Even if you're not sure what S&M actually entails, the letters alone probably conjure up vivid images: Whips and chains, leather and latex, a tubby guy named The Gimp tugging on his leash as he hungrily eyes Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction. It's common to assume that sadism-and-masochism enthusiasts are at best unusual or shocking and at worst downright depraved. But are they really? Well, The Gimp certainly is—living in a locked crate in the basement of a pawnshop will do that to you. And anecdotal evidence does suggest that S&M enthusiasts differ from"normal" people in two ways: They have higher levels of education and tend to be very creative. S&M is also more common than you probably think; experts estimate one in five couples dabble, and one in 20 engage in very serious play.
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