This article looks at data from 519 respondents to the safeword survey. It analyses the number of play partners that people of different BDSM orientations and BDSM components said that they have had in the last year.
The survey respondents indicated that, in most cases, respondents had more than two play partners in a year (the average is between two and three).
Play partners are people with whom the respondents had BDSM interactions, in private or at parties or clubs, but with whom they do not have an enduring relationship outside BDSM play.
Numbers of play partners
|No’s of play partners in last 12 months – All||0 or 1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||>10|
The table above show’s the percentage of respondents by gender and BDSM orientation that said they have had multiple play partners in the last year, tabulated by the number of partners stated. Men, with the exception of tops/dominants seem slightly less likely to play with multiple partners than do women. Women, especially tops/dominants appear more likely to have more than ten play partners in a year – but this is affected by small sample size. I also understand from private responses to the survey that some responses in this category came from pro-dommes who counted their clients as play partners.
Percentage with two or more play partners
Across the entire sample around two thirds of respondents said they had two or more play partners in a year. In general, tops/dominants are more likely to have multiple play partners than bottoms/submissives and Sadists/masochists were more likely to have multiple play partners than either M/s or D/s respondents. Women, especially those into S/m play, seem slightly more likely to have multiple play partners.
The 100% result for male switches who characterise their BDSM component as master (mistress) and slave is based on six responses.
I looked at the average number of people each group said they had played with in the last 12 months. In the next chart, below, people who said they played with 10 or more people are excluded, because this massively elevates the means, even though people with 10 or more partners only represent six per cent of all respondents to the question. For completeness, a chart showing the averages for the entire sample is included immediately above the sub-heading “data used in this article.
It’s clear that, other than amongst those who characterise themselves as tops/dominants, that Sadists/masochists have more play partners than other BDSM components and that S/m switches,especially men, say they play with more people than any other group.
Inclusion of the six per cent of respondents who said they had more than ten play partners significantly changes the picture! Not sure how helpful it is though!
Data used in this article
This article uses data from a question in the BDSM safeword survey where people were asked how many play partners they had had in the last 12 months. The answer allowed people to input any number. A small number of very high responses (people who had had 557,774,456, 100,000 and 9,800 play partners in the last 12 months) were eliminated.
I think I need to phrase this question more helpfully in the future: It was apparent that many respondents who said they only played with their relationship partner indicated that they had one play partner. I had intended that people should record numbers of partners additional to relationship partners. I have therefore combined the scores for people who recorded either zero or one play partner.
519 people answered the question. 33 stated they had had more than 10 partners in the last year, broken down as follows:
- 10-20 partners – 18 respondents
- 20-50 partners – 15 respondents
- More than 50 partners – 3 respondents
The data used for this article is in the table below:
|No’s of play partners in last 12 months – All||0 or 1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||>10||All|
|No’s of play partners in last 12 months – S/m||0 or 1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||>10||All|
|No’s of play partners in last 12 months – M/s||0 or 1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||>10||All|
|No’s of play partners in last 12 months – D/s||0 or 1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||>10||All|
- BDSM safeword survey – does age alter behaviour? (belasarius.com)
- BDSM safeword survey – Are safewords essential in all BDSM transactions? (belasarius.com)
- BDSM Safeword Survey: what people said about safeword use. (belasarius.com)
- BDSM People who like “pain” and safewords (belasarius.com)
- Safeword Survey – who uses them with their principal partners (belasarius.com)
- BDSM Safeword Survey – who uses safewords with play partners (belasarius.com)
- Differing dynamics: S/m, M/s and D/s (belasarius.com)
- The Gender Gap (belasarius.com)
- BDSM People and multiple partnerships (from styles and relationships survey) (belasarius.com)