BDSM aficionados better-adjusted than those who enjoy plain old vanilla sex, says science


Photo by Boing Boing reader Captain Tim, shared in the BB Flickr Pool.

A provocative article from the Netherlands published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine says people who like to participate in bondage-discipline, dominance-submission, and sado-masochism erotic play are "characterized by a set of balanced, autonomous, and beneficial personality characteristics.”

Practitioners of BDSM report “a higher level of subjective well-being” when compared to people who tend to have more boring forms of sex.

These sexual practices have long been "associated with psychopathology," the paper says. "However, several more recent studies suggest a relative good psychological health of BDSM practitioners."

The results mostly suggest favorable psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners compared with the control group; BDSM practitioners were less neurotic, more extraverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, had higher subjective well-being, yet were less agreeable.

The conclusion: BDSM is "recreational leisure," not pathology.

"Plain old vanilla sex," by the way, is what Hustler's Larry Flynt once told me he was into, during an interview I did for NPR. True story.

More: PSMAG, and here's the study. (via @vaughanbell)

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