As a survivor of sexual violence, I’ve found that exploring my kinks with partners I trust is a truly cathartic experience. It gives me a chance to reclaim my body as a source of pleasure—instead of anxiety or depression or trauma. I have complete control over how hard I want to be flogged and what sensations I want to experience with the other person. Through this, I’ve learned how to better communicate for myself and understand my desires.

BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism) is a powerful act that’s practiced for many different reasons. It can be a sexual practice, about power dynamics, or experiencing pain as pleasure. Play can even be used as a tool to help process trauma. BDSM is interdisciplinary, and therefore the actual practice varies for everyone in the community. That’s because kinks come in many forms—suspension play, role play, physical restriction, power exchange, administration of pain, spanking and age play just to list a few.

And while there’s a lot of debate around the topic of BDSM in general, people get especially up in arms when they hear that some trauma survivors have found healing through their kinks. Though psychologists have historically pathologized kinky behavior as “Sexual Sadism and Sexual Masochism Disorders”—there is research that shows people who practice BDSM are actually less neurotic, more extroverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive and have higher subjective well-being than non-kinky people. A similar U.S. study found BDSM-identified couples reported less stress as well as increased intimacy following play.

This is all to say that BDSM is a healthy and consensual form of expression—in fact, the current BDSM 4C Consent Model is based around caring, communication, consent and caution. “Fully engaged kink insists on full presence without pretense and the willingness to connect your raw humanity to another’s raw humanity,” says sex writer Midori.

Read the full article:

Kink and Trust: How Some Trauma Survivors Find Healing Through BDSM by Corinne Werder

November 20, 2017