People who take part in BDSM sex activities (bondage, discipline/dominance, submission/sadism, masochism) are less likely to hold attitudes consistent with rape culture, research has found.

Victim-blaming attitudes are less widespread as well as acceptance of so-called rape myths in sexual violence cases, according to the study.

The reason for this could be because the BDSM subculture has “affirmative consent norms,” says Kathryn Klement, co-author of the study called “Participating in a culture of consent may be associated with lower rape-supportive beliefs“.

Affirmative consent is a conscious, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity, either by words or actions.

It means explicitly saying “yes” to questions such as “Can I take your clothes off?” and “Can I touch you?,” says Ms Klement, from the department of psychology at Northern Illinois University. Affirmative consent is seen in the Yes Means Yes policy enforced in colleges and universities in some US states including California and New York. It can be contrasted with a policy where consent is assumed – until someone says no.

Negotiations and safe-words

Within the BDSM community, there is a culture of affirmative or negotiating consent. Practitioners will “negotiate what to do ahead of time,” discuss limits and have safe-words for when they want activities to stop, she says.

 

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BDSM Practitioners less likely to have victim-blaming attitudes in sexual violence cases by Serina Sandhu

August 17, 2016