Into Kink? You're Healthier Than Vanilla People

Even though their sexual preferences are listed as potentially problematic in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people excited by whips and chains might actually be more psychologically healthy than those who prefer their sex a little less wild.

A new study finds those into S&M score better on many personality and psychological measures than “vanilla” people who don’t engage in unusual sex acts.

According to, S&M is listed in the DSM-5, the newest edition of the definitive psychiatrist’s manual, as a paraphilia, or unusual sexual fixation — a label that has caused controversy between kinky communities and psychiatrists, who themselves are mixed on whether sexual predilections belong in the catalog of mental disorders. As written, the DSM-5 does not label BDSM a disorder unless it causes harm to the practitioner or to others.

Nevertheless, some psychiatrists see the inclusion of S&M and other kinks in the manual as stigmatizing, particularly because studies have failed to show evidence that enjoying sex with a side of pain is linked to psychological problems. The new study, published May 16 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, finds that, in fact, S&M practitioners may be better off psychologically than the general public.

S&M practitioners “either did not differ from the general population and if they differed, they always differed in the more favorable direction,” said study researcher Andreas Wismeijer, a psychologist at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands who conducted the research while at Tilburg University.

Time to bring the whips and handcuffs out of the closet, ladies!

Further Reading and Fun:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B003A7I2R8″]A dark, wild, powerful memoir about a young woman’s transformation from college student to dominatrix [/AMAZONPRODUCTS] [AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B004O0TULW”]This delicious memoir from Susan Winemaker details how she abandons her life as a chef to satisfy an appetite of a different kind and becomes one of the most well-known and respected dominatrixes on the city’s S&M scene. [/AMAZONPRODUCTS] [AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B005MW812A”]Make him yelp and leave pretty pink welts! These bullwhips are produced in Spain using quality split hide leather. The split hide models are durable and suitable for fun. [/AMAZONPRODUCTS]
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With political activists as parents, Stephanie learned gender politics at an early age and embraced stiletto feminism in high school. As a marketing professional, she’s written for a variety of publications. She founded to be a voice for the sex-positive alpha female.