Although sadomasochists are considered potentially problematic (according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - DSM), a recent study published in LiveScience considers them more psychologically healthier than those who prefer ordinary sex. Obviously, as you probably realized, these are people who prefer to play with whips, (ie the acronym for bondage - bonding, discipline, sadism and masochism).
The new study was conducted at the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands, and was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine and indicates that they scored better on a series of psychological and personality tests than the rest of those interviewed.
In the manual mentioned above, BDSM practices are passed to the chapter reserved for perversions characterized by the search for sexual pleasure using a bizarre, unusual object or situation (the term currently used for such a thing being paraphilia). The labeling has caused some controversy among BDSM practitioners and psychiatrists, whose opinions are divided on the inclusion (or not) of sexual habits and fetishes in the catalog of mental disorders and disorders.
However, the manual does not include BDSM practices among mental disorders unless they cause harm to those who practice them or to others.
The new study reaches a completely opposite conclusion, supported by Andreas Wismeijer, a psychologist at the Dutch University of Nyenrodeat: BDSM practitioners are either no different from people without such sexual inclinations, or are different, and the differences are in favor of sadomasochistic practitioners. The aim of the study was not the level of mental health of the latter, his interest usually focuses on the psychology of secrets and secrecy, but a chance meeting with the founder of the largest BDSM forum in the Netherlands convinced him that this category of people would represent a interesting study base.
The first step was to propose completing an online questionnaire on the forum (which contained questions about personality, sensitivity to rejection, type of attachment in relationships and general well-being) and recruiting a control group of people with normal sexual inclinations. None of the 1336 participants in the study (902 BDSM practitioners, 434 common sex practitioners) knew exactly what its purpose was, they all thought they were participating in a social research on human behavior.
The study's findings were that BDSM practitioners do not appear to have greater or more obvious mental health problems than other people, but they tend to be more extroverted and open to new experiences, but also more conscientious than other people. They are also less neurotic, one of the personality traits strongly marked by anxiety, and more resistant to situations in which they are rejected. Their levels of well-being are higher and they feel more secure in a relationship than others.
The study's statistics say that 33% of men practicing BDSM said they were submissive, 48% dominant and 18% willing to reverse these roles. About 75% of women practicing BDSM said they were submissive, 8% domineering and 16% willing to vary these roles. It is considered that the assumption of these roles has certain links with the psychological health of the persons concerned, being highlighted a tendency according to which the dominant persons tend to obtain higher scores in all studied categories, the subjects recorded the lowest scores and those willing to change the roles were placed somewhere in the middle.
However, none of the people declared to be subject (considered more vulnerable in BDSM communities) scored lower than people with normal sexual inclinations and often scored higher than them.
None of the results suggested that BDSM practitioners have a psychological profile affected in any way or dysfunctional, that they would be under the influence of any psychopathology, or that they would suffer from personality disorders, rather there is a tendency to be more aware of the needs. and their sexual desires than the rest of the world - this can lead to the disappearance of frustrations in the relationship.