Why do people practice BDSM

What do we consider normal sex?

Last update: 22nd August, 2019

We tend to reject, label and condemn the unknown. Because of this, for many people, BDSM practices, fetishism, or couple swapping, among other things, do not fall under what is considered to be “normal sex”.

The Diagnostic and statistical guide to mental disorders, the most widely accepted diagnostic guide in psychology, may support these beliefs. For example Homosexuality viewed as "deviant" in this manual until 1973. In the meantime, that has changed. Other sexual behaviors, such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph, are no longer considered pathological because our ideas about sex have changed.

The "Diagnostic and Statistical Guide to Mental Disorders" regards sexual sadism, sexual masochism, fetishism and transvestism as paraphilias that can affect a person's life.

However, the debate about what normal sex is or not is still going on in society, and although much progress has been made, terms “deviant” or “perverted” are still very present. But is there a standard for sexual behavior?

Put aside everything that is called "normal sex"

Every sexual experience is different. It depends on the people who experience it, their tastes and their fantasies. There is nothing negative, dirty or perverse if the people involved agree, the physical integrity of the people participating in the exchange is not compromised and they do so voluntarily.

However, the pressure from society is so strong that people tend to suppress anything that is socially unacceptable for fear of reprisals, so as not to be rejected by others. This is what happened back then with homosexuality, but even today sadomasochistic practices or various types of fetishism are still referred to as abnormal behavior, the behavior of sick people.

Our sexuality is unique. In it we can develop all of our fantasies and desires. And it has hardly any limits. The definitions imposed by society, however, obscure their true nature in order to make them something “acceptable”, more respected, a purer act.

All this can cause people to reject their own desires to the point where they feel bad. For example, someone who enjoys doing BDSM may feel guilty because that practice does not fall under what is considered "normal sex" in their mind. This can prevent him from fully enjoying his sexuality so as not to embarrass himself.

What is normal is nothing more than a justification for what should be rejected and not accepted.

We can think of "normal sex" as happens with the beauty canon. Both change over time, both cause problems for those people who do not suit them. We do not realize that when everything changes, everything is valid. What we don't accept today may become normal tomorrow.

Are we lying to look "normal"?

Terri Fisher, professor of psychology at Ohio State University (Ohio, USA), conducted a study of men and women to see if they were concerned about social and cultural norms about sex being met.

Fisher found that participants lied about their sexual behavior in their responses. This could be proven by using a polygraph that put pressure on them to tell the truth. So it was found that Men reported having fewer sexual partners while women reported having more. The answers were quite different when the test person was not connected to the detector. ThisDifference in the answers was demonstrable when the participants were asked about their sexual behavior (loyalty, monogamy, etc.).

And the participants in Fisher's study lied for one reason: the need to fit into their gender roles. We are ashamed to recognize who we are, what we do, how we live out our sexuality. We lie to look "normal", to live up to the gender roles we have been taught since childhood.

For example, men lied about the number of their sexual partners in order to adapt to the guidelines that society is trying to impose on them as “machos”, while women lied to give a picture that cannot be described with this sentence, which is also today is still very present: A man who is with a lot of women is a hero, but when a woman goes out with a lot of men she is a slut.

We are still a long way from stopping pointing fingers and naming people after a set of beliefs in an attitude that is nowhere near respectful. In this sense, not accepting the enjoyment of sexuality in one of its variants leads to describing some practices as abnormal or perverse leading many people to put on masks or believe they have to hide in order to nurture an illusion.

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