online QDA logo - Home Page



Bookmark and Share



Website symbol Many of the terms used in BDSM are explained on the soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm FAQ List

Website symbol There are some informative pages on H2G2 the online guide maintained by the BBC (as at 24th Oct 2010). A Quick Guide to BDSM is what the title says and A Dominatrix and Her 'Dog' explains about people who act out being a pet dog, which some of Emma's respondents talked about.

Website symbol There is a lengthy and well referenced article on many aspects of BDSM, its terminology and its history on Wikipedia.

pdf icon Emma produced a poster about her PhD, which won first prize for best poster at the 2009 BPS North East of England Annual Conference.


REQUALLO logo REQUALLOBondage necklace

About BDSM

On her conference poster, Emma says this: "Sexual practices such as bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) are now becoming more evident in society and BDSM related themes are apparent in mainstream films and television programmes such as ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (Burr 2006). Weiss (2006) reports that media representations of BDSM are on the increase, however, Barker, Iantaffi & Gupta (2007) argue that it is the BDSM imagery, rather than the sexual practises, that have become more socially acceptable, while ‘real’ BDSM remains an illegal and pathologised practice."

For the advocates of BDSM it is a consensual activity in which people engage because they want to. Role playing is a central part of this. In many cases one person takes the dominant (tops) role and the other the submissive (bottoms) role. Some couples tend to keept consistently to role and don't swap around much. Others may swap or adopt different, dominant or submissive roles with other partners. In some couples, the submissive role may involve being an animal - often a pet.

Various kinds of equipment may be used including belts, whips, chains, shackles and gags and clothes of leather or rubber. Some of this is now entering mainstream culture. Some such equipment and clothing is available in sex shops such as the Anne Summers chain.



Turley, Emma L. (2011) The Social World of BDSM: A Descriptive Phenomenological Investigation. In: Understanding the Social World Conference 2011, 13th - 15th July 2011, University of Huddersfield. (Unpublished)

Turley, E., King, N. and Butt, T. (2011) ‘‘It started when I barked once when I was licking his boots!’: a descriptive phenomenological study of the everyday experience of BDSM’ Psychology and Sexuality , 2 (2), pp. 123-136. ISSN 1941-9899

Abstract: Traditionally, psychologists have researched bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism (BDSM) and its participants from an external perspective, seeing it as pathology. However, there is now a growing body of research aiming to challenge this perspective. This article examines some of the ways BDSM has been reconceptualised by researchers who reject the pathological focus, distinguishing between transgressive and coercive sexualities. We focus on the lived experience of BDSM participation to further illuminate these sexual practices. A descriptive phenomenological analysis of four interview transcripts was employed, with the purpose of producing a general structural experience of BDSM participation, which aims to further understanding of this complex phenomenon. The essential structures of the BDSM experience are discussed in terms of authentic fantasy, rejection of social norms and non-sexual positive outcomes.



Book symbol Barker M, Iantaffi A & Gupta C, 2007, 'Kinky Clients, Kinky Counselling? The Challenges and Potentials of BDSM'. In Moon L (ed), Feeling Queer or Queer Feelings: Counselling and Sexual Cultures, London, Routledge

Journal symbol Burr V, 2006, 'Bad Girls Like It Rough (- And Good Girls Don’t?): Representations of BDSM in Buffy The Vampire Slayer', Phoebe, Gender & Cultural Critiques, 18 (1)

Book symbol Giorgi A, 1985, 'Sketch of a Psychological Phenomenological Method', In Giorgi A, Phenomenology and Psychological Research, Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press

Book symbol Giorgi A & Giorgi B, 2008, 'Phenomenology', In Smith J A (ed) 2008, Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, Great Britain, Sage Publications

Book symbol Langdridge D, 2007, Phenomenological Psychology: Theory, Research and Method, Glasgow, Pearson Prentice Hall

Journal symbol Langdridge D & Butt T, 2004, 'A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Investigation into The Construction of Sadomasochistic Identities', Sexualities, 7 (1)

Journal symbol Weiss M, 2006, 'Mainstreaming Kink: the Politics of BDSM representations in U.S Popular Media', Journal of Homosexuality Special Issue: Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures, 50 (2-3)

Case Contents