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Written by Joseph Dunsay. After earning a Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Joseph Dunsay became a science writer for international audiences. Find more Jewrotica writing by Joseph here.
There is a new look for the new year, the men’s choker. Traditionally an accessory for women, the choker is a short necklace that hugs the neck. Before going mainstream this year, a choker or a collar was a part of an alternative lifestyle for some people. Wearing it is a way for a submissive to announce that a dominant has collared him.
Judaism is open minded when it comes to BDSM. Couples may engage in BDSM if that is what they enjoy. Even vanilla Jewish marriages have elements that could shock the average Westerner. For example, a Jewish husband’s obligations related to pleasing his wife in the bedroom are so paramount that they can restrict his ability to travel. When seen in this light, a bit of role-playing is ordinary.
Views towards BDSM vary from an article by a happiness engineer who says it is a dangerous addiction to a piece by a science journalist who confronted the negative stereotypes that kinky people face. The latter post assures readers that consent is central to the BDSM lifestyle, that a preference for kinky sex is not associated with a history of abuse, and that lovers practicing BDSM can have relationships that are close and emotionally healthy. It explains that the novelty of BDSM can make it pleasurable and that the circuitry responsible for sexual pleasure varies greatly from person to person.
Tolerance for BDSM is growing. Before Fifty Shades of Grey, therapists would try to cure people of BDSM desires whether they wanted the cure or not, just like they attempted to cure homosexuality decades ago, according to a Lancet editorial. The opinion piece called on professionals to respect the choices BDSM clients make in their sex lives and mentioned that studies found no correlations between the BDSM lifestyle and psychological problems or past trauma.
The allure of BDSM can best be understood by comparing it to a meal with hot chili peppers. Between 5% and 10% of the population enjoys feeling pain in a sexual context. Both pleasure and pain indicate salience, meaning they awaken the mind to pay more attention to an experience. Dopamine released in the ventral tegmental area of the brain causes the mind to focus on any event that gives pleasure or pain. More research could elucidate the details of the biochemistry behind salience, but sexual desire is not a funding priority at this time.
Choice and consent are the key concepts to keep in mind when judging intimate relationships. The brain of a BDSM enthusiast that one person views as hijacked, another person can see as content. A commitment to freedom makes modern individuals cringe at laws governing fashion. They would laugh at a politician who wanted to ban the choker. If a resident has the right to wear what he wants on the sidewalk, then he obviously has the right to wear what the wants in the bedroom, be it a collar, handcuffs, or any other type of gear.