Thursday, 3 March 2016


In a comment to my recent post about spanking Anonymous wrote, "I'm pretty certain that everyone in this lifestyle has some childhood trauma that motivates them, even if they don't remember it."

He sounds very certain about that and is a psychologist and has had twelve years in therapy himself, so perhaps he knows what he is talking about.

Though Marijke Vonk wrote here, "SM is not correlated with physical abuse, sexual abuse, childhood trauma, symptoms of PTSS, personality disorder, sexual disorder, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, or, well, anything really. We’re as healthy (or ill) as the rest of the population." This is from her blog at

She also sounds very certain, is also a psychologist and provides some references though they all seem to be from the same journal in the same year. So I suppose she also knows what she is talking about.

Though as Anonymous also points out, "I'd have to say that it appears nobody really KNOWS anything with certainty."

So what is the opinion of my readers? Is there any evidence that BDSM is correlated with childhood trauma or abuse?


Misty said...

I find this type of talk extremely interesting--I love the mind.

I think it's reasonable to believe most people, not just us in the BDSM world, experienced some kind of childhood trauma or abuse. Even a divorce can be traumatic to a child and leave them feeling neglected--just think about how many parents get divorced.

I don't like to think (or admit) I'm here because of my childhood trauma, but I often feel that it can feel a void left by that make of that what you will. :)

abby said...

I had a pretty normal...whatever that means...childhood, with no trauma that I can recall. And it gets to me when anyone says...everyone in a certain group is there because they all.....I doubt that is ever true.
hugs abby

mouse said...

One thing mouse would like to point out, not to be disagreeable, but it might seem that way.

Correlation does not imply causation.

People engaged in therapy while seemingly large in number, their numbers might not correlate across the general population of people not in therapy.

Also the appeal to the authority is rather troublesome.

Misty said...

Don't you hate when you make a typo and can't go back and fix it?! Ugh. *fill a void, not feel a void.

I agree with abby and mouse.

I would also like to add that our life experiences can change us, but we are who we are. This is much like trying to figure out why a lesbian is a lesbian. Perhaps there's no *reason* at all, it's just the way we were born, it is our path.

Pygar said...

Lots of interesting comments already. Thanks so much. I'm pleased the discussion has captured your interest. Thanks Misty, abby and mostly mouse.

P xx

Pygar said...


Thanks Misty. I am interested in your comment that "I don't like to think (or admit) I'm here because of my childhood trauma, but I often feel that it can fill a void left by that trauma..."

First of all the difficult choice of word - ""think" or "admit"! Most interesting though that you don't think trauma is a cause of where and who you are though thinking (or admitting!) that it does "fill a void" and help in some way. I wonder if that is the same for others. it ties in with mostly mouse's point that correlation is not the same as causation.

However as you say in your follow up comment "we are who we are" and there may be no point in searching for reasons. My worry though is that if BDSM practice is just seen as a negative consequence of childhood trauma it presents a very negative view of our way of life.

Thanks again

P xx

Pygar said...


I am, not sure what "normal" means in that context either abby. Also I do not know what it means in relation to sexuality, fetish and power structures within relationships. Society so wants to put is into neat little boxes. Fortunately we do not all fit!

Hugs back

P xx

Pygar said...

@mostly mouse

You are very right to point out that correlation does not imply causation. Sadly many people are often misled in that way. So you are certainly not being disagreeable to point it out. It is a helpful and constructive comment.

Regarding appeal to authority - I too have a very cynical attitude to experts at times. However it is good to have properly researched evidence to give background and strength to our opinions. However, I suspect one can find evidence to support both points of view - and "experts" or "authority" on both sides. I have not researched the subject in enough detail to be able to form a view on which side has the strongest body of evidence or the most well argued position so would be happy for those who have more knowledge of research evidence to help our deliberations with their contributions. Being human though I think we may all often chose the evidence that fits the side of the argument we are on!

Having said that, we are all experts by experience. In many fields such people's contributions are highly respected. I know I hold in high regard the contributions here.

So thanks again mostly mouse.

P xx

SugarSack said...

its easy to explain it away like that... I had a very normal childhood, no trauma.. but was always fascinated with the made for tv movies with rape scenes, forced sex has always turned me on ... I have never been raped, or molested, or any of that in my life.. being bound and "forced" sexual advances are a huge turn on for me... yet NOTHING in my past even remotely resembles that.. and my sexual activity from the losing of my virginity up until just 2 years ago has been very VANILLA... nothing to explain my fascination with "rape" or "bondage" or the sexual kinks that i have


Pygar said...

