4/25/2010

BDSM as a Sexual Orientation?

I found an interesting article by counselor Bay Whittaker that suggests BDSM is another sexual orientation. (To read her original article, click here.)

The Marriam-Webster Dictionary defines sexual orientation thus:


The inclination of an individual with respect to heterosexual, homosexual, and
bisexual behavior.

Clearly, this definition only includes the popular notion of sexual orientation as being either gay, straight, or somewhere along the continuum between those two identities. Most definitions I found were about the same. However, the British version of Wiktionary defined sexual orientation this way:

One's tendencies of sexual attraction, considered as a whole.

This definition is a bit more broad and allows for "orientations" that are not necessarily related to being gay or straight. For instance, is a straight person into BDSM simply into a different orientation than vanilla straight people? And how do we define the different types of BDSM? Is it a different sexual orientation if you are into baby play, animal play, rape play, physical sadism, or emotional masochism? Those are all very different lifestyles and sexual preferences that are all grouped together under the idea of "BDSM." Also, what about people (like me) who are interested in BDSM but not engaged in it 100% or even 50% of the time? Most of my life is pretty vanilla, so does that make me "bi" on the continuum between vanilla and kinky?

Although this article didn't answer all my questions about labeling BDSM as simply another sexual orientation, I like the idea of labeling kinksters, not as freaks, weirdos, sexual perverts, or sex-crazed maniacs, but simply as normal people whose sexual tastes run a little on the unorthodox side. If that is what it means to see BDSM as another sexual orientation, I support the movement to include BDSM as another sexual choice available to us.

3 comments:

ariia said...

A little on the unorthodox side?! Lol. My mom remembers a time where her grandmother once told her that sex should not be enjoyed by women, it was only for her husbands pleasure that a woman would even partake in it. If she were alive today....hell if she knew what her great-granddaughter was into....lol

I like how BDSM seems to be coming to light though, being slightly more accepted than it has been in the past. (well from what I've read anyway. Information about it is certainly more accessible via the net and I'm starting to see it more and more on television - even if it is done for the LOL's. But then it might be a bit like when you find out you're pregnant, and suddenly it seems everyone is pregnant. I may be more tuned into anything that mentions BDSM simply because I'm finally tuned into it)

Anyway I like this post, and I like "kinkster" better than any of the other options as well. I'm not a freak, I'm just kinky :)

Clarisse Thorn said...

I wrote a long post a while back, parsing out what the idea of a BDSM "orientation" means, and what the political implications are. Thought you might be interested:

http://clarissethorn.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/bdsm-as-a-sexual-orientation-and-complications-of-the-orientation-model/

Char said...

Finally- someone answers the question! Why does it have to be vanilla or BDSM? My husband(we are on the bring of divorce) is very much into the lifestyle, and I am the "vanilla" A large part of our divorce is due to him hiding his bdsm activities from me, because I embarrass him. Something is slightly aschew in is head, and I cannot get to the bottom of it. We have had these sex battles, almost as long as we have been married sadly. I haven't even mastered the basics of understanding this world, as our communication sucks. Why does it have to have titles? What is wrong with just calling it kinky sex? Haven't ever really been able to get an answer on that. So I am quite glad to see that you feel the same. My blog touches on some of our issues, feel free to stop by for some input!