Why do people get into BDSM?

You will be surprised to find out that as Lady Gaga says “I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way”; and yes I know she wasn’t talking about being kinky but the sentiment applies. In numerous surveys, you will find that a large portion of the adult population have desires and needs that society likes to label kinky. If you google top 10 fantasies, most involve an element of BDSM or kink, so the question should maybe be who or why do people go from fantasy to reality?

Here are the results of a survey done by the journal of sexual medicine:

Common/typical fantasies: Sexual scenarios that appealed to 50 percent or more of respondents were deemed common, and those that appealed to more than 84.1 percent of the sample were deemed typical. These included: 

  • Sex in “an unusual place (e.g., office, public toilets)”: 82 percent women + 82 percent men
  • Having sex with two women: 37 percent women + 84.5 percent men
  • Watching two women have sex: 42 percent women + 82 percent men
  • Having sex with a stranger: 49 percent women + 72.5 percent men
  • Being dominated sexually: 65 percent women + 53 percent men
  • Dominating someone sexually: 47 percent women + 60 percent men
  • Being tied up during sexual activity: 52 percent women + 46 percent men
  • Having anal sex: 32.5 percent women + 64 percent men
  • Having sex with more than three women: 25 percent women + 75 percent men
  • Watching someone undress without them knowing: 32 percent women + 63 percent men
  • Having sex with more than three people, including men and women: 56.5 percent women + 16 percent men

Sexual fantasies that fell short of being “common” but weren’t rare enough to be considered unusual included: 

  • Being photographed or filmed during sex: 32 percent women + 44 percent men
  • Being ejaculated on by a partner: 41 percent women + 29 percent men
  • Having sex with someone much younger: 18 percent women + 57 percent men
  • Spanking or whipping someone “to obtain sexual pleasure”: 24 percent women + 43.5 percent men
  • Being spanked or whipped: 36 percent women + 28.5 percent men 
  • Being forced to have sex: 29 percent women + 31 percent men
  • Having sex with a fetish or non-sexual object: 26 percent women + 28 percent men

Although these items are all kinks or fetishes, not all fall within the BDSM realm, but look at the ones that are:

  • Being dominated sexually: 65 percent women + 53 percent men
  • Dominating someone sexually: 47 percent women + 60 percent men
  • Being tied up during sexual activity: 52 percent women + 46 percent men
  • Spanking or whipping someone “to obtain sexual pleasure”: 24 percent women + 43.5 percent men
  • Being spanked or whipped: 36 percent women + 28.5 percent men 

These percentages are so much higher than I think most people would believe. So why do people move from fantasy to reality? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  1. They hope it will improve their sex life
  2. They need an escape from reality for a while
  3. Curiosity
  4. Discovering that there are safe spaces to give these things a try
  5. With research realising that it doesn’t have to involve sex
  6. With research realising that being BDSM kinky does not mean that you are broken in some way (this is a common misconception)
  7. Getting older and realising that life is too short to not try out a fantasy or two.

Now that you have read this and realised that you are maybe more normal than you thought (sorry about that) and you want to maybe explore a little, but don’t know where to start: research, research, research. BDSM is complex and requires an element of understanding for you to get the full benefit of what it is you want to explore. There are some articles on the Nawty & Niche website that will give you some insight, there are links to get-togethers and workshops and you can always email me at mommabear@nawtynniche.co.za with your questions.

“normal is all relative” – Alethea Kontis

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