BDSM. Four letters — for Bondage, Discipline and Sadomasochism — whose association encompasses a wide range of sexual practices. Once considered taboo and sulphurous, the interest they arouse today is growing… and surprisingly exceeds the simple framework of our bedroom.

So when did sadomasochism become popular?

From shadow to spotlight

Of course, Sade is not the first one to be excited by a few screams. Written records already mention this inclination among the Sumerians, long before half of the Vatican’s secret taste for flogging. However, the eroticization of pain remains marginalized for a long time, when it is not described as deviance or perversion.

The game gradually changes, thanks to the world of fashion which takes hold of its aesthetics. In the 80s, Gaultier creates corsets with dreamlike proportions, immortalized by Madonna masturbating on stage. In 1992, Versace returns to his supermodels for a collection called Miss S&M, inspired by gay underground clubs in New York. And so, bondage chic is born…

Almost thirty years later, the 90’s wave that waters stylists brings it up to date. Slave jewellery is a must, Kim Kardashian popularizes the latex dress, the thigh-high boots make a thunderous comeback and Moschinotransposes its latest menswear show into a Night Porter scene.

 

 

“Do you have a whip?”

You can love fetishistic pomp, without necessarily giving in to its pleasures — after all, not all people wearing jogging do sports. However, BDSM seems to be conquering more than the catwalks. Video clips are filled with its imagery, while sitcoms and teen-comedies make a comical character out of the dominatrix. The Fifty Shades of Grey saga has sold over 125,000,000 copies worldwide, i. e. as many as the number of albums sold by Beyoncé in her career…

Unquestionably, the public thus answers the call of leather. The presence of this practice in our culture makes it less dramatic, in addition to its accessibility through free porn and Internet dating. More broadly, the speech on sex and gender has become freer in recent years, with a tendency to affirm this identity to obtain full recognition. In other words, we own it.

The fantasy is becoming a business in its own right, beyond the simple manufacture of clothes and other toys. In addition to themed-parties which multiply, a very serious school of bondage dispenses courses in the middle of Paris. Some are starting BDSM tourism, with all-inclusive packages for the weekend, or directly at home thanks to KinkBnB… Sadomasochism, a pleasure like any other? •


Zackary
Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's lovechild, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. In love with fashion since I was in short pants, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.