on the 2011 erotic romance book by E.L. James that sold 65 million copies worldwide!

10. While some people may think that people who are attracted to BDSM are abnormal, deviant or suffered some sort of abuse, that’s actually not true. In fact, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that people who engaged in BDSM were not more likely to be victims of sexual coercion, and registered levels of happiness and anxiety equal with the non-BDSM population. There was even some benefit found, as men who were attracted to BDSM exhibited less psychological stress than those who didn’t!

12. A “munch” is a group of people that embrace kink behavior or lifestyle. In fact, the word “munch” started in the 1980’s when BDSM sex groups first met up at burger joints and diners for a “burger munch” – and more! BDSM meet-ups and sessions are now also called “scenes” and don’t necessarily have to entail sex. 

13. While BDSM may seem edgy and strange to some people, there is a close relationship between pleasure and pain in the human body and mind. In fact, pain causes pleasure and sexual arousal in many people, and a study by Kinsey, Pomeroy and Martin revealed that about half the people interviewed were sexually aroused by being bitten.

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14. As long as humankind has existed, people have looked to control others by imposing guilt and shame around sex. Still today, many countries, societies, and religions use sexual judgment as a control tactic. But research shows that countries where sexual attitudes are repressed, such as nations with the highest levels of shame and lowest sex education, have higher rates of STDs, more unwanted pregnancies, and lower levels of sexual satisfaction.

15. Just like we all have different ideas, feelings, and ways of expressing love, human beings have a wide spectrum of sexual appetites and predilections. For the vast majority of BDSMers and those into kink, there is plenty of communication and respect between partners as they explore sex in a safe, private, and consensual arrangement – and enjoy their sex lives like never before! 

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