The surprising benefit of kinky sex

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Sunday 06 November 2016 12:15
news
(Chickpea)

'The flow' is an illusive term that's fascinated scientists for decades. It describes an altered state of mind where a is person totally absorbed in a task, and the brain is at its most productive and creative.

According to new findings, one reason people are into BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) is because it can bring about 'the flow', and the pleasures associated with it.

Psychologists at Northern Illinois University recruited 14 experienced BDSM-ers who identified as 'switches'. This means they could be assigned to both what researchers called the 'bottom' (submissive) or 'top' (dominant) role.

They (the participants, not the researchers) acted out seven BDSM scenes, provided saliva samples and answered a survey designed to test their state of consciousness.

They found that playing the bottom role was linked to some aspects of the flow, where participants entered an altered state of mind called transient hypofrontality, where time appears to slow down.

In the top – or dominant – state, the flow was even stronger.

We can knock 50 Shades of Grey all we like - and we do - but the study also found that BDSM could reduce psychological stress and its negative effects.

But if you’re not quite in the mood for chains and whips today, here is some advice on how to achieve it outside the bedroom, according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who coined the term in 1990:

It will be when your challenges are higher than average and skills are higher than average. And you may be doing things very differently from other people, but for everyone that flow channel, that area there, will be when you are doing what you really like to do -- play the piano, be with your best friend, perhaps work, if work is what provides flow for you.

There's this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity: you know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other; you get immediate feedback. You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears, you forget yourself, you feel part of something larger. And once the conditions are present, what you are doing becomes worth doing for its own sake.

More: These are the 10 most popular sexual fetishes in the UK

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