DID YOU KNOW? It has been estimated that around 10% of the U.S. population engages in non-traditional sexual practices, as bondage, sadomasochism, or sexual BDSM or "kink." People involved in kink may have special health-care concerns, such as increased risk of STIs or HIV/AIDS, unusual injuries or particular mental/sexual healthcare needs. However, many kinky people do not reveal their sexual practices to their healthcare providers and some avoid accessing healthcare altogether for fear of being ridiculed, pathologized, or criminalized.
Kink Health Pilot Research:
"When I was pregnant, I went to SEVEN obstetricians
before I found one who would actually help me figure out which S/M practices were safe for
me during pregnancy"
27 year old female submissive
TASHRA believes there is an urgent need for research that:
1. describes the mental and physical health concerns and needs of patients/clients who engage in non-traditional sexual practices;
2. sheds light on issues of access to healthcare specific to the population (including under-use of available services, or inability to obtain necessary care once engaged in services), and;
3. characterizes barriers and facilitators to establishment of effective health partnerships between patients/clients and their providers.
"The term BDSM is a compound acronym, derived from the terms Bondage and Discipline (B/D), Dominance and Submission (D/s), and Sadism and Masochism (S/M). It serves as an umbrella label for forms of sexuality which incorporate restraint, pressure, intense sensation, and elements of power exchange between the engaged parties."
("Sexual Outsiders" Ortmann & Sprott, 2012)
TASHRA is a community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit, founded in 2012 strives to improve the physical and mental health of adults who engage in consensual and alternative sexual practices including kink, BDSM (bondage/discipline, domination/submission, sadism/masochism), and sexual fetishism.
We propose to accomplish this by:
conducting research to define their unique bio-psycho-social healthcare needs.
documenting their use of the healthcare system.
training medical and mental healthcare providers to deliver culturally competent, non-judgmental, and knowledgeable care.
empowering community members to act as effective partners in their own healthcare.
advocating for equitable treatment within the healthcare system.
promoting consensual and sexually diverse relevant health and social policies.
Since 2012, TASHRA has been engaging in healthcare professional training and healthcare research to explore the interaction between kink and health; specifically to describe the physical and mental health of the kink population, their use of healthcare, and their experiences engaging with the healthcare system.