Page 3 of The Sun – Are Naked Breasts Really So Bad?


There is much media attention surrounding the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign launched by Lucy-Anne Holmes, aimed at banning topless models featuring on page 3 of the The Sun newspaper.

The petition is a hot-topic on Mumsnet, and supporters include Eliza Doolittle, Jennifer Saunders, Frances Barber, Lauren Laverne Frances Barber, Tony Hawks, Chris Addison, and Graham Linehan. Caitlin Moran has tweeted: “Teenage tits aren’t news OR a feature.”, and Janet Street-Porter wrote in The Independent: “Page 3 girls started in the 1970s as part of a tabloid circulation war. They seem so old-fashioned today… it’s hard to see how a pair of nipples can sell a paper in 2012.”

At the time of writing, the ‘No More Page Three’ petition had reached 45,376 supporters. Yet, despite 45,376 signatories, recent figures published by the National Readership Survey suggests that that “a pair of nipples” do not deter a person from buying a paper, as The Sun is the most read newspaper (both in print and online) in the UK, reaching an audience of approximately 13.6-million per week. Based upon these figures, it would appear that the majority of the UK population do not have that much of an issue with Page 3.

This latest campaign to abolish page 3 as we know it, is nothing new. In 1986, Labour MP, Clare Short, was branded “fat, jealous Clare” by the newspaper when she launched her campaign against page 3. Last year the feminist campaign groups, ‘Object’ and ‘Turn Your Back on Page 3’, made a joint submission about “the hyper-sexualisation of women in the press” to the Leveson inquiry. MP Evan Harris also backed the campaign, stating: “Why should it be considered acceptable and mainstream in hypocritical family newspapers to portray women in this way? It’s just wrong in my view that this should be seen as normalised.” Dr Harris added, “These images can be available for adults if they want to access them, but they should have to reach up to a higher shelf than what is at the general view for young people.”

Why are we so offended by the human body, and is page 3 really as degrading as the protesters claim?

Lucy Holmes felt the necessity to launch the latest campaign after reading a copy of The Sun during the Olympics. Despite the extensive coverage given to the victorious achievements of British female athletes such as Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton, Holmes stated the dominant female image in the paper was “a massive picture of a girl in her pants”.

Journalist, Deborah Orr wrote in The Guardian that “The Sun’s Page 3 is the highly visible tip of misogyny’s iceberg”. Orr claims:

‘A lot of women feel the people who want an end to Page 3 are uptight harridans, envious, bitter, prudish and prescriptive. They would love to be glamour models themselves, given half a chance. They want it for their daughters. You can see them in any city on a Friday night, hobbled by their Lycra dresses and towering heels, so keen to be viewed as “empowered” that they can barely walk…. They are on Team Katie Price, those women, not Team Lucy-Anne Holmes.’

Being neither in support or condemnation of Page 3, I would like to believe my view is a little more objective. I am not at all enamoured by the “busty-babe” look, and I am most certainly not a woman who is on “Team Katie Price”. In fact, when spending time at a friend’s house during my childhood, we would sometimes spend our afternoons giggling at the nonsense printed in The Sun, which her father would leave lying around on the kitchen table we used to do our homework. We would draw moustaches on the face and a bra on the breasts of topless page 3 models, etc., and draw big breasts, fangs, and long hair on John Major and William Hague, whilst (supposedly) working on algebraic equations. “Dear Deidre” – The Sun’s Agony Aunt page, was also a hoot. Yet, I do not pretend to understand the minds of those who buy The Sun because, to be perfectly honest, I am now educated and middle-class. However, I do possess a keen sense of humour, and this has ensured that I have never taken frivolous tabloid stories, or Page 3, too seriously. In my view, The Sun is little more than an adult comic bought by the working-class, and is not really a “family newspaper”. It is only deemed a “family paper” because it happens to be stumbled upon by the rest of the family, as they lounge around on the sofa watching daytime TV, or happen to find it lying on the kitchen table when grabbing a snack, or perhaps whilst the children do their homework – which, of course, was my first encounter with the paper.

Not every person shares my permissive perspective, however. Deborah Orr seems to believe that glamour models affect a woman’s sense of self worth, stating: 

‘I remember, as a teenager, studying the breasts of the women who appeared in the tabloids, and fretting about the dismal fact – to me, then – that mine weren’t “like that”.’

