Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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Sexual Satisfaction and Distress in Sexual Functioning in a Sample of the BDSM Community: A Comparison Study Between BDSM and Non-BDSM Contexts
Patrícia Monteiro Pascoal, Daniel Santos Cardoso, Rui Henriques

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
##manager.scheduler.room##: T10
Date: 2015-09-27 06:30 PM – 08:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-08


The pathologizing context that frames mainstream understandings of BDSM and even some clinical psychology and sexology approaches, as well as normative understandings of what is “sex” and “sexual functioning” makes sexual satisfaction and sexual distress of BDSM participants a delicate and under-researched topic. This is even more so in non-Anglophone cultures, such as Portugal, where empirical investigation regarding BDSM is almost non-existant.

Our study resorts to a convenience sample of 68 respondents from a Portuguese BDSM community, all of whom self-identified as men or women. They were queried as to their self-defined sexual BDSM practices (which were later codified into a preexisting thematic tree) and their non-BDSM sexual practices, as well as the levels of satisfaction and distress felt in each one. Respondents were also queried about whether their BDSM practices were done with the same persons as the non-BDSM practices, along with demographic factors, including age at the onset of BDSM interest and age at first BDSM experience. Comparisons between genders in terms of distress in sexual functioning in BDSM and non-BDSM contexts demonstrate that, with the exception of maintaining arousal, we found distress in sexual functioning to be statistically the same in BDSM and non-BDSM contexts for women. For men, we found that distress in sexual functioning, with the exception of premature orgasm and anorgasmia, was statistically significantly lower in the BDSM context. There were no differences in sexual satisfaction between BDSM and non-BDSM contexts for men or women. Also, nearly half the male respondents had different partners for BDSM and non-BDSM practices. Our research suggests that different relationship practices, different understandings of sexuality beyond genitalized sex and different notions of satisfaction need to be taken into consideration in a clinical setting when working with BDSM participants.