BDSM, sexual subcultures, and the ethics of public health discourse
Introduction The pursuit of sexual pleasure – the drive, aim, object, and satisfaction, to use psychoanalytic terms – is a process that is extraordinarily diverse and individualized; it is cultural and symbolic, as well as biological, psychological, (inter) personal, and oftentimes political. As such, sexual pleasure tends to be discounted or misunderstood by health care professionals. This is especially true for alternative or “unconventional” sexual practices, which do not fall within the realm of traditional “vanilla” sex. One example of alternative sexual practices is BDSM, which is an acronym for a broad range of sexual practices that focus on themes of bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D/s), and sadomasochism (SM). For the most part, research in this field has been quantitative and has focused on describing the people affiliated with BDSM, while overlooking the importance of the sexual acts themselves, as well as the subjective motivations and desires of these individuals, and how these personal differences are related to risk-taking and/or risk reduction in the context of public health. These factors need to be understood in order to design and implement more effective measures for the prevention of HIV and other STIs.
Holmes, D. (Dave), Murray, S.J, Knack, N. (Natasha), Mercier, M. (Mathieu), & Fedoroff, J.P. (J. Paul). (2017). BDSM, sexual subcultures, and the ethics of public health discourse. In Radical Sex Between Men: Assembling Desiring-Machines (pp. 93–116). doi:10.4324/9781315399546