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Is BDSM Healthy or Pathological?

Is BDSM Healthy or Pathological?

Let’s face it – BDSM and kink has been a regular part of everyday life for a while now. From group sex and swingers to BBW and transgender dating, being kinky isn’t as looked down on as it was, for example, two or three decades ago.

However, there’s still some prejudice regarding the main honcho of the kinky world. BDSM, which stands for bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism, and masochism is sometimes still being scrutinized as a condition rather than a sexual preference. In that name, let’s try to answer the question of whether BDSM is healthy or pathological.

Subject of Conflict

Over the course of the last couple of decades, we’ve seen the BDSM trend go through multiple phases. At this moment, it has come dangerously close to being accepted into the mainstream culture. However, there’s no denying that the subject of BDSM still causes a stir everywhere from the media to the research community.

Speaking of the latter, there is a multitude of studies that have proven that BDSM has both good and bad sides. Some of the examples come from Dr. Will Damon of the University of Illinois that has pointed out the number of negative aspects regarding the dominant and submissive roles in BDSM.

This specific research has shown that dominant males are more likely to have misogynistic and even sexist views in comparison to submissive males. In his 2002 research, Damon states: “Heterosexual male doms engage in domination and submission, whereas subs engage in worship and submission. Given the nature of the behaviors, it seems reasonable to inquire as to what attitudes toward women accompany them.”

Furthermore, The Forensic Examiner has published an article written by Dr. Bruce Gross in 2006 that states that BDSM can also be linked to legal transgressions, seeing as BDSM clubs provide dominatrix services that are in theory closely related to prostitution and pimping.

A Healthy Activity after all?

And while these and more sources have tried to answer where the issues with BDSM might be, some researchers have analyzed psychological patterns in BDSM lovers only to discover that these people boast numerous positive personality traits.

For instance, Tilburg University hosted a study by DR. Andreas Wismeijer and Dr. Marcel van Assen in 2013 where the two have proven that all BDSM practitioners have certain recognizable psychological characteristics. The five common traits in BDSM enthusiasts revolve around extraversion, agreeableness, openness, neuroticism, and contentiousness.

This study also claims that those who practice BDSM are more open to new experiences and are much less neurotic compared to members of some other social groups. Also, they are more extroverted. Nevertheless, there are differences in these traits between doms and subs.

Another study from 2011 has shown that BDSM can actually have therapeutic properties. The research conducted at Columbia University claims that most professional dominatrix’ consider themselves to be more therapist than torturers and that their clients leave with a feeling of ease and fulfillment, which is pretty similar to what people feel after talking to a psychiatrist.

Bottom line, BDSM is a complex phenomenon that, like all other things in this world, has two faces. In the end, it all comes down to those who practice it and the ways they utilize the freedoms granted by BDSM principles.

 

About Simon Blackthorne

Simon Blackthorne
Simon Blackthorne is a Dungeonmaster at Wasteland.com. With over 30 years experience as a MaleDom, he brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and wit to the BDSM scene. Simon was one of original directors and contributors to Wasteland starting in 1995 and is a respected leader in the New England BDSM community. You can see Simon's BDSM Video Demonstrations and Tutorials at Wasteland.com
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