Facts & Info

Why Do People Like BDSM?

BDSM Scene with flogging couple

Have you ever wondered why people like BDSM?

Let’s take a look at why BDSM is so popular and the reasons people enjoy BDSM games.

The Popularity of BDSM and Kink

We often think of kinks or fetishes as marginalized, rare sexualities, and some of them are. Even if it’s a party of one, somewhere out there someone has a thing for it, whatever it is. Maybe only a few people want to marry a pizza box or ejaculate while being peed on, for example, although it can be tricky to count these things.

Even kinks with thousands of online community members—alien sex fantasies or smurf lovers—are relatively rare when you consider there are almost eight billion of us.

On the other hand, when it comes down to it, everyone has something. Even self-described vanilla lovers have secrets we might call kinks.

Gender and Kink

Another discrepancy in kink distribution is by gender.

There are countless kinks where it is almost entirely male populated. Sure, some women might participate in your paraphilia to float your boat, but it all depends. You might be hard pressed to find a woman willing to toss her cookies on you, if that’s your kink, unless you pay her. But most would gladly put their feet in your face and wear your favorite red stilettos.

Read: Why Do Women Love BDSM?

Men are more strongly driven and more dependent on a wider variety of kinks. Just as women are more likely to enjoy bisexual play with women while not identifying as lesbian, they can often enjoy a wide variety of kinks without being dependent on a specific for sexual gratification.

In other words, they might love firemen, let’s say, or wet sex, but don’t need either to orgasm or be satisfied. It’s more like a bonus. And if they don’t have a thing for plumbers, they can happily play housewife and order you to fix their sink.

How Common is BDSM?

But BDSM, arguably the original platform for the definition of kink, is extremely common. It is popular throughout history, so popular that it barely qualifies as an unusual sexuality! And it is common across all genders—men, women, transgender, and nonbinary. It is popular with all orientations—gay, straight, pansexual, polyamorous, monogamous, and more.

The explosion of Fifty Shades of Grey made many kink lovers cringe. The book was terrible and the kink was contrived. Even so, the sweeping popularity made one thing abundantly clear: BDSM was hugely erotic and important to women, by the tens of millions.

BDSM can range from playful—think pink fuzzy handcuffs and spanking jokes on Valentine’s Day—to extreme fetishes, with some men paying to be roasted over a fire by a woman in head to toe latex (warning: do not try this at home!)

No matter the intensity, the erotic association of pain and pleasure is nearly universal. We are turned on by giving and receiving pain, humiliation, restraint, torture, and control.

5 Reasons People Like BDSM

There are many reasons why humans find pain and power games erotic. Here’s why people like BDSM so much.

1. Baby, I Was Born that Way

Did you know that the male cat’s penis is like a barbed wire fence and tears the female? The intense agony triggers her eggs. He’s not the only spiky dicked fellow—lots of animals and insects, too, have built-in torture devices.

Then there’s a horny marsupial that fucks itself to death, taking on weeks of marathon sex until it goes bald, goes blind, develops sores, then drops dead.

Unless you have a breeding fetish, who would ever copulate when the outcome is the most painful experience known to humans, hours or days of labor and her body sometimes being cut or ripped?

Who knows, but pain is present in all species that have a nervous system.

2. The Endorphin Rush

Pain and pleasure are not so distant cousins. Turning pain into pleasure is one way of controlling it. For others, it is automatically mixed together, or unexpected and then sought after.

We have naturally occurring morphine like substances that the body releases when we feel pain or stress. Drama queens may be hooked on those highs, and physical pain can bring them out.

It’s not always sexual—many painful practices are self-soothing or have intense psychological reward such as cutting to relieve stress, and even nail biting. Hot peppers are wildly popular all over the world!

It only makes sense that sexual excitement and pain can co-mingle.

3. Reclamation of Control and Power

Consensual BDSM allows us to experience or re-experience pain and trauma and process it on our own terms, for our own pleasure. In a controlled environment with a trusted partner, or even in riskier scenarios, many of us report a feeling of catharsis and relief from BDSM.

You don’t have to have a rape, abuse, or kidnapping story to benefit from the role play and power and pain experiences of BDSM. Everyone has trauma, sexual or otherwise.

One lover of mine developed a desire for BDSM, not in adolescence as many of us do, but after surviving cancer. He had been through so much medical terror. It was not remotely erotic, but later he newly found the experience of deep submission and sadism profoundly fulfilling. He described it as being taken down into his body, on his own terms, and resurfacing.

Read: Healing through Sexual Role Play

It can be as simple as stress at work or road rage or a nagging in-law: it’s only natural to find sexual storytelling, fairy tale level good and evil play, or survival games exciting and fulfilling. It’s blowing off a little steam.

4. Sublimation of Our Natural Darkness

We are imaginative creatures. We explore power, pain, evil, boundaries, and dark human behavior. This might be about staging things in a controlled environment, but it’s not always about processing our own trauma or stress.

One of the reasons people like BDSM is that we’re just curious. We love horror movies, grisly paintings, bad news, gruesome true-crime novels, and gangster rap. It doesn’t mean that we endorse bad things. It’s just part of the realm of human experience that catches our attention. That can be part of human sexuality just as it can be part of entertainment, religion, or a literary experience, to name a few.

5. Deep Intimacy

The idea of being naked and vulnerable and going to the limits of human experience with another person, about surrendering completely or owning another—this has very intense connection possibilities. When we experience a trauma with someone, say a plane crash or a loss of a good friend—anything—we can bond very deeply with that person.

Read: 4 Ways BDSM and Kink Can Build Intimacy

Sexuality is another level altogether. BDSM can feel like “going all the way” in a way nothing else can. We become completely intertwined and wrapped up in another person. The bonding, trust, and intimacy in BDSM can be profoundly rewarding.

Why do you like BDSM? Please share in the comments!

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