Sex Advice

The BDSM Test Is a Get-To-Know-Your-Kink Diagnostic Recommended by Many Sexologists

Photo: Stocksy/ Alexey Kuzma
Whether you’re a BDSM beginner or it’s familiar terrain for you, it’s always worth exploring—or revisiting—your unique “erotic blueprint” or sexual preferences. The BDSM Test (aka the Kink Test) is a fun way to do that. If you haven’t heard of the test, you might be curious about learning more about what it is and perhaps taking it yourself. Below, you’ll find information on the BDSM Test and what test takers could glean about themselves and their sexual appetites from the results.

First things first: What is BDSM?

Before diving in, it’s important to know what BDSM is (and what it isn’t). BDSM is a tidy acronym for a broad range of sexual preferences that relate to physical control. It’s usually broken into six components: “bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism,” according to Ali Hebert and Angela Weaver, professors in the department of psychology at St. Francis Xavier University, writing in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. BDSM can be a safe, consensual avenue for exploring the kinks that make up your unique sexual fingerprint.

But for the uninitiated, BDSM can conjure images of how it’s portrayed in pop culture—and let’s just say, Fifty Shades of Grey is not it. Sexologists and sex educators say that BDSM is more about communication with yourself and your partner than it is about a Red Room of Pain. And to get that conversation started, there’s an online BDSM Test that can help you safely learn your tastes.

What is the BDSM Test?

The first version of the BDSM Test launched in 2014 and it—or similar quizzes, like the Sex Personality Test—is often used by sexologists and sex educators with their clients. It works by asking you the degree to which you agree with certain statements related to your sexual appetite. Statements include: “I want my partner to serve me and address me as a superior" and “I like to be dominated, especially in the bedroom,” among others.

You can take the shorter, simplified test (which takes about 10 minutes to complete) and get reasonably accurate results. This version is best suited for folks who are mildly interested in BDSM. If you’re looking for maximum accuracy, though, you might opt for the longer test with more questions—which is recommended if you’re already very into BDSM and takes approximately 25 minutes to finish.

At the end of the test, takers will learn the degree to which BDSM “archetypes” (25 total) fit their particular desires. For instance, you may be 67 percent exhibitionist (or someone who enjoys showing their naked body to other people), 42 percent voyeur (someone who enjoys watching sexual acts), or 15 percent switch (someone who alternates between submissive and dominant behaviors). A person can score in all of these categories or some of these categories, with varying percentages.

How do you take the BDSM Test?

You can take the BDSM Test on the original website and you have the option to take it anonymously or through an account (which you can create on the website). After providing basic information, such as your age, gender, and sexual orientation, you can also select whether you want to take a shorter or longer version of the test. You can also opt out of answering questions that are oriented towards dominants, submissives, masochists, and sadists.

As mentioned, the questions are posed as statements. Takers will answer each statement on a scale of “absolutely agree” to “absolutely disagree.” The BDSM Test will determine where they fall on a spectrum of the 25 BDSM archetypes.

What are the BDSM archetypes?

The BDSM archetypes that represents a spectrum of sexual attitudes and desires—and people can embody several or all of these archetypes. These archetypes, include:

• Dominant: They want to take the lead in the bedroom

• Submissive: They follow the lead, letting their partner take full control (or slowly take it away)

• Rigger: They like to “tie up and restrain their partners”

• Rope bunny: They take pleasure from being tied up and restrained by their partners

• Brat tamer: Brat tamers like “handling naughty brats” who seek dominance with disobedience

• Brat: They are disobedient with the aim of being taught a “lesson” by their partner

• Primal hunter: They tune into their animal instincts, including “snarling, growling, and clawing”

• Primal prey: Like hunters, they’re animalistic and raw, but desire escaping their hunter partners

• Age player: They like taking on an older or younger age in the bedroom

• Exhibitionist: They like showing their naked body to other people

• Voyeur: They like to see others naked or having sex

• Experimentalist: They want to actively pursue their fantasies and “try it all”

• Non-monogamist: They have multiple partners

• Switch: They “switch” between dominant and submissive roles, and sometimes, partners

• Vanilla: They prefer “standard” relationship roles and models

This is just 15 of the 25 BDSM archetypes. To view the full list, visit the BDSM Test website, for an in-depth breakdown of each archetype.

What to consider before you take the BDSM Test

First things first: You should aim to answer the BDSM Test questions honestly if you want it to yield results that might help you be more attuned with your sexual likes and dislikes. “People approach the BDSM Test at different levels and with different kinks,” says Lovehoney sexologist Shamyra Howard, LCSW. “For this reason, it is helpful to start where you are in your individual kink journey.”

For instance, if you’re new to this exploration and aren’t sure what you’re into, “go with the response that feels most desirable at the time,” says Howard. On the other hand, if you’re BDSM-savvy and are familiar with your kinks, you should opt for the response that’s true for you rather than what’s desirable.

Also on the importance of honesty, Adams says that the BDSM Test is still used “to pull research as well, so that’s another reason why you really want to be honest. We can use this for research as we’re crafting what’s going on in the BDSM world and how trends change over time,” adds Adams.

Why take the BDSM Test?

As you might have gleaned, taking the test requires you to do some personal reflection. Sex educator Shanae Adams, LPCC, says that it’s this self-examination that makes the test worth taking. “I think this quiz is for everyone who has an interest in learning more about themselves and their sexual appetites,” she says, adding that she often uses it with BDSM-curious clients. “This quiz is also great for generating discussion and providing language [for talking to your sexual partner]. It can help people become illuminated on what they don’t know and give them a direction to explore in regards to what turns them on and makes them feel good.”

“You definitely can’t know where you’re going [sexually] if you don’t have a place to start.” —Shamyra Howard, LCSW

Howard adds that the archetypes can be particularly enlightening. “This test can help a person understand their kinks and possibly permit them to explore them. I like that the test gives you a scale to choose from [with each statement] and also gives percentages [with your results]. This can help you honor your 10 percent dom and settle in your 80 submissive,” says Howard. “You definitely can’t know where you’re going [sexually] if you don’t have a place to start.”

As with all types of tests that categorize and organize your personality and interests, remember to be flexible and open to the possibility that what revs your engine now might not be the same in six months, a year, or 10 years. “This is just a test and not a monolithic experience,” says Adams.

It also surfaces an à-la-carte list of options, not a set menu: “If you test high in an area that doesn’t interest you, you don't have to do that kink. Also in reverse, if you test low in an area that interests you, that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore it,” Adams says. “Use the test as a tool for a jump point, but not as an end-all and be-all.”

There’s a reason the term BDSM encompasses so much: Sex and sexuality are complex. So consider the test an invitation to look deeper—not a box in which to trap yourself (unless you're into that sort of thing).

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