Date of Conferral







Tracy Marsh


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to improve the understanding of Sexual Objectification (SO) of gay African American males in the bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism (BDSM) community. Although many studies have been conducted on SO of women and other minority populations, there is a lack of research on the lived experience of gay African American males participating in the BDSM community. The theoretical framework for this study was Fredrickson and Roberts's objectification theory, with a conceptual framework focused on SO that gay African American males experienced while participating in the BDSM community. The research questions were designed to elicit the participants' experiences about their participation in the BDSM community. Ten gay African American males, selected through purposive sampling, described their reasons for participating in the BDSM community, what the participants gained from participating in the BDSM community, how they experienced SO, how they handled these experiences, and how these experiences changed them. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed by hand. The data were analyzed in 3 stages: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding techniques. Five themes emerged from the interviews: community, gained knowledge and freedom, verbal objectification, avoidance, and mistrust. This study contributes to the existing body of literature and promotes social change by fostering dialog about objectification. Through this dialog, behavioral patterns and cultural norms can be altered over time by increasing awareness about objectification and its effects on people. This study provided gay African American males a voice to discuss a phenomenon that impacts their lives.

Included in

Psychology Commons