When Does BDSM Become Abuse

I was recently at an event in Washington DC. where fetishists and sadomasochists were playing in a monitored environment. I noticed that many of those deeply into S&M involve themselves in activities that, in my opinion, could be construed as physical abuse.

In one scene, one of the participants had their subject bound to a cross. The administrator of the “punishment” repeatedly took their fist and was punching the subject in the buttocks over and over. This act left darker and darker bruises on the subject which prompted me to wonder, could this be construed as physical abuse. Regardless of whether the subject asked for this, if this were done in a public setting, it certainly would be seen by law-enforcement as abusive.

In another scene, the administrator of the punishment repeatedly took their elbow and hit the subject in the ribs. This to me seemed even more agree just because of the potential damage that I could do the bones. As an aside, I recently had a prospective client asked if I would be interested in breaking a bone to which my response was, “that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard”.

While I realize that this community tends to be very non-judgmental, is there a point where we must point out that some of the behavior could be physically damaging to the people subjected to the physical abuse?

I’m not accusing either one of these people with abusing their subjects. I merely asking, could this sort of behavior in the BDSM community be detrimental to the health and well-being of those who allow it to happen.

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