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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Column: Stigma against BDSM might be hurting your sex life

Being sexually ambitious doesn’t make someone a pervert.

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Tori Aerni/Graphic Designer

Feb. 13, 2017

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

Jessie Staley is a freshman studying political science at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life for The Maneater.

Admit it. At one point or another, there is one thing many people have at least considered: BDSM. For the newbies, BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism, and the D and S may also be referred to as dominance and submission.

It is not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. BDSM brings to mind scenes of people in cages pretending to be wild animals and terrifying women in leather ready to whip you if you speak out of turn. Above all, it makes us think of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” These images, and BDSM culture as a whole, probably don’t sound too appealing to the average person, right? BDSM is only for the unusual weirdos and perverts.

Wrong.

BDSM culture is not at all scarce and is certainly not exclusive to the people who like to be beaten during sex. Around 20 percent of the world population and, according to a 2005 survey, a growing 36 percent of the American population indulges in BDSM. That is around 106 million Americans just in 2005. Imagine what the percentage and number of people is now. Other surveys have shown even higher numbers. In no way is it rare.

BDSM also includes an extremely wide range of activities and toys. It doesn’t have to involve a dominatrix or any sort of pain. Any sexual activity that involves bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and/or masochism can pretty much be considered part of BDSM by definition. BDSM culture can also involve exhibitionism, voyeurism and degradation. Exhibitionism is having sex or being naked in front of other people, and voyeurism is observing sex or other people naked. Degradation is “dirty talk” or harsh acts meant to belittle your partner. Certainly, role play should not be excluded from the list either. Basically any sex that is above generic, “vanilla” sex is most likely BDSM material.

The stigma against BDSM culture is made up of mostly false assumptions that it is only for the few freaks with daddy issues, which is not true. A large portion of the world population, and even more of the American population, is involved in BDSM sexual activities to varying degrees. Being interested in getting tied up or being called a “whore” in bed is nothing to be ashamed of or confused about. You are not alone. Sexual freedom is growing in popularity as time goes on, and now is the time to raise awareness and comfortability concerning the subject of BDSM. BDSM is not strange, wrong or uncommon. You should feel neither pressure to maintain a vanilla sex life nor the need to completely switch to sexual masochism.

To each their own, and despite cultural opinion, what you do in bed or anywhere else you like to get it on is your own business and no one else’s. So here’s to embracing the sexual revolution and abandoning the stigma against BDSM culture.

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