Working at Play: BDSM Sexuality in the San Francisco Bay Area
In this article, I argue that BDSM sexuality should be conceptualized as a form of "working at play." Considering two dominant models of sexuality, identity and lifestyle, I argue that BDSM is more fluid and less binary than identity. Moreover, while lifestyle focusses attention on BDSM as consumptive labour, this model does not adequately address the pleasure or sociality BDSM practitioners themselves emphasize. Instead, I argue that "working at play" recognizes the ways that practitioners move between registers of work (productive labour) and play (creative recombination). This analysis situates BDSM (and other sexualities) within the shifting cultural geography of U.S. late-modernity, drawing attention to the ways sexuality blurs boundaries between individual-social, real-pretend and leisure-labour.
Margot D. Weiss. 2006. “Working at Play: BDSM Sexuality in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Anthropologica 48(2): 229-245.