One in seven BDSM'ers need doctors to treat injuries

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A BDSM style collar (Picture: Wikipedia/Grendelkhan). A BDSM style collar (Picture: Wikipedia/Grendelkhan)

One in seven people who participate in BDSM, a variety of erotic practices involving roleplaying, bondage, dominance and submission and other interpersonal dynamics, have had to visit the doctor afterwards for injuries sustained.

This is according to research done on behalf of Minister Ivo Opstelten (Security and Justice) among people who have a profile on sites for S&M and bondage. He wrote a letter to the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) regarding this study today.  According to the study, the Netherlands has a hard core of an estimated 5 thousand to 10 thousand active participants.

The researchers did a survey among members of the websites Fetlife and BDSMzaken. They consider the results indicative, if not completely accurate as there is no way to know the degree of representativeness for certain. The survey showed that 23 percent of respondents have felt abused at some point. A vast majority of the respondents believe that abuse is less common in BDSM than in the "vanilla" (regular) world, because with BDSM you clearly express your wishes and limits in advance.

The chance of someone experiencing abuse is greatest for women and underage newcomers. Interviews with BDSM experts also indicate that inexperience increases the risk of abuse. The abuses often involves violating the agreed upon "rules". The abuses are most commonly discussed with other BDSM'ers or friends and family. Only a small number (5 percent) report the abuse to the police or care facility.

There were 27 BDSM related cases in the police system from 2010 to early last year and 15 charges laid. Elven cases were criminally prosecuted. There are no special care services for victims of abuses in the Netherlands, but there are specialized "kink friendly" therapists.

According to Opstelten, the research does not indicate that a change in policy is necessary. He believes that people going to the doctor does not necessarily mean that there are abuses. He does, however, want the police to increase their background knowledge about the phenomenon so that abuses can be handled better.

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