top of page

Whips and Chains Excite Me

Whips & Chains Excite Me: BDSM and Social Acceptance in the Context of Normative Influences – Abbey Ratcliff-Elder, Cory L. Pedersen, & Arleigh J. Reichl


Although public interest in the BDSM community is increasing, practitioners continue to experience marginalization, as well as a great level of stigma and discrimination stemming from several facets of society. This study examined levels of social acceptance of dominant/submissive relationships when two factors were manipulated: (a) gender of the dominant, and (b) exposure to normalizing information about a Dominant/submissive relationship. The Attitudes About Sadomasochism Scale (ASMS; Yost, 2010) and a set of original items were used to gather opinions about the BDSM community and Dominant/submissive relationships, yielding two measures of social acceptance relating to BDSM practices. Two separate ANOVAs revealed partial support for the hypotheses, indicating that female participants reported significantly higher levels of social acceptance when the Dominant/submissive scene was accompanied by a normative interview about the couple. Suggestions for the development of anti-discrimination programs involving normative information exposure are discussed.

Article published in the Kwantlen Psychology Student Journal, 2019.

bottom of page