Are BDSM clubs cultic in nature?

This may seem like a silly question at first glance, but the blog TW: BDSM makes an analysis from experienceof how they operate and comes to the conclusion that they may be similar.

Many clubs instate (non-legal) policies/club rules that sound very legal, very formal, very binding. The added assertion of strict privacy creates a hush-hush environment that subconsciously or consciously shows members that they are not to go to outside authorities. Everything is to be handled internally. At three clubs I have been to, I had to sign a formal-appearing “contract” (not legally binding, but appearing to be so) that stated I was not allowed to discuss ANYTHING that occurred in the club to ANYONE for ANY REASON, and again, all problems to be dealt with internally. It was always the number one rule, even above safety procedure, and I suspect this to be true in many clubs.

One thought on “Are BDSM clubs cultic in nature?

  1. Independent Radical March 24, 2015 at 04:34 Reply

    The lack of external accountability does make it somewhat cult-like. Here are some other cultish attributes of the BDSM community

    1: It only allows itself to be examined by its supporters. I once read a “study” (more like a poorly written BDSM erotica with a lot of academic sounding language) in which the author states that the BDSMers she talked to were suspicious of her and tried to determine whether she was on her side before they would talk to her openly.

    2. It tells people that they will suffer horrible consequences if they leave the community or stop practicing BDSM. They claim that such people are or will be “sexually repressed” and will wind up either unleashing their violent sexual desires in an “unhealthy” way or commiting suicide due to their failure to accept their own sexuality. This kind of thinking is common among sex-positives and in mainstream culture, but the BDSM community seems particularly eager to stop people from leaving. Just observe how they respond when someone has the courage to question their own BDSM desires or practices.

    3.They have enforced norms governing appearance. Everyone who attends a BDSM event, even if they do not wish to practice BDSM or become part of the community, is required to follow their dress norms. The rules vary, but usually this means wearing expensive (especially for women), gothic, high-sexualised clothing that would be inappropriate to wear in other situations. I understand that some people like to put on costume parties and whatnot, but the BDSM community actually gets guards to stand at the door to their event and ensure that the person is not dressed too “vanilla”. This also makes it harder for people (who don’t have a spare 400 dollars to waste) to examine the BDSM community (which ties in with my first point.)

    The only cultish characteristic that the BDSM community is missing is an infalliable leader of some kind. But people in full time BDSM relationships treat their dominants like infallible leaders, plus they have their historical idols (e.g. Marquis de Sade.)

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