“It’s real!”: On some cases of virtual violence and ritual efficacy in BDSM communities

By Adrien Czuser


This article demonstrates both the virtual and the ritual nature of two specific BDSM games. It uses two case studies, stemming from sessions of ethnographic observations carried out within a French “dungeon” used for collective sadomasochistic interaction. I will suggest that these games lead to a “social construction of reality”—both providing the effects of authentic (or even hyper-realistic) violence and reinforcing the fictional framing of the interactions. Accordingly, such features seem prone to give rise to peculiar kinds of potentialities and instabilities concerning the involvement of the main participants. I will argue that such precariousness is part of the ritual efficacy in these BDSM sessions.


  • BDSM
  • Sadomasochism
  • Play
  • Ritual
  • Virtual
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info