• Thu, Jun 6 2013

BDSM Sex Could Indicate Positive Qualities About Your Mental Health

BDSM sex

One of my very best friends is highly involved in a BDSM community of Los Angeles. She constantly faces judgments about this via a large array of unnecessary and uninformed questions or comments. “What’s wrong with these people?” “Were you, like, abused as a child?” and the good ol’, “This is sick.” Despite being a wonderful sexual fetish and lifestyle choice for many, many consenting adults, there are many people who still believe BDSM practicers are just confused or mentally ill when, in fact, this is apparently the opposite of the truth.

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine last month revealed that folks who practice regular BDSM-type sexual activities are actually more mentally healthy than those who only do “vanilla.” It appears there are benefits to bondage! 902 participants in a survey on the subject engaged in BDSM sex while the other 434 did not. The former scored higher on several indicators of solid mental health, including being more open, having more sensitivity, feeling more secure in their relationships and more.

However, some doctors still see it as a negative practice — even an indication in and of itself of illness, according to Live Science.

BDSM is listed in the DSM-5, the newest edition of the definitive psychiatrist’s manual, as a paraphilia, or unusual sexual fixation — a label that has caused controversy between kinky communities and psychiatrists, who themselves are mixed on whether sexual predilections belong in the catalog of mental disorders. As written, the DSM-5 does not label BDSM a disorder unless it causes harm to the practitioner or to others.

While scientists do not have any reason in particular to attribute this stable mental health toward, I can think of a few plausible ones (though I’m no doctor, so don’t go around quoting me on these).

First of all, people in BDSM relationships are often extremely communicative out of necessity to ensure that each party is getting what he or she needs and feels comfortable asking for. Second, there is often less boredom in the bedroom, as there are always new products and stuff to try when you’re openminded, and that can be great for one’s relationship. Plus, when you know exactly what you desire and require, it’s easier to feel at easy and satisfied — both with your sex life and yourself.

Photo: smplstc / Flickr

From Our Partners

Share This Post:
  • anon

    I’m curious about your friend. I’ve been getting into S&M a bit lately, but it doesn’t come up in normal conversation to the point where I “constantly face judgement” or get asked a “large array” of questions (same goes for all other aspects of my sex life). I have maybe 5-6 close friends that I share details of my sex life with… is this abnormal?

    Just realized that maybe your friend is also a blogger and writes about it, which would make sense… otherwise, I’m genuinely curious about whether other people share more about their sex lives than I do! (FYI, I’m a young(ish), female, extroverted, East-Coast-urban dwelling, socially liberal school administrator).

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Nope, she’s not a blogger, haha. But she is fairly open about it, as it is her actual lifestyle (as opposed to just being sex-related).

    • Jim

      I wish I could fine people who would openly discuss this without being so close minded. So Anon, who has these discussions?

    • anon

      I guess I’m lucky to have such an awesome group of friends. It’s funny — four of us were sitting around eating dinner, and someone mentioned that she’s been getting into S&M with her fiance. The rest of us were all like “ME TOO!!!”

    • anon

      Um, just to be clear – we didn’t mean that we were all getting into S&M with our friend’s fiance. With our own partners. Lol.

    • Jim

      Lol…nothing wrong with some intreasting conversations with like minded individuals. I bet if we were more open minded in society we would find there are many more interested in this then we thought. I just don’t know where to go to have these discussions…I just want to have conversations with people who understand…or at least will be receptive to the ideas.

    • Mahya

      Yes !!! Love it !

  • Colleen

    I’m as easy-going as the next person, but there are some folks in the kink community in my state who are reallllly pushy about how much better their way of life is than mine. The term “vanilla” in regard to my sex life – which is thrilling and fulfilling without ropes or whips or handcuffs, without needing a safeword and without the infliction of pain of any kind – is insulting. Everyone has their own thing, and by speaking of non-kinky sex in a disparaging way, it makes me shy away from the kinksters even more.
    Remember, for hundreds of years, vanilla was considered the most exotic of spices.

    • Sean

      Nothing wrong with vanilla, it’s still one of the most valuable and sought-after spices.

      I agree with you…sadly I have friends who are sexual elitists because of their preferences. I’m proud of them for standing up for their choices and being empowered by it, but seriously, don’t judge me or others because their preferences are different or lackluster in their opinion.

    • meteor_echo

      I’m into BDSM and I hate this kind of elitism. Kinky sex is in no way “better” than non-kinky (I don’t use the term “vanilla” either), it’s just different. Besides, hey, it’s not like we never do non-kinky stuff ourselves, so there’s that :)

    • Mahya

      Remind me what is so wrong with the phrase “vanilla”? I mean… Vanilla is delicious! Why can you use the term kinky as a description, but not vanilla?? People just have to find something to whine about. Stop hating and start participating.

    • meteor_echo

      Vanilla is an absolutely basic flavor nowadays. Delicious, but all too common.
      I can use whatever term I like, and I like “kinky”. Do you have any problems with it? :)