The Connection Between Sex and BDSM
an essay by Suzanne's slave T
There must be a connection, right? Isn’t
pain usually applied to nude or semi-nude bodies, and don’t
the ‘private parts’ seem to get special attention?
And isn’t orgasm the goal at the end of it all?
Not so fast. Even if all the above were true,
it wouldn’t prove that people practice BDSM to get a
sexual ‘high.’ You could just as easily turn it
around and claim that people let themselves be manipulated
sexually because that’s the easiest, cleanest way to
receive pain and suffering.
Here are some reasons why:
a) Pain is hard to administer through clothing,
so nudity of the submissive (or bottom) is the efficient way
b) The submissive mind thrives on being vulnerable, and nudity
is a foremost way of producing a feeling of vulnerability;
c) The genital organs are among the most sensitive parts of
the body, so they are natural targets;
d) Most external stimuli don’t reach beyond the outermost
nerve endings, whereas genital stimulation has the ability
to produce effects that go far beyond -- to the body’s
electrical and chemical systems. Sex is the doorway to the
e) There are very many taboos attached to sexual organs and
pleasures, hence violating these taboos is a way to create
So you see, regardless of how it first appears,
sex is the means - not the end; it is by using sex and sexuality
that the dominant or top can most powerfully create mammoth-sized
impacts on the submissive or bottom.
What might these impacts be, that the bottom
so keenly desires? As many who have written about BDSM can
attest, the diverse practices of BDSM offer many tools for
working through various psychological and spiritual anxieties.
No, we who practice BDSM aren’t crazy
(though some might think so) - but the anxieties we are dealing
with truly range from the frightful to the divine. It is amazing
the range of needs that are involved here. For some it is
dealing with the effects of sexual abuse, and for others it
is escaping from responsibilities - at least for a while.
For others it is getting a preview of death and dying.
There’s probably no end to list-making,
but here, just as an example, are ten needs that can conceivably
lead someone to the various practices of BDSM:
Guilt Related Needs
1. Guilt re: Sex, Masturbation - As sexual
tension grows in teenagers, masturbation and sexual experimentation
usually follow, bringing with it the awesome thrill of release.
It also brings with it moral conflict, since parents and teachers
discourage this potentially addictive behavior that can warp
personality development. Pain that ‘accidentally’
causes a release lessens the guilt by making release seem
less than voluntary and by combining the punishment with the
2.Low Self-Esteem - If we feel worthless, it
is only fitting that we are treated harshly.
3. Deflation of excessive pride - Some strong
persons who are willful and insist on getting their way then
feel guilty about that willfulness and seek to be humbled.
4. Escape - Anxieties torment us, some people
more than others. Pain and submission can provide the occasional
escape from the anxieties and responsibilties of life, just
as do alcohol and drugs.
5. Fear Factor - Proving our toughness in a
world where the daily news is full of suffering, torture and
violent death can lead to ‘practicing suffering’
- to convince ourselves that, should the worst happen to us,
we can endure it, up to the process of dying.
6. Skinned Knees - As kids, we rolled in the
dirt, climbed trees, skinned knees - felt our bodies. As we
grew older, we insulated ourselves from these rough, sharp,
prickly, hot, cold sensations, yet we need them. They tell
us our bodies are part of us, and we’re alive!
7. Tired Sex Life - Bored with routine, we seek excitement
and variety to rekindle sex drive.
Love Related Needs
8. Empathy/ I Feel Your Pain - For those whose
life has gone well, nearly perfectly, the contrast between
that success and the misery of so many others, moves one to
willingly accept some suffering as a way to ‘even out’
9 Triumph of the Spirit - In a hedonistic/materialist
world, accepting suffering and submitting to another says
that comfort and self-seeking are NOT the top priorities of
life - that the spirit world trumps the materialistic one
hands down. Those who lose their life shall save it.
10. Hero/heroine Worship - We seem to have
a built-in need to worship God - a being immeasurably more
perfect than ourselves. Because this ideal is so abstract,
it helps to concretize it through hero worship by submitting
to a hero/heroine who exemplifies many of the noble qualities
we attribute to God.
These needs have to do with people’s
quest for happiness - from the most basic level of dealing
with developmental problems all the way up to the quest for
holiness and touching the divine. BDSM can help at every step
of the way, even while it looks different to everyone who
uses its practices. Hence the confusion that it’s all
about, and only about, sex and, to those outside, perversions.
It’s not, for most people; it only looks that way.
slave T's other essays...
World's Oldest Newbie
The Five Steps