For the more vanilla and or closed-minded individuals, BDSM is nothing more than an unheard of sexual practice that consists of violence and pain. But boy, oh boy, are they missing out on some seriously tantalizing experiences.

BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) is so much more than just a sexual experience. It’s a journey that encompasses mental, physical, and emotional intimacy that arguably cannot be sought elsewhere. BDSM is a lifestyle, it’s a beautiful relationship between persons that embodies trust, faith, intimacy, and communication. 

So, with BDSM being sufficiently talked-up, here are six benefits of enjoying this practice.

1. Communication, Trust, & Faith

It takes complete trust and faith for you and your partner to really engage in BDSM. It’s not just about grabbing the ping pong paddle every once in a while (although that is fun too!). The BDSM lifestyle entails really communicating with your partner as to create a stimulating and rewarding experience for both of you. 

By communicating, you will be able to come to an agreement about limits, likes, dislikes, kinks, hard no’s, and other aspects like a safe word and aftercare. Communication too will allow you to abide by the three main tenets of being safe, sane, and consensual. 

And once you’re able to fully trust and communicate with your partner, you’ll feel a greater sense of intimacy.

“Because doing BDSM means communicating with your partner, usually at an intense level because you are negotiating guidelines and discussing fantasies in depth, it gives you a greater sense of intimacy with them, and that, ultimately, is very psychologically balancing.” - Gloria Brame, a sex therapist specializing in BDSM.

2. Closeness & Less Stress

It’s been reported that doms and subs feel an increase in relationship closeness and a decrease in psychological stress after play time. 

And, according to a 2008 study, both doms and subs showed lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, after scenes than before. Interestingly, it too was found that both doms and subs entered an altered state of consciousness during a scene. 

Subs entered the state “transient hypofrontality” which is said to be linked to reduced pain, a feeling of floating and peacefulness, and being present. Doms entered a state called “flow” which is said to be linked to focused attention, loss of self-consciousness, and optimal performance of tasks. This, according to researchers, is perhaps a big motive as to why some people live the lifestyle.

In a separate study done in 2014, it was proven that sadomasochism has a positive effect on the blood flow in the brain, which ultimately gives one a feeling similar to that of “runner’s high”.

3. Increased Wellbeing & Mental Health

A 2013 study showed that those who engaged in BDSM practices had better mental health scores than those who were more vanilla in the bedroom. 

The study proved that the BDSM-enthusiasts were less neurotic, more extraverted, more open to new experiences, less fearful of rejection, and more secure and aware in their relationships.

4. Fidelity 

According to Dr Jeffrey Sumber, BDSM “dissuades many people from cheating or acting out of integrity”. Many who take it seriously are not interested in sabotaging the safety and trust that is imperative to its success.|

This makes sense, as partners who live the BDSM lifestyle invest a lot of emotion, energy, and trust into the relationship, and ultimately it creates an environment that no one wants to see fail.

5. Power Play 

Depending on whether you’re a dom, sub, or a switch, engaging in BDSM gives one the ability to experiment with power. Oftentimes, playing a role in the bedroom that is different to that of your day-to-day life is a way in which to escape the drudgery, and either let go or take the reigns. 

For example, if someone were to feel deprived of power in their daily life, being a dom may be a very fulfilling role for them when they’re with their partner. And while the dom/sub relationship is about a power exchange, it is too that both partners are actually equal in status and consent is of utmost importance.

6. Tapping into Creativity

BDSM is not just a sexual practice. It’s an experience that stimulates the body and the mind, either sexually or non-sexually. And for some, aspects of BDSM is a great way in which to channel in on their creative side and self-expression.

For example, mastering certain bondage techniques or employing wax play into a scene can bring about a beautiful aesthetic, like a living masterpiece or engaging in performance art.