In studying sexuality and especially BDSM, I see a lot of similarities between that and many Pagan spirituality. In both, members tend to stay quiet about their involvement and hide their true identities. In many communities, ties to either group could result in losing a job and a visit from child protective agencies. Both groups tend to more open minded, better educated and more willing to try new things. They tend to be less judgmental about things they don’t know much about and have a willingness to learn. And both see sex as an important part of their life.
In D/s, I’ve seen many of the same protocols and positions that are used in yoga. Ritual is often important to both dynamics. In Wicca and other Witchcraft covens, there is a sexual ritual called the Grand Rite that is often just done symbolically during a coven circle, sometimes done privately between the High Priest and High Priestess, usually already a couple, but occasionally, The Grand Rite is performed amidst the coven, with the members in a circle around the High Priest and High Priestess. I have even been to one event where each week, a different member was selected to play the partner to either the High Priest or Priestess, but always by informed consent.
Our altars often include tools that symbolize sexuality… the male phallic symbol such as the athame, and the female vaginal symbol such the chalice.
Unlike Christianity, which often projects sex as a sin or a necessary evil and only appropriate for procreation, Pagans see sex as an important part of a happy life, without the quilt or fear that too many live with. We do expect the same things that are encouraged in BDSM… respect, communication and consent We also see sex as more than just pleasure and fertility, and that is lifeforce for all of life, not only in creating new life, but creation of all kind… art, writing, performance, nature.
In fact, there are many Pagans who also practice BDSM and consider it to be a sacred sex or sex magick, although there are Pagans who practice both sacred sex and sex magick without the BDSM too.
I feel fortunate that I am able combine my two life interests and find a nice overlap. It’s too bad that people outside of both of these subgroups aren’t willing to learn about either one.