Is the BDSM community stodgy? How to loosen up

“energy exchange requires consent and negotiation between all parties, no matter their gender, sexual, and BDSM role identity”

Many have fantasies of switching…but few switch

Many in the Femdom community feel they are excluded from most BDSM events and social media. Dommes are repulsed by men dominating women. Heterosexual couples distance themselves from the dommes. Dominant males have antipathy toward submissive males.

While the BDSM community preaches tolerance and including any and all BDSM practices, in practice, the participants ignore or snub those who do not fit. The following study shed some light on why this happens. It further suggests some remedies to those who feel they are excluded from mainstream BDSM communities.

Are BDSM males always dominant and BDSM women always submissive?

Katherine Martinez (1) found from over 200 surveys that:

men tend to self-identify as Dominant, Master, Top, or Sadist (DMTS) and always perform dominant roles, while women tend to self-identify as Submissive, Slave, Bottom, or Masochist (SSBM) and always perform submissive roles…BDSM reinforces gendered dominant/submissive binaries

But:

women and queer/pansexual individuals disrupt this binary through their Switch identities and roles. Switching and queer identities…offer the possibility for transforming dominant/submissive and other binaries.

The roles most commonly associated with BDSM are Dominant/Domme, Master/Mistress, top, sadist, submissive, slave, bottom, masochist, and switch [but] Some define BDSM as “anything from simply an occasional sexual practice to a sexual identity or orientation to a lifestyle” [which] may involve sexual contact or sexual role-playing “involving the infliction of pain or intense sensation, use of restraint, or power exchange” [and] also involve nonsexual contact with the “ritualization of dominance and submission.

individuals may adopt dominant or submissive roles, but the meanings they attach to these roles and the ways they enact them can vary greatly

SSBM interviewees seemed more open to the possibility for fluid roles, likely related to their gender and sexual identities—most were women and bisexual/heteroflexible or queer/pansexual. Most DMTS interviewees, being heterosexual men, were rigid about their BDSM roles, only willing to play with various partners but not submit to them. 

Switches explored their “multiple sexual selves” through partner selection, often choosing partners based on attitude, or what many called “energy,” and skill rather than partner gender and sexual identity … Switches, especially women Switches, creatively explored their own desires and needs that took into consideration the complexities of identity and practice, which may shift across time and context. 

The fear for those who hold firmly to dominant/submissive, male/female, masculine/feminine, and self/other hierarchical binaries is that without these binaries, life becomes unstable and uncertain. The joy for those who actively work to deconstruct these binaries is in the celebration of diversity and movement toward equality. To be certain, a binary is not inherently problematic; as dominants, submissives, and switches attest, energy exchange requires consent and negotiation between all parties, no matter their gender, sexual, and BDSM role identity.

Heterosexual’s tend toward fixed Dom/Sub roles. The paper reviews the history of Western culture and it’s patriarchal preferences. This society promotes heterosexual couplings and disapproves deviance from this “norm”. Heterosexual BDSM practitioners carry this cultural bias into their preferences and activities. Most social media that still allows BDSM posts are largely Male Dom/female Sub themed. Posts that are not conforming to this narrative receive little if any interactions from participants. Women who deviated are tolerated at least somewhat, but men are shunned, possibly because women can still reproduce and add to the population, whereas submissive men are considered too weak to express their “manhood”.

many public bdsm events have more onlookers than participants

Do gay or GQ people tolerate Femdom participants? Survey results from the study suggest that this group has more switches. Women who bottom, for example, might readily switch to a top role depending on the partner. Butch Dykes, TG’s are often dominant with those they prefer to engage. Femdom couples that appear to be heterosexual are treated with prejudice by many sexual minorities despite their apparent gender-switching of top and bottom.

Some women can dominate and submit in the same session

The BDSM community, like most communities, is segregated by cultural preferences. Many dommes prefer “Femdom-themed” gatherings (such as the Pedestal in London) to the more common male-dom/female-sub ones. There are few social media sites that feature femdom activities and get sufficient participation.

women prefer gender-fluid bdsm

Conclusion. The femdom “community” is an isolated minority in the BDSM one. While “switching” may become more popular in time, many heterosexuals who switch may still retain intolerance toward lifestyle femdom couples.

(1) Katherine Martinez (2018) BDSM Role Fluidity: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Investigating Switches Within Dominant/Submissive Binaries, Journal of Homosexuality, 65:10, 1299-1324, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2017.1374062

About dave94015

interested in alternative relationships, visual artist, erotic romance writer and reviewer of erotica, drug rehab clinic intern - early 30's
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2 Responses to Is the BDSM community stodgy? How to loosen up

  1. You would think the BDSM community would be more open to diversity. It is funny that they want the world at large to be more open sexually but like you said, “While the BDSM community preaches tolerance and including any and all BDSM practices, in practice, the participants ignore or snub those who do not fit.” — so they are doing the same within their community that the world does to them.

  2. dave94015 says:

    Research studies have found this pattern repeatedly that people are “discriminating” with others regardless of what they preach. Elise Sutton also mentioned that many dominant women are turned off by mainstream BDSM events; this post explains why. Those who seek a community for their interests are often rejected by the communities around; they may need to form their own and (hopefully) welcome others who have been rejected. There are alternatives to the mainstream interests in social media but their views are often not heard.

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