Kink vs. BDSM – The light and Dark Side

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Many people start off with kink as a way to spice up their sex lives with a few sex toys: fur-lined handcuffs, velcro bindings, deer hide floggers, etc. Kink works to enhance arousal for otherwise routine sex.
An interesting question is: does light kink lead to hard-core bdsm?
Kink or BDSM can contribute to relationship harmony and a deeper binding between partners. It has been said that many men are more motivated by pain than pleasure. Many in the gay leather community utilize dark-side BDSM as an emulation of masculine power and establishing the order of the relationship (such as in Daddy-son, top-bottom relationships). The practice of BDSM reinforces their relationship against the attitudes of heteronormative society.

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The predominant gender roles of BDSM practitioners is male-dominant, female submissive.

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Participants in BDSM are distributed along 3 preferred roles, dom, sub & switch.

Sexologists believe that some males have a homosexual component to their persona that they do not present. I believe some males also have a submissive component that is similarly suppressed.

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People often come into dark-side BDSM when they are driven by inner-demons or overwhelming fantasies that they want to be treated by BDSM activities regularly. Many have experienced childhood or YA emotional or sexual trauma. Love or attention from parental figures was often bound (to them) with bondage, punishment, humiliation, degradation or other elements of bdsm. Some have been raped or treated with rough sex. The BDSM experience is a way to exorcise these traumas or to at least relive the experience emotionally. This is similar to the cathartic therapy of psychoanalysis but it is usually much more physical.

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Psychiatric and psychological therapists now only treat BDSM as a paraphilia if it is troubling to the individual and not their family or the community.
In the absence of therapies (although many sex therapists will treat relationship issues that involve BDSM), spiritual advisors fill the void that licensed therapists will not consider in their practice.
People go to new-age or spiritual-oriented therapies for stress-related issues of their BDSM. Often one person in a relationship wants and needs dark BDSM and the other partner is reluctant or has no knowledge or experience on how to handle the situation or they are afraid to disrupt the relationship equilibrium.

In That Time I Tried BDSM Therapy , author 

in 

[who] have pioneered a form of intensive therapy that incorporates consensual BDSM activities into their sessions with clients. The objective is to activate repressed emotions in order to process them in a safe and supportive environment.

Thole led me to the St. Andrews Cross, I went willingly, but with a feeling of utter resignation. I lifted my arms so that she could strap me in as Rogers gently played the leather tendrils of the flogger over my back. Then suddenly, the first blow—expelling the breath out of me. When he struck me, I saw light. The harder he hit, the brighter the light. As the lashes fell, I felt like an obstinate child. At the same time though, I took a kind of wicked delight in the punishment of my body—as if it no longer belonged to me, as if I were free of it.

They took me down from the cross and led me to the bed. Thole gestured for me to lay with my head on her lap. She stroked my hair as she smiled down upon my upturned face. “Hello,” she chirped. I laughed. “Hello,” she repeated. Whenever my attention drifted, she would say it again. In that way, she kept me present there with the two of them for a long time. “Welcome to earth,” she whispered finally, smiling like a mother.

When I left the cabin and drove back to San Francisco two days later, I was filled with a lightheartedness that lasted for days.

“When you’re hit and you say no, that’s pain. When you’re hit, and you say yes though, that’s sensation—and sensation is whatever you want it to be.”

Members of the BDSM community will often say that the practice is no substitute for deep-rooted psychological problems (such as personality disorders) but may still turn to the lifestyle because it is the only way they can connect to their inner self and share their love with their partner fully.

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Psychologists have tended to distance themselves from developing theories about BDSM because of its past designation and because it has never been studied in great detail.

What are the main types of theories in psychology?

