for those with epe/bdsm related interests
~ Editor's Note ~ Due to the mindset of erotic power exchange people, who may be very receptive to rituals and symbols, there is a risk such people may be easy targets for cults and (semi)religious sects. This is especially true for women with submissive emotions, seeking protection and understanding in a ritual-based environment. It is important to understand that this first of all may indicate another - underlying - problem: usually a low self-image, lack of self-confidence and a general inability to take their own fate into their own hands. It is, however, equally important to understand that not ALL people open to rituals are emotionally unstable people. There may be various other reasons, usually determined by personal circumstances. Next, not only women with submissive emotions are vulnerable to the influence and techniques of cults and sects. Dominant men, usually men with an ego problem, may also see cults or cult-type techniques as a method to cast their will on other people. Dominant men can be very charismatic - especially to those already receptive to such charisma.
The article below has been written by a debriefed cult-survivor and should be read as warning, as well as good information for those receptive to these techniques. Please feel free to pass this page address to anyone you wish. ~ end ~
The Danger of Cults ...by leetah
There is much written about the specific technologies for manufacturing consent, creating dependency, modifying behaviour, thought, emotions, attitudes. I feel it's extremely important that anyone who engages in EPE/BDSM, or whatever else we call this sacred Art, is aware of the potential risks of getting (accidentally) involved in or attracted to cults. Given the spiritual interests which many people who are into erotic power exchange have, the fascination many share when it comes to rituals, the loneliness - that maybe the result of the inability to come out - and the power dynamics, the risks of accidentally getting involved with cults is something to be aware of and know about. For various reasons (therapists, please see the "professional concerns" link on the menu), some groups of people who nurture erotic power exchange are at risk of getting involved with cults. And in general, knowing about cults is important.
Why is knowing about cults and their methods important?
So we can differentiate our ways from abusive ways and explain this to others.
So now for a little more explanation of the ways in which this stuff can be of use.
Those who do not understand our ways may see us as being in abusive relationships and it is important that we are able to distinguish what we are doing from abuse. Especially to parents, families etc who, for want of information, could be justifiably insecure about our ways. So we can use the information about abusive relationships to be informed and have our own minds clear about what we are doing, and then we can also help others understand.
There is quite a lot of information out there about dissociation and related mental health issues. Everyone has small episodes of dissociation, "a wee daze," "day dreaming," "fanaticizing," even reading a book so avidly that you don't realize you are turning over the page, "VT trance." These are all dissociative states and in fact subspace can be thought of as a very positive and healthy use of a dissociative state. (You know...the pain is happening somewhere else...) The trouble is when this state happens and your sub or you don't know what is happening and anxiety sets in, or if you have trouble coming out of the state. So read about it.
The information on behaviour modification and how attitudes change etc, these are just tools. In abusive relationship these tools are used unethically and to the detriment of the subject, however, as Tom Lambert points out in his excellent book "The Power of Influence":
The main differences between EPE and abuse are:
EPE is based on consent, not manufactured, but informed knowing consent.
But the main thing is the fundamental message: YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. In an EPE relationship, the submissive is treasured and wanted and desired. The Dom wants them to grow and be all they can be, but they are ALREADY GOOD ENOUGH!!! The major focal point in abusive relationships is that you are NOT GOOD ENOUGH, never good enough, so wretched and crap that you deserve what you get from the abusers, and should be thankful for it and you should NEVER NEVER TELL ANYONE!!!...a powerful program that, "Don't tell"... (See how frighteningly close some of our humiliation role play can get to seriously dodgy real life situations, but we have to remember it is role play in a GOOD ENOUGH safe space. Lambert again...)
Do not underestimate the power of EPE interactions. I hold that they are among the most powerful existent and that EPE is an ancient and uniquely sacred Art. We can take back technologies that are rightfully ours from the abusers and deceivers and make them work for us rather than against us. And that with all our eyes wide open, and fully aware of what we are doing, with whom and where we are heading, and always with Love, Courage, Skill, and Wisdom...ok?
Information available online
The Freedom from Abusive Relationships pages -
AFF: good general reference -
This link shows how the Marines are not a cult (and some of the points can be easily translated to our own circumstances) -
Here is a checklist for identifying a cultic type group -
This is a long book on behaviour modification with a fresh insight, though not focused on abuse as such -
This is an area all about dissociation, trauma, ritual abuse, etc. -
Rick Ross has a lot of good stuff on recovery, don't miss the excerpts from "Cults in our midst" -
Also Carol Giambalvo -
These are good to start off with. When you read these you might find yourself thinking ... this has nothing to do with me ... but if you are actively engaging in psychological manipulation either as director or recipient ... you need to know about this stuff. (Also please remember that a cult is not necessarily some religious organization or pyramid selling structure ... any private dictatorship can be considered a cult and the same principles apply ... whether it is a one-on-one cult or a worldwide terror organization.)
Based on materials from the Erotic Power Exchange Information Center
© 1996-2000; republished here with their permission;
see the Contributors page for contact links.