Kink Aware Professionals

After many years of maintaining the Kink Aware Professionals web site, I recently turned over ownership to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.

A Brief History of Kink Aware Professionals (KAP)

Between 1982 and 1986, Guy Baldwin, a private-practice psychotherapist in Los Angeles, developed a small list of other kink-sensitive therapists across the United States. He made referrals from the list on request. In late 1986, after he’d begun writing a monthly column on leather relationships for Drummer magazine called “Ties that Bind,” Guy arranged with Tony DeBlase, editor of Drummer, to run a monthly classified ad to make contact with other kink-friendly therapists. Letters arrived from everywhere (email wasn’t commonly used yet). Soon Guy had received and replied to dozens of contacts from all across the country. Some time later a small portion of the kink-sensitive therapist referral list was published in DungeonMaster, a magazine for the gay male BDSM practitioner.

Soon afterwards Race Bannon was talking with Guy Baldwin about his list. Guy showed Race folders full of letters from therapists wanting to be part of the referral list. Guy’s schedule wasn’t allowing him to keep up with the correspondence and after some discussion Race proposed taking over maintenance of the list. Guy agreed and Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) was born.

Guy and Race knew that people who enjoy the adventurous side of sex often end up having a difficult time finding mental health professionals sensitive to their needs. Too often clients hear that it’s their sexuality that’s the problem. That’s rarely the case. The usual issues facing these clients aren’t related to their sexual interests at all, but the sex-negative bias of some psychotherapists gets in the way of effective therapy.

Initially, the only way to effectively disseminate the KAP list to those that needed it was in printed form sent by mail. And that’s how the list was disseminated for the first few years. Later the internet and the web allowed the KAP list to be accessed online by anyone with an internet connection.

Other professional categories were added to the KAP referral list over time, but the number of professions was eventually reduced to the core three professions critical to kinky people in times of need: psychotherapists, attorneys and medical professionals. KAP now provides listings of hundreds of professionals that the alternative sexuality community can access at any time.

In January 2006, Race Bannon turned over management of the KAP list to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.

15 Comments on “Kink Aware Professionals

Glenna Lee
December 17, 2009 at 7:01 am

To Whom it may concern, I am in desperate need of a therapy. I found this site on the web and hope , you can help. I recently figured out after two very bad relationship’s that I am submissive and the man I used to date along with my current husband are both abusive and not in a good way. I have learned the difference as there’s stem from insecurity not D/S. I’t has gotten pretty bad and I have learned that mental abuse is way worse than physical. I tried getting therapy and when I told her about being a sex slave online she said that , “it was a mental problem to want to be that way”. I really have no one else to turn to. To be honest , I will also have to find someone who is not to expensive because I do not want him to know I am going. My husband would go and try to control and if he could not then he would make sure I could not go.
Hoping to hear from you, and ever great full, Kay

Race Bannon
December 17, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Kay, I am not a psychotherapeutic professional and don’t feel I can offer specific advice here. But you should most definitely try to find a psychotherapist who understands these issues and will help you work through them in a nonjudgmental and informed manner. I highly recommend you seek out a therapist near you using the Kink Aware Professionals information site you’ll find under the Resources section of the website.

James M. Vance
June 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I desperately need some type of help! In all that I’ve read so far, my situation is not mentioned.
I am an older (70) senior with a partner. We have been together for 30 years, in what (I thought) was a happy, satisfactory (vanilla) relationship. In the past two months, my partner has turned my world upside down! He has informed me that our relationship is no longer satisfactory to him, in fact, has not been so for ten years. He feels that he must explre what he calls his “darker” side, learning more about BDSM and (I think) eventually practising it.
I am completely at a loss as to what to do. I have read, as I say, a few books, and honestly I must say that I have found much tiltillating, such as bondage, tit play, light flogging, some fisting. I am a top, btw, but one time my partner bound me to a chair and proceeded to “play”, and I was very surprised at my reactions. I liked it!
But the thing that upsets me so much is him telling me our relationship is over. I have extremely deep feelings for him, and we have an intermigled life.
He is an electrical engineer, I am retired. He is a consultant, and has been working in another state for 5 years now, with frequent trips here, and I go there as much as possible. We have enjoyed 30 years of travel, doing little thing together–having, what I considered to be a happy relationship. Now, according to him, it is complely gone between us. He no longer gets an erection when we have sex, and says this is proof that we no longer have a relationship. It’s not ED though. He says he has no troulbe when he masterbates.
I am more than willing to try and do things he feels “turns him on”, but he says I shouldn’t do thing just to please him–it should be to please me, also.
I really don’t know what to do. All of the books I’ve read talk about SM realationships between two people who want or need SM in their lives. I’m ambiguous, not sure if I do and not sure if I don’t. What should I do? I want, with all my heart, to keep us together, but I don’t know how at this point. Please help me–give me some sort of advice.

