Curative Kink

Curative Kink

Currently Seeking Participants!


Some people process past trauma through BDSM and/or kink play. Scholars estimate that this is the case for about 18% of the BDSM / kink community.

Sex-positive, kink-aware researchers at New Mexico State University want to hear your story.

If you believe kink and/or BDSM have helped you heal from or cope with sexual or physical abuse in childhood, please contact us by email or phone to schedule a confidential interview (18+ only).

What’s the Purpose?


The primary aim of the present project is to create a thematic model of how survivors of childhood abuse heal from, cope with, and transform their trauma through kink and/or bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).

Additionally, it attempts to reduce the stigmatizing language of pathology around non-traditional sexual practices.

What Should I Expect?


As a participant, you can expect a single interview via Skype, Zoom, or by phone.

After answering some demographic questions, we will ask you about your perception of, interest in, and involvement with kink and/or BDSM (e.g., “How do you define your sexual practices?”).

We will ask you to reflect on your experiences with kink and/or BDSM as it relates to your memories of childhood abuse (e.g., “What makes kink play a safe space to explore or heal from past abuse?”).

You will have the chance to select a pseudonym and any accidental information disclosed in the interview will be removed (e.g., if you disclose that your hometown is Denver, we will write “a large urban city”).

Your responses will be recorded and transcribed.


You can access the informed consent by clicking the PDF link at the top of the page.

Follow the step-by-step guide to sign the informed consent document and email it to Cory, the Principal Investigator for this project.

Signs You Might Need a Therapist


Review these signs to determine if seeing a therapist might be beneficial. Feel free to email a member of the research team with any questions.

  1. The issue causes excessive embarrassment or makes you want to avoid others
  2. The issue has caused your quality of life to decrease
  3. The issue has negatively affected school, work, or relationships
  4. The issue causes emotions that are difficult to tolerate, causing you to feel overwhelmed by the emotion.
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Cory J. Cascalheira
Doctoral Researcher in Counseling Psychology

Research interests include identity, oppression, and resilience among marginalized populations, especially sexual minorities, with attention to addiction, sexual well-being, and non-traditional sexual practices (i.e., BDSM, kink). Clinical interests include mindfulness, ACT, and CBT.

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Yelena Salkowitz
Doctoral Researcher in Counseling Psychology

Research interests include human sexuality, nature as therapy, and mindfulness. Lover of nature, animals, creativity, food, culture, and the uniqueness found throughout this world.

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Ellen E. Ijebor
Doctoral Researcher of Counseling Psychology

Research interests primarily focus on sexual minorities, ethnic minorities, intersectionality and social justice.

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Tracie L. Hitter
Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology

Research interests include identity and self-concept, as well as sexuality and sexual satisfaction. Clinical interests include supervision and training, particularly as it relates to the use of experiential techniques, such as mindfulness and sand tray, to increase counselor effectiveness.