Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fifty shades of stigma: repugnance for legal but kinky sex

As a wider variety of sexual behavior becomes free of legal restrictions, some are still misunderstood or regarded as repugnant by much of the population, including medical professionals, even as they are featured (gently) in popular books and movies like “Fifty Shades of Gray.”

The Journal of Sexual Medicine explores the extent to which practitioners of kinky sex may feel that they cannot be frank with their physicians:

"Fifty Shades of Stigma: Exploring the Health Care Experiences of Kink-Oriented Patients"
Jessica F. Waldura, MD, Ishika Arora, BS, Anna M. Randall, DHS, John Paul Farala, MD, Richard A. Sprott, PhD

Abstract: "The term kink describes sexual behaviors and identities encompassing bondage, discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism (collectively known as BDSM) and sexual fetishism. Individuals who engage in kink could be at risk for health complications because of their sexual behaviors, and they could be vulnerable to stigma in the health care setting. However, although previous research has addressed experiences in mental health care, very little research has detailed the medical care experiences of kink-oriented patients."

Results: "...The study found that kink-oriented patients have genuine health care needs relating to their kink behaviors and social context. Most patients would prefer to be out to their health care providers so they can receive individualized care. However, fewer than half were out to their current provider, with anticipated stigma being the most common reason for avoiding disclosure. Patients are often concerned that clinicians will confuse their behaviors with intimate partner violence and they emphasized the consensual nature of their kink interactions."

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