Journal

Fifty Shades of Facts

There's good news and bad news, imo, about the success of 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' The good news is that women's erotic life is getting a boost.....as in 'validated'......as is women's interest in kinky fantasy sex.  The bad news:  Christian Grey's kinky predilictions are attributed to childhood abuse, thereby reinforcing (incorrect) stereotypes about BDSM..

So this prompt me to start a series of blog posts about kink aka BDSM.  I'm going to start with some definitions and a little truth about what it is - and isn't.

BDSM is an internet-generated acronym that stands for:

BONDAGE AND DISCIPLINE

DOMINATION AND SUBMISSION

SADISM AND MASOCHISM

Cute, right?  It's an attempt to put an umbrella over a diverse set of sexual behaviors that have some things in common, one being - fewer people practice them than, say, vaginal intercourse or oral sex.  Usually when we talk about BDSM, or 'kinky sex,' we also include:

FETISHES

Fetishes are attractions to 'unusual' body parts or objects.  What is considered a fetish is pretty arbitrary - if you like big breasts you aren't a fetishist, if you like feet you are - but you get the general idea.

One more term - 'kinksters' call 'standard' sex acts ( to put it crudely,fucking and sucking) 'vanilla sex.'  As in - vanilla is most common, but we've got every flavor you can imagine, and vanilla alone can be boring.

Okay, let's start with some facts about 'who does it.'  Most surveys find about 15-20 percent of Americans get kinky at least occasionally.  Unless you count 'love bites' ---55% like to get or give passionate those, perhaps the source of our obsession with vampires.  And I'll bet if you asked the number of people who like what is euphemistically called 'rough sex' - a little playful force, some scratching, stuff like that- the figures would go through the roof.

But anyway, NOT counting that stuff about 15-20% of us get down with some occasional (or more) BDSM, mostly spanking and bondage.  An Australian study found more people practiced kink in the last year than the number who identified as gay or lesbian.  So we're talking a significant minority.

About now you might be wondering:  "15-20% ?  Where are they?" If you are, you've hit on probably the single biggest thing that keeps kink from being accepted in the mainstream culture.  The visible people in the BDSM world are the tiny, tiny minority - I'm guessing less than 1% - that live a full-out kink lifestyle.  What's visible are professional dominatrixes, people in 24 by 7 leather and chains, folks who hang out at kink clubs, organizations, conventions....who eat, breathe, and sleep BDSM as a lifestyle.  Those folks are great, terrific people with a lot to teach us  - but they don't represent most of the people who like kinky sex.  Most kinksters are the couple next door. And they ain't telling anyone what they do behind closed doors.

Before I tell you about the 'essence' of kink, let me tell you what it's not:

So what do the different types of kinky sex have in common:

And here's the best kept secret about BDSM - even a little kink, or what I call the 'kink mindset' of playfulness, creativity, and adventure - can immeasurably improve your sex life. But more of that another time.

This article originally appeared on Margie's blog at IPG Counseling (the Institute for Personal Growth), where more of her writing can be found.

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