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