Dear Lani: Stigmas around BDSM

Welcome to this week’s Dear Lani, an advice column to answer all your kinky questions. Want to know how a guy gets fitted for a chastity cage? Want to know what gag reflex training looks like? We’ve got your answers, or at least advice…okay, opinion.

Q: BDSM seems a lot more popular these days. Is there still stigma associated with being in the lifestyle? Doesn’t BDSM conflict with modern feminism and the ideas of equality?

A: Although popular culture had normalized the lifestyle a lot these days, society as a whole still doesn’t quite know how to adjust yet and it depends on place and culture. Any stigmas associated with being in the lifestyle is mostly because of our culture views of sex and deviancy around sex. There is another entire history around how sex, in general, had become a taboo topic and the history behind the sexuality of mankind is probably best left to experts above ourselves.

However, as media popularized BDSM, the nature of such discussion changed. There can still be judgement, but it’s done as giggles behind hands. That judgement can often be internalized, especially by people that first discover their own kinks and that’s how it turns into shame. However, when you stop giving a damn what others think of you when you stop trying to please the crowds, you end up being much happier and less stressed.

Although not exclusively so, it’s often especially hard for budding submissives, however, to deal with that. Submissives are geared towards people pleasing and judgement from family and friends can wreak havoc on one’s self-esteem. To this, our advice is to recognize that this is happening if it has happened. Sometimes calling out such feelings and thought process is the first step. Your sexual preferences are nothing to be ashamed of and are a part of who you are.

If people do not discuss their preferences in lifestyle, understand that it is a self-protection mechanism and that it is a private matter.

As for feminism….well that’s a loaded word with multiple meanings. Feminism in itself can mean various things from radical feminism rooted in the 1960s to modern feminism focused more on equality. 

In a BDSM relationship, despite the exchange in power, there is an equality in the relationship. The Dominant and submissive should always discuss and sign the contract or come to the arrangement as equals, ensuring both parties are satisfied with the relationship. The exchange of power provides what the other person needs. For instance, the Dominant provides stability while the submissive provides their submission.

It’s important to know that just because the submissive chooses to serve a particular Dominant (or Dominants), it doesn’t make them doormats. They can be in positions of power outside of their relationships. They can be a source of authority in other facets of their life. And that sometimes is what creates a balance as well.

Overall, we are who we are, whether society accepts it or not. To embrace that is sometimes a difficult and hard journey full of tears but the end of that road will result in a peace and self-love that makes it all worth it

Got a question?

Join the The Muse’s Touch Facebook group to submit your questions and join in on the discussion. Every Tuesday, we’ll be picking one question to answer for the following Monday.

Disclaimer: We are expressing personal opinions and views. These opinions or views are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed physician or mental health professional.

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