Sometime in my early teens, I set the background on my mobile phone to a picture of handcuffs with the phrase “naughty but nice” written underneath. It was pink, it was cute, and I liked it. My mother was horrified when she saw it. I couldn’t understand why. For me, I felt the phrase “naughty but nice” represented the duality of human nature — how we are neither wholly good nor bad. She told me it had something to do with sex. I didn’t understand. What in the world did handcuffs have to do with sex?
These days, in popular culture, awareness of BDSM is pretty high, but the public perception of it is still characterized by the same kind of confusion and bafflement that I felt when I discovered it was a thing. For some people, the practice is seen as dangerous or shameful. Others see it as a punchline.
God help the people who find it hot.
In such a world where Fifty Shades of Grey is a major talking point, portrayals of consensual BDSM relationships come like rain in a desert. The writing of Iron Bull in Dragon Age: Inquisition has received huge amounts of praise from some quarters because, in the romance, Iron Bull gives you a safe word and plenty of chances to back out. The potential romantic relationship with him and the Inquisitor or with him and Dorian is definitely and refreshingly consensual.
I imagine at this point your senses are tingling. Like, what’s my point here?