Some Facts About S/M

* S/M is not an aberration. S/M is a sexual orientation that is found in a
percentage of the population. Surveys have listed S/M behavior by as much as
7 to 14 % of the population, with interests at up to 50% of the population.
To see the prevalence, just look at the public's interest in movies, books,
and other artistic expressions with S/M as the dominant theme. After all,
Hollywood would not invest money if there was not a large interest.
Historically, S/M behavior was listed as a psychological problem, as was
masturbation and homosexuality. Today, however, these various orientations
are not considered a problem unless the person with the lovemap is unhappy
about their interests.
* S/M is not new. S/M activities have been performed by many religions and
cultures. Early Christian mystics used it (flails and hair shirts, oh my.)
Native Americans continue to use it for vision quests. Fakirs from India use
it. That same energy can be used for spiritual journeys, sexual ecstasy, or
personal bliss.
* S/M is not fetishism. Fetishism substitutes an object for relationship.
S/M can very much involve relationship. In fact, because of the requirements
for trust and good communication, to even participate in S/M with another
calls for the development of good relationship skills.
* S/M is erotic psychodrama. The exchange of power in S/M is a framework for
risk taking and for trusting. The shared reality created by S/M gives the
participants the permission to explore their erotic fantasies. S/M has often
been referred to as high-tech sex. The experience is incomparable.
* S/M does not feel like what it looks like. In the model of the popular
press, the dominant or sadist does as he/she wishes, without regard to the
needs of the submissive or masochist. In practice, it is the submissive or
masochist that has the final say. We teach the need for good communication
up front, the use of "safe" words that will stop the action if the
submissive ever feels the event is not working, and a time of communications
after the event so that both parties can learn and so that the next time
will be even better.
* S/M is not especially y dangerous. Some S/M activities are more athletic
than others. For more strenuous activities the individuals should be in good
physical shape, just as for any other sport. For most S/M activities the
players must know what they are doing. The shared education and experience
of other players can be invaluable.
* S/M is not sexist. Sexism tries to impose dominant-submissive roles
according to gender. In S/M roles are chosen according to our inner
feelings. S/M is honest, shared eroticism which includes men and women who
prefer either or both roles.
* Sometimes S/M is done in a brief scene with a stranger. Sometimes it is a
full time relationship. Usually S/M is done in negotiated episodes (or
scenes) between people who know and like one another.
* S/M is not repressed anger or covert hatred. Actually it is impossible to
do good S/M with someone you do not like.
* S/M takes a lot of energy, preparation, time, and attention. Most
practitioners do a lot more of "vanilla" (i.e. non S/M) sex than they do
* S/M is as much an attitude as it is action. When traveling, the dominant
may wish to drive the car in order to be in control and express their power;
or the submissive may wish to drive the car as an expression of taking care
of their dominant. Who's in charge is far from obvious. It is a dance
involving both parties.
* S/M people come from all walks of life. Some come from abusive backgrounds
and practicing S/M can be part of their healing. Some come from healthy
families and are looking for self fulfillment. Some identify as "liters',
having S/M fantasies from their earliest memories. Still others are new to
the concept and felt a connection when they tried it. S/M people come from
all genders and orientations. As a result, S/M groups have been on the
forefront of establishing common ground between heterosexuals, gays, and
* S/M people are everywhere. There are national organizations, such as the
National Leather Association. There are local chapters of the NLA in many
states. There are many independent local organizations supporting people in
the S/M life-style. These local organizations have different charters and
purposes. There are many local organizations whose charter includes
individuals of all genders, gender orientations, and all associated
fetishes. Every year some of these organizations put on local and national
conferences and conventions. Some of these conventions may have only a
hundred or so attendees. Others have thousands. Like any convention, there
are meetings discussing a variety of topics, as well as a vendors' exhibit
area with the S/M life-style equipment and literature of the available for
purchase. To attend one of these conventions is to truly know that we are
not alone.

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