BDSM & Kink From an LDS Perspective

Bondage by Ater Crudus (39)Last week I was asked by a TV news network to offer my insights on the topics of sexual domination and submission (BDSM), and how they related to violence toward women. The news piece was to be a spin on the effects of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey”. The reporter asked me if I could help her find some BDSM practitioners and others who she could interview. A kind couple agreed to be interviewed in my office and a friend of mine who owns a sex-toy shop in town were featured in story. Once I saw the final piece aired on TV, I could do nothing but laugh at the way that all our words where edited and twisted to fit the angle the reporter wanted. In some cases, our words and phrases were edited to convey the exact opposite of what we had intended.

In additional to learning a lesson about the media, I’ve also discovered the obvious irony of this larger story. As I’ve always taught, the most important aspect of BDSM is clear and honest communication. I am often asked how I can be a faithful Latter-day Saint Christian and not be opposed to BDSM.

First of all, it’s my job to be aware of everything in the sexology world. Because I have chosen to help others, I need to understand the interests, allures, and enticements of what’s out there. I need to be able to work with couples who may be approaching sexuality from a non-traditional angle. My job and calling is to educate and guide while delaying judgment. Such an understanding doesn’t mean that I must personally embrace the practice. (If I personally practiced everything I’ve been exposed to in sexology, I would be one busy, tired, and sore girl!) I’ll readily admit that pain doesn’t bring me pleasure, so my usual limits are blindfolds, fashionable furry wrist restraints, and a little control. But I’ve seen more than you can imagine, and I can share what I know when it’s appropriate.

Secondly, BDSM, as with many types of sexually activities, has many layers. For example, think about the power-exchange in your own sex life. Is it always 50:50? Most definitely not. At any given moment it’s nearly impossible to be in perfect balance. (But you can strive for a 50:50 average over an evening or over a couple of sessions). When engaged in an unbalanced exchange, you are then practicing a mild form of domination and submission. The difference is that you may be ignorant of your imbalance while traditional BDSM practitioners prepare for it, acknowledge it, and improve upon it. They manage the give-and-take of sex in an emotionally healthy way that follow predefined boundaries and rules.

I offer a “BDSM & Kink” class just for this reason—to teach couples that to have a healthy sexual relationship they need to acknowledge and manage the imbalances that are inherent in sex, and that by ignoring them, we perpetuate ignorance in our roles. For those who strive for equality, the BDSM community would call you both “switches”—each willing to take on either role and alternate them as agreed upon, either explicitly or implicitly as determined by the situation. In happy marriages, I believe that couples who are “switches” are the most successful, even if they agree that one will be a firm dom while the other is a willing sub. Learning such concepts and skills in class will help the couple develop trust which is another crucial part of BDSM and of a healthy intimate relationship.

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