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BDSM Survey

BDSM Survey

By Susan Wright The 2008 survey saw a total of 3,058 responses collected. Of those, 2,412 respondents resided in the United States (83.4%). Of the remaining 480 respondents, a total of over 42 other countries were represented. Where appropriate, the data is compared to the 1998 Violence & Discrimination Survey Against Sexual Minorities which collected over 1,000 responses to similar questions over the course of a year. The 1998 survey did not cover business or event-related experiences of harassment, nor did it ask about Internet experiences. The 2008 survey also included more questions about sexual activity and identity. Table 1. Gender 2008 1998 Women 51% 46% Men 45% 51% Transgender 5% 1% Intersexes 1% 2%   Table 2. Sexual Orientation 2008 1998 Heterosexual 41% 40% Bisexual 35% 36% Gay/lesbian 22% 22% Other 7% 4%   A total of 1,146 (37.5%) respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against, had experienced some form of harassment or violence, or had some form of harassment or discrimination aimed at their BDSM-leather-fetish-related business. Of the respondents who reported some form of persecution, 476 (41.5%) identified as male 615 (53.7%) identified as female 9 (.8%) identified as intersexed 78 (6.8%) identified as transgendered (Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than 100%.) Of the 1,146 respondents who indicated that they had either been discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence, 380 (33.2%) identified as heterosexual, 440 (38.4%) identified as bisexual 292 (25.5%) identified as gay or lesbian. 97 (8.5%) indicated that they identified in some other way from heterosexual, bisexual or gay/lesbian. (Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than 100%.) The sexual orientation of respondents who were discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence is compared in Table 6.1 to the total percentage of respondents who identified their orientation. It is interesting to note that Gay/lesbian, Bisexual and Other respondents have slightly higher rates of persecution than their average percentage of total respondents, while Heterosexuals are less likely to be discriminated against. Table 3. Sexual Orientation and Discrimination Total Percent 2008 Respondents Percent Persecuted Gay/lesbian 22% 25.5% Bisexual 35% 38.4% Heterosexual 41% 33.2%…
  The 2008 Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities found significant discrimination and persecution against BDSM practitioners due to the social stigma attached to their sexual behavior. With over three thousand respondents, 37.5 percent indicated that they had either been discriminated against or experienced some form of harassment or violence. This survey addresses the gap in current knowledge by reporting data on the prevalence of violence and discrimination against BDSM and polyamory practitioners. The persecution of these individuals is conceptualized as a manifestation of sexual stigma, that is, society's negative regard for any non-heterosexual behavior, identity, relationship, or community.
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Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments 

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