I should say at the outset that I do not know the answer to the opening question, but I suspect. Many people within the scene life and far more outside of it tend to feel that those of us who show interest in alternate adult sexual activity and relationships have within our population a vastly higher proportion of people struggling with mental issues, relationship issues and histories of traumatic experiences than what we lovingly call the “vanilla” population. In other words, “Kinky people are really fucked up.”
However, in every well designed psychological study of which I am aware, no statistical difference in any of those categories, or in fact any category other than possibly a higher level of intelligence has been shown to differentiate the broader kink community from the general population.
Now I add my personal observations, which, unfortunately tend to confirm the first paragraph. So how does this work? Well, we can deny the validity of the well designed psychological studies. This is often done by the more fundamentalist religions, politicians, and those with a strong unresearched agenda. Well, that is an easy out, guys. I do not find that an answer that moves me forward. So how do I explain the obvious observation that from people I know in the scene I hear struggles, horrific stories of past events, learn of visits to the Therapist and hear discussions of medications taken.
At my club here in LA there are two or three educational seminars a month. Add to that at least two group meetings a month expressly for the purpose of discussing and reaching insight into significant personal issues. Therapists and specialists in relationship issues come and speak from all over the world. Beyond that, being in LA, we are lucky enough to have at least three major venues where this happens with equal frequency. We accept and rejoice in opening our doors to people of all walks of life who are seeing that the socially approved ways of living and relating are not working for them. They wish to explore, talk and discuss new ways to experience this life that we all share and the reasons why they are looking.
In other words, they have come to a point in their life where they accept that the life they lead needs work, and they look to those in the alternate adult community for, if not answers, at least an open discussion of other possible directions. They have come to be open in their struggle.
I tend to think it almost impossible that a co-worker, shop keeper, neighbor, fellow church goer, cab driver, repairman, father in law, or possibly even wife, easily and comfortably opens up about their sexual fantasies, or the strains of their youth which may have brought them into being. Not in this society. But we do, regularly. How many friends, even good and sharing ones, talk to you about the struggles of their most intimate relationships? I would guess few, if any. But it is part and parcel of who we are. In fact, in a deeply committed Dominant and submissive relationship, it is a required component.
So, why do we see far more personal issues expressed and discussed in the adult alternate communities? Because we talk about them. Personally, I tend to think that is a healthier way to go about it. But remember, I am a member of that population that is really fucked up.