In this essay, I explore the relevance of Internet-mediated communities for those sexual minorities, who never really had a chance to achieve visibility and broad recognition in the mass media system. One of the most misrepresented sexual communities are the BDSM practitioners, an overlapping abbreviation that denotes a set of erotic preferences or roleplaying involving bondage, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and other interpersonal dynamics. The work employed a classic participant observation, by spending three years to attend, observe, and participate in a wide variety of fetish-themed events and study the online community BDSM forum LaGabbia.com. Our findings suggest that the BDSM community has developed a culture of open discussion about sexual fantasies and practices in a mostly uncensored way. This culture not only provides its members with the possibility for self-exploration of their sexual identity, but entails a simultaneously discursive and material understanding of the BDSM as recreational leisure in contrast to traditional psychopathologic explanations.
Keywords: BDSM, Internet, subaltern counterpublics, sexual subcultures.