Kinksters Report Fewer Sexual Problems & Higher Sexual Satisfaction Than the Vanilla Population

a green sign that reads "kink" on it in gold letters
Image by Stuart Caie / CC BY

I remember when I first got into kink, got hooked into the kink community. My vanilla friends weren’t quite sure what to do with me. It was interesting in a way — since they knew that I was in an open marriage at the time. That my husband and I saw other people. That we considered ourselves polyamorous.

That they could get… kinda. The emotional attachments tended to throw them for a loop. They couldn’t quite wrap their mind around it. Sex with other people made sense to them (several of them were swingers themselves). But multiple loving relationships was a bit strange to them.

Still, they accepted it and were largely supportive.

But when they heard I was getting into kink… well, that was a bridge too far. At that point, too, back when I was green to it all, what I was doing was pretty darn tame. Basically just bare-handed spankings. Wearing a collar.

It was fun for me. Meaningful to me. But nothing really extreme or beyond the pale.

And yet… they struggled.

It’s kind of funny now. Those friends would eventually go on to experiment with kink themselves, several years later, after Fifty Shades of Grey hit the mainstream (I wrote about that in two previous essays: The Crocs of Sex and The Pain Is Fine).

But for a while, they were really confused — and frankly pretty judgmental — about the fact that I was exploring my kinky side.

Kinksters Report Fewer Sexual Problems & Higher Sexual Satisfaction Than the Vanilla Population

Anyway, I did stumble across a study recently that had some pretty interesting findings about BDSM and sexual satisfaction. Here’s what they found:

  • BDSM practitioners reported fewer sexual problems than a vanilla (i.e., non-kinky) sample.
  • Kinksters also reported higher sexual satisfaction than a vanilla control group.
  • When comparing kinksters with varying kink orientations, the study found that dominants and switches were more sexually satisfied and reported fewer sexual problems than submissive kinksters.

The research team advises caution in considering these findings. The sample of kinky folks surveyed were members of formal BDSM communities, and the results may indeed vary for folks who aren’t part of their local communities.

Anyway, a very interesting study. I wasn’t really expecting any of these results. I figured sexual satisfaction and problems would be comparable for all groups.

And I’m looking forward to more research in this area.

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This post is part of an ongoing Poly Land feature called Psyched for the Weekend, in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts. For the entire series, please see this link.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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