Monday, August 22, 2016

Do We Support Teaching BDSM in Schools? Not Quite, But…

Our paper on the differences in rape-supportive beliefs among BDSM practitioners, online adults, and college students has started to pick up traction in the media. We are really excited about the coverage of our research, and we hope that it will add something substantive to the conversation about sexuality and sexual education.

Our paper covered by The Young Turks.

That said, a lot of talk around our research is that in it, we advocate for teaching BDSM to kids in sex ed.  We’d like to clarify that while sex ed is incredibly important, the lessons we’d like to see added to it are regarding affirmative consent.  We think that teaching kids age-appropriate concepts throughout their school years will have positive effects.        

For example, teaching kids in kindergarten that no one should be able to touch their bodies without their permission will help them to establish boundaries and learn about bodily autonomy.  Teaching kids in middle school about what healthy relationships look like, and how to spot the signs of emotional and other kinds of subtle abuse will help them to make better choices for themselves and for their friends.  Teaching kids in high school that they should ask their partner(s) before engaging in sexual activity would then build on the lessons they learned earlier in life.

Establishing norms of affirmative consent when it comes to sexual behavior has the potential to do a lot of good.  In our study, we found that BDSM practitioners reported the lowest levels of rape myth acceptance, victim blaming, and benevolent sexism.  If affirmative consent and negotiation about sexual activity was normative in the general population, it’s possible that we could see a global reduction of problematic rape-supportive beliefs. 

Head over to our website to check out the media coverage, and to read our new research: