Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Welfare


Sara Jane Dodd

Subject Categories

Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Social Work


BDSM, clinical, discrimination, policy, sexuality, stigma


Sadomasochism (BDSM) sexual behavior is an understudied phenomenon within the social sciences generally, and social work in particular. While BESM sexuality encompasses a wide variety of activities a community of individuals interested in BDSM is identifiable and has coalesced around organized groups, events, political activism, and shared sexual interests. This community has experienced discrimination, violence, and harassment (DVH) as a result of social approbation and stigma associated with BDSM practices. The study examines results of a secondary analysis of data from the Survey of Violence & Discrimination against Sexual Minorities, conducted in 2008. Severity and frequency of various types of DVH are explored and relationships between demographic characteristics, BDSM activities, and frequencies of DVH are examined. An emancipatory social work frame is used to contextualize the results of the analysis and implications for both practice and policy are discussed.



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