It is likely, if you belong to generation Z or even millennial, that the mere label of those acronyms will produce some rejection . And is not for less. Over the past decade, the representation in popular culture of this set of sexual practices has been reduced to a series of clichés and images that often leave much to be desired. Why would someone young or at the age of discovery be interested in a sexuality often ridiculed in television series – Bounding, Easy, Transparent – and claimed in these well by heterosexual men with an air of luster, ugly, proto-incels; or by women who could be cruel deformations of our mothers, something like ladies clad in leather and pink lace, for whom pleasure is circumstantial and violence in bed, another form of expression of their eternal romantic submission .
This is how it has been embedded in part of the collective imagination: BDSM as an aspiration for unsatisfied women immersed in the reading of Fifty Shades of Gray . BDSM as a laughable and delusional category on PornHub. Or BDSM as the last door to the world of paraphilias of a generation that little resembles ours and of which we are so often ashamed, not because of the aesthetic ageism that consumes us, but rather because of the new way of understanding the relationships, desire and consent that we work for in the post #MeToo era.
“How to differentiate between what turns us on because it turns us on, and what turns us on because it is supposed to turn us on?”
Actually, this portrait drawn in the previous lines could be another way of influencing the clumsy and degenerate imaginary that due to ignorance or shame we usually associate with BDSM. If the public conversation or artistic or literary representation around sex and affective relationships is usually complex, the simple fact of going one step further to talk about apparently marginal erotic practices can lead to even more misunderstandings. Before trying to define what these acronyms mean for the new generations, for the photographer Mara Haro ( @marablackflower) it is important to point out “that BDSM, like homosexuality and transsexuality, by departing from the orthodox, has been and still is, persecuted, criminalized, pathologized … instead of being seen as another manifestation of desire and of practices in the human sexual act “. In fact, according to its definition, BDSM is a fanciful and very simple thing – namely: its acronym simply hides the terms bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism – which only gets complicated when we understand that, by a On the other hand, that its development has historically been undermined by abusive stereotypes, but on the other hand, its vindication has been for many people a way of transgressing heteropatriarchal norms through role-play or reappropriation of violence.
Once again, like everything to do with joy and empowerment, its public representation has steadily been reduced to that of imposing on women. For biology student and Gen Playz contributor Mafer, reading about BDSM today, on social media, means constantly dodging descriptions of toxic behaviors. One of the first images that come to mind when talking about submission is that of the “boyfriend who hits or spits on the girl .” For her, the danger of an extreme defense and from the ignorance of these practices, “is rooted in the same patriarchal dynamics As always, it seems that it makes you that the man is dominant and you a young girl at his mercy ”. Now, is it necessarily a bad thing that one likes to play the role of a young girl at his mercy ? For Mafer, as long as “these dynamics are not extrapolated outside the sexual relationship “, there is nothing wrong with them, and he adds that “I would not stop doing something that excites me and I like because it reproduces toxic structures.”
So said it seems very simple: fuck and play because it is only playing and fucking. Fuck and play because we want it. Fuck and play because it turns us on. Fuck and play because we allow it. Fuck and play and experiment because we know what the limits are. But do we really know? And do our sexual partners know? How to differentiate between what turns us on because it turns us on, and what turns us on because it is supposed to turn us on? So said it is less simple, but it is that the desire has never been simple, and even less considering the situation of inequality from which we, most of the time, have started.
Fluorrazepam: “Playing roles and dynamics based on domination and submission for me are based more on the education we receive, which unfortunately romanticizes power and eroticizes suffering”
Perhaps this warning and this doubt is the reason why in the memesphere there is so much debate and so much production of ideas around inherited sex roles . For La Fluorra, administrator of Fluorrazepam , for example, “everything that concerns human relationships must be horizontal .” According to her testimony, “reproducing roles and dynamics based on domination and submission for me goes through, in a transversal way, a whole history of violence that goes far beyond fetishes., and that they are based rather on the education we receive, which unfortunately romanticizes power and eroticizes suffering. “In a similar vein, the administrator of Nena Astral believes that” BDSM has its roots deeper into patriarchal affiliations , but for better or for worse, this influence has made many women end up enjoying them . “At this point, Astral adds,” I don’t think it’s best to deprive these women of their sexual pleasure in favor of non-perpetuation but to raise awareness of its origin and try that if it is practiced, it is done from a knowledge of cause and critical thinking “.
