The Genius of BDSM

December 20th, 2014

kink-friendly therapist“When I’m with her, she’s in control. I agree to do whatever she says. I trust that she’s got my interests at heart.” Such sentiments have been expressed to me by men and women when talking about their experiences with their Mistress, Master, Dom, Domme, or whatever term they use to describe the top in their Dominant/submissive (D/s) relationship or sexual scene.

All kinds of people with a variety of life experiences enjoy dominance and submission – also known as power exchange – as well as other forms of BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, Masochism). When done with consent, one person willingly gives up “control” to another after a discussion of limits, aftercare, and a variety of other things. The mental health field has a long history of pathologizing such relationships and sexualities, though that has changed to some degree lately. These interests, when practiced with care and consent, don’t emerge¬†from an exploitive, abusive past. They often just are – and, generally speaking, it’s not easy at all to pinpoint why someone has one sexual interest and another doesn’t.

A few weeks ago I was in a workshop learning about recovery from past trauma, including physical, emotional, and sexual. We talked about the creative and healthy ways people who’ve experienced these terrible acts take care of themselves and feel safe. It struck me that for some people, BDSM is a resource. I know a few people who’ve experienced trauma who love BDSM. They find that the discussions and choices made regarindg turning over trust and control, as well as the safe words used when limits are being pushed too hard, create an environment that is inherently safe. The genius of BDSM, when done with principles like “safe, sane, and consensual”, is that it inherently creates a safe space in a situation that would appear (to some) as clearly¬†dangerous. And within that space, so many things can be explored. And for some people, healing can actually occur.

To learn more about this topic, read the book – “Sexual Outsiders” by David Ortmann and Richard Sprott. They do an excellent job of describing how some people find BDSM-grounded relationships as healing and safe.

If you’re looking for a kink-friendly therapist or kink-aware therapist in Washington, DC, contact Mike Giordano, LICSW at Mike.Giordano.MSW@gmail.com or 202-460-6384.

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