I've thought a lot about this recently, and I've come to a few conclusions about why BDSM
is attacked by the mainstream.
- People who do not participate in BDSM do not understand BDSM.
I've noticed a lot of trash and tripe being posted by people on BDSM message boards, and most of it has made crystal clear the fact that, indeed, most of the attackers do not really understand BDSM at all. BDSM is not about abuse, BDSM is not about mistreatment, BDSM is not about hate. BDSM is about two consenting adults. (If they are not consenting, that is called rape.)
BSDM is about two diametrically opposing sensations shared by two people, sometimes in a sexual context, sometimes not. I will not lie to you; abuse happens in a small percentage of BDSM relationships. News Flash: Abuse happens in a small percentage of ALL relationships, whether straight, gay, bisexual, love triangles, BDSM, or interracial.
- People tend to fear what they do not understand, and vice versa
In the Victorian age, negative attitudes towards sex itself were grounded in religious and social dogma, much like the mores that now try to force BDSM and its practitioners into a stockade of iniquity.
Sex and intimacy were linked, in the mind's eye, to the original sin, and were therefore taboo, never to be discussed. This led to a scarcity of real information about sex, a great deal of misinformation, and, due to an overwhelming lack of information, sex was a great mystery and was feared. (Incidentally, this was one of the major catalysts of the hedonism which eventually erupted in the 1920s) Because it was feared, it remained a mystery - a truly vicious cycle.
Dare we as a society use the same arguments to ostracize those whose sexual practices differ from our own as those which were used to oppress a healthy attitude about even "normal" sex barely 100 years ago? Yet, as we look back, we think to ourselves "What misinformation!", at the same time laying the groundwork for our children and their children to say the same of us.