Practice of consensual BDSM and relationship satisfaction

Hannah M.E. Rogak, Jennifer J Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual behaviors and styles that differ from that of the majority culture have been pathologized throughout history. One such category of sexual variation is BDSM (bondage-discipline/dominance-submission/sadism–masochism). Research onpsychotherapists suggests beliefs that BDSM practitioners cannot sustain healthy relationships. A growing body of literature, however, describes those who engage in BDSM activities as socially well-adjusted individuals who are no more likely to have psychological distress than the general population. This study used an online survey distributed via BDSM community websites and word-of-mouth to measure relationship satisfaction among BDSM practitioners who were in committed relationships. The Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS) was administered, as well as a number of demographic and BDSM participation questions about both the participants and their partners. Findings indicated participants did not score above the clinically distressed criterion cut-off on the RDAS. Additionally, data analysis compared gender and BDSM roles on RDAS scores. This yielded no statistically significant results. These results were considered in the context of the feminist critique of BDSM and family systems theory. The current study adds to previous research by examining relationship satisfaction, providing more evidence that those practicing BDSM are not significantly more pathological than the population in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-469
Number of pages16
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018

Keywords

  • BDSM
  • couple satisfaction
  • kink
  • relationship satisfaction

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