BDSM and the Female Pelvis

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I had a great opportunity yesterday to bottom in a workshop for a rigger i respect and consider a friend. The class was his Heavy Duty Suspension class and during the class a discussion about hip harnesses (in terms of comfort) came up along with conversations about the different preferences that are often popular for female bodied individuals. While it was not a primary topic of conversation during this class, it did make me realize that a better understanding of the dynamic nature of the female pelvis might be helpful to people who either have one, or like to play with someone who does. Please note that every body’s architecture is unique, so your personal mileage may vary.

Disclaimer

pelvis

This writing is discussing the CIS-female pelvis specifically. I have no research or documentation on the changes that may or may not occur in either a MtF or FtM individual. I am not trying to exclude people in these situations, but I also do not want to make assumptions, perpetuate mis-information and/or invent data.  Specific data referenced in this writing is footnoted at the end of the writing. Whenever possible, links to the actual study are provided.

Assumptions

Most people have an understanding that the female pelvis changes during puberty and make the assumption that an adult female’s pelvis remains the same post puberty (maybe with some changes during pregnancy), however this is not the case. If you picture a skeleton you are probably picturing a male pelvis. For whatever reason, that’s the norm when you get a skeleton (maybe it’s because I can order a decent quality male skeleton for about $200, but for a skeleton with a female pelvis I’m going to have to pay over $1700). So when we tend to visualize the bones of a person, we are probably visualizing the male model.

Correction

Up until the point of puberty, a female and male pelvis are very similar to each other. In puberty, the female pelvis will widen across the crests of the hip and flare open to create more of a shelf designed to help create space and support the changes of pregnancy, the pelvic outlet will become wider and rounder and the pubic angle is more “u” shaped than “v” shaped. From puberty to 40’s is when a female pelvis tends to be at it’s widest usually when estrogen levels are at their highest. Post menopause, the female pelvis appears to narrow (possibly up to 8%) and the change in shape, narrowing at the openings again and across the width.(1)  The male pelvis will narrow with age as well, but it doesn’t to change shape and the narrowing tends to be about 1/2 the rate of the female pelvis.(2)  Female pelvis also come in several shapes – gynecoid (more circular – about 60% of females have this pelvis shape), platypelloid (more oval side to side – about 3% of females have this shape), android (more heart shaped about 12 % of caucasian and 8% of non-caucasian women have this) and anthropoid (more oval front to back – about 30% of caucasian and 50% of non-caucasian females have this shape). (3)

Alignments

male vs female pelvis
Male Pelvis (a)  -Vs-   Female Pelvis (b)

It’s important to remember that whenever a bony structure of the body, like the pelvis, changes, everything that is attached to that bony structure moves with it. In the pelvis this means that a good number of muscles and ligaments will shift, as will the nerve pathways. While both genders will have the same bones, similar soft tissue and nerves as each other, the change in the bony structure of the pelvis means the location / alignment of these structures might be slightly different just based on gender and where a woman is in her hormonal cycles. (Some research is looking into if there are actually smaller shifts in the pelvis based on where someone is in the menstrual cycle).

Females are twice as likely as males to have an anteverted hip alignment. This means that the head of the femur (thigh bone) is more likely to be located forward in the hip socket, which means more of the ball of the joint is located outside of the socket. Rope crossing here might increase the feeling of pain. This is not the bony prominence you feel on the front of the hip, but is a bit more to the side of the front. If this positional deviations is severe enough that the person walks with a toed in alignment, it can overload the structures on the front of the hip.(4)

When ideally aligned, the female pelvis (after puberty) will have a slight tip forward, this will move the ASIS (the boney prominence you feel on the front of the hip) to be slightly in front of of the pubic bone, this alignment may cause any pressure across the ASIS to be felt more strongly. If the body alignment is prone (face down), gravity will increase this tilt even more unless the person is actively engaging the lower glutes and their hamstrings to try to counter it.

Other Factors

Bone density and bone weight are other considerations. In comparison to a male of the same size, the bones in a female’s pelvis will be lighter in weight and thinner. A woman will typically lose up to 25% of her bone mass in the first decade after menopause, but even at her peak of bone mass, she would have lighter bones and less density than men her age.

The female coccyx is more moveable (compared to the males’. Females are 5 times more likely than males to develop coccydynia (tailbone pain) because of the wider pelvic structure, more weight on the coccyx when seated, and if a woman has given birth vaginally this will increase further.(5)

Pelvic Floor

An often overlooked part of pelvic issues, pain and change, are the pelvic floor muscles. For submissives of either gender who practice any kind of bathroom control or need to delay urination by getting permission etc, you are engaging in a practice that can negatively impact your pelvic floor function. Women are more susceptible to the negative implications of this type of activity because of the structure of their pelvic floors (men tend to have shorter thicker muscle here, women’s tend to be larger and thinner). When you need to hold it in, you train your pelvic floor muscles to grip and tighten in a way that is not natural or helpful. By repeating this behaviour over and over again, the muscle begins to hold itself in a shortened state and become too tight.

While this can cause incontinence (yes it’s a bit ironic), it will also start to disrupt the position of the coccyx, can affect the position of the pelvis, create too much inter abdominal pressure (making any constriction in the lower abdominal and pelvic areas uncomfortable and create SI (sacro illiac) joint issues (the pelvic floor muscles stabilize this joint from the inside). The pelvic floor muscles also need to change whenever the pelvis shifts, when it is too tight, shifting becomes problematic. Pelvic floor muscles that are too tight can also make vaginal penetration range from painful to excruciating.

Take Away Thoughts

  • When playing, whether in rope, bondage, or just finding positions for sex, keep in mind that all bodies shift a little bit every day based on how we are feeling and what we’ve been doing (or not doing) recently.
  • Welcome flexibility in positioning, restraint and duration to allow for the best experience for the now.
  • Remember that your overall health will impact your play and your play will quite often impact your overall health.
  • Learn to listen to your body and actually try to understand what it is trying to tell you.
  • Accept the changes that your body is going through and learn to leverage them as reasons to try new experiences instead of getting frustrated for something that used to work not being an option anymore.
  • As things shift and change, don’t be afraid to try something again down the road.
  • Keep track of things, like your menstrual cycle, and make notes about how your body feels at different points in the cycle and any other physical changes that you start to notice patterns of.

Citations:

(1) – Comparative ontogeny of the hominid pelvis and implication for the evolution of birth. authors – Zollikofer, Ponce de Leon, Sanchez-Villagra, van Schaik, pub 2016 – http://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/132307/1/diss_v1.p…

(2) – Adult pelvic shape change is an evolutionary side effect. authors – Mitteroecker and Fischer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC493298…

(3) – Anatomy of the bony pelvis: a study in android structure. author Lateefa Al Dakhyel – https://www.slideshare.net/haranobalok37/anatomy-of…

(4) – Differences in lower extremity anatomical and postural characteristics in males and females between maturation groups. authors – Shultz, Nguyen, Schmitz – JOSPT – March 20018 https://www.jospt.org/doi/pdf/10.2519/jospt.2008.26…

(5) – Coccydynia: an overview of the anatomy, etiology, and treatment of coccyx pain. authors – Lirette, Chaiban, Tolba, and Eissa – The Ochsner Journal, 2014 14(1)ce

 

By Vices soumise
Copyright Limits Unleashed 2018

 

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