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Sex Talk: Is it domestic violence or BDSM?

Someone asked me, does BDSM exist in Uganda? I honestly have no idea, but I bet many of the physically abusive people to their spouses are covertly into BDSM and are just not able to ‘diagnose’ themselves as such.

In case you were wondering, BDSM are erotic practices (some will say perversions) that involve bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, executed through role-playing.

Forget the light-weight role-playing of one handcuffing their spouse to the bed during sex or dressing up as a cop, nurse, etc.

This is some seriously dark stuff that involves treating one’s spouse like grime, whipping them until they bleed, tying them up with ropes, strangling them, etc. I remember when the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy was first released in 2011, many married women worldwide bored by the sex in their marriages got weird seeds planted in their minds.

The books by E.L. James are possibly the boldest exploration of BDSM and even seek to glorify it in a way. The trilogy was such a hit that every romance novel-loving woman seemed to have a copy; televangelist and American mega church pastor Dr Creflo Dollar once hilariously spent time debunking the novel before giving one of his sermons, telling the ‘sisters’ to not ask their husbands to bring ropes into the bedroom, or whips to lash them during sex.

That is BDSM. And the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that where it exists in Uganda, it comes in a sad GBV (gender based violence) package. There are many people who get off by inflicting pain on their spouses, but will not say outright that this is what pervasively turns them on.

There are wives who argue that unless their husbands physically hurt them, they don’t love them, and even actively provoke their husbands until they receive the beating. Honey, you could be into BDSM; that is, you get sexually aroused from being beaten and treated like trash.

I am tempted to ‘diagnose’ a couple in my neighbourhood as BDSM enthusiasts, because the surrounding community knows when they have sex. It always starts with a huge fight in the dead of night, which has the village dogs barking in agitation as they hurl bricks and garden tools at each other and run all over their compound screaming.

Then all goes quiet and the next morning they walk around looking like the cats that ate the cream. The first time I heard them fight, I called 999 (they actually turned up – drunk, but coherent) only for the police to get to the home in question and nobody answered.

Still trying to be the good citizen, the next time it happened I told a village council member to “be ready for a murder one of these days” if nothing was done. Eventually I was told that was “their thing”. We have learnt to sleep through their stampedes.

Each to their own. I think sex is the weirdest thing our Lord created for us; there is no one formula to how different heads are wired when it comes to the kind of lovemaking couples indulge in.

But the thing with BDSM and this part of Africa is that there is no playing with pain. Maybe the West romanticises and eroticises beatings and pain, because it is something many do not encounter growing up.

Otherwise, for those that were beaten for coming home late from school; beaten for dodging the midday nap; beaten for saying ‘bad words’ (heck, a Buganda Road primary school teacher beat me for being caught reading the biblical book of Song of Songs!); beaten for taking a bad report card home; beaten for experimenting with cooking using tins and real fire, etc, anyone raises a cane later in life and we only see red! There is no romanticising GBV here.

That is why I suspect those that get an erotic kick out of inflicting and receiving physical pain, never say so. All they know is that the sex in their marriage is either make-up sex or no sex at all.

Until someone actually dies or suffers permanent damage.

carol@observer.ug

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