TASHRA is a leader in replacing societal stigma with scientific grounding in our understanding of kink and health. Our focus is on health disparities; injuries and medical complications from engaging in fetish, kink and BDSM activities; and the discrimination experienced in healthcare settings. By conducting ground-breaking research and providing cutting edge clinical training, we can enhance the physical and mental health of people who engage in BDSM, kink and fetish practices.
The field of BDSM Studies or Kink Studies has exploded since 2010-2014, when the number of scholarly and scientific articles and books increased nearly 600% from previous time periods. The number doubled again in the five years after that period, and still to this day many books, dissertations and research articles are being published annually.
The early roots of the study of BDSM or kink promoted a pathologizing view: engaging in kink was deeply anti-social, violent, and expressed by men (only) who were ill physically or stunted psychologically. While some research and clinical training still assumes this pathologizing view, many studies and trainings today do not assume pathology. The change in the medical and academic fields occurred because people both inside and outside the professions worked towards removing societal stigma.
History of research/lack of research in kink
Kink is assumed to be violent, anti-social, emotionally stunted, and a perversion of natural sexual instincts. Studies of forensic populations support the view of kink as a pathology.
Research we have led
We document problematic patterns of pathologizing or poor healthcare, empirically ground our understanding of kink-related injuries and medical complications, describe factors leading to risks and vulnerabilities in health outcomes, and investigate the positive impacts of kink on health and well-being.
Our educational opportunities
TASHRA has developed and offered more than 28 medical and mental health workshops each between 4-12 hours in length. We have educated health professionals from 13 countries and 15+ professional fields, including internal and family medicine, emergency medicine, nursing, psychiatry, OBGYN, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, social work, law and law enforcement.
We design presentations for the kink community, such as Ask the Kink Doctor; A State of Mind, A State of Heart: How mental health challenges intertwine with BDSM; and Black & Blue: Suicide in our own leather, kink and queer communities. Our work with healthcare professions increases the likelihood of community members finding skilled and affirming care.
By providing scientifically grounded information to the kink community on health matters, and by training healthcare professionals to provide informed, affirming and skilled care, TASHRA aims to enhance the health and well-being of all people who practice fetish, kink and BDSM.