Thanks very much SugarSack for sharing your own experience. I think what you describe is a common fantasy of many women. Though none of them would really want to be raped or forced into non-consensual sexual acts. The great thing about our community is that it gives the opportunity to live out such fantasies in a safe way.

The fact that many women like yourself have these fantasies without having suffered abuse or trauma is a good indication that trauma is not a necessary cause of an interest or involvement in BDSM.

Thank you again


Lindy Thomas said...

I've often wondered if this was the reason in others. I think mine might have started from a trauma in my childhood. Would be interested to know if this was so with others.
Hugs Lindy

SugarSack said...

I think theres been some sort of study but dont remember the source, stating that the "kink" community doesnt have any higher percentage of childhood or other trauma to explain their kinks

much like gay / lesbian / trans / hetero .... you are what you are .. you are born that way to quote lady gaga

not to say people who have experienced trauma arent changed and certain things are internally changed in them... I just dont believe its the majority of any particular lifestyle

most gay people arent gay becuase of trauma or the lack there of
straight people can and do continue to be straight even after trauma
so its not to say that a particular trauma "caused" their desires.. altho i'm sure it does / can happen to some

Pygar said...

Thanks for sharing lindy. Misty felt that there may be some correlation with her childhood trauma but was wary of thinking it might have caused it. There are many people who have had childhood trauma. Some of them may later in life become involved in BDSM. Is that a cause? Who knows? I wonder how strongly you feel in your own case that it may have been a cause?

P xx

Pygar said...

Thanks again SugarSack. I like your comparison of BDSM with other sexual orientations. As you say, "you are what you are".

P xx

Misty said...

I struggle with this a great deal. Sometimes, when fear gets the best of me, I worry I am here as a result of the trauma--there is more to it, which I can't explain without getting into the gory details. I didn't (a don't) want it to define me--I won't let it! However, when I'm thinking clearly I see it a different way. The trauma did not make me submissive, I would still like what I like if that trauma hadn't happened. I do what I do because it makes me feel good, it makes me truly happy, and I've never felt so alive, trauma didn't put that in me. (And even though I know deep down that is the truth, I still struggle to believe it.)

After giving this more thought...
Even if D/s fills a void, does it have to be a void left by trauma? Perhaps that void was there because I hadn't found D/s?

Anyway... I think it's ridiculous to think we are here because of something that happened in our childhood, that we remember or not. Yet, I kinda understand why they would jump to that conclusion.

Pygar said...

Thank you for sharing this Misty. What's really good is, "I do what I do because it makes me feel good, it makes me truly happy, and I've never felt so alive". Surely that is the important part. It seems as if you are struggling perhaps with some episodes from the past. However if you are fulfilled, secure and happy now then you have beaten that. You are the winner and whether or not your present desires were in some way caused by is perhaps irrelevant. Though I can understand you wanting to understand what impact earlier events have had on your life.

If without D/s there would be a void then the D/s is doing you good - as long as you are safe, cared for and fulfilled.

If fear often gets the best of you though, then it would be good to find someone who you can discuss all of this with properly.

Good luck Misty

With kindest regards

P xx

Anonymous said...

Very interessting thoughts, thank you for it.
I don't know if it our past what made is what we are. I thonk it more our personality , which was creates by our childehood , what make us who we are.
If someone was learned in his childhood, that if you do wrong, after punishment you are forgiven .. ( in My opinion it is not normal childehood, smile) , BDSM iand their punishment thinking is maybe something they need.
It had nothing do with be Submissive or no. I am Submissive , but have no this understanding.
Personality , with self-destructive tendencies .., those we have all seen swelling in these circles.
Did one get this personality without something from childehood ?
Maybe we can ask psychologosts.
My answer is: yes, there are many , who need BDSM because of childehood trauma . And theirs ate many, who need BDSM
although no trauma.

Anonymous said...

I am soooo sorry for all typos.

Pygar said...

Thank you Mona Lisa - and no problem about the typos!

Yes - I suppose we are all products of our past. Our experiences have helped create who we are. So whether our past includes trauma or not - it will be part of the development that has led us to where we are now.

That is giving me a new perspective on this I think. Thank you.

P xx

DM said...

I know as a child when I was spanked, at about 9 or 10, I knew I enjoyed it. Asked for more. It freaked my parents out. I was never disciplined corporally again. It's stuck with me all these years later.