In 10 Types of Psychological Theories

1. Developmental Theories – explains human development

2. Grand Theories – seek to explain much of human behavior but are often considered outdated and incomplete in the face of modern research

3. Mini-Theories – describe a small, very particular aspect of development

4. Emergent Theories – created relatively recently and are often formed by systematically combining various mini-theories

Of these types there are several groups of theories:

Behavioral Theories – a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning

Cognitive Theories – focused on internal states

Developmental Theories – provides a framework for thinking about human growth, development, and learning

Humanistic Theories – earlier theories often focused on abnormal behavior and psychological problems…

Personality Theories – looks at the patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that make a person unique

Social Psychology Theories – explains social behavior

In the previous account Rogers regards his Light/Dark therapy along the lines of a mini-therapy called “Play Therapy”:

In the words of Plato, “One can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” With a large body of supporting research, the modern psychological modality of play therapy is based on that idea. Play therapy has traditionally focused on children, but it can be just as effective in older populations. Its promotion of spontaneity provides a unique means of bypassing sophisticated adult defense mechanisms.

“I can analyze things forever,” Rogers acknowledged. “I can make a hundred things true, or a hundred things not true. But, underneath all that logic is sensation, and that’s the only way I can really track who I am. I am most myself when I don’t know what I’m about to say next—when I surprise myself. When I know what I’m going to say, it’s because I rehearsed it, and some part of me is probably hiding something.”

Although I have suggested D/s is a variant of “Transactional Analysis” (TA), traditional TA is strongly associated with parent-child relationships and heteronormative. What I suggested was that the dominant is like the parent and the submissive is like the child. Each participant responds to the transaction of BDSM in their own respective ways.

At best, BDSM would be a mixture of one or more “mini-theories” and is not likely to be adopted by mainstream psychologists.

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BDSM background without trauma.

I was raised in SE Texas without any trauma that I can recall. I was a latch-key child who was largely left alone because my parents had to work a lot to pay bills. I learned kink connected to sexual arousal from my peers.

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I remember seeing a picture of an ancient Greek statue (The Laocoon, a Hellenistic period work) of men being bound by snakes that wrapped around their muscular bodies. I was somehow aroused by that picture but at the time I didn’t know what BDSM was.
As a late-teen, I was a houseboy to a dominatrix who practiced meditation as part of her sessions. We both meditated in her dark dungeon with only a few small candles for light.
Many of her friends considered her a “good witch” as her rituals involved spells and prayers. Although she acknowledged that her grandmother may have practiced the Craft, she didn’t consider herself a witch. If people thought she was, then so what?
I found the meditation helped me to focus on my body, clear my mind (and the fear and stress of the session that was to begin soon). She would bind my arms and legs and encourage me to redistribute the pain of the impact play up my spine to the brain. I felt a certain warmth from this process. My tension from the beatings subsided and I got into it.
I felt closer to this older woman than I had been with anyone before. We would have continued after I finished college in this way if it were not the change in the relationship that she initiated.

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BDSM as an alternate to sex.

IN A Peek Inside The BDSM Bedroom ,  researchers found that survey respondents claimed Sexual problems are generally less important during BDSM sex :

For men, sexual distress (such as inability to maintain an erection) was lower during BDSM sex. “For some people, BDSM can function as a way to engage in less distressing practices,” Pascoal [the research author] says. “Or even if sexual functioning issues present themselves, they are seen as being less important or their emotional impact as lower.” (Sexual distress scores were similar in both BDSM and non-BDSM contexts for women.)

This may be because BDSM sex is less genitally oriented, Pascoal says, or because functioning issues can be integrated into kinky play. “It also may highlight that BDSM works as a pleasurable safe sexual event for those who experience distress in non-BDSM contexts,” she says.

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How can BDSM be useful for both participants with trauma backgrounds and those without?

BDSM can be viewed as a kind of therapy that could be useful to many, including those with backgrounds of trauma and those with relatively little, as well as people with sexual distress. How is this possible? The most common denominator between the three groups of participants is that they respond to intimacy with one or more partners. BDSM to them is a form of intimacy. It may have more impact on their personality disorders, increase arousal or be a substitute for vanilla sex.

 

About dave94015

interested in alternative relationships, visual artist, erotic romance writer and reviewer of erotica, drug rehab clinic intern - early 30's
This entry was posted in bdsm-culture, bdsm-psych, mental-health, psychology, relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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