From my point of view, the two most interesting findings are:
- 8% had been involved in role playing or dressing up
- 2% had been involved in BDSM (bondage and discipline, ‘sadomasochism’ or dominance and submission)
In the questionnaire, the examples of “role playing or dressing up” included “doctor/nurse”, “teacher/naughty schoolgirl”. There’s an idea that this may identify a section of the population who do mild bdsm, e.g. tying up, spanking, “command and I’ll obey you” scenarios, but don’t think of what they’re doing as bdsm.
To many people bdsm is what other people, not like them, do using leather hoods, whips and chains. So they’ll pause, while tied to the bed getting spanked, to say, “No thanks, no bdsm for us.” Anyway, their numbers have doubled in the last 10 years, which is remarkable.
Some people have thanked or blamed Christian Grey for the rythmic sounds of spanking drowning out the lawnmowers of suburbia, but there were lots of signs of an upsurge of “sort of vanilla” interest in bdsm anyway. It was in the zeitgeist, maaaaan.
So the actual number of people who did some sort of bdsm play in the last year is probably higher than 2%. I’m guessing four to six per cent, but that’s just an estimate, and has no basis except “feels about right”.
There is some more news coming on the bdsm front, but that will come after further data analysis, some time in (I hope in the first half of) 2015.