Have you ever felt your D/s, M/s, or other power exchange relationship was misunderstood?

Do you ever grow weary of having to justify or explain your power exchange relationship? Do people assume that you are somehow a bad person for enjoying these relationships?

Because these misunderstandings often lead to discrimination, we are seeking to address these misunderstandings by conducting an in-depth study of a diverse array of power exchange relationships, which we are calling authority transfer relationships.

Are you kinky and in a power-exchange relationship of 2 or more years? If so, we would love to learn from your experience!

About This Study

The experiences of dominance and submission come in many different types of relationships, such as master-slave, dominant-submissive, pup-handler, and big-little to name just a few. These power-exchange relationships are often misunderstood and often mischaracterized. We are conducting an exploratory study to contribute to a better understanding of these relationships. 

  •  Potential participants will fill out a short screening questionnaire to see if they are eligible to be enrolled in the study.
  • If you are enrolled, the study requires a short online survey and an interview via Zoom.  It should not take more than two hours of your time altogether.
  • In order to make sure that the study is scientifically valid, you may be asked to review and respond to some preliminary results.

The Study’s Purpose

The purpose of this study is to document the experiences of dominance and submission in power exchange or authority transfer relationships.  

The results of the study may be used for future scientific and healthcare purposes; for example, a therapist might use the results to help to better understand their kinky clients.

Do you meet the eligibility requirements?

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Fluent in reading and writing in English
  • Currently living in the United States or Canada
  • Have engaged in kinky behaviors in the past 12 months (or you identify as kinky)
  • Have had 2 years or more of continual, consensual power exchange / authority transfer dynamics in a current relationship

Read below for more details related to the study

We take your information and privacy seriously. Consequently, we follow the guidelines of international research standards and the IRB overseeing this study, which both protect your privacy and confidentiality. You are also free not to answer any question, and you may withdraw at any time.  Any past, current or future relationships you may have with TASHRA will not be affected in any way because of your choosing to participate or not, nor will they be affected if you choose to withdraw from the study at any time.

This study will not provide any benefits to you directly, but may help to develop an important new tool that will help scientists and health professionals to understand kinky people and communities.

  • Are there benefits to participating in this study? No incentives will be offered for completing this study. Except for your time, there are no additional costs. It is important to understand you are not receiving services of any sort from TASHRA because of your participation in this study. 
  • The scientists conducting the study believe that there is virtually no risk to you in taking part in this study. You can withdraw your participation at any time. 
  • You can volunteer to allow your responses to be used in future research, but you don’t have to do this.

Please reach out to Richard Sprott ([email protected] or [email protected] or 510-919-4488) with any questions related to the study.

ATR Research Team

Dr. Tiffany Chan

Based in Southern California in the Los Angeles area, Dr. Tiffany Chan (she, her, they pronouns) is a Certified Holistic Sexuality Educator (CHSE) and board-certified Sexologist who specializes in kink education and D/s dynamics within her private consulting practice. Her work is deeply rooted in embodiment, holistic principles, and empowering people to live authentically. 

Tiffany completed her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) with a concentration in Leadership in 2020, M.A. in English Literature in 2013, and B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing in 2011. She has been publishing scholarly works, non-fiction articles and erotica novellas since 2016 and is a proud promoter of erotic intelligence. In addition, she is also an RYT-200 yoga instructor, aerialist, and provocative artist.

In 2020, Tiffany became a coalition member of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) and an active member of the Kink/BDSM Special Interest Group of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS). She began her journey volunteering with The Alternative Sexual Health Research Alliance (TASHRA) in 2022 and is currently participating in the development of TASHRA’s Authority Transfer study with further interest in researching alternative lifestyles, Tantra, consensual non-monogamy, gender, and LGTBQ+ studies.

Tiffany is also the host of The Submissive Next Door Podcast (known as “Dr. Tiffany “K.” on the show), which brings a down-to-Earth approach to D/s dynamics and the world of kink through scholarly research, communication, consent, and safety practices. In 2022, she launched her second podcast, More Than Sex, which discusses sexological topics from historical, literary, and scientific perspectives. She is on a mission to de-stigmatize alternative lifestyles and sexuality by holding space for inclusion and acceptance for all sexualities and identities. 

For more information about Dr. Tiffany Chan, visit her website below.

David Pasoff
Research Assistant

David (he/him) is currently in his final semester of his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Guelph. It was here that he first discovered his passion for human sexuality research. His thesis examines the Toronto pup play community and their experiences with mental health and wellness. Along with his research, David has a vested interest in increasing education within the alternative sexuality space. He has extensive experience conducting professional development workshops for high school and university students.

David began volunteering with TASHRA in late 2022 and is actively pursuing opportunities to grow as a researcher and advocate within the alternative sexuality community. His research interests include the pup play and furry communities, the effects of participation in kink on mental health, and romantic relationships within kink communities. He looks forward to his time volunteering with TASHRA and his future as a sexuality researcher and educator.

Stephen Ratcliff, MA, LPCC, LPC, NCC, CST

Steve (he, him pronouns) is a licensed mental health counselor and AASECT certified sex therapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon who specializes in treating LGBTQ+, Kinky, and Consensually Nonmonogamous (CNM) clients. Steve completed his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies in 2006 and his Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology in 2009. In 2018, Steve began doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology. Steve’s doctoral studies are focusing on gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD). Steve joined the directors board of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) in March 2021. Steve began volunteering with The Alternative Sexual Health Research Alliance (TASHRA) in late 2020. 

Steve was appointed a Research Scientist at TASHRA in 2022 and a lead research associate on TASHRA’s International Kink Health Study (IKHS) in 2021. In addition to IKHS, Steve is currently participating in the development of TASHRA’s Authority Transfer study, healing experiences study, and HIV intervention study. Steve’s research interests including studying various aspects of kink communities and other gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD) communities.

For more information about Steve, please visit his website below.

Anna Randall, DHS, LCSW, MPH

Anna Randall, DHS, LCSW, MPH (she/her/hers) the Co-Founder & Exec. Dir. of TASHRA – The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (tashra.org), an international health research and professional training organization focusing on stigmatized sexual minority populations.

With a Masters in Social Work from Boston University and a Doctorate in Human Sexuality and Masters in Public Health from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, my work over the last 20 years has been to build awareness of the emergence of Kink-sexuality as an scientific area of clinical and research specialty. I work with TASHRA’s worldwide team to create kink community educational programs, mentor healthcare providers, lead professional case-consultation groups, and develop courses and curriculum for healthcare professional continuing education and post graduate programs. As part of our research on the lived-experienced of kink-involved (BDSM & fetish), I am the Co-Principal Investigator on the International Kink Health Study kinkhealth.org and a founder of the MOTE Conference mote-con.org. In my private practice as a licensed LCSW, I specialize in sex therapy with individuals, couples, and other relational configurations.

Richard A. Sprott, PhD
Principal Investigator

Richard Sprott, PhD is TASHRA’s Research Director. He is a developmental psychologist, researcher, and educator at a number of Bay Area universities, including Cal State University, East Bay and UC Berkeley Extension. His research focuses on sexual identity development, and the impact of stigma and prejudice on interactions between counselors/ therapists and members of stigmatized groups. Richard is also a founding member of CARAS – the Community Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities.  He is in leadership of the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, Division 44 of the American Psychological Association.