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Grounded Theory Analysis of Results From Survey of "the Paradox of BDSM From The Perspective of The Male, Heterosexual Submissive.

Grounded Theory analysis of results produced four major categories: intimacy, trust, fantasy and power exchange. These were expressed as trust in a Dominant female and temporary escape from responsibility. Four themes for the categorisation of BDSM interactions were isolated for further discussion: Types of submissive BDSM interaction, experience and perception of BDSM, Contact strategies and the psychology of BDSM.

Grounded theory is not simply a qualitative research method, but claims that “all is data“. This means not only interview or observational data but also surveys or statistical analyses or “whatever comes the researchers way while studying a substantive area“. (Glaser, 1998)

All interviews began open-ended allowing the possible answers to emerge from the data volunteered rather than seeking them from direct interrogation.

I analysed replies from my principal respondents for emergent categories and themes which I then expanded iteratively and reflexively by referring back to several of the original 250 volunteers as well as to a peer review group, my gatekeepers and other informants, the academic literature, “grey” texts, Internet sites and multi-media resources, and to my own previous experience and research.  

I looked for matching or contradictory themes in second and subsequent interviews which were coded with the first interview in mind, by constant comparison of data sets and emergent theories. A core category was defined as a category which had appeared frequently and was connected to many of the other emergent categories. In the later interviews there were more specific probe questions. Because it was essential that we all understood the same concepts from the same language, I clarified themes as they emerged and referred my conclusions back to the interviewees for validation. Themes and theory emerged from the informants to become more elaborate as the study developed by seeking affirmation or rebuttal from widely varied sources.

Coding for emergent categories.

Four overlapping emergent categories were assigned and recurrent themes identified across them, emboldened in the texts and entered into a coding matrix. This analysis revealed two over-arching emotional themes: intimacy and trust, and two fundamentals of practice and perception of BDSM: fantasy and power exchange. These seemed to collapse to a statement of lack of confidence in inter-sexual negotiations on the part of the submissive, and trust in the Dominant, to whom power was given in order to escape from reality and responsibility.

 Thematic analysis

Four themes emerged :

1. Types of submissive BDSM interaction.

2. Experience and perception of BDSM.

3. Contact strategies.

4. Psychology of BDSM

These were iteratively and reflexively analysed in an attempt to refute or confirm them by quoting the voices of individual respondents on each topic; by searching and quoting academic and other texts, and by referring to my own previous research and experience. This information was gathered from donated texts, images, interviews and observations of “Munches” and play parties.

Many subs keep diaries voluntarily or are instructed to do so by their Dominants. Three of these diaries were made available to me by “peckham”, “hoagie” and “max”.

Fantasies are a key element of BDSM as illustrated in this exchange:

peckham: “For me the fantasy lived out in real life has the added advantage that it is often enjoyed with greater intensity after the event. I believe this is so because at the time there is a lot of emotion and perhaps the release of endorphins which prevent full enjoyment. After the event one has time to recall details and relive the fantasy. I have heard others say the recall of a fantasy can be more exciting than what occurred in real-time.”

Q: I am not sure I understand what you mean by fantasy in this context.  I can see the build-up of erotic tension, but not how you can release that and gain sexual satisfaction.

peckham: Fantasy and masturbation are more or less the same thing, aren’t they? 

 Many fantasies were provided by respondents in the form of images, especially by “tinkerbell”, “daffodil” and“anna”. Fantasy Mistresses were almost always ample women with big breasts.

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