A Basic Analysis of The Sadomasochistic Lifestyle And The People Involved.

        The sadomasochistic lifestyle (S/m), to the person involved in it, is a healthy, normal, adventurous alternative to conventional sex. However to the outsider, the lifestyle conjures up images of whips, chains, perverted acts, and people being tortured. The acts of sadomasochism, while appearing to be impulsive and violent to the uneducated viewer, are pre-negotiated, highly detailed, and heavily regulated in order to assure the safety of both partners. Those not involved in alternative lifestyles (S/m, Gay, Lesbian, etc.) often perceive those who participate as mentally ill or perhaps sexually confused due to some trauma in their lives. The truth of the matter is that participants in S/m lifestyles or practices are extremely normal. They have families, careers, and enjoy religious activities just as everyone else does. They celebrate birthdays, attend sporting events, and like to gossip over coffee with friends. They could be your siblings, your next door neighbors, or trusted professionals, such as physicians or accountants.

        Many scientists believe that S/m practitioners, like heterosexuals and members of the gay and lesbian communities, are genetically predisposed to their sexual orientation. Studies have also shown that many people who share in this lifestyle have other family members who are interested in S/m, alternative, or are homosexual lifestyles.

        Participants in S/m have a number of common traits that surfaced in childhood. Most involved in the lifestyle have felt that this was their sexual calling, and the urges to follow this form of sexuality usually began well before puberty. As children, many received some form of sexual excitement or interest while watching action adventure shows or films where a hero or heroine was tied up. Cowboys and Indians was a popular game among S/m followers during childhood, as the aspects of tying up a playmate, or being tied up, appealed to them. They were fascinated with ropes and handcuffs and the idea of being helpless within them. In a discussion I conducted with 10 sadomasochistic practitioners who had never met before, 9 out of 10 shared similar childhood stories, feelings, and fantasies. Sadly, many also shared one other common trait: shame. Society did not, and in some cases still does not, condone such behavior and therefore they had at one time perceived themselves as sick and perverted. Many hid their true sexual identities for a large portion of their teen and adult sex lives. Ultimately, the need to practice their desires overwhelmed them, and they finally began exploring their alternative sexuality.

        People involved in alternative lifestyles come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, although the majority involved are middle to upper class. All races, religions, and ages participate. Both men and women are equally involved.

        The lifestyle, while extremely diverse, has two main roles: the Dominant and the submissive. Each role attracts different people for different reasons. The Dominant is the partner who gives stimulation, erotic pain, pleasure or attention to the submissive partner. Dominants are expected to follow very rigid rules of safety and conduct which are considered to be the law within the sadomasochistic community. The Dominant partner is not only responsible for the submissive partners enjoyment, but for their safety as well. Dominant partners are usually fanatical regarding rules, processes, and procedures. They have wild imaginations and the abilities to bring their and their partners wildest dreams and desires to life. Many Dominants choose the role because they receive personal pleasure, both emotionally and erotically, from making their partners feel good. More than half of people who choose the Dominant role tend to be people who are in non-controlling positions in their everyday lives but are capable of being in charge. A secretary would be good example of this type of Dominant - someone who follows orders daily in his/her profession, is capable of being in charge otherwise, and chooses to do so sexually. The remainder of Dominants are people comfortable with their status as boss or manager. Because they are at ease in highly responsible positions, they bring that comfort to the bedroom. For example, I had a friend who was a Coast Guard Captain as well as a Dominant.  He was just as comfortable commanding his submissive as he was commanding his crew.

        The other role of S/m is that of the submissive. The submissive is the partner who allows the Dominant to give him/her stimulation, pain, pleasure or attention. Submissives also follow a set of strict rules which assure their safety as well as their Dominants safety. In an S/m relationship, it is the submissive partner who has the true power. Submissives have the final say on what is allowed to happen to them during S/m activity, and the authority to stop that activity if they please. Submissive partners are not, as commonly thought by people outside the S/m community, doormat personalities who endure abuse because they dont know any better, nor are they people with little self respect. Almost all people in the submissive role are just the opposite: they are powerful, intelligent people with high pressure professions. They seek the submissive role as a means of escaping from the responsibilities and pressures they are subjected to in the everyday world. It is not uncommon to discover that a submissive is a lawyer, doctor, politician, or other professional who is exposed to extreme stress in the workplace.

        So what motivates people to become involved in this type of lifestyle? As with all personal desires, sooner or later one must be true to oneself. The search for self-truth and inner peace drives sadomasochists to explore their desires. They seek spiritual and sexual empowerment by giving up their power to others. They find peace and solace in the actions of pleasing and fulfilling other people, whether they are Dominants or submissives. By sharing their desires and being honest with themselves, they find an inner strength they didnt know they possessed. Sadomasochists are not mentally ill. They are not unbalanced. They are not souls crying out for some form of abuse they feel that they must deserve for a lifetime of wrongs. They are simply people who have recognized that they do not fit the standard sexual mold. Despite sexual differences, practitioners of S/m are no different than anyone else.

    Mistress Ren

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Page updated on 03/19/04



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