Much to my surprise, several reputable websites have plenty to say on the topic of D/s relationships and those who participate in them. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in May 2013 was featured in an article by Psychology Today; they highlighted the study's findings that "BDSM Practitioners," namely dominants and submissives, were actually more conscientious, less neurotic, and had a better sense of well-being than those with "vanilla sexual preferences." The article went on to say: "Common assumptions about people who participate in BDSM are that they psychologically anxious and maladjusted, acting out a past history of sexual abuse, however... available research evidence suggests that these assumptions are probably not true" Well then. How about that?
They weren't the only ones to weigh in on the character of those interested in dominance and submission. LiveScience.com discussed similar research at length with this conclusion: "...Studies have failed to show evidence that enjoying sex with a side of pain is linked to psychological problems... in fact, these studies suggest that BDSM practitioners may be better off psychologically than the general public." The article went on to say that such individuals "tend to be more aware of their sexual needs and desires than vanilla people," thus implying that these people are more likely to have a healthier sex life and a healthier sense of self.
Another reputable entity addressing D/s participants was The Huffington Post: they produced an article stating that past assumptions that BDSM proclivities might be correlated with previous abuse mental disorders are contrary to research, and that people with such preferences actually score better on many mental health indicators than the general population.
Finally, the Smithsonian website cited several studies indicating that a staggering 36-65% of the general American population have BDSM preferences. What fascinating and validating statistics! And yet even the Smithsonian observed that "In spite of the evidence that BDSM is commonplace—normal, even—those who openly adhere to the lifestyle are frequently marginalized."
Marginalized indeed. Now I admit I have only been a part of the D/s community for a few years, but virtually everyone I've encountered within it has faced a time where they assumed that their desire for such a power exchange meant that something must be wrong with them psychologically. And even though society has a rich history of inarguably erred judgment in regards to "acceptable" and "moral," its marginalization of such preferences play a huge role in this self-doubt. Heaven knows I've been there myself. But maybe its time we turn the tables and shame society for its high-handed ignorance. I trust the man I've pledged my life to so fully that I find empowerment in fully surrendering control to him. He loves me so much that he desires to commit himself to the worthiness that such power and responsibility requires. While this challenges and stretches us, it certainly doesn't make us any more broken or damaged than the rest of the population. It does make us better, more selfless versions of ourselves, more fulfilled, and deeper in love than ever. The way I see it, that makes us pretty damn healthy.