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February 21, 2014

Serious Academic BDSM Research

Whenever a segment of society has to deal with any oppression or societal misunderstandings, as those who practice BDSM must sometimes endure, one of the tools that can be used to blunt such negative perceptions is serious academic research on the topic.

I recently read about interesting study results regarding how BDSM experiences can lead to an altered state of consciousness, mirroring what some see as meditative states. If you’re interested in this research, I suggest you read The New Yoga? Sadomasochism Leads to Altered States, Study Finds¬†published on the LiveScience site.

Those involved in BDSM are sometimes surprised to learn that academic research is taking place about this topic, but there has been and continue to be a number of such research projects undertaken in academic settings. The results of these studies are important. In many instances such research supports what most of us already know, that if practiced responsibility BDSM is a completely healthy expression of our sexuality. Such research findings can also bring about changes in how psychological or medical care is approached or in certain court legal proceedings.

I am aware of two important organizations that are currently doing their part to foster such research.

One is Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities¬†(often referred to as CARAS). I sit on their Board and their mission is to support and promote excellence in the study of alternative sexualities and the dissemination of research results to the alternative sexualities communities, the public and the research community. Check out their site and please consider joining the organization (click the Join button). Your membership will help support this important research. If you don’t want to join, CARAS welcomes donations as well (click the Donate button).

Another organization, The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance¬†(often referred to as TASHRA), is a newer organization seeking to improve the physical and mental health of people who engage in BDSM, kink and sexual fetishism. They want to create a world where all kinksters have equal access to culturally competent, non-judgmental and knowledgeable healthcare. I sit on the Community Research Advisory Board for this organization and am excited about its mission. The best way to support TASHRA’s mission right now is to donate to them (click the Donate button on their site).

There are certainly other groups that are trying to foster this sort of research, but these two organizations appear to be the only ones focused entirely on such research that encompasses a wide cross-section of the BDSM and kink worlds.

It’s really important to support the important work these two organizations undertake. It is only by providing factual results from rigorous research that BDSM will be treated as simply another of many avenues of valid and healthy sexual expression.

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