Contrary to Deborah Orr’s belief, not every woman wishes to have large breasts, or to look like a glamour model. Not once have I ever looked at a Page 3 model and compared my body to hers, nor have I ever aspired to look like a glamour model. Every person has a different take on what they believe to be attractive. Furthermore, if Page 3 were to be abolished, and more “positive” body images were featured by the media, such as pictures of victorious Olympic athletes like Jessica Ennis, the new body comparison will subsequently become, “My abs don’t look like that”, or “I’m not that muscular”. The subsequent trend could, thus, become a cocktail of steroid abuse, over training, and eating disorders; instead of the breast augmentation and eating disorder combination that society is familiar with at present.

Women will always be of the belief that her outward appearance is dependent and related to her personal worth. No matter how confident one particular woman is, she will always compare herself to other women. As psychologist A. Schopenhauer has stated: 

‘ … women are all in the same profession (competitors for the attentions of men), they all stand much closer to one another than men do, and consequently strive to emphasize differences in rank.’

In many cases, this is unfortunately, true. An interesting study can be found in this psychological article: R. Joseph, Competition Between Women (1985), (Psychology, 22, 1-11, 1985).

Ironically, the misogyny Orr suggests, appears to lie not in the media’s sexualisation of women, but in womens’ hatred of sexualised women and their naked bodies. If that were not the issue, one must question why this campaign is so focused upon naked breasts on page 3, and not the unpleasant, opportunistic, civilisation-eroding content, and the blatant lies that so regularly appears on other pages of The Sun. This is, after-all, the newspaper that invented the phrase ‘gay plague’, and ironically, if anything is at all misogynistic in the paper, it is some of the text and headlines featured on pages 1,2,4,5, etc. Why is Page 3 such an issue, and why are the campaigns not drawing attention to Mail Online and its “sidebar of shame“? It would appear that the petition is rather distastefully using the subject of misogyny merely as an attempt to rally support. Let us remember that the term ‘misogyny’ means a hatred or dislike of women. Surely, those who enjoy looking at the women on Page 3, are more philogynistic and misogynistic, because if they hated women, why would they wish to ogle at their breasts? Does a woman with a hatred of men enjoy looking at a penis? – No.

Nevertheless, the politician Lynne Featherstone has felt it necessary to focus her argument on a different aspect of misogyny, by specifically linking page 3 to domestic violence – an assertion made without any evidence whatsoever. In her “farticle” ‘Page 3 pictures cause domestic violence’ against women‘, Featherstone claims: 

‘When you know that one in four women experience domestic violence in their life, two women are killed each week by their partner or husband, there is a very long way to go. While a lot of blokes say ‘You are mean, sour-faced, whatever – it’s harmless’, actually it’s not harmless at all.’

Perhaps Lynne Featherstone would be interested to learn that despite her absurd assertion that Page 3 pictures somehow drives men to kill their partners, the National Centre of Domestic Violence statistics suggest that 1 man dies every 3 weeks as a result of Domestic Violence perpetrated against them. However, due to factors such as shame and embarrassment, most men will not seek help to get out of the abusive relationship. Approximately 4 million men are affected every year by domestic violence, and practically the same percentage of men as women are victims of severe acts of Domestic Violence. Bearing in mind the large amount of non-reporting, official Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09. Yet, men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by police, have far fewer refuges to flee to than women, and usually see their female attackers get away with their crimes.

I think this goes some way in invalidating Featherstone’s unsubstantiated assertion that page 3 is the cause of domestic violence. This is, of course, assuming the victim is female, and not the man – for, ironically, looking at page 3 pictures.

If the mere sight of naked breasts really are too offensive to have a place in a ‘family newspaper’, as the protesters claim, I must also question why it is considered acceptable for women to openly take her breasts out in the middle of Starbucks to breastfeed her child in public, whilst in front of a number of families with young children. Consider the vast number of “Breast is Best” pictures published and broadcast on daytime television, in order to promote breastfeeding, not to mention the large-scale breast cancer campaigns featuring photos of naked breasts, and topless women on daytime television shows, such as ‘This Morning’ – a program broadcast before approximately 11 hours before the watershed, and viewable by young children. Last year, the family TV show, ‘This Morning’, featured a woman with the largest breasts in the world (ironically, this link is to the Daily Mail – another “family newspaper”), and most recently a feature on a man with the world’s largest penis. Yet, there was no furore over either. There are also the vast number of breast photos published in school encyclopedias and anatomy books, used for so-called educational purposes, and are uncensored. The Guardian also features this picture:

Reproduced from article ‘The wonder of breasts’, featured in The Guardian newspaper.

