Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Steve Groce (Director), Dr. Matt Pruitt, Dr. Carrie Trojan

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This research focuses on the methods of introduction into BDSM, role identification, and the management of private information as it relates to BDSM. The method utilized for this study was in-depth interviews of fifteen current participants in the BDSM subculture. It is primarily through peer association, sexual scripting, and impression management that new members are introduced, learn their role, and manage their information within the BDSM subculture. It was found that peer association is the primary method of socializing members. Role identification is accomplished through both a method of sexual scripting as well as complimentary differentiation, the process by which a stimulus is transmitted and received, and subsequent stimuli are transmitted back, reinterpreted and responded to. It is through impression management and stigma management that members learn to maintain the privacy of their participation. Future research should include additional analysis with a larger sample size to determine if the current findings will continue to hold true.


Gender and Sexuality | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance