BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, and sadomasochism) is often portrayed as reckless, dangerous, and unhealthy in traditional cultures. A good example is Christian Gray in Fifty Shades of Grey, who is motivated by his childhood abuse to enjoy kink in the first place. In televised crime dramas, fetishists are frequently portrayed as bad guys who commit unethical crimes. BDSM is framed in this way by a variety of sources, not just the media. Prior to the release of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013, medical professionals actually considered participation in fetishism and sadomasochism as a mental disorder..
Bdsm Isn’t a Brand-New Sexual Behavior
Kinky sex is no longer stigmatised. BDSM has gotten a lot of attention lately because of books like Fifty Shades of Grey. Pop culture, on the other hand, hasn’t distorted the most recent trends. People have a long history of seeking out risky sexual experiences. According to a Durex Global Sex poll conducted in 2005, 36% of adults admitted to using bondage in some capacity during a sexual relationship. Even in 1956, erotic bites were enjoyed by 50% of men and 55% of women, according to a Kinsey Institute study. Even if we don’t get any more kinky sex, we’re talking about it a lot more now.
Recent research aimed at figuring out what BDSM does to the body and how it does it has produced unexpected results. Researchers have found no evidence that BDSM is harmful, and in fact, they have found some health benefits from it.
Enhanced Mental Well-being
BDSM practitioners’ psychological traits were examined in a study published by the International Society of Sexual Medicine in 2013. According to the study, the goal was to compare kinksters’ attachment styles in relationships, general well-being, and vulnerability to rejection to those of a control group. Furthermore, kinks were found to be no more psychologically damaged than their vanilla counterparts, according to the study’s findings.
The BDSM sample as a whole was happier and more secure in their personal relationships. More outgoing, more open to new experiences, less anxious, and less sensitive to other people’s perceptions characterised them as more conscientious towards others. It’s interesting to note that they were also more aware of their own sexual needs, but those needs were less pleasurable for them as well. A person who possesses these qualities has the ability to articulate their desires and limitations clearly.
Everything about the BDSM lifestyles’s traits can point to extensive psychological work that has had a positive impact on their mental health. When their work and self-awareness go hand in hand, personal relationships inside and outside of the bedroom improve, which leads to increased happiness for everyone.
According to studies, people who take part in the BDSM achieve a state of altered consciousness similar to that of meditative yoga practitioners or marathon runners. These activities are widely believed to improve health by lowering our cortisol levels. Among the many health benefits of this is the prevention of high blood pressure, immune system suppression, and insulin resistance. As with BDSM, taking part in it can have the same results.
The altered state of consciousness associated with BDSM has been documented by a number of studies done at Northern Illinois University. During sadomasochistic scenes, saliva samples were collected from submissives and dominants in one study. It ended with a decrease in cortisol levels, especially for dominant partners.
The second study examined cognitive function in patients who had undergone painful BDSM sessions. The limbic and prefrontal brain regions of participants who were experiencing pain showed reduced function. Both working memory and executive control are closely linked to these regions of the brain. According to the findings, there was a decrease in blood flow to these regions, causing a change in consciousness. The BDSM community refers to this state of being as “subspace” for submissive partners and “topspace” or “flow” for dominants. It’s a fun activity for everyone, but it’s also considered by many to be a spiritual one.
Relationships Get Better
Researchers from Northern Illinois University found that participation in successful sadomasochistic scenes increases feelings of connectedness and intimacy with partners when they studied hormonal changes and couple bonding in BDSM.
And we’ve established that doing something different with a romantic partner rather than the same old thing every day boosts intimacy. The reward system in the brains of 53 married couples in their mid-thirties was activated and flooded with dopamine and other beneficial chemicals when they shared new activities. When two people first meet, something similar happens in their brains: they become more attracted to one another. Chemotherapeutic agents are the same ones that make us feel happy and excited when we meet someone new.
However, this study did not specifically include BDSM practises in its exciting and adventurous testing activities. Nevertheless, they are certainly eligible for this classification. Just as going to an amusement park, taking a pottery class, or engaging in an exciting new game with a lover can improve your brain chemistry, so can using BDSM to bring about the same chemical changes. In a relationship, role-playing or incorporating other adventurous and innovative stimuli into your bedroom routine can lead to a greater sense of connectedness and overall happiness. Happily married couples have better physical and mental health than unhappy singles, according to numerous studies.