Stephen K. Stein

Apr 21, 2021

Sadomasochism and the BDSM Community in the United States

Kinky People Unite

Routledge 2021

Sadomasochism and the BDSM Community in the United States: Kinky People Unite (Routledge, 2021) chronicles the development of sadomasochistic sexuality and its communities in the United States from the post-war period to the present day. Having evolved from scattered networks of sadomasochists to a coherent body bound by shared principles of "safe, sane, consensual," activists worked to transform popular perceptions of their community, end its routine harassment by law enforcement, and win inclusion in US American society. Often paralleling the work of LGBTQ+ activists, people who engaged in BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism) transformed both their own sexual practices and how outsiders perceived them. The development of this community highlights the interactions of people of different sexual orientations within a sexual community, the influence of various campaigns for sexual freedom, and the BDSM community's influence on popular perceptions of sexuality and sexual freedom. The text’s historical perspective gives depth and texture to a specific dimension of the history of sexuality in the United States. This book will be of interest to students and scholars in the history of sexuality. Its clear and direct approach offers an important and useful chronology of a movement that has long been neglected by historians.

Dr. Stephen K. Stein is the Associate Chair of the Department of History at the University of Memphis. His recent publications include From Torpedoes to Aviation: Washington Irving Chambers and Technological Innovation in the New Navy, 1877-1913 (2007); The Sea in World History: Trade, Travel, and Exploration (2017); Twenty-Five Years of Living in Leather: The National Leather Association, 1986-2011 (2012); “The Greely Relief Expedition and the New Navy,” International Journal of Naval History 5 (December 2006), which won the Rear Admiral Ernest M. Eller Prize in Naval History; and "Lessons Learned Building the Online History Program at the University of Memphis," History Teacher 47 (May 2014).

Dr. Isabel Machado is an independent researcher and serves as reviews editor for the Oral History Journal.

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