Written by Richard Sprott, Research Director

February 13, 2023

One of our big research projects is the International Kink Health Study, which continues a line of research started back in 2013 (that first project was called the Kink Health Project, and involved an interview study of people in the San Francisco Bay Area about their experiences with health and healthcare as kink-involved people).

A second project in the line of research was the 2016 Kink Health Survey.  The 2016 Kink Health Survey was an anonymous online survey that collected data from kink-involved people in the United States, from April 2016 to October 2016 (six month window). 1,118 individuals completed the survey.  The results indicated the following (reported in Sprott, Randall, Smith & Woo, 2021):

●      The percentage of people who reported past experiences of kink-related injury : 13.5%

●      The percentage of people who reported delaying or avoiding healthcare because of perceived stigma: 19.0%. 

●      Past negative experiences with healthcare clinicians increased the odds of delaying or avoiding care significantly, with those participants four times more likely to avoid/delay care compared to participants who did not have negative experiences.  

●      A significant portion of participants had not disclosed their kink identity or behavior with their physical healthcare clinician (58.3%), nor with their therapist or mental healthcare clinician (49.6%).

The following health disparities were noted:

●      4.1% of the sample reported being HIV positive.  This is approximately 10x the national average.

●      24% reported having attempted suicide at some point in their lives.  This is approximately 5x the national average.

●      17.98% reported having PTSD.  This is 2.6x the national average.

Currently, we have 915 people enrolled in the study, with more outreach planned for the first half of 2023.  If you know someone who is kinky, please ask them to check their eligibility for the study at www.kinkhealth.org 

The goals of the study include: to document the prevalence of injuries and medical complications arising from kink activities; to document how healthcare is utilized by kink-involved people; to document health outcomes of people involved in kink; and to see how much of an impact that community connection, belongingness, and kink identity have on people’s health, healthcare use, and how they disclose to healthcare providers about their kink involvement.

Please help us find out more about the health of the kink community!