Hearing the phrase “BDSM” sends people’s minds in one of two directions. Mention Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism and they’ll think of intimidating sex shops where you press a buzzer and a guy in rubber pants opens the door, or of charity shop shelves heaving with wrinkled copies of Fifty Shades of Grey. Stripped of all pop culture and paraphernalia, it generally boils down to dominance and submission between consenting parties, often, but not always, for sexual gratification.

I’m a practising dominant. In BDSM one may be the dominant/top, and the other the submissive/bottom (as with all subcultures, it comes complete with its own language and terminology). Within a pre-agreed timeframe and pre-agreed parameters, the dominant is in charge, and free to exert their dominance as they see fit. It may be something as subtle as verbal instructions – “sit at my feet and pass me my drink” – or as explicit as tying their sub down and inflicting pain. It’s a way of playing with power dynamics, transgression, pain and pleasure.

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How BDSM Helps Me with Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem by Alex Roberts

September 8, 2016