Thursday, June 8, 2017

What Kind of Person Wants This

I've been awake a lot in the middle of the night these past few weeks. The endless amount of late night infant feedings have necessitated finding something to occupy my mind in order to keep me awake. Bruce has frankly insisted I find something that does NOT involve babies or motherhood, which pathetically left me with no ideas. Meanwhile, for the past year or so I've had the privilege of getting to know Jason's Girl (see Taming of the Shrew blog to the right). I love our friendship, in part because it is wonderful talking with a fellow submissive who is emotionally well-adjusted and in a longstanding, stable D/s relationship. Bruce is fully aware of the value I place on our connection, and as she has recently become a major success as a Romance Novelist (pen name Jane Henry), he generously suggested I read some of her books to fill the time. I've not read Romance Novels before, but several midnight hours and six books later I can personally testify that her books are fantastic! (I believe her blog has a link to her author's page; if you enjoy Romance Novels it's definitely worth checking out.) Anyway, after finishing her Boston Doms series I decided to further peruse the D/s Romance Novel scene. When I kept bumping into reviews of a D/s book by a New York Times best selling author I eventually gave in and downloaded the kindle version. Imagine my disgust when I found that, just like 50 Shades, the characters who engage in a D/s relationship were once victims of abuse. Of course I'm in strong support of healing from traumatic pasts however necessary, and if having this type of a relationship is helpful in doing that then I applaud those who do so. Nonetheless, the perpetual stigmatization of D/s relationships correlating to abuse victims frankly pisses me off. What is that really saying anyway? Among other things, it suggests that D/s relationships are so twisted that they only serve as a vice or even therapy for those who have suffered physical or sexual trauma. I know firsthand that this is entirely inaccurate, but how do I validate that argument? Well, with all of the extra time I've had lately (ha, ha, HA) I decided to further investigate the validity of this correlation.

Much to my surprise, several reputable websites have plenty to say on the topic of D/s relationships and those who participate in them. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in May 2013 was featured in an article by Psychology Today; they highlighted the study's findings that "BDSM Practitioners," namely dominants and submissives, were actually more conscientious, less neurotic, and had a better sense of well-being than those with "vanilla sexual preferences." The article went on to say: "Common assumptions about people who participate in BDSM are that they are psychologically anxious and maladjusted, acting out a past history of sexual abuse, however... available research evidence suggests that these assumptions are probably not true" Well then. How about that?

They weren't the only ones to weigh in on the character of those interested in dominance and submission. LiveScience.com discussed similar research at length with this conclusion: "...Studies have failed to show evidence that enjoying sex with a side of pain is linked to psychological problems... in fact, these studies suggest that BDSM practitioners may be better off psychologically than the general public." The article went on to say that such individuals "tend to be more aware of their sexual needs and desires than vanilla people," thus implying that these people are more likely to have a healthier sex life and a healthier sense of self.

Another reputable entity addressing D/s participants was The Huffington Post: they produced an article stating that past assumptions that BDSM proclivities correlate with previous abuse or mental disorders are contrary to research, and that people with such preferences actually score better on many mental health indicators than the general population.

Finally, the Smithsonian website cited several studies indicating that a staggering 36-65% of the general American population have BDSM preferences. What fascinating and validating statistics! And yet even the Smithsonian observed that "In spite of the evidence that BDSM is commonplace—normal, even—those who openly adhere to the lifestyle are frequently marginalized."

Marginalized indeed. Now I admit I have only been a part of the D/s community for a few years, but virtually everyone I've encountered within it has faced a time where they assumed that their desire for such a power exchange meant that something must be wrong with them psychologically. And even though society has a rich history of inarguably erred judgment in regards to "acceptable" and "moral," its marginalization of such preferences play a huge role in this self-doubt. Heaven knows I've been there myself. But maybe its time we turn the tables and shame society for its high-handed ignorance. I trust the man I've pledged my life to so fully that I find empowerment in fully surrendering control to him. He loves me so much that he desires to commit himself to the worthiness that such power and responsibility requires. While this challenges and stretches us, it certainly doesn't make us any more broken or damaged than the rest of the population. It does make us better, more selfless versions of ourselves, more fulfilled, and deeper in love than ever. The way I see it, that makes us pretty damn healthy.





4 comments:

  1. Hi, Kate,
    I had to laugh at the spare time comment, lol! Moms rarely have a second to themselves with little ones about. Very interesting articles and information. I'd agree. We are a pretty healthy bunch.
    --Baker

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    1. Yes we are! And you are so right about the second to ourselves- I had a half hour today where both were napping today and I was ecstatic!

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  2. Kate, it's been my pleasure getting to know you (and a true miracle that we can still find time to connect with our two schedules lol!). I totally understand about not having time for yourself, too, and I'm thrilled that you've enjoyed my books!

    Those studies you mentioned are really fascinating! I do think that in my own experience interacting with you and others in the community, that I can say the vast majority of the couples I've gotten to know are well adjusted, healthy, and very happy!

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    1. I'm glad you found them to be as interesting as I did. I agree that there are many out there who prove my point. You especially are a great example of one such couple :)

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