Could Bondage Be Good for You? S&M Enthusiasts Are ‘Healthier and Less Neurotic’ Than Those With a Tamer Sex Life

Some may think it is perverse, but enjoying the snap of the whip or the clink of chains on skin could make you more psychologically healthy than those who enjoy a more mundane sex life.

A study found that BDSM – bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism – enthusiasts scored better on a variety of personality and psychological tests compared to those who did not have sexual fetishes.

Experts say this is because those who enjoyed kinky sex were more extroverted, more open to new experiences and less neurotic.

Dr Andreas Wismeijer, a psychologist from Tilburg University, found that BDSM practitioners ‘either did not differ from the general population and if they differed, they always differed in the more favourable direction’.

Dr Wismeijer and his fellow researchers asked BDSM fans to undergo a variety of psychological questionnaires online.

They also sought participants who did not do BDSM via a women’s magazine website, a personal secret website and a university website.

In total 902 BDSM practitioners and 434 non-BDSM participants filled out questionnaires on personality, sensitivity to rejection, style of attachment in relationships and happiness.
The Dutch study also found that those who dominated in sex games were the most psychologically balanced. Those who were submissive were no less mentally balanced than the rest of the general population though

The Dutch study also found that those who dominated in sex games were the most psychologically balanced. Those who were submissive were no less mentally balanced than the rest of the general population, however

The results revealed that on a basic level, BDSM practitioners are no more troubled than the general population.

In fact they were more outgoing, more open to new experiences and more conscientious than less adventurous participants.

They were also less neurotic, a personality trait marked by anxiety.
Enjoying the clink of chains in skin can be a sign that you are mentally balanced

Enjoying the clink of chains in skin can be a sign that you are mentally balanced

BDSM aficionados also scored lower than the general public on rejection sensitivity, a measure of how paranoid people are about others disliking them.

People in the BDSM scene reported higher levels of happiness in the past two weeks than people outside it, and they said they felt more secure in their relationships.

Interestingly, the role a person played when engaging in BDSM behaviour seemed to be linked to a person’s psychological profile.

Dominants tended to be the most balanced, submissives the least and switches (those who enjoy dominating and being dominated) were in the middle.

But submissives never scored lower than the general population on mental health, and frequently scored higher.

‘Within the BDSM community, [submissives] were always perceived as the most vulnerable, but still, there was not one finding in which the submissives scored less favourably than the controls,’ Wismeijer told LiveScience.