Originally Posted by opalescent
BDSM for me is not about therapy or self-improvement or similar goals. It's fun and sexy. People do use it for therapy. But, IMHO, they are playing with fire.
I'd say many many people would disagree with you, opal. BDSM is so challenging sometimes. It can force you to trust more, be more open, be more decisive, or more submissive than you've ever been before. There is force and power play in vanilla life, but BDSM, for many, brings it to the surface, instead of it being subtly buried and denied the way it can be in vanilla situations. When you confront all this directly in a consensual D/s scene, it can be very stress relieving, cathartic, life growth inducing.
I believe it was in the Bottoming book where an author talks specifically about a woman who was raped, and how when she chose to do "rape play" in a consensual gangbang situation, after years of ordinary therapy, it finally helped her to overcome the original trauma and make her feel empowered once again.
Some people do not respond well to traditional talk therapy. Many people can't open up and talk about their deepest secrets and fears to a therapist. I've chatted with some good friends who never talk about their sex lives with their therapist, even though that is where they need the most help! They feel a stigma and shame about talking about sex. This is just one example. So, careful caring BDSM with a trusted experienced partner is an option for many, to maybe enhance talk therapy, and help to clear things, receive catharsis and move on.
My gf has anxiety issues. She's been in talk therapy for 5 years. But sometimes when she's feeling particularly fraught, nothing makes her feel better, safer, stronger, more relaxed, than to be bound, or put in a cage, or flogged. Fun and games? Sexy time? No, very serious shit.