Editor’s note: This is in response to an online reader’s comment on the article “Erotic Fixation,” published in Thursday’s Daily Lobo. The article is about Sanctuary Above the Crypt, a local group that puts on fetish shows. The article featured a show in which performers faced their phobias.


Sharon Ostberg, I find your lack of open-mindedness disturbing. You say fear and sex should never mix; I say never say never. If you read the story, you would know that fear ignites the same parts of your brain that connect to sexual arousal. Just think about all the scenes in movies and television shows in which a couple, having just escaped a dangerous situation, suddenly starts getting down.

You also say that BDSM — Bondage, Discipline/Domination, Submission/Sadism and Masochism — is not healthy, that “sex is pleasurable, not painful.” Can sex not be both? I’ve experienced pain and pleasure simultaneously on a number of occasions, and not just in the sexual arena. For instance, a hard workout is both painful and satisfying. It’s painful to type 12-page final papers, but it is a pleasure to see your work once it’s complete.

If you want to have vanilla sex, I hope you enjoy the hell out of it. And though you do say the same about those who practice BDSM, you specify it should be practiced at home only, as if it’s something of which people should feel ashamed. Now, I don’t want to shame you for judging people you don’t know — I just want to clarify the holes in your argument.

You tell us not to “promote it as entertainment in a country with too many untreated potentially violent, mentally ill people.”

Earlier in your comment, you state this behavior desensitizes people. I assume, then, that you think BDSM would lead a violent, mentally ill person to engage in similar behavior. On the contrary, I think repressing one’s true identity is what leads to f***ed-up behavior. People go on trying to be someone they’re not all the time in this society, and I consider it to be a leading cause of depression and anxiety.

Additionally, it’s not as if violent, mentally ill people need inspiration to commit violent acts. They’ve got minds of their own, and I don’t believe a show that is clearly labeled as a performance would be the trigger that unravels them.

The acts described in the article disturbed you because they are unfamiliar. We are all uncomfortable at first when we are faced with something different: the trick is to try to understand this new thing from a point of view other than your own. We all do what’s right for ourselves. Every moment in our lives is the summation of what came before it. Before judging another person, you should remember that if you were in her shoes, for her whole life, you would be in the same position.