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Thu Mar 05 04:34:40 SAST 2015

People into kinky sex, BDSM psychologically healthier: study

Times LIVE | 08 June, 2013 09:32
Marina Bargehr, the Manager of sex shop The Bedroom in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, arranges a display. File photo.
Image by: Moeletsi Mabe

Get out the whips and chains, because a new study has shown that people who are into kinky sex may be psychologically healthier than those who are not, according to reports.

Researchers found that people who were involved in bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism – or BDSM – scored better on certain indicators of mental health than those who did not bring kink into the bedroom, reports LiveScience.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in May, surveyed 902 people who practice BDSM and 434 people who prefer ‘vanilla’ – or non-kinky – sex.

Questionnaires regarding their personalities, general well-being, sensitivity to rejection and style of attachment in relationships were filled out.

The participants were not aware of the purpose of the study.

Despite past assumptions that BDSM proclivities might be correlated with previous abuse, rape or mental disorders, which was found to be inaccurate, this survey found that kinky people actually scored better on many indicators of mental health than those who didn't practice BDSM.

Reuters said that 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.

A psychologist at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands and the lead author on the study, Andreas Wismeijer, 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.

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