If it is the sexualisation of breasts that is the problem, rather than the image of breasts per se, why are there no protests against adverts such as that for Herbal Essences Shampoo? This is, after all, an advert that sexualises both the hair and product, whilst portraying the man as useless and humiliated. The Western world condemn Islam for oppressing women and forcing them to wear a hijab, which essentially prevents the sexual objectification of hair in the same way as wearing a sweater does for a woman’s breasts. Yet, if we find the objectification of hair to be acceptable, when we condemn Islamic countries’ condemnation of oppressing women with a hijab for the equivalent reason the Western countries revolt the revealing breasts, is this not further hypocrisy?


Herbal Essences is, by far, not the only example of sexual objectification. Just take a look at some of these examples, and furthermore, women are not the only ones subject to it. Take into consideration how the Lindt advert with Roger Federer and the adverts for Emporio Armani and H&M featuring David Beckham, and the infamous Diet Coke advert, all objectify men just as much as women. Yet, if this objectification were reversed and instead featured female objectification, there would be the same ever-so-familiar heated debate on the subject.


Also consider that naked breasts are not the only form of sexualisation in the media, which again discredits the argument against page 3. Bear in mind that for a foot fetishist, a photo of bare feet can be just as provocative as a page 3 photograph for a man who likes large breasts; and for a hair fetishist, the sexualisation of hair in a Herbal Essences advert, may also be provocative. Furthermore, there are a number of websites for those with a breast feeding fetish. Consider how a person with such a fetish will sexualise a woman who chooses to breast-feed openly in Starbucks (which is her right), in a similar way that women, who autonomously model for page 3, are sexualised by another.

One of the signatories of the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign has stated: “How are women meant to be taken seriously in the workplace when this is how they are seen?”. I argue that abolishing page 3 pictures will not change the perception of glamour models, as long as pornographic sites exist. In fact, page 3 is far less obscene than pornographic sites, which so often reveal women and men performing a number of lewd acts, which I shall not mention here. Whilst glamour models may, perhaps, degrade themselves, it is their autonomous choice to do so. Just because some women like to be objectified, does not make it wrong, and as long as the objectified person consents to being objectified by others, where is the problem? Live and let live.

If the answer is to reject any form of glamour modeling in order to prevent women from degrading themselves, it would not only infringe their right to autonomy, but it would drive the industry underground where it cannot be regulated. It would also result in the loss of newspaper sales, and less work for models, photographers, and publishers. At a time of economic downturn, this is surely not advantageous.

It is important to remember that sexual taste is incredibly diverse and complex. Not every man is attracted to the sight of breasts: Some may be sexually attracted to bare feet, just as some women may be sexually attracted to the sight of a “beer-belly” – because being with an overweight man makes some women feel less self-conscious about their own “imperfections”. It would appear that any photo could potentially be subject to sexual objectification depending upon the viewer and their sexual preferences. Perhaps the campaigners should review their protest, and call for a ban on all photos – or just airbrush out all people, just as Ikea removed women from the Saudi Arabian Ikea Catalogue. 

I am sure that even the ‘No More Page 3’ supporters would find this a ludicrous proposition.

A photo from the Swedish Ikea catalogue (left), next to the modified picture in the Saudi Arabian catalogue. (Image reproduced courtesy of BBC)

Is Chivalry Dead? – If only!

Since blogging on WordPress, I have encountered a number of interesting blogs written by fellow bloggers. One post that provoked some disagreement was ‘Chivalry – it’s not just for knights’, written by author, Stephen Liddell. Whilst I respect Stephen’s views on the matter, I must confess that my views do not coincide. Why should one gender be treated differently to the other when it comes down to something that, essentially, should be nothing other than good manners and common courtesy?

