Slave Mattie explains why: BDSM is NOT a community of damaged individuals

I’m probably not the best person to write about this. One could say I’m a damaged individual. But I’m going to use that to prove a point, so bear with me.

I had a conversation with an acquaintance the other day. A conversation I’ve had with many people: one in which I end up defending my lifestyle against the societal belief that BDSM is a community of damaged individuals. It’s a commonly held misconception that anyone into BDSM was abused in some way as a child.

My upbringing was distinctly average. In a good way. My parents raised me in a safe, loving environment. I wasn’t physically or mentally abused as a child. I could recite these four sentences in my sleep having spoken them ad infinitum to educate vanilla society on what is true and false about BDSMers and those in TPE relationships. If I had a pound for every time someone has labelled me as a damaged and depraved individual I would be a very rich slave. Perverted maybe, if that’s what you want to call it, I’ll own it. But I can guarantee we don’t share the same definition.

This person went on to remind me that I was sexually assaulted as an adult. To which I was quick to point out that I was exploring power exchange BDSM long before that happened. Then I got the next comeback I am all too used to. Their point had been proven, or so they thought. In fact, no. My sexual assault didn’t happen within the BDSM community. And, even if it did, that doesn’t mean that BDSM is abuse. What it means is that the two things are not synonymous. BDSM is not sexual assault. Sexual assault happens everywhere, within and without of the kink community, because unfortunately there are abusers in all walks of life.

My Submission

I have been submissive my entire life. It has nothing to do with damage. It’s just who I am. Owning my submissive nature has led me to a deeper self-awareness of my whys. One of the key advantages is that I understand trust more than you will ever know. I don’t trust easily. I approach people with a sense of caution, sussing them out before making any moves. I ask myself a question every submissive should ask: ‘are you worthy of my service?’ I picked up this lesson within the kink community, along with many other lessons about consent and trust; lessons I would struggle to learn in vanilla society. Why? Because we are conditioned not to talk about such things. In a vanilla context we jump into relationships assuming consent from the get go.

In a true Total Power Exchange, part of the fun is in the discovery. And the discovery can take months. The discovery is all about negotiation, interviewing your potential sub/Dom, actively learning whether you can completely trust your partner(s) before engaging in a relationship. This is how the BDSM community operates. We are not abusers or abused. We are human beings who as it happens take understanding our significant others to epic levels of trust and consent.

Why BDSM?

Why not? BDSM has taught me everything I need to know about relationships, more so than my experience in vanilla dynamics.

A recently published study reported the findings of a survey carried out in 2017. The group was made up of 771 BDSM practitioners and 518 non-practitioners. They were surveyed on BDSM interests, along with the Brief Trauma Questionnaire and the Relationship Structures Questionnaire.

Community BDSM practitioners and private practitioners reported higher levels of physical abuse in adulthood but no significant differences emerged for other traumatic experiences including childhood physical abuse or unwanted sexual trauma. Surprisingly, BDSM practitioners had more secure and at the same time more anxious-preoccupied attachment styles compared to non-practitioners. Besides, secure attachment style was associated with dominance, whereas the anxious-avoidant attachment style was associated with submissiveness. Intensity of BDSM interest was predicted by secure attachment style, gender, sexual orientation, and living area.

https://www.springerprofessional.de/en/the-psychology-of-kink-a-survey-study-into-the-relationships-of-/17721810

The conclusion was this:

Conclusion: Thus, our findings do not support the hypothesis of BDSM being a maladaptive coping mechanism in response to early life dynamics.

Policy Implications: BDSM practices deserve perception as normal sexual practice free from stigmatization rather than deviant behavior.

https://www.springerprofessional.de/en/the-psychology-of-kink-a-survey-study-into-the-relationships-of-/17721810

My answers for why I’m BDSM oriented and thrive in TPE relationship dynamics all return to my need and desire to submit. It just feels right. And I honestly find it liberating. It feeds my soul and lights the fire inside of me.

Another study reported by Live Science suggests that people engaging in BDSM dynamics may actually be more likely to be mentally healthy than those who are not:

“We did not have any findings suggesting that people who practice BDSM have a damaged psychological profile or have some sort of psychopathology or personality disorder”…

https://www.livescience.com/34832-bdsm-healthy-psychology.html

This certainly calls into question why BDSM is still pathologized (is that a word, it is now?) in medical journals.

For me, submission is hardwired. And my submissive traits are given the space to thrive in a power exchange, traits that I have to utilise if I am to be fulfilled. I engaged in kink quite early on in my sex life, my identity as a BDSMer in many ways overrides a lot of other labels thrown at me.

Sam D. Hughes of the University of California Santa Cruz studies kink. In a 2018 interview he talked about a study of his that explored the stages of development in people coming to terms with their kink interests. The research modelled these stages on the CASS model of LGBTQ development. Being a gay man, I found this intriguing. There was so much to relate to in terms of my simultaneous development of being gay and inclined toward BDSM.

Hughes also stated that there is no evidence of a majority within the BDSM community having experienced trauma or hardship in their lives.

Some kinky people, though certainly not the majority, have experienced trauma and hardship in their lives. Many of those who reported trauma and hardship talked about kink as a way to relive that hardship with a sense of healing and mastery over it. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/standard-deviations/201805/growing-kinky-research-shows-how-kink-identity-is-formed

I don’t have any trauma knocking around from childhood. But I do have existing sexual trauma from my late twenties. This is a bigger discussion for another time, and is only here for context. I am a survivor of rape, an event which happened in amongst my exploration with BDSM. I’m not going to sit here and lie and tell you it had no effect on my sexual preferences, but if anything it informed it, strengthened it and made me realise just how much my community means it when they say: consent IS everything. 

No one asked for your pity

There are survivors and abusers in the BDSM community. Of course there are. But this is no difference to vanilla society. And if anything, for this slave at least, BDSM heals. But I also experienced BDSM before that event changed my life. I experienced a community that taught me everything I know about healthy relationships.

Everyone’s trauma is a singular experience. We don’t deserve your pity. We don’t deserve someone proselytising that what we are doing is sick and wrong. We deserve your respect. We are reclaiming our sexuality piece by piece and doing so within a community that places consent and trust above all else. 

So, here’s my message to the vanilla community (specifically the minority who point fingers): yes, there are dangerous people in our community and there are survivors. But there are many in yours too – the difference is, you refuse to look at them. It’s much easier to question someone else’s lifestyle than stepping back and taking a long hard look at your own.

BDSM isn’t for everyone, neither should it be. Vanilla isn’t for me.

Stay safe,

Boi slave (Mattie)

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