Thank you

Race Bannon
July 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm

James, there are some types of advice I feel qualified to give and other types I do not. When I consider a question posed to me to begin to tread on psychotherapeutic and relationship counseling territory, I defer to the professionals. My advice to you is to consult the Kink Aware Professionals website and to find someone in your area that you can talk to about this. Perhaps they can bring your partner into the discussion and it can be worked out. What I will say is that many kinky folks have entirely vanilla partners and they work it out just fine. I hear this all of the time. When one partner begins to explore their kinky side it sometimes becomes a point of contention within a vanilla relationship. It does not need to be contentious in all cases. Especially if a relationship is honest and open and the kinky partner gets to explore their kink outside of the relationship adequately, many partners incorporate this into their lives quite well over time. With that said, I do strongly suggest you find a professional in which you can confide and who might be able to help you, and perhaps your partner, to work on this. You have my sincere best wishes that it works out well.

July 7, 2010 at 8:47 am

I am doing an paper on bdsm vrs abuse.Can you give some site to go to get information. I am doing it for my ethic class. I am in the bdsm lifestyle and I love it. Can you help me out

Race Bannon
July 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Janice, I sent you a direct email regarding your question.

Dr. Cynthia Giocomarra
September 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I am a psychotherapist that is kink-friendly.
Realizing that the dynamics in a BD/SM D/s relationship may call for particular navigation, I extend that I am available online as well as on Skype.

November 5, 2010 at 9:31 am

I’m a midwifery student in Toronto and am doing a project on pregnancy and kink. I am in the process of gathering text-based resources, but I would also love to interview maternity care providers (OBs/Midwives/etc) on their knowledge of the kink community and how they would advise a pregnant client to safely engage in BDSM. Basically, the point of this project is to figure out how to provide relevant/competent care to pregnant people who are also involved in BDSM, and also how maternity care providers can create sex-positive spaces to expand their practices.

Are there any Drs/OBs/Midwives/pregnant (past, present, future) kink community members/etc on here that would be into participating with my project? The interview could be done in whatever format that best suits you, and would be completely confidential.


November 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

My partner and I are exploring D/s- we are both trying to learn as much as possible about our preferences, fantasies and suppressed memories. We are doing good so far- but we hit a wall. Bookstores dont help since we’ve been reading most of all of them.
Besides a normal BDSM checklist- is there any set of detailed intensive thought provoking questions that is yes/no and requires an exploration of how we feel and helping us explore why we feel the way we do. I’d like to get to know him and him me without it being so confusing for us. I can’t seem to find the exact thing I need to help us open up more. We get frustrated sometimes- everything feels unorganized.

Race Bannon
November 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I am not aware of any such checklist, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. One thing I will say is that there is no replacement for engagement with other people that have more experience in BDSM. No book or document is going to ever replace what one can learn from having conversation with and socializing among people who have walked the path before you. I highly recommend finding some BDSM organizations in your local area and reaching out to them.

Kate Loree LMFT
July 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Also Thea, it might be helpful to go to a sex positive psychotherapist in your area who can help you and your partner delineate boundaries specific to your relationship dynamics. No book or checklist can provide that level of care. I wish you happiness in your journey towards sexual authenticity and happiness. Warmly, Kate Loree, LMFT (

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