Since When Does Prince Charming Carry Handcuffs?

What the Bible says about BDSM
Since When Does Prince Charming Carry Handcuffs?
Image: traveljunction / Flickr

During the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinski scandal, it seemed like the entire nation was talking about oral sex. In the same way, Fifty Shades of Grey has introduced BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism) to our vocabulary, news stories, and social media. What was once a fringe, aberrant sexual practice has become a viable option for everyday women. Almost everywhere I speak, men and women want to know if practicing BDSM within a consensual, loving relationship is okay.

First of all, let’s be clear about what BDSM is and isn’t. There is a big difference between fun sexual play and practicing BDSM. I have no issue with a couple who wants to use a blindfold to heighten sexual excitement or one person “taking charge” to pleasure his or her spouse during sex. However, BDSM involves an entirely different construct. It involves a sexual relationship in which one person is the “dominant” and the other person agrees to be totally submissive, even going so far as to sign a contract pledging obedience. The dominant seeks sexual pleasure by binding, humiliating, flogging, or restraining the submissive.

Whether “consensual” or not, BDSM represents a twisted version of sexual pleasure, and, in some cases, is outright sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. As for the issue of consent, I would argue that many women who willingly participate in BDSM do so in response to manipulation or coercion, or and in reaction to past psychological trauma.

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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