#sexTheoryThursday: History of BDSM Literature 2: Defining BDSM


If you’re going to attempt to provide a History of BDSM literature, you’d best begin by defining your terms. 

There are a number of definitions available, but I think they are mostly flawed by the assumptions the writer has made before trying to say clearly what they mean. 

Definitions by older psychological writers and practitioners, not to mention pseudoscientists like psychoanalysts, tend to build in the idea that bdsm is pathological. On the other hand, some more recent writers have assumed that bdsm is necessarily Safe, Sane and Consensual, so that activities that don’t fit into that ethical frame can simply be excluded and discounted. 

This is my definition, and I think it’s the most accurate, with the fewest unstated assumptions, on the intellectual market. So it’s the definition I’m using when I discuss writing that expresses bdsm desires.



Research: A history of BDSM literature

This is the first of a longish series, based on my Eroticon 2019 presentation. 


It is a history of BDSM literature, taking in nearly 50,000 years of human art and history. One of my key points is that BDSM didn’t come down with Sade (who I don’t rate highly), and nor did it arrive with 50 Shades of Grey.

BDSM has been a part of human culture across an enormous time span, and our traces can be found amongst other strands, in an enormous range of cultures. 

These posts are going to be coming on Fridays, so stay tuned!