• Cover: July 25, 2014
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No Pain, No Gain?

Glo's writer explores the world of BDSM. Find out what she discovers about slaves, sexuality and herself.

Page: 7 of 8
  • Later, Mistress Tara reflects on the many myths that society fosters about participants in BDSM. Vanilla culture (vanilla = normal, conventional, unexciting, boring) assumes that some childhood trauma, some horrific events force Dommes and slaves to relive and seek catharsis, she explains. According to her, having been a member of the fetish community for more than 20 years, this is simply not true. Instead, Mistress Tara believes that, just as you don't choose to be homosexual or heterosexual, you don't choose to be Dominant or submissive—you just are.

    Studies over the years from The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction seem to coincide with her thinking: In a small sample, there were no significant differences between BDSM practitioners and the general population on measures of psychopathology, depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychological sadism and masochism.

    In other words, those who participate in BDSM are no more dysfunctional than the average population. According to the Kinsey Institute, 5 to 10 percent of the U.S. engages in BDSM for sexual pleasure on at least an occasional basis. Fourteen percent of men and 11 percent of women have had some sexual experience with sadomasochism.

    Before I leave, I ask to be lightly whipped, just to see what the pain is like. I realize that, when I present my bare forearm to Miss Cybill, I am trusting her completely—and I am willingly submitting to her.

    Miss Cybill brings out what looks like a suede fly-swatter (it's actually a riding crop). "A flick of the wrist," she says, "and pull back just as the end of the swatter hits flesh…I don't usually hit women, but this is for science."

No Pain, No Gain?
Glo's writer explores the world of BDSM. Find out what she discovers about slaves, sexuality and herself.
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