“I don’t know how to explain it … but I have more clarity the morning after. It’s come to a point where my partner and I ensure we engage in a play scene before any big meetings I have. It really gives me the boost I need.”

R.P. is a 32-year-old consultant living in Mumbai. When she joined a high-powered consulting firm seven years ago, she found herself struggling to keep up with the pace and make herself heard.

“Around the same time, I got into a relationship with a man who was into BDSM [bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; sadism and masochism] and kink play. He introduced me to it and I instantly took a liking to it,” R.P. says. “Surprisingly, I found myself gravitating towards the role of the Dominant. Within the confines of a loving and safe space with a partner I trusted, I was able to assert myself in ways I couldn’t outside my bedroom. Slowly, I began to notice that especially on days after we had engaged in a play scene, I would feel more focussed, composed and clear-headed. It was almost as if the satisfied feeling I felt in bed, in that position of power, flowed over the next day. I feel like I know more about myself — my mind and my body.”

According to recent research by Dr. Brad Sagarin, a professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University, kinks such as BDSM alter the blood flow pattern in the brain, creating altered states of consciousness. For those who assume the dominant position in BDSM, these mental states are called “flow” — the term popularized by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Flow is defined asan “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” It’s a state of hyperawareness, laser focus, and euphoria, which resonates with R.P.’s experience. “I just feel more brave, if that makes sense,” she says. Sagarin’s research confirms just that. The study found that people who regularly experience flow as an effect of dominant BDSM roles report improved concentration, clarity about goals, decision-making skills, and listening and intuitive skills. They also demonstrate lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, less self-consciousness and less aversion to risk.

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BDSM Culture can make Women more assertive in work, relationships by Pallavi Prasad

July 28th, 2019