I am going to step out there and say that BDSM is my lifestyle and my culture.
Here am I a 47 year old woman sitting in bed typing with my 23 year old sub cuddled asleep next to me. Sure I got my own breakfast, but with a nudge and some cheeky banter back and forth he would have race down to get it for me no matter who was in the house at the time and if he didn't he knows he would get hit with the toy that he hates the most, which is sitting openly in my room with many of my BDSM toys. I rarely use the stick because he loves looking after me anyway. If I was still vanilla I do not think I would have a 23 year old man in my bed and probably not a man at all. I have no interest in a relationship with a straight vanilla man.
I have one vanilla friend the rest are kinksters of many levels. My son knows what I am into, and my daughter will when I see her in person. The rest of the family have no involvement in my life and never visit me. I will be working soon and that part has to remain vanilla. If I had my way I would be paid to teach people about and demonstrate BDSM.
My studies were nearly always about queer and transgender issues and culture so they were not about BDSM, but they certainly were not promoting the heterosexual vanilla world that dominates our society. When I go on holiday I usually stay and mix with BDSM people. Since I was 22 my interests and exercises have usually been of a solitary nature.
I went to erotica. I was in the stage/bar area. The young show chickies were wandering around playing up to the crowd. They walked straight passed me - I did not exist. Yet one of them was flirting with a fat old man. I remembered that I was a fat old woman in a very different world to which I move in.
In my world there are many acceptable body shapes, in my world it is about personality and skill and style. Age is more just an interesting characteristic. In my world women are respected far more by all genders. In my world that chicky would be walking away from me with a big smile on her face after a flogging - if not more instead of a weak fake smile from doing as she is told. There would be people on the stage all shapes and sizes and ages and being cheered for shaking what they got.
As the profile status says I live the lifestyle when I can. This is my culture with all its good and bad and in between elements, because when I look out at the rest, it does nothing for me.