From a female perspective, the underlying patriarchy of chivalry has always sat uneasily with me: The implication that men are the strong protectors, who tend to the perceived weaker gender, like a knight in shining armour. Feminists argue that chivalry is, therefore, misogynistic, but I disagree with this view entirely.

Misogyny is defined as being a “hatred, dislike, or distrust of women”, and even if men really are chivalrous as a result of their inherent beliefs that women are weak (as the feminists claim), I fail to see the correlation between the belief that someone is frail, and hating them. A newborn baby is more fragile than a fully-grown adult; does that mean that we nurture and protect a child who is so precious to us, purely out of hatred? Such feminist theories are preposterous, and as such, do not stand any validity in forming a well constructed argument or reason. Chivalry may very well be patriarchal, and exasperating for women such as myself, but it is surely not a feature of misogyny.


On average, men are only about 15-percent larger than women, although the average male is usually physically stronger than most women, because of greater muscle mass. Of course, there are exceptions, and even if a woman is physically weaker than her male suitor, that does not make her too frail to open a door for herself, or to stand during a train journey. Women such as the suffragette, Emily Davison, died in the fight for female equality in our history; so what a kick in the teeth to the memories of women who fought for equality, when there are still some instances of women being perceived as the “weaker” gender, so many years on. Perhaps such patriarchy is the result of modern women demanding they be “treated like queens”, just as much as men are at fault for bestowing it upon women whilst, quite hypocritically, failing to treat their fellow men with such good manners.

When a sports injury necessitated the use of crutches last year, I was admittedly, very grateful when a seat was offered on public transport, and was genuinely touched by the number of kind people who would stop and offer to help – both men and women. Usually it was men who offered to help, and I could not help but wonder how many of them would have been so helpful had I been male. No doubt the men who stopped to offer help, believed they were just being kind, and maybe they really would have been as helpful towards a male as they were towards a female. But, as Steven Liddle wrote in his blog, “I do it for me” –  Is such a statement not a form of moral superiority, whereby the person is rather egotistically making the gesture, merely to make himself believe he is the “good guy”? I cannot help but object to, what is essentially a patriarchical moral high ground, particularly as good social etiquette dictates the obligation that I should graciously say thank you for something I neither wanted, nor asked for, but was imposed upon me nonetheless.

Being a humanist (as opposed to a feminist), I advocate equality between both genders. Men should be treated the same as women, with good manners bestowed upon both genders – and not forgetting the transgendered, too. When a man runs to hold a door open a door for a woman, or offers to carry her bags, then he should offer the same to a fellow male. If a woman is genuinely in a position where she appears to be in need of help, such as being on crutches and struggling to carry heavy bags, or may need a seat; then yes, by all means offer her help – but also offer the same assistance to a man on crutches. I certainly would, and very often have, much to the surprise of the men in question. With regards pregnant or elderly ladies (and elderly men!) unsteady on their feet; yes, a physically healthy man should give up his seat – but so should other women who are not pregnant, elderly, or less physically able to stand (I.e. on crutches or recovering from surgery, etc.) It is a matter of priority and common courtesy.

My message to all the “Knights in Shining Armour” out there: Instead of behaving in a chivalrous manner, try being an all-round decent human being instead. People will respect you for it more.

My little anti-feminist joke of the day!

Filthy Shades Of Dismay

Every other day, there is yet another story in The Guardian surrounding the controversy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. It would appear the world is obsessed by the book. The latest news report is about a women’s refuge, which has deemed the bestselling ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trilogy as “an instruction manual for an abusive individual to sexually torture a vulnerable young woman”. The erotic novel is claimed to “normalise abuse, degrade women and encourage sexual violence”, according to Clare Phillipson, who is the director of Wearside Women In Need. So passionate is her belief, she is urging people to burn their copies of the book on a bonfire, stating that, “Some of what happens in the book, Fred West did to victims in his cellar.”

And what if one owns the Kindle Edition? – Should one also throw their Kindle onto the bonfire?

With all the hype and controversy surrounding the book, I finally succumbed to speed-reading it. I was, after all, the only woman my age I know personally, who had categorically refused to read the book – based purely upon my passionate dislike of smutty “romance” novels, not to mention a book where the “heroine” is portrayed as weak. However, I realised that I was shunning a novel without having actually read it. Thus, it was only fair that I read the book before judging it, even though I had no real interest in reading the book.

