Kink and Flourishing Study

The first large-scale scientific exploration of healing from trauma and flourishing through kink.

Introducing the Kink and Flourishing Study

Have you ever experienced healing from trauma through kink? Has kink impacted your wellbeing? Recent research has debunked the notion that kink is inherently pathological, revealing its potential as a catalyst for trauma healing and improved mental well-being. The Kink and Flourishing Study aims to support those findings, delving into the “why,” “how,” and “how often” of flourishing and trauma healing in kink experiences. This research will break new ground in destigmatizing alternative sexualities and positively recognizing the role of kink in healing.


For questions or press inquiries please contact us at [email protected]. The Informed Consent is available for download below, in the FAQ.

Study Participation Information

You are eligible for this study if you . . .

  • Have engaged in kink behaviors or fantasies
  • Are of adult age where you live
  • Can complete a survey written in English

If you are eligible, please complete the online survey. This survey will take about 45 – 60 minutes and will ask about your kink experience, trauma history, and instances of healing from trauma through kink.


Your Participation Helps!

Potential benefits of the proposed study include the improved understanding of how the use of kink scenes to address past trauma or issues in personal growth differ among the population of people who are kink-involved or kink-identified. Future findings from this study may improve the quality of healthcare for kink practitioners.

Primary Study Goals
  • Increase knowledge about how kink experiences can influence healing from past trauma
  • Explore how kink practices can impact wellbeing
Supporting Study Goals
  • Reduce stigma, increase awareness, and inform healthcare practices
  • Create educational resources for kink communities, the public, and healthcare providers
  • Promote understanding, improved mental health support, and the recognition of kink’s healing potential

Ways to Support the Kink and Flourishing Study:

History of the Kink and Flourishing Study

This project grew out of the work of co-principal investigator Julie Lehman, a therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area with extensive experience working with the kink community. Dreaming and planning for this project began in 2022, after many conversations between Julie and Richard Sprott, the TASHRA Research Director, about how to explore these questions.

Julie’s training in AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy), designed specifically to address recovery from trauma, inspired a focus on experiences of personal growth, self-actualization, and healing in the context of kink and BDSM. In June 2022, we formed a research team to plan a series of studies that would explore kink and flourishing. Our first step is a survey to understand the big picture:

  • How many kinky people have experienced personal growth or healing through kink?
  • Are there subgroups of kinky people who experience growth or healing more than others?
  • Under what conditions does personal growth or healing through kink happen?

As of 2024, we have launched the study, and we are excited to be exploring this positive side of kink!


In the USA:

  • Emergency: 911
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline (USA): 1-800-799-7233 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA): Dial or text 988
  • SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY 1-800-487-4889
  • NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 6674
  • Trans lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
  • Trevor Project Helpline for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults: 1-866-488-7386 or Text: START to 678-678
  • BlackLine: 1800 604 5841 (BIPOC & QTBIPOC support)
  • Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT(1-800-366-8288)
  • Essential local and community services: 211,
  • Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) 


Outside of the USA:


When the study launches, you will be eligible for this study if you . . .

  • Have engaged in kink behaviors or fantasies
  • Are of adult age where you live
  • Can complete a survey written in English

Yes! When you donate on GoFundMe, you can elect to hide your personal details. You can also manage these settings after you make your donation.

For general study questions, please reach out to the study email: [email protected]. To get in direct contact with the researchers, please contact Richard Sprott ([email protected]) or Julie Lehman ([email protected]).

The Informed Consent for this study is available for download here.

Kink and Flourishing – Stay in Touch!

I’m happy to provide my email because . . .