Is BDSM Unlawful?

In the spirit of finishing my first year of law today, through my completion of criminal law, I thought I would approach the BDSM world and the legal rights and responsibilities of all those involved. But first, I would like to introduce you to what BDSM is. BDSM stands for Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism which are all terms related to people’s sexual preferences within the fetish community. All these terms carry a physical, mental and emotional sexual experience.

If you have previously had sex, you may have actually participated in very light form of a BDSM experience without even knowing it. From the pinning down of someone’s arms to the bed to maintain sexual control, to the use of bdsm products like blindfolds or spanking them when they have done something you like or didn’t like as a form of sexual punishment. BDSM explores the pleasure people find from experiencing pain, causing pain or morally degrading another person. BDSM can be seen as more than just terminology or a foreplay experience but can be a long term sexual lifestyle choice for some. The BDSM community follow strict guidelines in order to be a member or even participate in the sexual acts. It is important people who would like to participate in this type of lifestyle create a BDSM agreement with their sexual partner outlining what is acceptable in their relationship, what is not and what safe words they should use.

If you have signed a BDSM Agreement, is BDSM Lawful?

First off, from a statutory point of view, BDSM related activities, ultimately are considered to be common assault. However, “without consent” is a major part of this charge. In these scenarios, those involved are doing so consensually, which theoretically negates any charge. However, it is for this reason that there are some instances where the ‘victim’ cannot consent.

In a famous case from the 90’s, a group of sado-masochistic homosexual men willingly participated in the commission of acts of violence against each other, including genital torture for their sexual pleasure. They also filmed the sexual acts and distributed the tapes among the group. The passive partner consented to all of the acts committed against him and the acts did not result in any permanent damage. As a result of this case, it was held that, regardless of the nature of the act, you cannot convert an inherently unlawful act into a lawful one. It was also suggested that any conduct which causes actual bodily harm is incapable of being consented to, or alternatively, consent is vitiated in situations where the defendant has caused actual bodily harm to the victim.

 

BDSM Mutual Agreement
Photo: Is BDSM Unlawful? – BDSM Agreement

 

Does that mean that every form off BDSM is unlawful?

Short answer, no.

In another case consent was a defence where the appellant, at the request and with the consent of his wife, used a hot knife to brand his initials “AW” on each of her buttock checks. In this case, it was considered that, “consensual activity between husband and wife, in the privacy of the matrimonial home, is not a proper matter for criminal investigation or prosecution”.

So does that mean I can do whatever I want to my partner then? (heck yes!)

…not really

In yet another case, the defendant tied his partner’s head with a plastic bag, where she suffered non-serious injuries, and sought medical treatment. Weeks after the initial incident, the defendant poured lighter fluid onto his partner’s breasts and set them alight. She saw medical treatment for this too. Consent, in this case was not considered a defence to the charge.

So what does all this mean?

Ultimately, the line between what is able to be consented to and what is not is pretty blurred. Personally, I think if you’re doing it safely in your own home without flaunting about it publicly, you’ll be sweet and clear from any prosecution. The only reason that the above cases were brought before the courts was because people found out that it was happening. So keep it to yourself, and if you film it, make sure you don’t distribute it to someone who will take it further.

I guess if you haven’t been caught yet, then you just keep doing you.

 

About the Author: By Ebony a sales consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre

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Andrew is right into the Fet Lifestyle and enjoys BDSM. He has written about these subjects in many arena’s and is an expert at Shibari. He shares his knowledge by working with Adultsmart a sex toy store. Enjoy the descriptive and educational articles he has written.

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