I know BDSM is all the rage, but the idea of tying someone up and spanking them totally freaks me out! Am I abnormal, or what?

Q:

I know BDSM is all the rage, but the idea of tying someone up and spanking them totally freaks me out! Like, I just can't even imagine wanting to do something like that! Am I abnormal, or what?

A:

First, I think you have to recognize that your fear around BDSM and some of the things it involves probably comes from a real place. If you've experienced unwanted pain of some sort, just seeing this sort of thing could make you feel vulnerable and unable to process pain in conjunction with sexuality. Know that that's OK. We all have our own history and we don't have to be on board with anything that makes us uncomfortable, no matter how popular it happens to be.

At the same time, it's important to understand that sometimes healthy, normal people like to be spanked. Just as you may not know how to process pain in a sexual context, the flip side is that there are people who love and want pain as part of their sex play. People have different relationships with pain depending on their personalities, their experiences and how they process those experiences. For example, I've met a lot of people with chronic pain who also love BDSM. They have unwanted pain in their lives that they can't control and they like the control they have over the pain they experience as part of BDSM.

People who are experiencing healthy BDSM play, they’re doing something we call biohacking; they’re hacking their own neurochemicals, and willfully expressing ways to generate things like dopamine and endorphins. Endorphins are a natural painkiller. So, when you think about it, it makes sense that if someone has a chance to use a paddle and it brings on endorphins that reduce their pain overall, that that would help them feel better in their body, especially if they live with chronic pain.

People aren’t crazy; there’s usually a logical reason for every behavior, it just may not be your logic. Do what feels good for you and makes you feel good. Just remember that we are all different, and what "good" sex looks like is different for everyone.

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Written by Ducky Doolittle
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Ducky DooLittle is a pleasure-based sex educator and the resident sex toy expert for Blush Novelties and Sola. She also leads the marketing team, does some sex toy design work, tests prototypes and brings pleasure to the world! She's also a certified Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Counselor and the author of "Sex With the Lights On: 200 Illuminating Sex Questions Answered." Ducky has appeared in the New York Times, HBO's "Real Sex", "The Morning Show", MTV, NPR, "The Howard Stern Show" and Playboy TV.

She loves to bake, cook, garden, make things and write.

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