And my verdict after reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’…? – I only wish I could unread it!

E. L. James’ book depicts the sexual relationship between the virginal college student, Anastasia Steele, and her obsessive love and sexual submission to Christian Grey, a handsome billionaire with a predilection for bondage and domination. He is a man whom she scarcely knows, and who briskly introduces her to his sexual fetishes and the contents of his “Red Room of Pain”.

The prose, to be quite frank, is shocking. For example:

“Now I know what all the fuss is about. Two orgasms… coming apart at the seams like the spin cycle of a washing machine, wow.

Right… And how exactly does a washing machine come ‘apart at the seams’? In fact, how is an orgasm anything like the spin cycle of a washing machine? Yet, two ‘spin cycle’ orgasms are not enough, as Ana wants more. Grey has a really radical idea of how to spice things up…

‘”I’m going to take you from behind, Anastasia”, he murmurs…’

Fabulous…  And, the “poetic” writing does not stop there:

“I pull him deeper into my mouth so I can feel him at the back of my throat and then to the front again. My tongue swirls around the end. He’s my very own Christian Grey-flavored popsicle. I suck harder and harder … Hmm … My inner goddess is doing the meringue with some salsa moves.”

After yet another a sadomasochistic romp, I started to wonder if maybe the book should be renamed “Fifty Lays Per Day”.  Naturally, the author had to bestow this additional literary nugget upon us:

“We lie there, panting together, waiting for our breathing to slow. He gently strokes my hair … Boy … I Survived. That wasn’t so bad. I’m more stoic than I thought. My inner goddess is prostrate … well, at least she’s quiet.”

When there are so many fine writers, and interesting books and articles out there, one grudges wasting time reading such poorly written prose. As a result of reading this book, my “inner goddess” (to quote Ana’s words) was not so quiet, and did the “meringue” all the way to the metaphorical toilet! I subsequently decided that it is perhaps best if I give the rest of the trilogy a miss.

Despite my initial reluctance to read the book, and my subsequent distaste, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is the fastest selling book since records began, and is the first ebook to sell more than one million copies. It makes me question if the female population have gone mad, or whether it is perhaps I who is the weird one for not succumbing to the latest hype. On the contrary, it would appear I’m not the only one.

A number of feminists have slammed the book, and yesterday’s news article in The Guardian summarised the book as being about:

 ‘A domestic violence perpetrator, taking someone who is less powerful, inexperienced, not entirely confident about the area of life she is being led into, and then spinning her a yarn. Then he starts doing absolutely horrific sexual things to her … He gradually moves her boundaries, normalising the violence against her. It’s the whole mythology that women want to be hurt’. In fact, the head of domestic violence charity, believes the book to be ‘a misogynistic handbook that peddles a dangerous message.’

However, what if the roles were reversed, and the heroine were a dominatrix, and Christian Grey were a sub? It makes me wonder if there would be the same level of controversy surrounding the topic of a sadomasochistic relationship raised by the book. I sometimes wonder if some women almost want to be victims. From a young age, girls are warned to “never talk to “strangers” – “strangers” usually meaning men who are unfamiliar to them. Thus, from a young age, females are almost brainwashed into feeling fearful of potentially being abused by men. It would appear that women almost subconsciously believe it is normal to be sexually inferior to men, and it is as though it almost becomes normal to complain about “subliminal messages” of abuse, or even go as far as being the victims of abuse. As a result, a number of innocent men can sometimes be deemed to be potential abusers, thus also making them just as much a victim of society as women. Ironically, research has shown that women can be just as, if not more violent, than men. Nevertheless, it is still a worry that this book may appeal to the inherent maternal instincts of certain young women, who may subconsciously, and naively believe the message portrayed in ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’; a message that suggests that if one loves a “broken man” enough, he will recover from his psychopathic tendencies. Sadly, it takes more than love to change a person’s psychology.

