Though it may seem unimportant to the actual act of doing something in the BDSM genre, BDSM history is quite interesting enough to take a look at.
The art of BDSM travels way back into time during the ancient greeks. There are writings of the Goddess Ianna dominanting the God Ebih. There are tales of crossdressing, pain and ectasy, punishment and pleasure. All through ancient Greece and Rome, examples of ritual flagellation (whipping, flogging) can be found. In 9th century BC, in highly religious areas of Sparta. Or in 5th century BC, the famed Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping has been found to have images of two men whipping a woman in a sexual situation.The Roman poet, Juvenal, discusses flagellation in the sixth book of Satires. In Pompeii, a winged Whipstress is pictured in the Villa of Mysteries, an ancient villa in which youth went through “rites of passage.” This Whipstress used to initiate young girls into various Greek religions using techniques like flagellation or bondage. BDSM was not just in this small corner of the world, for even in India it seemed to have taken root.
In the future of history, in the 14th century, the phenomenon of courtly love in all of its slavish devotion and ambivalence has been suggested by some writers to be a precursor of BDSM with reports of people willingly being bound or whipped, as a prelude to or substitute for sex.
The professional occupation of the Dominatrix ( a woman dominant) reveals flagellation practiced within an erotic setting recorded from at least the 1590s evidenced by a John Davies epigram, and other references to flogging schools in Shadwell’s ‘Virtuoso’ (1676) and Troth’s ‘Knavery of Astrology’ (1680). Visual evidence such as mezzotints and print media is also identified revealing scenes of flagellation, such as “The Cully Flaug’d” from the British Museum collection.
Throughout the 20th century, BDSM ideas and imagery have existed on the outskirts of Western culture. Robert Bienvenu attributes the origins of modern BDSM to three sources, which he names as “European Fetish” (from 1928), “American Fetish” (from 1934), and “Gay Leather” (from 1950). Another source are the sexual games played in brothels, which go back into the 19th century if not earlier. Irving Klaw, during the 1950s and 1960s, produced some of the first commercial film and photography with a BDSM theme and published comics by the now-iconic bondage artists John Willie and Eric Stanton.
Let us go into a bit more detail about each individual letter or group of letters in the BDSM.
Bondage. This, I am sad to say, I do not know when it became a part of a sexual act of BDSM. However, bondage has been used ever since ancient Japan, used to hold hostages and criminals. It was also used to restrain them while they were tortured. It gives me the creeps, so I will move on from this. Though, I must point out that todays version of sexual bondage is quite enticing, but more on that later.
Discipline. This seems a bit self explanatory, since we have all been disciplined at one point by some other person in our life. You can not be totally clueless to the fact that all sorts of methods of discipline were used in history such as: whips, flogs, cat o’ nine tails, canes, paddles, branches, sticks etc. I think you get the point.
Since I have already given you a taste of history on Dominants and submissives in history, I will move on to the next two letters.
Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) a French aristocrat, philosopher, and revolutionary was famous for his “libertine sexuality.” You can look at his last name and come to conclusion that the word “sadism” comes from him. Apparently, he wrote a lot of novels, short stories, and plays depicting erotic scenes that were violent and criminal. During those times this was definately a crime, and as you might guess, he was imprisoned for most of his life. Ironically enough most of his work was done while he was in prison. I’m just thinking dungeon fantasy from this.
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) was a journalist and author, famous for his works Legacy of Cain and his most famous, Venus in Furs, in which he discusses ideas of female dominance. The main character of this story falls for a woman and tells her he wants her to take him in as her slave and encourages her to treat him measurably more degradingly as time goes by. Leopold even decides to entreat his wife to help him enact his own book. Also, as you probably guessed, this is where the word “machosism” comes into play.
Now there is way more information about the history of BDSM. This is just to satisify curiosity or even to wet your appetite. Most of these words are paraphrased from sites I used. So i will post the sites I find helpful here: