Kink Weekly came across this article about discussing your involvement in BDSM with your healthcare professional.
Essentially the article states that many kinksters are receiving inadequate care or not seeing their doctors when they should due to a fear of judgement when it comes to their lifestyle. Another reason the article states is that they fear that the doctor will assume their partner is abusive or that they are in a domestic violence situation.
The first step for those regularly involved in BDSM or kinky activities (sexual or not) is to try and find a doctor that is more open minded. Sometimes you can do this by getting personal referrals or looking thru doctor listings on Fetlife or the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
Another thing to keep in mind is safety when you play. Doing your best to play in a way that will likely avoid unnecessary injury or unintended injury or marks. This can be done by playing lighter, using implements that are less likely to leave lasting marks or trying the plastic wrap method. The plastic wrap method is where you wrap the portion of the body you intend to use impact on. The bottom can still feel the impact, but marks will be less likely or lighter. (Side note – before trying this method I highly recommend some instruction by someone with experience doing plastic wrap bondage.) Another idea is being mindful of upcoming doctor appointments and either taking a break from play, or at least heavier play, as the appointment date approaches.
Regardless of these precautions you may still find yourself with some marks or possibly even injuries when you go to see your doctor. Therefore, either way it is a good idea to have a frank conversation about your BDSM involvement or kinky activities. I suggest that you either do this during your first visit with a new doctor or during a visit when you are mark and injury free. The doctor will be less likely to assume you are using it as an excuse for the marks you happen to have or that you are “covering” for an abusive partner. You can use this conversation to find out how open your doctor is as well. If their reaction is quite negative or judgmental then that may be a reason to get a referral to another physician. However, if they seem understanding and open minded then it’s one less thing to worry about moving forward.
One last thought. The vast assumption and reason why kinksters don’t open up to their healthcare providers is the fear of judgement or shaming. As you may remember if you read my article called “The Outsider”, chances are that the people you tell will be more open minded that you think. Often times people, doctors included, will surprise you. They may not only be open minded, they may also be curious! Hell, they may be kinky as well and can act as not only your doctor, but advocate too.
The bottom line is that you’re better off discussing these things with your doctor – even if it means having to find a new one – than risk not getting the care you need and deserve.
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.