Tabuu Wrap-up: BDSM and kink can be great for your mental health, says science. But you should still go to therapy!

When you suffer from anxiety and you don’t understand what’s happening to you, you don’t really have the language to get the thoughts out of your head. So they all stay in there and you feel worse and worse. But what kinky people have figured out is that the discipline and kink that comes with it can help them clear their mind and calm the noise in their heads.

Surprisingly to many people who are not into it, the link between BDSM and mental health is documented and backed by science. That means kink can have a positive effect on your mental health. And even though it’s not a replacement for therapy (nothing is!), it’s a great tool.

The Link Between Mental Health and BDSM

BDSM being good for our mental or physical health is quite a new idea. If you ask someone who doesn’t practice kink (and is a bit ignorant of it) what their thoughts are on BDSM, they will probably talk about sexual deviations and problems. And that’s not surprising at all.

It has a lot to do with the fact that BDSM activities were classified in the DSM as paraphilias and disorders for a long time. It wasn’t until the 2013 version of the DSM was published that it was taken away. Back then, it could be used as a bludgeon against you in therapy and even at court. Even today that still happens sometimes.

So, imagine people’s surprise when studies started proving that BDSM and being into kink is not a mental illness. In fact, people who do it may even be happier. According to a study in 2006, people who practice BDSM show lower levels of anxiety, PTSD, and depression.

In 2013, another study compared people who practice kink and people who don’t. It showed that kinksters are more open to new experiences, show more self-discipline, and are more conscientious. Now, that doesn’t mean kinksters don’t have psychological issues or don’t suffer from mental illness. If you go to any kinkster online forum, you will find out mental health is a very popular topic. They discuss what it means, how to deal with that, and how kink can be a tool.

How Can Kink Help?

For many, kink is a way to calm down anxiety and let go of those pesky thoughts that can invade the mind. In fact, this is very common. According to a 2015 study, kinksters, both dominant and submissives, enter an altered state of consciousness when they engage in kink.

This kind of state is characterized by a loss of self-consciousness, focused attention, and optimal performance. When you’re invested in your role, whether as a dominant or a submissive, you’re very focused. You don’t see anything else, it’s just you and your partner. That’s a big part of the high that comes with the experience. You feel like you’re floating right after, which in the scene is known as being in “subspace”. You don’t feel anything else but peace and time seems to stand still for a moment.

This kind of altered state people experience during kink may be the reason why people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental issues feel so calm and so much better after the experience.

For many kinksters, spanking is the most popular form of kink as a therapeutic tool. People who enjoy the occasional spanking know just how much it can do for your mental well-being. Therapy spankings are a thing, and they’re a very common topic of conversation when it comes to the kink lifestyle.

Why does spanking help? Well, it may have something to do with the pain; it helps you focus on something else or it can aid emotional release. Either way, it’s an effective temporary solution when you’re feeling overwhelmed and you don’t have an outlet. Many kinksters can attest to this.

Kink Is Not an Alternative to Therapy, You Will Still Need It

When you start experiencing issues with anxiety and depression for the first time, you don’t really know what’s going on. It’s a cycle that’s full of highs and lows. And when you pay attention to the experiences of others, it never feels like you’re at that level. Maybe you’re just moody…

But sooner rather than later, undiagnosed issues will sneak up on you and hit hard. These issues can be debilitating and interfere with your life greatly. In such cases, and even before it gets to that point, nothing can replace therapy. Say it with me: nothing can replace therapy.

If you’re planning on using kink as a replacement or an alternative to therapy, please don’t. This article is not to say you should “self-medicate” with BDSM or kink. It is to say kink can be a very helpful tool and it can help you deal with your issues healthily. That doesn’t mean you should surrender your life completely to kink. That’s a recipe for disaster and it can quickly get out of control.

Believe it or not, there are kink-friendly therapists that will help you use kink to your favor without having it become an additional issue for you to deal with. There’s a right way and a wrong way to use kink as a therapeutic tool. And if you can’t figure it out on your own, there are many people out there who can help you.

Kink can be a soothing balm for a mind that’s anxious and troubled, but you still need therapy to deal with the underlying issues that cause those mental problems in the first place. In many cases medication is necessary, but that’s something you can only find out by reaching out to a professional.

If you have the slightest suspicion of a mental problem, go to therapy. The sooner, the better. Don’t dismiss your issues! If something doesn’t feel right about the way you’re experiencing life, you need to talk to someone who can help you figure out and deal with what’s going on.

And yes, I know that even in 2020 there’s still a stigma surrounding therapy and mental health, but they are receding. As a society, we are more vocal about mental health now than ever before. Why? Because it’s a priority that should be high on the list and seeking help should never be shameful. The more you prolong an issue, the more difficult it will be to overcome it.

You shouldn’t feel ashamed about looking for help. Ever. You wouldn’t ignore a broken bone, would you? Kink can provide temporary release from anxiety, depression, and other mental issues. But it’s only that; a tool, a band-aid. When you need more, there’s no better solution than therapy.

 

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