Sexuality freedom is the new civil rights we are fighting for this decade. The practice of BDSM has become a hot topic in our society lately since the book Fifty Shades of Grey went public in 2011. BDSM is an acronym for bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism /masochism. The term BDSM is defined as a variety of erotic practices involving power play. Now because this term does not cover everyone in the kink community, known as an umbrella term, people are now starting to use the term WIIWD, which stands for “What it is we do”.
I will be using symbolic interaction theory to describe why BDSM is not deviant in our society today. Our society is always flowing and changing with the environment around us. We have fraught for rights of Jew, blacks, women, animals, Hispanics and many more but this decade we are on to a new type of rights. The right to be free sexually is such a different fight because it is now a private issue that we feel the need to control and label deviant. BDSM can be misunderstood if someone is naive to what actually happens behind the scenes of BDSM community.
So for a simple run down of the basics. The main thing needed in a BDSM relationship is trust, without it the role play will not work. Everything is consensual and hard and soft limits are set up before any thing remotely dangerous. Now of course just like in the vanilla community there are deviants that do not abide by the rules set in place for our protection. Yes people have gotton hurt during the more dangerous scenes but this is from not following the roles and not trusting your partner.
But this does not mean that Kinksters are all the same. Misinformed people like Melissa Farley, a known anti-kink /porn clinical psychologist who believes that no woman actually willingly participants in kink or porn. She says “ “In this economy, this is something women would rather not do, but they feel they have to,” she said. “This is a form of economic coercion. But people would rather not think of it that way. People think of it as a matter of rights, rather than ask the question, ‘Should people have a right not to do this?
Even though alternative sex has only recently been in the limelight, this does not mean that it has not been practiced quietly. There is evidence of alternative sex dating back to the medieval times but estimated to date back much further. In the eighteenth century there were reports of a french philosopher named ,Marquis de Sade who was imprisoned for thirty-two years for his violent erotic writings. That is where the term sadism came from. (Weiss,2013). Thirty-two years in prison because of the way he liked to spend his private time and what he wrote down.
But thanks to our modern day of freedom to write what we want, society now has books that come out like Fifty Shades of Grey. Since the 18th century we have gone back and forth about how we express our sexuality. Twenty-five years ago there was a study in Canada in which they tried to tie alternative sex to people in need of psychiatric help by using 12 participants in a person perception task. Their studies found that there was a correlation(Tilby, P. J. , & Kahn ). But just earlier this year The huffpost covered a story on a study of over a thousand participants about the mental health of the BDSM community.
Their results were that people that engaged in alternative sex were actually healthier and more comfortable with themselves than vanilla people. There are countless more studies just like this over the last few decades, the results always reflect the attitudes towards expressing sexuality in society at the time of the study. Today, people are not frequently jailed or housed in mental hospitals For their private views. Unless their actual practices break local laws by violating anothers informed consent or causing harm to the point of death, sexual practices are mostly left to the realm of live-and-let-live.
The US is still a recently religiously, and therefore sexually puritanical society, But the fact that our generations motto is “I can do whatever I want”, plus the large community of BDSM lets me believe that the world of vanilla people are actually the deviant ones in our society today. Almost all human behavior has symbolic value to it, including sexual behavior. Biologically , we are driven to reproduce, but this does not dictate who, when, where, what and how by which we choose to do so;(Arany, 2013) social interaction is the driving force behind this. These characteristics are then determined by what we have learned through our culture.
BDSM community might stem from mutual sexual fantasies but really its our first non-exclusionary group. When outside the bedroom most of these kinksers would blend in with the rest of society. emphasizes that although reality is constructed by our social interactions, our perceived reality, including those of a sexual nature are not the same for everyone. It is critical that a situation is defined by the establishment of relevant identities of those involved in the interaction. It is this construction that involves negotiation and role–taking as well as role-making behaviors.
This is where Goffman’s research style and staging details come into play, showing how the presentations of self are manifested deep in our everyday lives. One could view the discreet sexual practices of homosexuality as one of these staging details by which individuals avoid injuring their “identity”- the way they perceive themselves as being viewed by others. As a result of differences in how individuals are exposed to sexual culture, multiple connotations are associated with sexual terms, which vary by gender, social class, and other social characteristics.
These connotations often come into play in how an individual presents themselves. Symbolic Interactionism, broadly, is the way individuals influence social meanings through their interactions with others. In analyzing a plethora of ideologies presented by popular scholars, we can ascertain that the perspective symbolic interactionism brings to the table, is one that allows us to understand ourselves much more intensely than we otherwise might. Furthermore, this insight also allows us to derive an accurate impression of how our behavior both influences and is influenced by those around us.
According to Sandstrom, Martin, and Fine, “interactionism helps you remember that your choices and actions are not strictly dictated by cultural expectations or the reactions of others (p. 14). ” I could go on to discuss how much I agree with this, however, it would not teach you a thing. Instead, I would prefer to discuss social interaction’s influence upon sexuality. You may be saying to yourself, “But that was not the question, it asked how it is relevant to you.
” As a homosapien, the characteristics that make me human, do not relive me from the fact that as such, I still have primitive motives. Therefore, I insist that sexuality is very important to all of us thus worth further investigation. All human behavior has a certain symbolic value to it, sexual behavior being not different. Human sexual behavior has several components of which activities have many different meanings. Each of these meanings has a profound impact upon the way we feel about ourselves, and how others feel about us.
Biologically, we are driven to reproduce, however it does not dictate who, what, when, where, and how by which we choose to do so; social interaction is the driving force behind that. These characteristics are thus determined by what we have learned from our culture. In respect to sex research, Blumer’s symbolic interactionist ideologies have become dominant. His approach emphasizes that although reality is constructed by our social interactions, our perceived reality, including those of a sexual nature are not the same for everyone.
It is critical that a situation is defined by the establishment of relevant identities of those involved in the interaction. It is this construction that involves negotiation and role–taking as well as role-making behaviors. This is where Goffman’s research style and staging details come into play, showing how the presentations of self are manifested deep in our everyday lives. One could view the discreet sexual practices of homosexuality as one of these staging details by which individuals avoid injuring their “identity”- the way they perceive themselves as being viewed by others.
As a result of differences in how individuals are exposed to sexual culture, multiple connotations are associated with sexual terms, which vary by gender, social class, and other social characteristics. These connotations often come into play in how an individual presents themselves. In conclusion, symbolic interactionism has made an incredible influence on human behavior, even the often underscored realm of human sexuality, as I have discussed. It has enhanced research in human sexuality by way of its adequacy in terms of predictability and parsimony in addition to the fact that it is generally devoid of moral judgments.
Although our behavior is guided by social influence, the text reinforces the fact that “our choices and actions are not strictly dictated by cultural expectations or the reactions of others (p. 14). ”We are all affected by sexuality and by the way others present themselves, the way we present ourselves and how the reactions of both feed upon the other. We are dependent upon these things. The symbolic interactionist viewpoint has further enhanced my understanding and how I perceive those around me, as well as how I perceive myself. That is how it is relevant to me.