Health & Fitness | September 25, 2020 9:13 am

Can You Get a “Runner’s High” from BDSM?

A new study compares the pleasure of BDSM play to that experienced by exercise junkies

bdsm
Why not skip your run for a little kink play?
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Those unfamiliar with the world of BDSM may find it hard to understand what exactly its practitioners find so enjoyable about the experience. Fortunately, a new study has found a way to put it in terms even the most vanilla among us — or at least the most vanilla fitness enthusiasts — will understand: it’s like hitting a runner’s high.

“Even though the idea of including power imbalances and pain in (sexual) intimacy is something many people struggle with, enjoying these practices has a biological basis and could for instance be compared to the pleasurable high that long-distance runners experience,” Elise Wuyts, author of the study, told PsyPost.

The study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found results suggesting a biological basis for pleasure experienced during BDSM play. The research involved taking blood samples from 35 Belgian couples before they engaged in BDSM play at a sex club. Blood was taken again after the session and analyzed for changes in hormone levels. Those changes were compared to similar tests run on a control group taken to a sports club instead of a BDSM session.

The results found a change in hormone levels — including an increase in endocannabinoid levels, which are linked to feelings of happiness and bliss — suggesting evidence of pleasure during BDSM.

Obviously, those who enjoy BDSM are already aware it is actually fun. But Wuyts hopes this study, and similar ones to follow it, can help reduce the stigma that often surrounds BDSM and other forms of kink play.

Think of if it this way: to some people, the idea of long-distance running sounds as heinous and painful as BDSM play does to others. At the end of the day, one man’s torture is another man’s kink.

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