You are here: Home » Sexuality » Gender Studies and Bdsm

Gender Studies and Bdsm

Excerpts from literature review for The Paradox of BDSM from the Perspective of the Male, Heterosexual Submissive.

Due to the pattern of publication in learned journals, earlier BDSM studies have been identified and assigned as belonging to particular disciplines, notably abnormal psychiatry, feminist studies and homosexuality.  Articles on BDSM were published either in special editions of the “Lesbian and Gay Psychology Review or the Journal of Homosexuality, reinforcing perception of BDSM as practised by minority sexual cultures, rather than the increasingly prevalent heterosexual orientation reported in The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex.

Few cross-links or citations between these disciplines were visible until the most recent work (2005 onward) from Europe, Canada, America and New Zealand.

Much work has been done on BDSM in LGBT, (Lesbian, Gay, Bi- and Trans-sexual) contexts, but little in relation to male, submissive heterosexual practitioners of BDSM who enjoy a submissive or powerless role in BDSM interactions.

The New Kinsey Report, (1990), suggested that at least 10% of heterosexual couples practised some form of BDSM and has been triangulated or cross-referenced with other surveys, including the Durex International Surveys, (2004 and 2005), to support its contentions which have also been extended and researched in Finland (Sandnabba et al, 1999).  American researchers estimate that 10 percent of the U.S. population also engages in sadomasochism for sexual pleasure.

Three distinct SM communities, gay, lesbian and heterosexual, co-exist today as part of the larger SM culture,  (Alison et al. 2001) However, a paucity of data exists regarding the development and characteristics of heterosexual SM communities and culture.  Sisson (2006) employed a cultural, analytical approach, demonstrating that historically,  the gay leather SM culture emerging in 1930 glorified confrontational male sexuality stripped of “niceness” and depersonalised sexual partners. This SM symbolism and dominant/submissive role-play was later linked to Nazi style abuse, (Moore, 2005) especially by feminists who saw SM as perpetuating abusive patriarchal behaviour patterns, ignoring the predominance of male submission, male and female “Switches” (able to assume and enjoy any role) and Dommes or female Dominants.

The dearth of information on male heterosexual submissives in the UKis odd in view of the general opinion amongst BDSM practitioners that a large proportion of “Scene” heterosexual males, (approx 60%)  prefer to take a submissive role.

In “The Dominatrix  Next Door”,The journalist Weese wrote,“There are an awful lot of married men out there who wish their wives would be dominant in the bedroom. You only need to look inside a London telephone box to see all those cards from men wanting to be spanked”.

This  desire for role reversal is confirmed by Beckmann. “As the social construction of “masculinity” implies that men’s “nature” determines that they play the active and dominant part in “normal sexuality,” consensual “SM” provides a space for a release from the pressure of social and individually internalized expectations under which a lot of men suffer.”

Summary of common BDSM activities

Traditional sex roles are often reversed – with men playing the submissive or masochistic role. It appears that many male BDSM practitioners in the UK enjoy submission to a dominant female partner, either as an inter-play of wills or with beating, humiliation and forced feminisation, (Brame et al. 1993)

There is also a large element of transvestitism in BDSM although this is unacknowledged in the acronym, which only covers Bondage, Discipline, Dominance/submission and Sadomasochism. However, the gender issue is freely discussed and widely accepted in most BDSM communities, forums, websites and blogs, from which I have compiled this list of common submissive activities :

Roleplay, Ritual, Eroticism, Exhibitionism, Corporal Punishment,  Discipline, Sensual play, Erotic torture, Mind games, Altered consciousness, Bondage,  and Cross-dressing.

In much of the media and academic writing transvestitism is divorced from BDSM, which is assumed to be the same as SM or Sadomasochism, emphasising the giving and receiving of pain as the major motivation. Transvestitism is often treated as gender dysfunction, (Krafft-Ebbing) and often as a completely separate issue, although it has been associated with BDSM as a paraphilia and a “problem” by writers such as Benjamin:

“..the problem of transvestism almost exclusively concerns men in whom the desire to cross-dress is often combined with other deviations, particularly with fetishism, narcissism, and the desire to be tied up (bondage) or somehow humiliated (masochism).

 

0
Liked it
Powered by Powered by Triond
-->