If BDSM echoes real world acts of evil and abusive relationships, then how do good people - or people who think of themselves as good - manage to live with essentially evil fantasies?
Well, mostly they probably don't. They reframe morality to fit their fantasies, or try to crush their own psyche to fit their morality.
But, those of us who do - the kinksters practical and mental - seem to have several coping strategies.
- Fantasy Acceptor: e.g. "Rape me in a car park (since it's only a game)."
- Fantasy Distancers: e.g. "I'm a Celtic slave and she's a Roman Widow (so we know it's only a game)."
- Experiential Acceptors: e.g. "I enjoy doing this. What of it?"
- Experiential Distancer: "This isn't sadistic punishment, it's a ritual of trust etc etc. (Evil? Moi?)"
- BDSM Acceptors: e.g. "Men/Women deserve to rule over women/men. (I'm not kinky, I'm righteous.)"
- BDSM Distancer: e.g. "I'm into BDSM. This is what BDSM folks do. (Our power relations are nothing to do with the real world.)"
I'm a Fantasy Distancer. I'm happy - these days - to embrace the evil inherent in my fantasies. I imagine and play out (consensually) non-consensual scenarios. However, I shy away from anything that brings me bumping back to reality. So I cheerfully imagine being a Roman slave, but not a prisoner of the SS.
For a Brit like me, slavery is not even a folk memory, but I've seen French villages where, during the war,... well, you know. So the SS are not on the menu, despite the cool uniforms. Sorry Tom of Finland. Conversely, there are cultures and sub-cultures where slavery is a much rawer wound. Talk of owning other humans is abhorent, but posing around in Nazi-style caps is OK because - hey - it was all a long time ago in a country far far away.
So darkness is relative to culture. A bad enough cultural mismatch can be enough to override any coping strategy, and that is a practical problem to bear in mind when playing with others.