BDSM Proclivity Among College Students

Caroline C. Boyd-Rogers, Teresa A. Treat, William R. Corbin, Richard J. Viken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM) proclivity among college students is poorly characterized, in part because existing measures of BDSM proclivity highlight the consensual nature of BDSM and are appropriate for use with non-community members (e.g., those who may not understand BDSM jargon). The current study introduces such a measure, the BDSM Proclivity Scale, which characterizes BDSM proclivity among college students and evaluates relations of BDSM proclivity with other sexual attitudes and behaviors. College students (n = 552) completed measures of BDSM proclivity, sociosexual attitudes and behaviors, rape-supportive attitudes, lifetime sexual partners, and consent-seeking behavior. Two factors mapping onto attitudes and experiences related to BDSM were identified and cross-validated. Average endorsements of BDSM attitudes and experiences on a 7-point Likert scale (1 = strong disagreement, 7 = strong agreement) were 5.61 and 4.44, respectively. Structural models revealed that lifetime sexual contact and gender significantly positively correlated with BDSM attitudes and experiences, sociosexual attitudes positively correlated with BDSM attitudes, and rape-supportive attitudes positively correlated with BDSM experiences. Consent-seeking was unrelated to BDSM experiences or attitudes. College student BDSM proclivity was evident for both attitudes and experiences, highlighting the need to characterize the development of BDSM proclivity and its correlates, the sources of students’ knowledge, and the nature of students’ experiences. The observed associations between BDSM proclivity and relevant sexual attitudes and behaviors support its construct validity and suggest that BDSM proclivity may prove to be an important addition to the broader constructs assessed in sexual attitudinal and behavioral domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • BDSM
  • College students
  • Sexual attitudes
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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