In an interview Keira Knightley talks about her film A Dangerous Method which features sadomasochistic scenes:

I did think about turning it down because of the two scenes of a sadomasochistic nature and I thought it's all going to come out and all of a sudden it's all going to all be about that.

And weirdly, apart from this country, it hasn't been, so that's been really great.

In England it's got mentioned all the time. I don't know what that says about us! We obviously like spanking.

Are English people more interested in spanking and similar sadomasochistic practises than those in other countries?

  • Perhaps it is now less usual in Britain (especially after the prohibition of corporal punishment in schools, not the case in 19 US states) and so more notable when portrayed on screen.
    – Henry
    Feb 16, 2012 at 0:16
  • 3
    I don't think the fact that people commented on a home-grown actress is any reason to assume causality with rates of BDSM. And since BDSM is a largely private endeavour that most participants do NOT advertise, I fail to see how a reliable study could be produced.
    – user5341
    Feb 16, 2012 at 0:19
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    @DVK For example by studying the sales of BDSM video material as compared to other countries, or the sales of other BDSM paraphernalia. Another way would be by simply asking people (under anonymity). I don't think it's very hard at all to study this as compared to any other sexuality related claim.
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 16, 2012 at 1:00
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    I don't see one actress in one interview as a notable claim. I'm not even sure she meant her comments to be taken seriously. Feb 16, 2012 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


The 2005 Durex Global Sex Survey asked people in 41 different countries various questions about sexual activities. These are the results for the question "Sexual experiences you’ve had"

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5% of people in the UK reported having had a sadomasochist experience, this is the same as the Global %.

  • 3
    A potential problem with the data: UK law does not accept the notion of consenting to bodily harm, rendering sadomasochism largely illegal. This may have made participants less likely to self-report, out of fear of prosecution.
    – Anko
    Aug 11, 2016 at 13:28
  • I'm somewhat surprised by Hong Kong and China numbers! Those are certainly unexpected.,,
    – T. Sar
    Oct 18, 2017 at 11:14

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