Thanks to 'Fifty Shades of Grey', the definition of BDSM has transformed for people. In the most basic form, BDSM is all about the erotic and sexual acts and mindsets of dominating and relinquishing control. Over the years BDSM has built up a pretty bad reputation, but the fact is that the basic principles can be extremely liberating and in the long run if you engage in it, they'll turn you on in a way that you would never even have thought of.
Well, if you do practice BDSM then you're not alone in your interest. According to recent studies, 50 percent of Americans enjoy some kind of kink or rough sex fantasy, while 36 percent admit to using blindfolds and bondage gear during sex. Well, that is a lot of people!
Honestly, what people are not talking about are the benefits of BDSM which I'll talk about today.
Let's dive in, shall we?
We all have heard about it, but still, feel confused and at lack of knowledge when this topic comes into a discussion. BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline/ Dominance & Submission/ Sadomasochism. What freaks majority of us out about BDSM is the lack of clarity around why we're interested in it in the first place. What it comes down to is control. It starts with a desire to give up or receive control over someone, and then things escalate. This giving and taking of control and power then turn out to be extremely sensual.
According to Sandra LaMorgese PhD, author, former dominatrix, and CEO of Attainment Studios, BDSM is often misrepresented and not fully understood. This might be why we feel so weird about it. "At first glance, BDSM may look like an abusive practice that's only carried out by heartless sadists and victims with low self-worth. With BDSM, the misunderstanding is especially profound. The practice of BDSM involves trust, compassion, love, acceptance, and surrendering control for the good of one's emotional health."
Research indicates that BDSM practices are typically correlated with pain, dominance and physical stress, but it has some serious health advantages beyond sexual satisfaction, including reducing stress that goes un-talked about.
The Science of Us recently reported, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that BDSM practitioners may have less anxiety and enjoy more security in their relationships than their vanilla counterparts. Researchers surveyed 902 BDSM practitioners and 434 non-participants and found that those who enjoyed BDSM-related activities had shared certain psychological characteristics, like being "less neurotic, more extroverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious and less rejection-sensitive" than the control (or vanilla) group. In short, BDSM practitioners' sex lives made them a whole lot less stressed.
Science and researchers provide us with shreds of evidence that state and show how BDSM practices might affect a person's mental state before and after the engagement. A commonly reported "relaxing" experience for submissive practitioners is that of "subspace," an altered state of consciousness accompanied by feelings of peacefulness and time distortion, comparable to a runner's high. Similarly, dominants reported a "topspace," an endorphin-filled exhilaration accompanied by heightened feelings of control and accomplishment.
A study was conducted last year by Northern Illinois University where they recruited 14 "switches," or regular BDSM practitioners who enjoyed both submissive and dominant roles. After participating in a BDSM session, the subjects were tested for mental acuity and memory function. The results showed that the submissives experienced a significant reduction in their cognitive scores, suggesting a mental dimming or "altered state" that accompanies BDSM play, particularly when blood rushes away from certain areas of the brain.
An important thing to keep in mind is that if you're not inclined towards kinky stuff in the bedroom, the chances are that BDSM scenes won't have that same relaxing effect on you. BDSM activities themselves aren't the source of calm and stress relief; rather it's the personalities of individuals who are drawn to BDSM. Past studies have shown that more than half of all men and women (64.6% female and 53.3% male) have fantasised being dominated sexually.
Additionally, researchers at the Kinsey Institute have estimated that 5% to 10% of the U.S. population has engaged in some form of sadomasochism for sexual pleasure on at least one occasion. What was once categorised as a "psychopathological" behaviour in the science world and seen as taboo by society as a whole is a commonplace sexual activity that has many healthy and happy participants.
Some practitioners report feeling relaxed both after scenes and within their romantic relationships - it's a community that has lived by the three central tenets of being "safe, sane and consensual" for years. The foundations of the BDSM community, such as aftercare, and constant communication, lend themselves to secure, mutually satisfying experiences that often bring couples closer together.
"Because doing BDSM means communicating with your partner, usually at an intense level because you are negotiating guidelines and discussing fantasies in depth, it gives you a greater sense of trust in your partner, and that leads to a greater sense of intimacy with them, and that, ultimately, is very psychologically balancing," says a professional sex expert.
To truly comprehend these extra psychological benefits is to understand that BDSM is something positive for those who practice it. It's not merely a sexual act; according to fetish sex expert and therapist Galen Fous, for some percentage of the population, BDSM practice "is a lifelong, inherent, innate sexual identity, on the same level that straight, bi, gay or lesbian is an authentic sexual identity,"
In a nutshell, it's a behaviour and identity that brings meaning and fulfilment for those who practice it.
That's all. Stay tuned!