Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Wednesday 20 January 2021

'50 Shades' style sex promotes better attitudes to consent


Share This Article:

Practitioners of BDSM sex activities (bondage, discipline/dominance, submission/sadism, masochism) are less likely to hold victim-blaming attitudes consistent with rape culture, research has found.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, within the BDSM community so called 'rape myths' are not widely accepted and they appear to have far less widespread victim blaming attitudes.

“Affirmative consent norms” are one of the reasons why this is the case, according to co-author of the study, Kathryn Klement.

By using negotiations and safe-words in their sexual activity, those who take part can make sure that all decisions are conscious, voluntary and mutual. This is all based on affirmative consent that is exemplified in the 'Yes means Yes' policy, which has been enforced in colleges and universities in some states of America including California and New York. In contrast, consent is sometimes assumed until someone says no.

The existing norm of discussing limits beforehand and introducing safe words means that practitioners of BDSM are less likely to blame the victims in the case of a rape allegation, using logic such as ‘She was asking for it’ or ‘She was drunk’.

Not only do such practices appear to promote good attitudes to consent, but the study shows that they are less likely to hold views pertaining to benevolent sexism. This might involve assuming women are pure, weaker than men, in need of protection and put on pedestals.

Ms Klement said: “With BDSM practitioners, they see women as being in control of their own desires and their own bodies”. She added that those who might hold views linked to benevolent sexism might also be anti-abortion, and believe that women are not in full control of their own bodies.

Ms Klement, as reported in inews, stated that she hoped the findings of this survey might alter stereotypical perceptions of the BDSM community, adding that the media often portrays the community as ‘deranged’.

Ms Klement highlights that some criticise the 'Yes means Yes' campaign for having the potential to make sexual activity less exciting or sexy; but the BDSM community’s “idea that you can negotiate what you do, [and] it won’t lessen sexual desire is a good message”.

This is an important conversation to have in a society where rape culture is still very much at large. There are countless examples of rape culture not only in our society as a whole but at university; 1 in 3 female students have experienced sexual assault or abuse at university, a study from 2015 found. This shocking statistic is just one reason why the stigma surrounding sexual assault needs to be fought.

Articles: 29
Reads: 116584
© 2021 is a website of Studee Limited | 15 The Woolmarket, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PR, UK | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974