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India becomes latest nation to succumb to S&M craze as conservative nation opens up about sex
12:06 GMT, 15 December 2012
India may have a reputation as a conservative society where sex is still a taboo subject, but that image could be fading fast.
The Asian giant is yet another nation to be swept up in the Fifty Shades of Grey craze, with the best-selling erotic trilogy encouraging S&M fans to come out of the closet for the first time.
A group of middle-class activists have formed The Kinky Collective, a Delhi-based group which provides support for lovers of bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM).
Trend: S&M has recently found a new popularity in India (file photo)
The runaway success of the Fifty Shades trilogy has brought BDSM out into the open throughout the world with its tale of a wealthy executive's torrid relationship with a young graduate.
And India is no different – while many are traditionally reluctant to discuss sex publicly, some have been emboldened by the books' success to spread awareness of the BDSM movement.
Transgender activist Sara and her partner took advantage of the Fifty Shades phenomenon by staging a simulated performance of one of the roughest moments from the book at a Delhi arts centre earlier this ear.
Many audience members were shocked by the explicit display, but Sara told the BBC that others praised her bravery in putting in such an uninhibited performance.
Inspiration: EL James' Fifty Shades trilogy is responsible for the new trend
Sara is a leading member of The Kinky Collective, which meets in an apartment in Delhi to discuss BDSM issues.
She says the group, which comprises around 15 members, has a 'dual purpose' – to educate the public about unorthodox sexual practices, and to keep BDSM fans informed about how to keep themselves safe.
Jaya, a 40-year-old woman who is also a member of the collective, told the BBC she was keen to dispel the misconception that BDSM is inherently violent and abusive.
'I have been a feminist for 20 years, but I choose to be a submissive in my relationship,' she said.
'I chose to give my consent and don't see this as violence, but an experience that is edgy, erotic and even spiritual.'
However, one doctor has warned that there is a dark side to India's new BDSM craze, as he says he frequently encounters patients who have been abused by their partners while having rough sex.
Sexologist Narayana Reddy told the BBC that one per cent of those who came to see him were concerned about acts such as being burned with cigarettes and being put on a leash like a dog.