Good news, fellow perverts!æ
Despite the popular opinion that those who revel in the dark side of sexuality are incurably damaged, a recent article æpublished in the Journal of Sexual Medicine is claiming that kinksters are actually better adjusted than their vanilla counterparts.
The controversial study from the Netherlands claims that, BDSM practitioners [are] less neurotic, more extraverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, [and] had higher subjective well-being.î This information flys in the face of the DSM-IV-TR, which still states that kinky sex is potentially problematic, and possibly a sign of greater mental distress.
According to LiveScience, study researcher and Nyenrode Business University psychologist Andreas Wismeijer went on to say, [BDSM practitioners] either did not differ from the general population and if they differed, they always differed in the more favorable direction…[The study] did not have any findings suggesting that people who practice BDSM have a damaged psychological profile or have some sort of psychopathology or personality disorder.î
While this is not news to those of us who like to play rough, society may find this new information a nice little smack to the ass. BDSM players have built an entire subculture around their interests to avoid the social stigma surrounding their sexual proclivities. Most of us in the scene are all too familiar with being ostracized for what gets our juices flowing, and often escape to the sex-positive bubble to find like-minded people who accept us for our so-called deviant interests.
Kink has been primarily misunderstood by people who universalize their personal experiences. From concern-trollingæabout whether BDSM is safe by folks who have never engaged in the practice to an entire sect of feminism‘s claimsæthat BDSM is inherently misogynistic (and that the women who engage in it have been brainwashed by patriarchal norms), there are some veryæloud voices shouting that a valid form of sexuality is actually, at best, an expression of flawed psychology, and at worst, an actively damaging and terrifying activity that can (and WILL) ruin society as we know it.
The old adage about people shunning what they fear seems apt to apply to the way that most people respond to kink that extends beyond light experimentation. Sexuality is such an intensely personal thing that many people struggle to appreciate that their interests are not necessarily shared with everyone, especially if their sexual curiosity falls within a societally approved paradigm. It may seem unfathomable that someone could not only enjoy taboo activities as a part of their lives, but jerk off to them too.
Surely there is an element of puritanism and the shame that still pervades the sexuality of the average person (including some closeted kinksters!) that plays into the disgust that BDSM can inspire. Perspectives like this one use subjective moralism to insist that all people should act to their standard, rather than acknowledging that the seven billion (plus) people on this planet may have a different set of needs and desires than they do. Rather than listening to the very wise voices of those who are interested in exploring the complexity of sexuality, in all its potentially pervy glory, people rejecting the concept of BDSM as healthy sexual expression are too busy shouting down anything that challenges their limited perspective.
While Wismeijer did not claim to know definitively why BDSM players have notably better mental health than others, but suspects that the time spent exploring their sexuality may play a vital role. Kinky people tend to be more aware of their sexuality, as well as have often spent time coming to terms with what their desires and needs mean, which may take hard psychological work that translates to positive mental health.î
For those of you who are still worried about embracing your perversions, rest assured. If you work through those feelings, it turns out you may be better off than the general public.
Whip away, babes.