When describing their communities, BDSM’ers will talk about how theirs is a “safe, sane” space, “based on consent and respect and sex-positivity” as if reciting some invisible script. But there are many communities whose rhetoric or practice (or both) are based on these ideas, so it seems incomplete at best or a deliberate misdirection at worst to describe this particular subculture in that way. All of those things may be present or lacking to varying degrees and the thing that BDSM is will still be mostly unchanged.

It’s especially strange to hear them talk as if those aspects are unique characteristics when there is one very obvious thing that sets BDSM apart from other communities: a fixated sexualization of authority. Oddly, that’s also the one thing about BDSM they seem loathe to admit. I think that’s meaningful.

See also:

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