An overview of the world of sexual dominance
and submission, beginning with basic information for the
general reader on what S/M is and how S/Mers define themselves.
The section includes an examination of the Victorian roots
of sexuality study and their influence on contemporary attitudes
toward "normal" sex; a history of the contemporary D&S; communities,
including the proliferation of kinky sex on the Net; a basic
lexicon of D&S; terms; and discussions of "safe words," "limits,"
"Safe, Sane, and Mutually Consensual," and the kink community's
Chapters described below.
|Chapter 1 ~ Chapter
2 ~ Chapter 3 |
"In order to understand unusual sexualities such as
dominance and submission (D&S;), one first has to consider the
question, 'What is normal?'....We start from the premise that
sex for pleasure is a normal human drive and is acceptable when
it brings pleasure to both partners. From this perspective,
D&S; is simply a 'different' kind of loving."
Quick cuts from our interviews:
Dr. Ronald Moglia...
...is the director of the Human Sexuality graduate program of
New York University's Department of Health Education. He received
his Ed.D. from Temple University. Dr. Moglia joined the NYU
graduate program in 1979 and has chaired it since 1988.
"I would say tying and spanking behavior between consenting
adults is no more intrinsically unhealthy than wanting to have
coital sex or engaging in any kind of precoital behavior that
occurs between consenting adults. [But as a society], we don't
recognize fringe behaviors that are done in an acceptable, healthy
Howard and Martha Lewis...
...are a husband-and-wife team and the authors of numerous texts
on human sexuality. They edit the Journal
of Sex Education and Therapy, Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality,
Sexuality and Disability and other medical journals. They
are also the chief administrators of the Human Sexuality Forums
of Compuserve Information Service, the nation's largest on-line
"We've gotten a glimpse into human sexuality that's
much broader than what people see in the movies or magazines
or [in] a standard sex-education class."
2. Victorian Genesis
and the Modern Scene
"The practices and desires we will examine are as old as eros.
Yet we are so accustomed to accepting the idea that unusual
or unfamiliar sexual practices are 'perverse' that we rarely
ask how these behaviors came to be so classified."
Quick cuts from our interviews:
- In the Beginning...
- The Victorians
- The Scientists
- Psychopathia Sexualis
- Havelock Ellis and the Observer Effect
- The 20th Century
- The Leather Evolution
- The Modern Scene
Dr. William A. Henkin...
...is a certified sex therapist and licensed marriage, family,
and child counselor. He is past president of the San Francisco
Bay Area chapter of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex,
a member of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria
Association, and holds a Ph.D. from the Institute for Advanced
Study of Human Sexuality.
"There are two reasons, as far as I can tell, why S/M
is taboo in our culture. The first has to do with control. As
a society we are as frightened of control issues as we are of
anger issues.... Second, if you control people's sexuality, you
control their lives. If you tell them what they may or may not
do sexually, you have in a very real and a very deep way told
them who they may be...."
...is 38 years old and was raised in Europe. He lives in New York,
where he works in a high-technology industry. He is on the board
of directors of the Eulenspiegel Society, America's oldest S/M
"For me, S/M is a very important part of a relationship.
I enjoy dominating or submitting to someone that I really like.
It doesn't have to end in intercourse. However, for me, when I'm
in a relationship, and I currently am, the S/M is foreplay, and
it ends up in what I call S/M intercourse."
...is 46 years old and lives in New Jersey. He owns and operates
fetish-video companies and publishes The
"There is a misconception about the people in the Scene--what
we term 'Ted Bundy-itis.' When you discuss S&M;, the first thing
people think about is a Ted Bundy type preying on unsuspecting
women and getting sexual kicks by maiming and killing. It's as
far away from the Scene as it is from mainstream society."
3. The ABCs of D&S;
"This chapter is a primer of the principal issues and concepts
that are familiar to members of the D&S; communities. The D&S;
subculture has a highly sophisticated ethos to guide erotic
play, which comprises ethical codes, safety rules, and communication
Quick Cuts from our interviews:
- What's in a Word?
- The Credo: "Safe, Sane, and Consensual"
- The Idea of Community
- Women, Political Correctness, and Sexual Freedom
...is 29 years old and a high-school English teacher. She lives
"For me, feminism is extremely important, but the word
that we use most in feminism is choice. I'm choosing to submit
to a man because I want to. When I stop wanting to, I can walk
out the door. I can tell him to go sit on it and rotate if I want
...is 50 years old and the owner of a private business.
"We playfully try to extend our D&S; relationship out
of the bedroom and into our lives a little bit. She will often
address me as 'sir'....'Sir' to my ears means 'I love you.' So
each time she addresses me that way, it's a loving expression."
...is 37 years old and married. An armed-forces veteran, he now
works as a paramedic.
"Something I've explained to my submissives is that
I don't get any satisfaction out of it unless I know that the
submissive is enjoying it. It is more of a foreplay."
...is 29 years old and works as a computer professional. She lives
"S/M gave me the tools to be a feminist. Feminism gave
me lots of ideals to strive for. Feminism said to me, 'You must
be a strong woman, you must have control in your own life,' but
it never gave me any tools to attain that strength."