Saturday, March 19, 2016

Meeting BDSM Community Members Closer to Home

On February 13th, members from the Science of BDSM Research Team headed to downtown Chicago to present "The Science of BDSM" at the Galleria Domain 2.  As much as we love traveling elsewhere to present our work, we thought it was time to get to know the BDSM community in our own backyard.
The presentation began with what Sigmund Freud and other early psychiatrists believed about sadism and masochism (***Spoiler Alert*** Sadistic and Masochistic activities were considered solely pathological).  From there more recent research into the BDSM community was discussed. This newer research didn’t depict BDSM activities as pathological. Instead, it focused on the demographics and personality traits of BDSM practitioners.  From here, the presentation discussed the roots of our research team.
            What began as a conversation discussing how hormones respond differently to sex and sports turned into a series of studies looking into the physiological and psychological effects of consensual BDSM.  Among other things, these studies found that bottoms had a rise in physiological stress during their scenes, but at the same time they reported reductions in psychological stress.  We thought that this disconnect between what the body is experiencing and what the mind is experiencing might be evidence of an altered state of consciousness. One of our most recent studies found further evidence of altered states of consciousness that BDSM scenes sometimes produce, with tops entering an altered state known as flow and bottoms entering an altered state known as transient hypofrontality. 
            We would like to thank Jerith and Wilson from Galleria Domain 2 for giving us the opportunity to present. We were thrilled with the community’s positive response and sheer excitement to help with research (with many people asking what they could do immediately to help).  If you would like more information about our research, please visit us at, and if you would like to participate in one of our studies, please visit our Participate page at