I Was Into BDSM *Before* It Was Cool!

At FetFest, I was asked to sit on a panel for a discussion.  Also on the panel were Midori, undergroundsea, and one other person whose name I can’t remember because I suck.  People were asking lots of questions, but not so many that we couldn’t devote time to each.  Being held outside under some trees was an added bonus.  Very peaceful vibe, and lots of comfy inflatable camp furniture.

One question from the audience lit up my neurons though.  Someone had asked if the popularity of books like “50 Shades” and its ilk have impacted the BDSM community in a positive or negative way.

I personally have not seen an influx of people stemming from the books.  If we do start to see more people coming into the community as a result of the media, it could go either way: We could get a lot of people who are genuinely curious about BDSM, or we could get a bunch of gawkers who are only there to laugh at the freaks.  I think we have enough resources in the community to police the latter and make them uncomfortable enough to never want to return.  It’s too early to say whether this will be necessary.  We’ll deal with it if it happens.

One positive note on books like this is that they get people talking.  Many are afraid of bringing up kinky ideas to their partners for fear of their reactions.  Will they laugh at me?  See me in a different light?  Respect me less?  Leave me altogether?  Plus, lots of couples’ communication is severely lacking when it comes to sex.  They often expect their partner to know exactly what they like.  Rather than simply telling the other person what they like, some people fake orgasm, which actually trains the other person to do it wrong.  Plenty of couples just don’t do communication very well.  So if basic sex is hard to manage because of this communication barrier, how much more so would kinky sex be?  Books of this genre help nudge those gates of communication open.  They also make people more comfortable with alternative sexuality.  Instead of being in the realm of ridicule, certain activities can now be seen in a sexier, more appealing light.  This leads to more couples practicing BDSM.

I’m sure the safety police are horrified of that.  Yes, lots of people may jump into pervitude without educating themselves first.  They may not come to demos and parties, and they might not research their chosen types of play online.  Which increases the chance of injury.  But didn’t many of us start that way?  Just playing around privately with a partner?  If it works out for them, they’ll dig deeper.  And if not, they’ll move along.

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