If you look up the word kink in the dictionary, you might not be surprised with what the definition reads. There’s certainly a particular social stigma attached to it, usually something along the lines of, kinky people are mentally disturbed or have weird sexual fetishes, But what if you are a kinkster, how does that common social stigma make you feel?

Kink, noun

a quirk of character or behaviour.
a person’s unusual sexual preference.

I meet a lot of people who are comfortable to confide that they are almost scared or afraid of their sexual desires when it comes to something a little different, you wouldn’t believe how many times I have heard people say “I thought there was something wrong with me”.

Thanks to the social stigmas that are attached to BDSM  (bondage-discipline, dominance-submission, sadism-masochism) people are more and more afraid of being painted with the crazy person brush when they are taking their first kinky steps.

The recent popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey series might indicate increased mainstream acceptance, and finally a change to the common assumptions about people who participate in some bedroom BDSM, but we still have a long way to go to empower practitioners of BDSM that there is nothing wrong.

Misconceptions

Over the years I’ve heard and read it all, from, “people who are into BDSM are acting out a past history of sexual abuse” to “they are attempting to compensate for sexual difficulties” or just plain and simple, “yeah they’re all perverts”

However, the small amount of research evidence available suggests quite the opposite, let’s take a look at what the recent studies say.

Studies and Research

In 2013 a Dutch study assessing the mental health of people into BDSM compared to those with more ‘vanilla’ sexual tastes revealed that BDSM practitioners scored better on a variety of personality and psychological tests compared to those who did not have sexual fetishes.

BDSM may be thought of as a recreational leisure, rather than the expression of psychopathological processes.

In 2015 Nichi Hodgson reported for the Guardian, that there’s a science to spanking, nipple torture, candle waxing and to pretty much any other sex act you could name where prolonging the anticipation of touch or relief or safely manipulating blood flow causes the release of neurotransmitters – such as dopamine, adrenaline or serotonin – that results in a chemical high.

Nichi went on to say, It’s true that you have to be able to find that kind of physical stimulation arousing in order to be turned on, but if you do, having a person you find attractive putting you over their knee and spanking you in a way that encourages your body to release noradrenaline, adrenaline and dopamine in anticipation of the spank, and then opioids on point of contact is likely to be a pretty positive sexual experience.

Modern Approach

Fifty Shades of Grey has certainly helped to lift the taboo, but we are still a long way from understanding and accepting that BDSM does not automatically mean those people who practise it are in some way mentally unstable. (And unfortunately Christian Grey hasn’t helped to change that perception,)

The relationship between BDSM and the law changes significantly from nation to nation. Spectacular incidents like the US scandal of People v. Jovanovic and the British Operation Spanner demonstrate the degree to which difficult grey areas can pose a problem for the individuals and authorities involved.

Sexual desire and pleasures are different for everyone if you and your partner walk away from a sex act both immensely satisfied and unscathed – or at least with no lasting emotional or physical bruises – perhaps that’s an outcome that needs no further probing.

Boldpleasures takes BDSM safely and seriously, and BDSM between two consenting adults can open a whole new world of relationship possibilities.  We certainly look forward to more research and studies.

Until then, let’s keep lifting the taboos.

Sonja is a co-founder of boldpleasures. She's on a mission to free people to revel in their true sensuality by removing the stigma surrounding kink. Sonja writes about first steps, ditching the shame and how to combine kink and 'normal' family life. She's a mother of two and happily married.

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