On the surface of things, religion and a BDSM/fetish lifestyle wouldn't appear to go hand in hand. So how do you reconcile kink and religion? Writing for Fetish.com, Zoë Tersche posed this question to Alex, a New York-based Jewish man who has a soft – or should that be hard – spot for spanking.

How do you reconcile kink and religion? Lots of kinky people are religious, but do moral values ever interfere with sexual practice?

Alex is a chef in his late 20s who identifies with Judaism at a secular level. While dating within the Jewish community on the west coast of the US, he sometimes encounters partners with common religious footing, but whose culture and background conflict with his sexual preferences.

So, how does he reconcile those two parts of his life? We chatted with Alex to find out more...

Can you tell us more about how you began your involvement in BDSM?

It was about two or three years ago. I had a girlfriend. Well, not a girlfriend. A fuck buddy, I guess. And I've always been into pulling hair and spanking. So, I slapped her once. And she gave me a look of, “let's do that more,” and we kind of just figured it out from there. And then it escalated very, very quickly.

What do you mean it “escalated”? What were the next steps?

Beating her with a belt, collar and leash, treating her like a dog, blindfolding, orgasm denial...

Why in that succession? Did beating her with a belt come before, say, orgasm denial? Was it her who suggested those things or you?

It was a little bit of both: the spanking she asked me to do. Kind of ironically, I hit her with my hand and it hurt me really bad, so I decided to go to a belt. [Laughs] I tried it once!

So, that was it for the spanking?

Yes. The next girl that I was in a relationship with had never experienced it, and I kinda said, “Hey, this is what gets me going.” So I hit her with the belt once and she was almost embarrassed by how much she was into it.

Chain reaction: could you tie your religious beliefs together with your BDSM lifestyle?


So, you're very involved in BDSM, but you also have this side of you that's connected to Judaism...

Honestly, Judaism seems to be the one religion where sex is totally cool. It's not just for having kids. Get off. If you do it on Saturdays, even better. I mean, I haven't told my rabbi I lock my girlfriend in a cage, but my Judaism is really... I wear a yarmulke, and my tattoos are Jewish.

Not too long ago, I was dating a girl from the [greater] Jewish community. Very loud, very in charge. Everything had to be a certain way. She was very in control. I think that may have been related to why in the bedroom, she didn't want to lose that control.

On your first night together, did you feel the urge to do something more aggressive with her?

Oh yeah, absolutely. And then I attempted to and she made it very clear that that wasn't going to fly.

She was going through conversion, so she took Judaism way, way, strong, ate Kosher and all that. She runs a Jewish group here, goes to temple every Friday.

I'm pretty open about my sexuality and told her about all the stuff I'm into. I was surprised when we finally had sex. She wouldn't let me go down on her, but I took the lead as much as I could.

I choked her, and she freaked out. I gave her a little spank on the ass (she had the greatest ass I've ever seen in my life) and she stopped everything and was like, “that's not okay.”

We eventually broke up, after only having sex three times. I remember telling her, “Honestly, I don't mean to be shallow, but I'm not enjoying sex with you. You want me to light candles and run a bath and I want to tie you up and beat you.” She definitely didn't have that high of a sex drive.

What made you feel comfortable doing that with her your first time?

The first time that we met I made it very clear that that's what I was into. I wasn't just like, choking her from the get-go. I slowly went for her neck...

And she welcomed that?

No, she pushed my hand away and was like, “No, no.” I was fucking her doggy style and I slapped her ass and she was like, “that's not okay.”

Did you attempt again the next two times [you had sex]?

No. That's when I told her I wasn't enjoying sex with her. Which is a shallow thing, but sex is an integral part of a relationship. We definitely clicked in a lot of other ways. There were just too many little things.. it didn't seem worth while.

Zoë Tersche is a New York-based writer focusing on fetish sexuality and the freedom of sexual expression. Follow her on Twitter @ZoeTersche.

Are you religious? If so, how does it fit in with your fetish lifestyle? Tell us all in the comments below. And, if you're not already a member of Fetish.com, sign up below for free BDSM dating, Forum chat, and all the latest fetish news and gossip from our sex positive, kinky community. If you don't, we'll give you a hard spanking!

Photos: alexstr / Dollar Photo Club



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It depends on the religion. Judaism is a highly legalistic religion in which every detail of observance is spelled out precisely. Anything that's not expressly forbidden is entirely acceptable. There are few gray areas. I have three orthodox cousins who happen to be lesbians. That isn't a problem. There is no Talmudic prohibition against women having sex with other women. But sex between men, on the other hand, is entirely prohibited at risk of lightning-bolt interruption. When I asked a rabbi why this was so, he shrugged and said: "Who every thought women would do such a thing?" Now there's a fine example of Abrahamic thinking. If there's no penis involved it isn't sex. Likewise, with BDSM, when I asked a rather renowned Talmudic scholar about it, he had to think it over, which involved a lot of rocking, beard stroking and mumbling before he grinned, pointed upward and pronounced: "There's no rule against it!" While there is a religious offshoot of the BDSM community that considers some mild "spousal discipline" (for women only of course) merely a natural extension of patriarchal primacy in marriage, I suspect most major religions would frown on BDSM engaged in for openly sexual reasons, though that may be the agenda of both partners. A little hypocrisy helps preserve the order of things. Overall, the association of BDSM and religion is historically problematic and couples who want both have to square the circle in their own ways.

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