Despite the traditional theories of Krafft-Ebing and Freud, et al., it is important to understand that sadomasochistic relationships are not necessarily related to psychopathic tendencies. Although Christian Grey is depicted as a man with a troubled past, which has taken a toll on his mental state; in reality, research suggests there is no difference in mental health difficulties between those who practice BDSM, and the rest of the population. In fact, the findings of two studies at the Northern Illinois University into hormonal changes associated with Sadomasochistic activities suggest that it has the potential to bring consenting couples closer together, when combined with displays of caring and affection. (Brad Sagarin et al (2009)), and

A study undertaken in 2006 by Cross and Matheson found no support for the traditional theories by Krafft-Ebing and Freud that sadomasochism is a mental illness. However, the study found that SM participants were overall more likely than non-SM respondents to report bisexual/homosexual orientations. Furthermore, sadomasochists were relatively more likely to be in ongoing relationships than the comparison group.(Patricia A. Cross PhD and Kim Matheson PhD in the book “Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures” (2006), published simultaneously as the Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 50, Nos. 2/3.)

Results from a research project by Dr. Pamela Connolly, et al., also reported that:

‘no evidence was found to support the notion that clinical disorders – including depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsion – are more prevalent among the sample of individuals with BDSM interests than among members of the general population. Moreover, this sample did not show evidence of widespread PTSD, trauma-related phenomena, personality disturbances, psychological sadism or psychological masochism”, disorders in which the sufferer either derives pleasure out of genuine cruelty (not the play-acting kind) or compulsively seeks out harmful levels of pain. ”Similarly, no prominent themes were found in a series of profile analyses.’


‘There were, however, some exceptions to this general pattern, most notably the higher-than-average levels of nonspecific dissociative symptoms and narcissism in this sample. That said, this body of findings suggests that, contrary to longstanding assumptions in the psychoanalytic literature, there is very little support for the view that psychopathology underlies behavior.’

Incidentally, Arrow, the publisher of ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’, has also defended the trilogy, describing it as “a work of romantic fiction which explores a consensual relationship between two willing adult participants”.

Should we therefore take the book as being nothing but a fictional account of an erotic love story? After all, women have the right to their personal fantasies and choice of erotic fiction, and if it opens doors to new arousal templates, helps people feel less judgmental of others, or helps women feel more secure about their secret sexual desires, then surely that is great. Or is it? – How does this effect men? Conversely, the book is not about sex; it is about power.

If “everyone is reading it”, what is it about the book that is so appealing? It would appear that its power lies in the way the book relates with the fantasies of women readers who secretly relish the opportunity to embody the role of the book’s protagonist, Ana, and her ability to surrender her will to her dominant lover. In submitting to her lover, Ana actually finds both love and happiness; and isn’t love and happiness the two things that every woman wants? Furthermore, the  power often lies with the submissive partner. It would appear that most women like the idea of a dominant man who will be the one responsible for matters. One glance at the real world indicates that dominant men are not quite so powerful after all. I don’t suppose anybody’s safe-word is “banker”!

However, the underlying problem is what this book may have led men to believe about what women really want from their lover, especially as many men already feel uncertain as to what their role in society should be. There is now the issue of  some men perhaps believing that they should behave like sadists, thinking that is what all women secretly fantasise about. I am sure the book has become mens’ idea of ‘Fifty Shades of Fear’. After all, if women want “equality”, only to suddenly want submission, then does that mean women have now changed their minds about wanting equality? Have they repealed what the feminists fought for, or does “equality” now mean men should also behave submissively when they spontaneously feel like it, or when a woman thinks a man should, or should men be “strong and dominant” at all times?  It would appear that there is some confusion amongst the male population. I even witnessed the chap next to me reading the following article on the train: ‘So Do Women Really Want Us All To Be Sadists Now?’


Sadly, human beings really are like a herd of sheep. If something is popular, or in fashion, then everyone else will follow suit, even pretending to like something, rather than feel isolated for being the odd one out. So, fear not chaps, as not all women will genuinely want a sadist. At least you have it on good authority that the author of the article you are currently reading, most certainly does not!

More to the point, perhaps people should communicate more, and maybe if people tried behaving like decent human beings who treat others with respect, perhaps many of our insecurities and uncertainties about what our partners want, would diminish. As long as BDSM is a purely consensual act between a couple who both genuinely wish to engage in the act, and have mutually decided who will take on the role of dominant/submissive, and how far to take the act, then it is nobody else’s business to judge.