BDSM or Abuse?

50 Shades of Grey has created the expected waves and opened up the way for psychiatrists around the world to come out shooting comments about how things like handcuffs and spankings are abusive.  On the surface I have to agree with them, if I walked into a room and saw a person chained to a radiator while another person was standing over them with a wood staff I would likely tackle the staff holder and try to “save” the individual chained to the radiator.

It is hard, at a glance, to identify that this is a scene in which both partners are deriving pleasure.  They setup rules ahead of time, they discussed what was going to happen, and they act out an experience.  For many people it might be “wrong” but it is possible to do something like this without abusing anyone.

Thewillingsubmissive posted this story which got me thinking.  I agree with several of the items in Dr. Grossman’s article:

  • I think the movie presents Christian Grey as a man trying to deal with his childhood abuse through a string of D/s relationships.
  • I think the idea that someone who has never had sex can go from 0 to a live-in D/s relationship as she graduates from college is… foolish.  She needs to get out and discover who she is before making the choice to submit to someone.
  • I think that parents should talk to their children about everything.  Sex, violence, religion, food, exercise, and well… life in general.  We scope and mold our children and as parents it is important to pass along the right parts of us.  Hopefully that is the part that says “We believe in this; but it is important for you to understand why other people believe differently and to accept those who feel differently.”  Do I care of my children grown up to be in a D/s relationship (Well… OK, I don’t really want to think about my kids in ANY relationship) but they might be gay, they might become very religious, they might live a long life alone, whatever they pick I just want them to be safe, happy, and do their best.  Maybe not too safe… after all, they should try things like skydiving, rock climbing, kayaking and bear wrestling.

In the end, you cannot judge a culture by their cover, as is the case of the BDSM community and 50 Shades of Grey.  I think this article does an excellent job of explaining the difference between abuse and BDSM.

In the end, if two people agree on something, no one is being psychologically or physically taken advantage of, friends are not concerned, and in general the relationship is safe, then it is probably not abuse.  I am not saying that BDSM people cannot abuse people.  Every culture does be it Amish, gay, straight, conservative, or snake handler…

Being an individual who takes pleasure from giving or receiving pain does not make you an abuser or that of the abused victim.  It does however put you at a higher risk if you are looking to receive pain.  We have to be careful to create that safe environment and ensure that the person(s) we are participating with are on the same page as we are.

My thought is that a person practicing safe sex, no matter what type of sex that is will develop the skills to identify the type of person they want to spend their time with.  If something seems off, it probably is!

Stay safe and remember that abuse is not OK, EVER.

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2 thoughts on “BDSM or Abuse?

  1. Abuse is never OK… We tried to tell our kids every thing we thought they should. Now I’m sure they didn’t 100% listen to us.. 😉 But I swore my kids would be better prepared than I was.

  2. sheforhim says:

    I suspect none of us are ever really prepared for the first person we date that is an asshole. We can only do our best to prepare and be there when they have their successes and failures.

    -Sir

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