‘The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey,’ was a talk given by Tristan Taormino at the University of Maryland along with Q&A. Dr. Hernando Chaves’ answer to “Can BDSM by Addictive” is one of the best I have read from a sexology professional. There is much controversy in the field regarding sex addiction and whether it even exists. I agree with Dr. Chaves, “So when someone comes along and says that BDSM play is addictive, ask them to accurately define kink addiction, ask for empirical evidence to support their perspective, and be skeptical.”
Can BDSM be Addictive?
By Dr. Hernando Chaves’ (Hernando Chaves, M.F.T., D.H.S., Licensed CA Marriage and Family Therapist, Doctor of Human Sexuality, and Human Sexuality Professor. Follow Dr. Chaves on Twitter @Hernando_Chaves)
“I (Tristan Taormino) asked my colleague Dr. Hernando Chaves to respond to this one. He says:”
I’m not in favor of the addiction term being used with any sexual expression for a number of reasons. It can promote the use of pejorative sex negative terminology, the creation and/or reinforcement of negative sexual identity, alleviate responsibility of choices and actions, and the inability of professionals to agree on an accurate definition of sexual addiction or testing measures as well as limited, controversial data and evidence supporting sexual addiction makes this a difficult concept to support. With so much uncertainty, it’s more harmful than helpful to attribute addiction to unique sexual expression.
That being said, I understand some people use their sexual expression in a manner that is out of control, compulsive, or as a way to cope with difficulties and unresolved issues in their lives. For most, sexual expression is an enhancer to pleasure and happiness. For some, their sexual expression is linked to pain and suffering, but not the good kind of pain and suffering that many in the BDSM community understand can be central to arousal, pleasure, and enjoyment. The untrained outside observer may see pain and suffering, even label it as abusive, and deem these sexual behaviors as problematic, symptomatic, and related to a disorder. They may miss the importance of consent and may not be able to differentiate the intent as coming from a place of empowerment, intimacy, satisfaction, or mutual pleasure.
Can BDSM, like food, gambling, Facebook, and video games, be misused to where it can become a problem? I would argue that BDSM cannot be addictive, but anything can become problematic if misused.
Read entire answer: