People who partake in bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) may be mentally healthier than those who don’t, says research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Researchers asked 902 people who practice BDSM to fill out questionnaires on their psychological health. And compared to those having “vanilla sex;” and despite past assumptions that BDSM proclivities might be correlated with previous abuse, rape or mental disorders (research has shown that they’re not), this survey found that kinky people actually scored better on many indicators of mental health than those who didn’t practice BDSM, reported LiveScience. According to Reuters, BDSM-friendly participants were found to be less neurotic, more open, more aware of and sensitive to rejection, more secure in their relationships and have better overall well-being.
The researchers speculate that spicing it up in the bedroom may help you tune in to sexual desires and communicate them. In turn, that could make you more comfortable with your overall identity.
Andreas Wismeijer, a psychologist at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands and the lead author on the study, told LiveScience that people involved in the BDSM community may have scored better on these surveys because they tend to be more aware of and communicative about their sexual desires, or because they have done some “hard psychological work” to accept and live with sexual needs that are beyond the scope of what is often considered socially acceptable to discuss in the mainstream.
This research isn’t necessarily representative of the general population since participants were selected on a volunteer basis, but it does support the argument for removing BDSM from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In the current DSM, BDSM fetishes are listed as “paraphilia,” which essentially encompasses any “unusual” sexual preferences.
Fetish communities have argued for years that harmless sexual tastes should not be listed next to mental disorders. Perhaps this research will help bolster their case.
AND you don’t have to jump into full-blown kinky sex to reap the benefits. Any sort of experimentation can lead to higher levels of well-being and sexual satisfaction, says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., founder of Loveology University, an online resource for sex knowledge. Start with something manageable, like spanking, suggests Cadell.
Here’s how to pull it off: “Aim lower on her butt, rather than hitting the top of the cheek,” says Cadell. Men often make the mistake of spanking too high, but this could actually cause pain—you’re closer to bone, says Cadell. You engage more nerve endings when you make contact with the fleshier area of her cheeks, she explains.
So, peeps, make sure to report back here after your experimentation!
P.S. For the next issue of LIVING WELL with FIBROMYALGIA, I am working on having some-one write an article about kink and FM.