It is at this crossroads where both Fluorrazepam, Nena Astral, and the philosopher Margot Rot find a fundamentally generational difference between zoomers and their older siblings when it comes to reading, assuming, criticizing, analyzing or practicing BDSM. According to Rot, “it is possible that for some of us the vindication of some practices from this cultural group is a bit old “. The philosopher believes that her generation disputes questions about desire and relationships from another place because for her “BDSM calls for a series of sexual practices that, if consensual and voluntarily chosen, little debate can be generated. There is no point in questioning a culture that is, in this respect, harmless. What we are disputing, in my opinion, is elsewhere. If we want to question the status of our desire, which is evidently based on the historical, repeated and perpetuated violence that has been erected against women, I do not believe that the bed is the place from which to work , although I do understand that it is in it in where these types of issues are most evident “.
Perhaps it is at this point that the gap is born . Even if the common goal is the search, as Mara Haro says for “a healthy sexuality” , the mechanisms and the struggles, but especially the contexts to reach it, are also changing. Between 2018 and the beginning of 2021, many books were published in Spain and abroad about pleasure, consent and the so-called “feminism of enjoyment” . For figures such as Luciana Peker (Buenos Aires, 1973), Ana Requena (Madrid, 1981) or Katherine Angel (Brussels, 1984), the logical step after #MeToo was to propose our beds as one more place of resistance. According to the writer Gabriela Wiener (Lima, 1975) our eroticism is a mixture of culture, porn, morality and trauma , and for this reason it is very difficult to determine and, above all, to judge, the foundations of one’s own pleasure, not to mention that of others.
So, is BDSM no longer empowering for the new generations? Was it ever? What do we do if it still is for us? Can you no longer wish to be “the young lady at his mercy”? Can’t you find “healthy sex” in what for some is harmful or toxic? Is criticizing BDSM still criminalizing those who enjoy it …? Philosopher Alicia Valdés believes that it is a mistake to talk about empowering practices. He does not like to reduce the discourse and prefers to face this debate from all its range of complexities: “It is very dangerous that we speak in a homogenizing way about whether something is empowering or not. I think that the fact that something manages to empower someone has to to see with the experiences and experiences of that subject and not with the action itself “. For Valdés, the important thing is to focus on the subject who performs the action, since the opposite ends up creating hierarchies or leading us to reductions in what or who does good or bad to feminism. “When we talk about the empowering potential of sexual practices, the question becomes more swampy, since in the end we inhabit a society permeated by a puritanical and traditional view on sex, and we still continue to think through a limiting reality about what what it is sexuality, limiting it to genitality, and not through a much broader concept “.
Is BDSM no longer empowering for the new generations? Was it ever?
Making use of this critical thinking, and always ensuring consent, knowledge and consensus, it is how the artist and dominatrix Sofía Rincón ( @sophistidomme ) claims that BDSM – belonging to the generation that the subjects who practice it belong to – can be for many stimulating, healthy and liberating. Rincón believes in the ability to play, in the creation of fantastic worlds and in the empowerment provided by the very act of giving free rein to the imagination, both for those who dominate and for those who are submissive. The artist says that “with BDSM you put a mirror in front of you: you see in a radical way everything that could directly attack your weaknesses or your complexes, but instead of assuming a drama, in BDSM you face your demons and transform them into pleasure, because of what is liberating in many aspects, just as it can be for other people to attend a choir or practice a risky sport. It is simply a matter of seeing it for what it is: a performance whose purpose is mutual sexual pleasure, which implies a psychological preparation and an after-care on both sides and for what you have to take care of the other person, listen to them and understand its inner workings. “
To arrive at this care, this understanding, and this expression of healthy sexuality, Rincón, like Miller, also insist on experience. She does not believe that “BDSM is a thing of the past at all, but I do believe that BDSM requires special maturity to be able to practice it and enjoy it, that is why it is more common to find people of thirty years or more in the scene than older people. young man”. Sex, says the dominatrix, is language, “you have to learn to speak it”, and that is why those who refuse to do so, or those in the BDSMero world who engage in abusive practices, are called dinosaurs. “We call this to people who believe that roles are rigid blocks of behavior and they do not see it as a field of exploration to foster diversity. Dinosaurs may be boomers or millennials, but they’re still dinosaurs. “
It may still be too early to determine whether or not the essence of BDSM is out of date for Generation Z, but what we can assure you is that only through debate and attention to the pleasure of others will we be able to shoot our many fucking dinosaurs. Of those, we all have a few stalking us. Therefore, in this regard, the philosopher and activist Rosa María García (say that “sexuality is broad: pain and violence already fit into it. We have a problem in the ways in which we usually learn to understand sexuality, much more than in whether or not certain specific practices fit into life or not. sexual behavior of a person “. And in an almost conciliatory way, García concludes: “BDSM is practiced by people of all conditions: old and young, normative and dissidents ?, monogamous and polyamorous, discreet, white and racialized … The only requirement is that they be interested.”