Have you noticed that BDSM is going mainstream? Or maybe “gone” is the appropriate word.
In case you don’t know what BDSM is, it’s an acronym that stands for:
B = Bondage
D = Domination/Discipline
S = Submission/Sadism
M = Masochism
Such practices have existed for centuries, but in most societies they have been considered fringe sexual activities. Or at least the hard core versions of them. (I admit a huge difference between tying your wife to the bedpost with a necktie and, say, “erotic asphyxiation” where one cuts off oxygen supply to achieve a more intense experience.)
But BDSM is all the rage now: in best-selling fiction, song lyrics (“Blurred Lines,” anyone?), sex toy sales, and water-cooler discussions. Not to mention bedrooms.
BDSM is no longer a fringe practice among many. It’s something they are contemplating, experimenting, or routinely including in their bedroom. Perhaps they’ve been inspired by something they’ve read, seen, or heard.
So what is appealing about some of the hard core practices that we’re hearing about? What would make a person who’d normally denounce anything that smacks of mistreatment out in the real world fully embrace pain in the bedroom? Why is something that’s not okay (e.g., a man hitting a woman) in a hallway suddenly okay and even desirable when it’s placed in a sexual context? And why has this idea taken hold like wildfire?
Here’s one theory: Couples are bored in the bedroom.
God’s gift of sexual intimacy is intended for married couples to express and nurture deep intimacy that goes beyond the physical. When a couple lacks commitment, oneness, and a sense of the spiritual aspect, what’s left? The physical.
And when you play with simply the physical, ratcheting up your experience means getting more and more physical. Finding ways to stimulate your physiology and gain more sensation and pleasure from the experience.
Many BDSM practices trigger heightened awareness of physical sensations, stimulate a flow of adrenaline and endorphins, and may result in a more intense encounter. Of course, the negative consequences can be mild to severe. Regardless, is that encounter bringing about the intimacy that God designed for us? Or is it satisfying the flesh without considering the spirit?
Well, you can probably tell where I come down on this subject.
Look, I’m all for spicing up your sex life. I’ve had numerous posts, and will continue to write, about ways to add zing! to your marital bedroom. I’m also completely on board for sex feeling gooooood . . . physically. Sex is indeed a physical act. However, sex also expresses and nurtures something beyond the physical. It’s far more than kink.
So are any BDSM practices okay?
Looking through a glossary of BDSM terms, honestly there isn’t much that aligns with God’s definition of love: kind, does not dishonor others, not self-seeking, always protects, etc. (See 1 Corinthians 13). There is no indication in scripture that real pain is intended to be part of the sexual relationship between husband and wife.
Of course, couples must decide for themselves what they will and will not do in their marital bedroom. It’s up to you to keep your conscience clear before God and man (see Acts 24:16). But be careful about getting swept up in the cultural tide that is moving BDSM to the mainstream. If you’re interested in trying something out, hold it up against what God’s Word says.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). Sex with your mate is noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. God designed it to be. But not all possible sexual practices in the bedroom meet that standard. And ever-so-few BDSM practices meet that standard. Still, you’ll have to decide where to draw the line.
As to wanting to ramp up the sexy in your bedroom, don’t settle for boredom! Your married sex life should not be ho-hum, blah, meh, or zzzzzzz. It’s supposed to be fun! Explore sexuality with your mate through prolonged touch, flirtation, foreplay, oral sex (for her and/or for him), different positions, changing up location, game-playing, and investing in the intimacy you experience in other areas of marriage. And I’ll keep making suggestions here on Hot, Holy & Humorous for how to heat things up in the bedroom (thus the “Hot” in my blog name).
Also see Galatians 5:19-23 for another look at how to evaluate what practices honor God.