BDSM has a long-standing perception issue in the eyes of mainstream society. Recent events strained it even more. This week's Sex Stories We Love looks at several misunderstandings about BDSM and rough sex.

The Murder of Grace Milane

Have you followed the trial of the convicted murderer of Grace Milane? I don't usually report on sex crime, but this case is of great significance to people who are into rough sex and BDSM all around the world. The main facts are indisputable. Grace died during sex. The defendant argued that she succumbed during consensual choking. The prosecution successfully argued that he, in fact, strangled her to death and disposed of her body. Unfortunately, the tragedy of this murder goes beyond the immeasurable loss of a life. Instead of the tone of the trial focusing on the acts of a murderer, it shifted to the perceived acts of the victim. Was Grace Milane interested in rough sex? Seems she was...but why does that matter? She may have sought out choking for pleasure, but she did not seek out choking to death. Her victimhood has been overshadowed by her interests, a situation women have become all-too-familiar with when they are victims of sex crimes. This must stop.

Irresponsible Journalism


One of the best ways to flip the script on victim-blaming is to challenge and admonish irresponsible journalism. A big reason why Grace's unrelated, personal interests were held up to such scrutiny was because papers, such as the New York Post, decided to shine a light on them. This was entirely uncalled for and cruel. Grace's interest in BDSM does not explain why her killer decided to compress her neck for five to ten minutes. As so many of us have done, she looked to engage in a pleasurable experience. Unfortunately, she met a man who had a different experience in mind. That is why she died...not because of her interests.

Introducing BDSM

Because of the significant media coverage of the case, BDSM is again under scrutiny. Dating sites catering to the rough sex community are getting the side eye by the mainstream and even folks who might want to use them are possibly feeling a bit leery. So just how are kinky and fetish folks supposed to meet? Introducing your BDSM interests to someone new can be a real challenge. Check out these tips on introducing BDSM to someone new.

New Therapy

For the most part, most people associate BDSM with sexual pleasure. However, if you read about and speak with people who are interested in rough sex activities and community, you'll understand that BDSM can mean a whole lot more to people involved. Because of the significant psychological factors and different types of play, BDSM can make a huge impact in many different ways. Taking all of these into consideration, it's no surprise that different elements are being used as therapy to help folks with anxiety, trauma, and more. This makes a lot of sense given how vulnerable and open BDSM play can make someone. It's just another way that sex impacts our lives beyond pleasure.

Recontextualizing Pain

Chronic pain and disability can be life-long challenges that can limit the amount of control one has over their own body. Participating in BDSM and rough sex can be a way to retain and derive pleasure from control. Emma Shepperd's research, as discussed by Emma Madden, into chronic pain and BDSM is significant work because it helps to show the inherent ableism that permeates both sex culture and society in general/ We have a very poor understanding of pain and assume it is always something to be "overcome." The opportunity to recontextualize pain into a different experience is a big change in perception, but it offers an opportunity for both those who seek to play and the world that needs to learn more about the experience of chronic pain and disability.

A Place to Play

Finally, if you're looking to enjoy some BDSM play and don't want to set up your own home dungeon, why not visit a space that can fulfill all of your desires?

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