Thursday, February 12, 2015

What we've been up to...

Last month the Science of BDSM Research Team attended the Southwest Leather Conference in Phoenix to present, collect data, have fun with friends and make some new ones.  We had a really great time- we always do!

At SWLC, we presented “The Science of BDSM: The Many Faces of Masochism and Sadism.” In it, we discussed some work from other research labs that links masochism to eating chili peppers, riding roller coasters, and climbing mountains, and sadism to Internet trolling and delivering noise blasts in a laboratory game. We also shared the results from research we conducted at the 2014 Dance of Souls and some pictures from our first study of hooked suspensions. There was a lively discussion, and the audience provided some very thoughtful feedback. The ideas that come out of these discussions help us to better understand our research findings and to develop future research questions.  So thank you to everyone who attended! Slides from the presentation are available here.

We also began data collection on two online surveys at SWLC. Both of these surveys are up on our website and are available here, if you would like to participate.

The first survey is being led by Kathryn Klement. It investigates attitudes towards sexual violence. All the scales in the survey were developed by other researchers and have been well validated and used in a number of previous studies. We are particularly interested in studying these beliefs within the BDSM community given the community’s emphasis on explicit consent.

With the second survey I am studying the expectations that people have about BDSM practitioners. Participants are asked to describe the traits, qualities, and characteristics of BDSM practitioners in both open-ended and close-ended formats. The goal of this study to better understand assumptions about BDSM practitioners, whether media presentations of BDSM practitioners affect these assumptions, and whether these assumptions might lead to discrimination.

We are also recruiting members of the Master/slave community for an interview study investigating dynamics of Master/slave relationships.  Bert Cutler and I are working together to develop the interview protocol, and we’re hoping to start interviewing people in the next few months. If you and or your relationship partner are interested in participating, please email me at .

Our work could not happen without the support of the BDSM community and those who generously give us their time and effort. We are so grateful to all those who get involved in our research, whether it be by taking a survey, doing an interview, helping us network and set up studies, or just having a discussion with us about research ideas.

Your encouragement means a lot to us, too—especially as we traverse the sometimes bruising process of publishing our research in academic journals (so it makes us smile when people walk past our research table at a conference and shout, “Science, F*ck yeah!”). At SWLC last month, we were rendered speechless when Elegant, slave tina, and judi presented us with our team’s patch on a leather square that would become part of the Leather Quilt. Elegant made the patch, and Elegant, slave tina, and judi donated the patch on behalf of the research team.  It is this kind of support from the community that fills us with energy to keep working. We really care about this research, and we’re glad you do too. Thank you!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Can Bondage Play Reduce Anxiety?"

Our research was featured in a New York Magazine article titled "Can Bondage Play Reduce Anxiety?" by Roni Jacobson. The article includes a nice mix of science and practitioner perspectives. One minor note: The paper that describes our recent study with switches has been submitted to a journal, but it is not yet published. The co-authors on that paper are James Ambler, Ellen Lee, Kathryn Klement, Tonio Loewald, Evelyn Comber, Sarah Hanson, Bert Cutler, Nadine Cutler, and Brad Sagarin.