Mainstream culture often represents BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, and sadomasochism) as reckless, dangerous, and unhealthy. Take Fifty Shades of Grey, for instance; Christian Grey’s reasons for enjoying kink stem from his childhood abuse. Television crime dramas often portray fetishists as seedy, unethical lawbreakers. It isn’t just the media that frames BDSM this way.

Prior to the release of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013, participation in fetishism and sadomasochism was actually considered a mental disorder by health professionals. Attitudes about kinky sex have shifted. Pop culture didn’t make kink the latest fad, however. Humans have always had a penchant for adventurous sex.

A 2005 Durex Global Sex Survey found 36% of adults admitted to using some form of bondage during lovemaking. Even back in 1956, a ​Kinsey Institute Study revealed 50% of men and 55% of women enjoyed erotic biting. We may not be having kinky sex much more than we always have, but we’re certainly talking about it more.

Recent studies devoted to understanding BDSM and its effects on the body have shown surprising results. Not only are researchers failing to find evidence of harm BDSM causes, but they are also discovering it actually has quite a few health benefits.

 

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The Health Benefits of BDSM by Sunny Megatron

Edited on February 20, 2020; written much earlier