A scholarly paper published in a a peer-reviewed feminist academic journal decided to examine a most lurid subject: reliving a past trauma and trying to “reconfigure it” by reenacting it using bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.

The abstract for the paper in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, which is published quarterly by the University of Chicago Press, stated:

As part of a much larger ethnographic study of lesbian/queer sex publics, this essay focuses on a particular erotic practice—sadomasochistic reenactments of lived trauma. Informed by queer-of-color critique, feminist performance studies, and psychoanalysis, this essay explores the necessary queer conditions enabling such returns, by which I mean the reenacting through BDSM of one’s own lived trauma in order to reconfigure it. This queerness, as an embodied erotics fed by durational—as opposed to impersonal and anonymous—ties, rides on the relational. That is, it is our fleshy entanglements and shared dependencies that enable these returns, returns that refuse and reconfigure lived trauma. The site of lesbian/queer sex publics thus offers critical reworkings, somatically generating as it does alternatively embodied futures.

The author of the paper candidly admitted taking part in BDSM events and conferences, noting:

While this essay is part of a much larger ethnographic project consisting of eighty-five interviews with queer-, lesbian-, and trans*-identified BDSMers coupled with my own participation at dozens of BDSM events and conferences, I focus on a particular subset of sadomasochists, who, as survivors of gender and sexual violence, reenact their trauma through BDSM. … The lesbian/queer communities informing this project are based in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, specifically Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland. It is with these BDSM communities that I am most familiar, where I developed the deepest connections, and where I most immersed myself in their respective S/M events and play parties.

Read the full article:

Study Recommends Unusual Way to Deal with Trauma: BDSM by Hank Berrien

January 2, 2019