Bondage, Impact, Power... and Word Play?: Language Use in Online BDSM Communities



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Participants in this session will learn about the role of language in online BDSM communities, and how it can shape self-perception and identity. To many BDSM and kink practitioners, their role as “Dominant” or “Submissive” is an integral part of their sexual identity that informs not only their sexual behavior, but also their social interactions, intimate relationships, and personality traits. It is hypothesized that BDSM practitioners’ role identification may correlate with their language use, specifically in content words, such as those related to power and drive, and linguistic style words, such as first person and third person pronouns. This session discusses a recent study that used computerized text analysis to explore this hypothesis.

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Presented at the 2019 Big 12 LGBTQIA & Allies Summit held in Lubbock, Texas, March 22-24, 2019.


Language, BDSM (Sexual behavior)