Why is the BDSM Subculture Becoming So Popular?

Unusual sexual orientation and practices are commonly frowned on by society, but BDSM has seen a tremendous increase in its popularity recently. In Sweden, the main BDSM platform has seen an increase in the number of its members from about 30,000, in October 2009, to almost 200,000, in April 2018. This can also be expected to be the growth in many countries, especially as Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, are among the top countries that practice BDSM.

The recent popularity of BDSM can be attributed to debunking the misinformation that makes BDSM seem like a sexual act that tells of a troubled mind. New research and information have shown that individuals who engage in BDSM are as psychologically fit, if not better, than those who don’t. Also, curiosity and the desire to explore other forms of sexuality are among the reasons for the recent popularity of BDSM.

Understanding BDSM

BDSM, short for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism (sadomasochism), is a form of sexual and recreational among agreeing on members. It usually entails setting rules and keeping them, failure to do so attracts some punishment which all parties involved enjoy, whether they’re taking or giving the punishment.

In BDSM, the submissive partner usually has control of the play, as they can say the safe word and end the punishment whenever they like, no questions asked.

Previously, there is the thought and assumption that BDSM practitioners are psychologically imbalanced, and their desire to hurt or be hurt, and derive pleasure from such, stems from sexually abusive childhood; however, research has debunked this assumption.

Now, the knowledge that BDSM does not have to include sex, and some people enjoy it as a form of recreation, is common. Also, the safety and trust that exists between partners that practice this form of pleasure-giving is now common knowledge.

Why BDSM is Gaining Popularity

Unlike the last few decades, the popularity of BDSM has increased all over the world. BDSM communities and organizations have admitted more members in recent years than they’ve ever had. This increase in popularity and the new generation’s interest in this pleasure-endeavor is due to some reasons, and they include:

Access to More Information on BDSM

Information in this age is easily accessible. At the click of a mouse or the tap of phone screen, you can have decades’ worth of information before you.

This has led many to access and read information – scholarly articles – concerning BDSM and the psychology behind it. Having understood that it doesn’t stem from a damaged psyche, people seek to experience it.

Also, because many have access to this information, they can easily discuss it, especially now that society is not as old-fashioned.

Desire to Explore Sexuality

Human sexuality has seen some novel expressions in recent times. With the popularity of unusual sexuality, such as the transgender, and others in the LGBTQ community, BDSM has also increased in popularity.

People want to experience something new, and BDSM is one of the uncharted territories of sexuality, at least not openly.

Popular Culture Romanticizing BDSM

Movies, books, and television shows are now showing BDSM as a fun and interesting part of many characters sex lives. What was once considered taboo or something for the fringe parts of society is now being shown in mainstream film and television. Popular examples include the 50 Shades trilogy, episodes of Sex and the City that show BDSM being explored amongst married couples, and even romantic comedies can be seen showing BDSM in various degrees. Whilst being represented as humorous segways in some plots, the shift from a taboo subject to one where couples can be playful and explore is noticeably present. Tom from PupHood.co.uk notes that the Pup subculture is a good example of this. Whilst once seen as an ‘underground’ subculture, the niche has become more mainstream with dating apps such as Grindr even allowing users to note their interest in Pup play and the broader BDSM community.

Exploration of the Power Dynamics

The power dynamics that exist in BDSM are worth exploring, especially for people who seem to struggle with authority and submission.

Individuals who have always been in charge can relinquish their power and become submissive, and vice versa. The possibility of being the dominant partner in a relationship at certain times excites the usually submissive one.

Elimination of Psychological Distress Possibility

One of the reasons many people shy away from exploring their curiosity about BDSM is the misconception that it is practiced by psychologically damaged people. Once this misconception is removed through information, people now explore it, hence its popularity.

Final Thoughts

BDSM is a form of sexual play that involves power play using rules, bondage, and pain, to achieve pleasure. It used to be seen as abnormal but has seen some popularity in recent times due to access to information, and the desire to explore sexuality, among others.

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