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 Livescience.com, 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!