Reflections – Bondage and the Implicitness of Unfreedom, Fashion and Authenticity and More

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Bondage and the Implicitness of Unfreedom – BDSM, a blend of bondage, discipline, submission, and masochism, has often raised questions about its psychological normality. While some non-BDSM individuals consider it aberrant, the prevailing liberal mindset dismisses these concerns, arguing that as long as there is consent1, any act is permissible. On the other hand, conservatives mock the overtly deviant nature of such sexual practices. As someone who finds solace in the realm of the undead rather than the living or deceased, neither perspective resonated with me.

In a paper titled “Psychological Characteristics of BDSM Practitioners”2, the assumptions linking BDSM practice to psychopathology are challenged. Surprisingly, the study reveals that there are no significant psychological disparities between BDSM practitioners and non-practitioners. In fact, if any differences do exist, they tend to favor the BDSM group.

The results mostly suggest favorable psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners compared with the control group; BDSM practitioners were less neurotic, more extraverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, had higher subjective well-being, yet were less agreeable

Psychological Characteristics of BDSM Practitioners

I think BDSM permeates our society both explicitly and implicitly. Even within surface-level sexual interactions, we often observe dynamics reflecting traditional patriarchal norms, where men assume dominant roles and women adopt submissive positions. Throughout history, this power imbalance has led to egregious acts such as marital rape, or rape in general, which are unequivocally immoral when divorced from the consensual context of BDSM.

Consider the non-sexual sphere. Attachment theory offers insight into how we often replicate toxic patterns of parental love in our adult relationships. In this context, we become enslaved by the ways in which we relate to our partners. For example, an anxious individual may yearn for constant approval from their partner, creating a direct form of bondage. Conversely, in an indirect and mediated manner, an avoidant person’s identity is reinforced when they are recognized as avoidant and receive love from an anxious partner.

BDSM, then, is an explicit sexual enactment of the underlying neurosis. While I remain uncertain whether BDSM would exist without the presence of this neurosis, it holds the potential to serve as a pathway for individuals to gradually confront and reconcile with their underlying psychological struggles.

An unconcealed representation of the broader concept of ideological blindness and the encompassing meta-unfreedom.


Fashion and Authenticity – Fashion is often viewed as a means of authentic self-expression. Glancing over the faux nature of self-authenticity, I argue that fashion, by it’s nature, can never truly embody authenticity.

When the desire to look good arises, the inevitable question emerges: for whom? Often, objections follow, with individuals claiming that they do not dress to please However, the underlying motivation lies in looking good for the big Other, which extends beyond society itself. This big Other can take on an abstract form, such as striving to appear aesthetically pleasing by contradicting conventional fashion norms, as demonstrated above.

I have personally grappled with this issue myself. Being fairly muscular, even a regular fit outfit tends to accentuate my bulky physique. In the past, I would intentionally use this as a means to become the desired object, to attract the gaze of others. However, I have now shifted towards oversized, monochrome outfits that prioritize comfort over tight t-shirts. This change in my fashion choices is my pursuit of authenticity in relation to the “big Other.”

Certainly, the idea is not to obliterate the “big Other” entirely, as that remains impossible. For instance, language – the big Other of big Others – always exists. Instead, the goal is to comprehend its existence, allowing us to engage with it in an authentic manner. Sometimes, this involves wearing clothes that draw attention and recognizing that we become the target of others’ gazes


Remarks on my Tattoo – I have a Nietzsche tattoo on my shoulder, which has led many to inquire whether it contradicts the philosophical stance against idolizing or deifying individuals, especially Nietzsche himself. However, I would argue that it does not.

My tattoo does not depict Nietzsche the philosopher, but rather Nietzsche the man—the individual who was all-too-similar, the same questions, the same pains and joys as my own. The man and the philosopher, however, all-too-different. Stark contrasts, like day and night.

Introducing dialectics into the discussion, one may argue that tattooing Nietzsche as an act of admiration seemingly contradicts Nietzsche’s philosophy, as it implies valuing his judgment over one’s own. Paradoxically, those who choose not to tattoo Nietzsche due to its perceived anti-Nietzschean nature are also in an anti-Nietzschean act – precisely by valuing his opinion on the matter. Consequently, the essence of genuine freedom lies not solely in the action itself but in its underlying intentions. It resides within the realm of those who choose to exercise their autonomy— the prefer not to’s of the world.

  1. Krishna, N. (2023). The Problem of Consent: Why Yes Means No? Retrieved from https://niranjankrishna.in/2023/03/25/the-problem-of-consent-why-yes-means-no/
  2. Wismeijer AA, van Assen MA. Psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners. J Sex Med. 2013 Aug;10(8):1943-52. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12192. Epub 2013 May 16. PMID: 23679066.

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