The Deep Psychology of BDSM and Kink Jungian and Archetypal Perspectives on the Soul’s Transgressive Necessities
This fascinating volume investigates how the concept of soul is connected to BDSM and kink, exploring the world of alternative sexualities through the psychology of C. G. Jung and James Hillman as readers are guided on a provocative and lively journey through darker aspects of the sexual imagination.
Contextualized both in sexual history and contemporary events, the book unveils surprising points of correspondence between the tortured fantasy-images of Jung’s The Red Book and the modern world of BDSM and describes from Hillman’s psychology a soul-centered perspective that affirms the psychological value of fantasy-images animating our human lives. The book also considers the collective archetypal sources of historical trauma which have provided inspiration to some of the more disquieting aspects of BDSM and details how the deep psychology of BDSM creates a space in the modern world to ethically engage these practices. Kinksters and BDSM practitioners will discover a psychological language that clarifies and affirms why these activities and relationships can be so intensely intimate, pleasurable, and transformative.
Psychotherapists and enthusiasts of Jungian and archetypal psychology will find fresh insights here that support the practice of BDSM as a form of individuation and a path for bringing soul into the world.
"I was asked some years ago if I could capture the essence of Jung’s psychology in a phrase. My mind went blank and time seemed to drag out. But then it came: everything belongs. There is nothing in human experience or in human behavior that is not the proper purview for reflection through the Jungian lens. Douglas Thomas’ book, The Deep Psychology of BDSM and Kink: Jungian and Archetypal Perspectives on the Soul’s Transgressive Necessities, is an exquisite example of this belongingness of what most might generally feel should be left to the nether regions of human behavior. Yet, what Doug makes abundantly clear is that the human soul seeks expression, relationship and incarnation in even the most hellish of forms, even those where human evil is at the very edge. In looking at what some may consider forbidden topics. Doug has done a deep service not only to depth psychology by bringing these topics out of the closet and into full light of day, but also to those members of the BDSM and kink communities, enabling them to find soulful meaning in their activities, so rejected by the general collective. Practitioners of depth psychology, as well as partitioners of erotic choices far outside what is considered "normal," will benefit from a close reading of Doug’s magnificent offering. It is indeed a gift."
Russell Lockhart, author: Words As Eggs: Psyche in Language and Clinic (1983), Psyche Speaks: A Jungian Approach to Self and World (1982)
"Psychology is transformed by The Deep Psychology of BDSM and Kink, which explores alternative sexualities as integral to soul. Drawing from the Red Book, Douglas Thomas frees C. G. Jung from his compulsory heterosexist mode of individuation, and reveals kink sexualities in psychic dynamics described by James Hillman. The book shows that archetypes are deeply implicated in BDSM and kink through spiritual themes such as suffering, the underworld, evil, ecstasy and death. Depth Psychology needs this book to conjoin sexuality with the sacred, see the body’s dreamworld and, ultimately, to understand kink in collective cultural relationships. This book is a must."
Susan Rowland (PhD), author: Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002), The Sacred Well Murders (2022)
"Those of us grappling for decades, clinically and personally, with the meaning of sexualities like BDSM will no doubt welcome Thomas's book as a big breath of fresh air long time coming. His whip-smart approach to the transgressive ways and compelling means of sexual dominance and erotic submission manages throughout to lay bare all the potentially rich archetypal dimensions of this form of erotic encounter, and does so for both academic and kinkster alike. Discriminating without being judgmental, at all times alive to the power and the glory of sex in the psyche, Thomas illuminates a place many of us know intimately."
Robert Hopcke, author: Jung, Jungians, and Homosexuality (1991)