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50 Shades Of Grey Is Making People Talk… About BDSM
Dear Doc Chaves,
I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey along with my wife, and we are really enjoying the book. It has helped us both open up a bit and start to think about some of these darker desires we both have but never truly expressed. One thing about this book is that the main character seems to be this tortured soul and his childhood abuse history seems to be the catalyst to his dominant desires. Is BDSM something that abused people turn to as a way to express their abuse history?
I can’t believe how many 50 Shades of Grey questions I received this week. Is there something kinky in the water? Truth be told, I haven’t read these books yet and am not going to be able to use book examples, which may limit my response. But, from what I’ve gathered and read from clinicians, kinksters and sexologists, the book is both helping and hindering kink and BDSM. What’s BDSM? Bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism, masochism.
Its fantastic that 50 Shades is opening up a discussion about BDSM, kink and dominant/submissive psychological desires. Nothing makes me happier than people getting a good dose of sexual reality. Kink is here and it’s going to stay. It’s always been here; it just took a bit of literary pop culture to put it on the mainstream map. But we do need to accurately portray the community.
One criticism to the way BDSM is portrayed is that it is often associated with abuse. Do some people who have been abused enjoy BDSM? Of course. Do some people who have not been abused enjoy BDSM? Without a doubt. Do some individuals use BDSM to help them cope with the difficulties they experience after abuse? Sure. But sex science has shown that abuse is not a significant variable that leads to BDSM for most people. One of my favorite kink movies, The Secretary, makes a similar association that is false. In the movie, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character is fresh out of a mental health ward and is a cutter (someone who uses self-injurious behaviors as a way to externalize pain and cope with life stressors). She eventually discovers BDSM as an outlet and is able to stop her self-injurious behaviors. The movie seems to make an association between those with mental health issues and BDSM. In reality, research suggests there is no difference in mental health difficulties between those who practice BDSM and the rest of the population. What else has kink research found? BDSMers rate their sexual satisfaction higher and have been found to often have high-status jobs and higher IQs than the general population.
So take the book for what it is: a fictional account of an erotic minority love story. If it opens doors to new arousal templates for you, great. If it normalizes kink and helps you feel less judgmental of others or more secure in your sexual desires, fantastic. Just know that BDSM is not rooted in abuse. Given our saddeningly high rates of coercion, abuse and rape in society, wouldn’t that mean there would be a lot more kinky folks if that were true?
Can Women Really Get Orgasms From Exercise?
I’m a 42-year-old woman and I just had my first orgasm in my entire life. It was incredible and life changing. My sex life isn’t so great. The thing is I had this orgasm while doing spin class for the first time because I’m trying to get in shape. Spin class! I don’t get why spin and not masturbation, sex and everything else gave me the big O. What should I do?
I’m jealous. Spin class doesn’t even give me an erection, and you have an orgasm. What should you do? I’d say sign up for a lifetime spin class membership. Since I’m an eternal sex optimist, I’m hoping your spin class experience ignites your passion to explore stimulation and continue this orgasmic route you’re on. It’s no secret that certain types of exercises can be stimulating for women. Some females can be orgasmic during yoga, sit-ups, running, clenching their thighs together, sneezing and during motorcycle rides.
There are a couple of reasons why spin class might work for you and your orgasm. During this workout, your core muscles are contracting, your labias and/or clitoral hood are likely rubbing against your clitoris, circulation is in full effect, your stretch pants rubbing against your genitals may be arousing and your thighs and legs are in motion, which may add a bit of friction to your genitalia. For future spin classes, pay extra-special attention to your body and be mindful of specific routines, cycling speeds, intensity, pressure and positions that increase stimulation or arousal. The more mindful you are, the more you will learn about what specifically is helping you reach orgasm. Who knows — maybe you might be able to take what you learn about your body and apply that knowledge outside the cycle room.
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What’s The Deal With 50 Shades Of Grey?
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