Kinky Sex Gone Wrong: Legal Prosecutions Concerning Consent, Age Play, and Death via BDSM

Arch Sex Behav. 2021 Apr;50(3):761-771. doi: 10.1007/s10508-020-01866-w. Epub 2021 Mar 1.


This commentary begins by describing the author's research and expert witness practice serving sex and gender minorities, especially practitioners of BDSM/kinky sex. Then, it reviews the three most common reasons that BDSM is legally prosecuted. First, consent: was this assault, rape, and/or kidnapping, or was it consensual kinky sex that either got out of hand or is now being strategically employed to punish the other partner? Second, age play: was this adult trying to have sex with children or was he (and it is virtually always men) intending to age play with an adult who is pretending to be an adolescent? Third, death by kinky sex: was this a person who murdered their lover or was this an accidental death? Finally, this article concludes with recommendations for kinksters who wish to assure consent and safe play, and for litigators involved in the prosecution of kinky sex.

Keywords: Age play; BDSM; Breath play; Consent; Sexuality.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Masochism / complications*
  • Masochism / mortality
  • Sadism / complications*
  • Sadism / mortality
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Survival Analysis