Document Type



The purpose of this study was to gain more information about demographic and psychological differences between the bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism (BDSM) population and the general population. BDSM has become more prominent in the knowledge of the general population with the notoriety of E.L. James’ book series 50 Shades of Grey, but even with the new prominence of BDSM in American households, there is a lack of knowledge about BDSM practitioners among psychotherapists. In this study, data was gathered from a sample of BDSM practitioners and a general population sample on a variety of demographic and psychological variables. Independent samples t-tests showed that there were significant differences between the BDSM population and general population in physical anxiety, depression, reassurance seeking, sexual skill, lack of sexual empathy, and sensation-seeking, impulsivity, and risk-taking, but no significant differences in social interaction anxiety, sexual exploitation, or sexual entitlement. With this new research, some important foundational information about the BDSM population has been gained and can be used as a stepping stone to guide further research, which can provide more information to mental healthcare providers.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Joseph Schwab, Committee Member

Dr. Nesa Wasarhaley, Committee Member

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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Psychology Commons