The CARAS Research Advisory Committee (RAC), a community advisory board, brings together academics and community members to review and provide feedback on proposed research addressing alternative sexualities. The following projects were reviewed and formally endorsed by the RAC between 2008 and 2018. Recently endorsed projects are highlighted on CARAS media.  



Deviations Toward a New Culture of Consent.  Project Lead: Elena Parousi. M.A. in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Project. University of the Arts London, London College of Communication, London, United Kingdom.  Endorsed on September 21, 2018. (R2018-02)


Gender(ing) in Kinky Spaces: A Pilot Study at the Intersection of Non-Normative Sexual Behavior and Gender. Principal Investigator: Lauren Van Camp. Doctoral Pilot Study, School of Social Work, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. Endorsed on March 22, 2018. (R2018-01)

Exploring Polyamorous Resilience and Strength Factors: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach. Principal Investigator: Ryan Witherspoon. PhD Dissertation, Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, Alhambra, CA. Endorsed on March 22, 2017. (R2017-03)

Consensual Nonmonogamy, Privacy, and Social Media: Negotiating Stigmatized Identities in a Digital Age. Principal Investigator: Jade Metzger. Doctoral Qualifying Project for Candidacy. Communication Studies, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Endorsed on February 14, 2017. (R2017-01)

Vanilla and Kink: Married Couples in Which One Partner Identifies as a Part of the BDSM Culture and the Other Partner Does Not. Principal Investigator: Catherine G. Meyer. Psy.D. Dissertation, Marriage and Family Therapy, Alliant International University, Irvine, CA.  Endorsed on November 22, 2015. (R2015-05)

Ritual, Rule and Symbol: An Exploration of a Public BDSM Community in the UK. Principal Investigator: Rosie Hodsdon. B.A. Thesis, Sociology, School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, Chervil, Reading, UK. Endorsed on November 22, 2015. (R2015-04)


Performed Polygamy and Polyamory in the Media Age. Principal Investigator: Michelle Mueller. PhD Dissertation, Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. Endorsed on September 16, 2015. (R2015-02)


Predictors of Perceived Stigmatization within Consensually Non-Monogamous Populations.  Principal Investigator: Ryan Witherspoon. PhD Dissertation, Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, Alhambra, CA. Endorsed on March 24, 2015. (R2015-02)


Examining the Psychological Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Policy on Sexual Minorities and Heterosexuals. Principal Investigator: Alexander Tatum. Independent Doctoral Research Project, Dept. of Counseling Psychology, Loyola University, Chicago. Endorsed on September 26, 2014. (R2014-01)

Does BDSM Fit the Dimensions of Leisure? A Quantitative Exploration. Principal Investigator: DJ Williams, Ph.D.. Research Proposal, Sociology, Social Work & Criminal Justice, Idaho State University. Endorsed on April 23, 2014. (R2013-03)


Exploring Power and Dominance in Management: An Alternative Approach. Principal Investigator: Angel Velez. DBA Dissertation, Business Administration Program, Argosy University, Chicago, IL. Endorsed on January 2, 2014. (R2013-04)

Survey on Intimate Partner Abuse Among Practitioners of BDSM/Leather/Kink Lifestyles. Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Fawcett, Ph.D., MPH. Research Proposal, Texas Women’s University, Denton, TX. Endorsed on January 2, 2014. (R2013-02)

Polyamory Survey: What Do Therapists Need to Know? Principal Investigator: Atala Mitchell. Psychology-Marriage and Family Therapy. Edgewood College, Madison, WI. Endorsed on January 27, 2013. (R2013-01)

The Causal Effects of Consensual Sadomasochistic Activity. Principal Investigator: Brad Sagarin, Ph.D.. Research Proposal, Dept. of Psychology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. Endorsed on September 26, 2012. (R2012-04)

Appraising BDSM in Human Sexuality Textbooks: Academic and Community Perspectives. Principal Investigator: Benjamin Graham. MS Thesis, Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL. Endorsed on February 29, 2012. (R2012-02)


Constructing Consent: Laws, Institutions and Cultures. Principal Investigator: Jill Weinberg. PhD Dissertation, Sociology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Endorsed on February 29, 2012. (R2012-01)


Is Monogamy the Only Path to Deep Intimacy and Long Term Relationships? Principal Investigator: Martha Kauppi. MA Thesis, Psychology-Marriage and Family Therapy. Edgewood College, Madison, WI. Endorsed on September 11, 2011. (R2011-02)


The BDSM Power Exchange: A Female Perspective. Principal Investigator: Emily Prior. MA Thesis, Interdisciplinary Studies. California State University, Northridge. Endorsed on  January 21, 2011. (R2010-04)


Leather BDSM Just a Pain the Ass? A Critical Analysis of Leathersex and its Comparison to Psychoanalytic Treatment. Principal Investigator: Nick Field. MA Thesis. Gender, Sexuality & Culture. University of London, Birkbeck College, London UK. Endorsed on January 16, 2011. (R2010-03)

The Occurrence of Unconventional Sexual Behavior in Women. Principal Investigator: Jennifer Rehor. PhD Dissertation, Sexuality Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA. Endorsed on January 16, 2011. (R2010-02)


Just "Kinky" Sex?: Gender, Power, and Sexuality in BDSM Interactions. Principal Investigator: Brandy L. Simula. PhD Dissertation, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.  Endorsed on January 16, 2011. (R2010-01)

Bound in Theory and Practice: A Mixed-Methods Exploration of Consensual Sadomasochism. Principal Investigator: Katherine Martinez. PhD Dissertation, Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder. Endorsed on August 18, 2009. (R2008-02)

Sexual Functioning During Menopause: Beliefs, Hormones, and Ethnicity. Principal Investigator: Robert Clark. PhD Dissertation, Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD. Endorsed on January 30, 2009. (R2009-01)


Examining the Relationship between Clinician Implicit Attitudes, Explicit Attitudes, and Overt Discriminatory Behavior toward Individuals who Practice Alternative Sexual Behaviors Using a Questionnaire, the IRAP Task, and Direct Behavioral Observation. Principal Investigator: Fawna Stockwell. Diversity Fellowship Project, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, IL. Endorsed on September 10, 2008.(R2008-01)


Effects of Stigma on Employment, Mental Health, and Health Services upon the Sadomasochism Population. Principal Investigator: Sara Collins. B.A. Thesis, Department of Sociology, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC. Endorsed on February 6, 2008. (R2007-02)