We are all taught (or should be taught) that violence against other people is a bad thing. Empathy should tell us, if our parents don’t. We don’t want violence to happen to us, so we shouldn’t do it to other people because we know how we’d feel. Right?
Except the human experience is complex, and for whatever reason, some people are sexually aroused by the idea of disciplining, humiliating, degrading, or gaining submission from others, just as others find fulfillment and sexual arousal from being on the receiving end.
I had a moral quandary some years ago when I attempted to reconcile my sadistic, dominant sexual desires with my desire for all people to be treated equally. I hadn’t met many women into masochism who weren’t sexually abused as children, and the ones I did meet were engaged in compulsive self-harm. I thought I was feeding mental illness or reinforcing the psychological effects of past trauma.
My anecdotal experience misinformed my opinion on BDSM, though, because it wasn’t that masochists existed because of past sexual abuse or mental illness, but because some people just get sexually aroused from pain. The connection I was seeing really wasn’t there; it was simply evidence of the prevalence of abuse in society as a whole.
I tried to date vanilla, or those who were just slightly kinky, and what I found was that abuse was just as widespread. I researched the subject, and what I found confirmed what I suspected: people have natural tendencies toward sadism and masochism, and the instance of abuse is just as common among vanilla people.
Still, my parents--indeed, society--raised me to believe that hitting a woman was wrong. But if she wants it…?
The resolution to the moral dilemma involves consent and fulfillment of mutual desire. It’s not wrong if the person has a choice, if the person has informed consent, and you’re not doing it out of hatred and anger, but out of a mutual desire for sexual gratification.
It’s not that we dominants hate women or men; if you’re in the BDSM world for that reason, you’re a predator and a harmful element to the community as a whole. Our submissives are the other piece(s) of us, and together, we’re whole. We’re fulfilled as sexual beings.
There are misogynists and misandrists who enter into this lifestyle. I’d stay well away from them. They are more likely to ignore safe words, to isolate you from your friends and family to abuse you more completely and efficiently, and, tragically, are more likely to seriously injure or kill you.
But if you find someone who respects your right to consent and choose the lifestyle you want, that person will give you sexual satisfaction like you’ve never expected. He or she will care about your safety, give you a feeling of security, and provide aftercare when you’ve had the most intense sexual experiences of your life.