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CategoriesPopular Culture and SexualityThe I Column

Is BDSM Just a New Age Fad and the Latest ‘In Thing’?

Talk of pop culture and sexuality and the first thing that comes to mind is soft mommy porn. Or even before that, the steamy scenes of ‘Mills and Boons’ or ‘Savita Bhabhi’ or ‘Mast Ram’.  If one woman in the kitty party had a book, the rest were bound to borrow or buy and read it. If one girl read a book from the library or if one boy in the class had a copy, the rest must have it and read it. Afterall, one cannot afford to lose out on the race, right?

At some point, dressing up like a ‘Goth’ was the ‘in thing’. Now, it looks like it’s BDSM. After ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, almost every young girl seems to be a submissive, a sex slave or a ‘little’. Just like back in 2007, I remember IRC chat rooms teeming with tons of ‘Gorean Maters’ and ‘Gorean slaves.’ Does this mean that The Chronicles of Gor were written in 2007? Well, not really.

Similarly, BDSM has been existent in discussion all the way from the time of the Marquis de Sade. However, the only thing that ’Fifty Shades of Grey’ seems to have done is shine the spotlight on a lifestyle that has existed and been judged for quite some time now.

Similarly, BDSM has gained place in mainstream discussions and hence is also judged less by kink-sensitive mental-health professionals. In that sense, I can clearly say that BDSM is not just the latest fad, but an existing lifestyle which is gradually gaining more acceptance.

From personal experience, I know that at one point if I mentioned BDSM to people, they would give me their understanding of the acronym as some tweaked version of Business Data System Management or something equally hilarious. However, now a lot of my Tinder dates are aware of what I am talking about. They still may not understand the nuances, as is the case when any concept that starts gaining popularity.

As a practicing kinkster with 12 years of experience and with friendships that are as old as my own discovery of the lifestyle is, I know that BDSM isn’t a fad. If it were, I wouldn’t have practicing kinksters as friends and community dating from 2006, or earlier. When I speak to some of these people, they tell me that the not so online communities and closed groups go even as far back as 20 years, even in India. This pattern is very similar to the LGBT community and the discussion of queer sexuality as well. This indicates that while BDSM may be something that the larger collective has only recently started discussing, it clearly isn’t a pop culture fad.

Last but not the least, one needs to recognise that something as deep-seated as power exchange and pain cannot be the latest fad. Combine it with issues related to consent, patriarchy, feminism and more; our awareness has certainly increased manifold over the last few years. However, power exchange runs far deeper than even a combination of all these issues.

It is obvious that BDSM isn’t really just a fad and is instead a set of practices that have existed for quite some time now. All that is needed is the right amount of sensitisation, safe avenues to explore and a non-judgmental attitude in order to understand it fully.

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Article written by:

Asmi is an active BDSM practitioner, lifestyle coach based in India, a writer and a vocal, empowering person, who experiments actively with BDSM, feminism, LGBT, sexuality and erotica. She is very active in several real-world BDSM communities and has close connections with a wide spectrum of other practitioners both in India and globally. She has authored a series of 3 books about various aspects of BDSM, available on kindle. She can be reached on Facebook or via email at: asmi.uniqus@gmail.com

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