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Kinky Sex May Promote Psychological Health, BDSM Study

Update Date: May 30, 2013 03:17 PM EDT
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Getting a little kinky between the sheets may actually promote psychological health, according to a new study.  Researchers found that people who play with whips, chains and handcuffs during sex were actually psychologically healthier than those who enjoy "vanilla sex".

The study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, reveals that BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) aficionados actually scored better on a variety of psychological tests compared to people who did not have sexual fetishes.

Psychologists say that this could be because people who appreciate kinky sex were more extroverted, conscientious and adventurous.

Lead researcher Dr Andreas Wismeijer, a psychologist from Tilburg University said that BDSM enthusiasts "either did not differ from the general population and if they differed, they always differed in the more favorable direction," according to Live Science.

The latest study involved 902 BDSM practitioners and 434 vanilla (non-BDSM) participants.  Participants filed out a variety of psychological questionnaires on personality, sensitivity to rejection, style of attachment in relationships and happiness.  

Overall, BDSM practitioners were no more troubled than the general population.  In fact people who enjoyed receiving or dishing out punishment in the bedroom were more outgoing, open to new experiences and conscientious than "vanilla sex" participants. The study also found that BDSM practitioners scored lower on rejection sensitivity, and neuroticism, and reported higher levels of happiness in the past two weeks and more security in their relationships.

Interestingly, the role a person played when engaging in BDSM behavior was also linked to his or her psychological profile.  Researchers found that dominants were found to be the most balanced, submissives were the least and those who switched were in the middle. However, researchers noted that submissives still scored higher on mental health than the general population.

"Within the BDSM community, [submissives] were always perceived as the most vulnerable, but still, there was not one finding in which the submissives scored less favourably than the controls," Wismeijer told LiveScience.

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