Introduction To Sadomasochism – Part 1

S/M is not an aberration. S/M is a sexual orientation that is found in a significant percentage of the population. Surveys have listed S/M behavior by as much as 7 to 14 % of the population, with interests at up to 50% of the population. To see the prevalence, just look at the public’s interest in movies, books, and other artistic expressions with S/M as the dominant theme. After all, Hollywood would not invest money if there was not a large interest. Historically, S/M behavior was listed as a psychological problem, as was masturbation and homosexuality. Today, however, these various orientations are not considered a problem unless the person with the lovemap is unhappy about their interests.

S/M is not new. S/M activities have been performed by many religions and cultures. Early Christian mystics used it (flails and hair shirts, oh my.) Native Americans continue to use it for vision quests. Fakirs from India use it. That same energy can be used for spiritual journeys, sexualecstasy, or personal bliss.

S/M is not fetishism. Fetishism substitutes an object for relationship.S/M can very much involve relationship. In fact, because of therequirements for trust and good communication, to even participate in S/Mwith another calls for the development of good relationship skills.

 S/M is erotic psychodrama. The exchange of power in S/M is a framework forrisk taking and for trusting. The shared reality created by S/M gives theparticipants the permission to explore their erotic fantasies. S/M hasoften been referred to as high-tech sex. The experience is incomparable.

S/M does not feel like what it looks like. In the model of the popular press, the dominant or sadist does as he/she wishs, without regard to theneeds of the submissive or masochist. In practice, it is the submissive ormasochist that has the final say. APEX teaches the needs for goodcommunications up front, the use of “safe” words that will stop the actionif the submissive ever feels the event is not working, and a time ofcommunications after the event so that both parties can learn and so thatthe next time will be even better.

S/M is not especialy dangerous. Some S/M activities are more athleticthan others. For more strenuous activities the individuals should be ingood physical shape, just as for any other sport. For most S/M activitiesthe players must know what they are doing. The shared education and experience of other players can be invaluable.

 S/M is not sexist. Sexism tries to impose dominant-submissive rolesaccording to gender. In S/M roles are chosen according to our innerfeelings. S/M is honest, shared eroticism which includes men and women whoprefer either or both roles.

 Sometimes S/M is done in a brief scene with a stranger. Sometimes it is a full time relationship. Usually S/M is done in negotiated episodes (or scenes) between people who know and like one another.