While it may be thought that it is the people in powerful positions who seek domination, S&M practitioners of my acquaintance are seeking a higher level of physical and emotional intimacy with their partners, or to experience intense (but not necessarily extreme) physical sensation with less of an emphasis on who their partner may be. Being in a dominant or submissive role can indeed play a part in fulfilling an individual’s fantasies. While popular culture seems to want to place that on the list of ‘deviations,’ it actually ties in to a direct need most of us have when interacting with people, and goes deeper into that need by bringing it into a physical/emotional/psychological context. The sense of being needed, desired and accepted is one often fulfilled in S&M play, and can be experienced by both the dominant or submissive in any particular interaction. It is, at its most pure, a power exchange. Furthermore, the endorphin rush produced by being scared, or excited, or aroused can be a high unlike those experienced in everyday life. And the connection to a partner with whom such intimacy is shared can be deepened as well (for better or worse).