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BDSM and mental health explained

Even though most people living in modern society have probably heard of the term BDSM and are familiar with the concept, many still consider it as a taboo and or feel shameful about feeling the urge to try BDSM. Some people even regard BDSM as a form of violence or abuse. Kinks are still portrayed negatively, and some professionals such as mental health specialists have long condemned BDSM. However, in this article, we will refute this claim and explain how BDSM can even improve your mental health.

Strange Kinks Are Not Strange

Before we begin, there are a few points that must be addressed. Have you noticed anything strange or even seemingly “gross” that turns you on? Do you perceive it as a “system hiccup”?  For example, if you enjoy spitting, spanking, and a little pain in the bedroom, you may believe that something has gone wrong in your life. We want to reassure you that it is common for people to believe that it isn't normal. That's how our brain works: when we are turned on, the part of our brain responsible for registering disgust and fear simply turns off. It can sometimes lead to people developing fetishes that can be considered gross and scary in everyday life. You are unlikely to enjoy being restrained or slapped on a daily basis, but it may be appealing to you and your partner in a sexual context. Many therapists assure that being aroused by something weird or unpleasant is completely normal, and it is just human nature. So don't think of it as something you need to be ashamed of.

Benefits of BDSM 

Various studies and psychological observations have revealed that BDSM practices can improve our mental health. People who practice BDSM appear more stable, less neurotic, and more open to new experiences. They have better mental health profiles and can handle any type of stress better than the general public.

Reduced Stress Levels 

If you've tried yoga or enjoy doing cardio, you're probably familiar with the feeling of relief you get after exercising. Yes, the "zen" we experience lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and raises serotonin (also known as the happiness hormone) concentration in the blood. 


And you may be surprised to learn that, according to some studies, BDSM sessions cause a similar reaction in our bodies. One American university conducted research involving people who played the roles of a submissive and a dominant while engaging in BDSM practices. It was discovered that dominant partners had lower levels of cortisol after participating in sadomasochistic scenes compared to the results before the session. It’s important to mention that a decrease in the level of this hormone has a significant impact on our physical health, as it normalizes high blood pressure, combats insulin resistance and immune suppression.

Not All Bad Emotions Are Bad

You may be wondering why the feelings you have after a BDSM session are so disparate at times. Instead of feeling relief from increased serotonin levels, you experience serious mood issues after some sessions. Some experts call it "post-orgasmic afterglow," a condition in which you experience a significant drop in your mood after achieving an orgasm. It is caused by changes in the levels of hormones in our bodies. Imagine your body going from a normal state to arousal and then abruptly returning down to a normal state. 


There is even a specific term for this process, but unfortunately, it is not widely used in the context of sex and BDSM. It's known as post-orgasmic (or post-coital) blues. This term refers to the mood crash that occurs immediately after sex. A large percentage of people can relate to this "problem," but they do not believe it is necessary to scientifically explain the ostensibly random sadness and loneliness they feel after having sex. 


However, there is some good news too, as the majority of the sharp emotions we experience after a BDSM session, whether positive or negative, are all caused by the release we experience during an orgasm. Yes, it is simply a way for our body to release all the accumulated emotions, and there is nothing wrong with that! So post-orgasmic afterglow or blues are completely normal and even beneficial to your body, but be cautious. If you've been depressed and feeling bad for a long time, you should seek professional help because it could be a sign of a problem with your mental health.

Better Relationship Maintenance

Some people believe that BDSM harms sexual relationships. That is not correct. Experienced BDSM players have stronger relationships, are more willing to discuss some sexual problems, and are more aware of safety precautions than the general population. Every session must be discussed, which is why each partner's boundaries are respected and not crossed. Moreover, partners become more open to each other, build trust, and correctly understand each other's needs by discussing fantasies and kinks. BDSM provides a deep understanding of how roles we take on during playtime are not the same as our roles in everyday life. And the perception of BDSM provides the key to satisfaction and healthy relationships.

Mental Health Improvement

The International Society for Sexual Medicine conducted studies to assess the well-being of people who participate in the BDSM lifestyle. The researchers considered the general mental state, level of sensitivity, and style of behavior in relationships of people participating in the study. People who practice BDSM were expected to be more “damaged” than those who had never tried it, but BDSM participants appeared to be more stable. They were more self-assured, had a greater sense of well-being, and were more open to new experiences. This study concluded that BDSM has a positive impact on our mental health and will not harm a person if the rules of respect and discussion are followed.

BDSM Is Not Shameful

Unfortunately, even though the world is slowly changing, many members of our society still don’t accept BDSM practices or sex in general as the norm, and these things are regarded as disgusting and inappropriate topics for discussion. 


Simultaneously, sex is everywhere in social media, relationships, and common conversions. It creates a mental paradox and makes us feel strange. As a result, many people lose their authentic sexual selves because they refuse to accept their unusual kinks and instead have to lie to themselves and suppress their desires. Even when we allow ourselves to be turned on by strange things while having sex with someone, as the session comes to an end, we analyze what we were doing a few moments ago and get scared after seeing the true embodiment of our desires. "I can't be that monster," is all that comes to mind sometimes. 


All of that is due to the public's perception of sex and BDSM as something filthy and shameless. And instead of being ashamed or scared, we need to face the things that are preventing us from being true and accept all of our strange desires as a part of ourselves.

Final Thoughts

BDSM is not about shame; it is about enjoying life. There is a lot of research proving that BDSM is a completely normal lifestyle and there is nothing wrong with kinky practices as long as you respect your partner and ensure that each participant consents to everything you’re doing. Moreover, by practicing BDSM, you can improve your mental health, develop better communication skills and feel free while being yourself. We hope we provided you with useful information to think about and helped you in your journey of finding your true self.

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