It’s often said that bdsm is roughly where homosexuality was fifty or sixty years ago, in terms of social, political and media acceptance.
Rathbone’s textbook on bdsm, Anatomy of Masochism, definitely supports that idea. If anything, it’s more hostile, more overtly bigoted about the sexual desires of others than most psychologists would have been about gays and lesbians in the 1950s.
As well as coming up with a bizarre list of “causes” for bdsm, as seen in yesterday’s post, Rathbone also provided a helpful checklist of the distinguishing characteristics of “sadomasochists”.
You can sum up our personalities, we perverts, as being steeped in rigidity, fantasy, infantilism, hypocrisy, passivity and tension, also deceptiveness, pathological selfishness, and authoritarian politics. Did I say authoritarian? Well, Rathbone thinks it’s more a matter of our peculiar tendency towards Nazism.
To Rathbone, it’s not just that all bdsm relationships are dysfunctional, it’s that bdsm is almost the only cause of relationship dysfunction. She wrote, “When a ‘love’-relationship is not loving, it is usually sadomasochistic.”
Anatomy of Masochism’s bigotry is so overt and so intensely hostile that – as you can see – it’s essentially comic.
Still, it’d be an unlucky person who needed information and advice about their bdsm desires, and sought those things from a doctor or therapist whose perception of bdsm was guided by Rathbone’s book.