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Leaving Normal—The Whys and Wherefores of the Journey to Kink

Leaving Normal—The Whys and Wherefores of the Journey to Kink
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Nobody just wakes up one day and decides “Gee, I think I’ll be kinky!” So, why do people go there? How many do? And darn it, is it better than straight sex, or is it all just propaganda?

  So...What’s Kinky?

The term “kinky” has so many different definitions that it’s impossible to pin down easily. For a lot of people, kink is anything beyond normal sex—whatever that is. For still others, kink is everything that is just a bit odder than what they themselves do in the bedroom. Wikipedia, that oft-cited resource of the non-traditional, says that “…in current usage, the term "kink" has … come to refer to a range of objective and objectifying sexualistic practices ranging in degree from the playful to the paraphilic. These include spanking, bondage, dominance and submission, sadomasochism (BDSM) and sexual fetishism.”

So, since kinky isn’t an easy definition, we’re going to offer up a tiny quiz. The scoring is easy—just give yourself one point for every one of the following activities that you engage in, at all, or that you fantasize about:

-Tying up your lover (or being tied up by your lover) with anything from your Hermes scarves to barbed wire
- Being ravished, roughly or gently
- Having someone do your bidding—or being the person that’s doing it.
- Experiencing some discomfort or pain during sex (like having your nipples pinched, or being bitten)
- Giving strong sensations to someone that they really want (like, biting them or spanking them)
- Role playing, especially role play that involves power dynamics—teacher and student, pirate and wench, even mean babysitter and naughty kid (or vice versa!).
- Consensual resistance—saying “no”, even though you really mean yes.
-Dressing up in various fetish attire—leather, latex, PVC, lingerie, cling wrap—in order to get turned on and turn on your partner.

Well, did you score anything? Even one point? If so, congratulations—your kink flag and official membership card are on the way to your house right now. If not—no worries, because “vanilla” (though we hate the term) is still one of the most potent flavors in the world!

Help—I’m kinky!

The biggest misconception about kinky behavior is that it’s not normal or healthy—and I’m here to call bullshit on that idea. There really is no level of “normal” when it comes to sex; every person gets off in slightly (or greatly) different ways, so figuring out which of those ways are “normal” would take a thousand monkeys sitting at a thousand different computers at the Kinsey Institute decades to compute.

Whether it’s healthy is far less easily defined—many people think that if someone gets turned on by the exchange of power, delivering or receiving pain or strong sensation, or bondage in any of its varied forms, that they’re somehow emotionally or psychologically ill. However, the key concept that many practitioners of BDSM (and many mental health professionals) focus on is that of consent. If all parties involved understand the risks of what they’re doing, and if they trust their partner and are willing to agree to proceed with their activities, and they’re doing so in a way that’s responsible, their consent can be seen as a conscious, healthy choice.

Most experienced BDSM practitioners will not accept consent that is given by someone who is unable to fully understand the context of play, or who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as this type of behavior is inherently unhealthy (not to mention potentially physically damaging or legally prosecutable). And for people who do consensual kink, the knowledge that what they’re doing is having a positive effect on their partner is part of the turn on!

  What Do I Do Now?

The awesome thing about realizing that you’re turned on by something new is that you get to explore it! If you’re in a relationship, talk to your partner(s) about your fantasies, and see if they’re willing to help you try out new things. If you’re not in a relationship, you can still give it a shot during masturbation or just fantasizing, especially if you find some hot porn or a few toys to spice things up (who says you can’t use nipple clamps or ankle cuffs on yourself?).

Start out slowly, especially if your fantasies are more of the “whip me till I pass out” variety—there’s a lot to learn about, and a lot of ground to cover, between a gentle spanking and a heavy corporal punishment scene! I often suggest that people imagine their fantasy playing out, and that they take note of what the “key” points are—in the whipping scene we just mentioned, is it the actual pain, or is it the loss of control, or is it the feeling of enduring the whipping and overcoming the sensation, or something totally different? This can help you find ways to explore that are more likely to give you what you want. If you really want to feel a loss of control, there are hundreds of other ways to explore that in ways that don’t require your partner be a master whip artist; perhaps starting out with some of those and dipping your toes into the kinky pool can give you a better perspective on what you’ll really get off on!

Fortunately, there are tons of resources out there for people who want to explore being kinky—from books, educational DVDs, and websites that you can read and share in the privacy of your own bedroom, to groups and events filled with like-minded people. If you want to learn from and engage in the “public” BDSM scene, there is a way to explore pretty much anything your horny little mind can come up with. Just remember—trying it out doesn’t mean you have to become a lifetime devotee with your own wardrobe of leather domination wear; you can be as kinky as you want to be, and still wear your Anne Taylor and Brooks Brothers, and nobody will be the wiser. Kink is about your pleasure, your intimacy, and your rules – so whether your turn on is a bandanna for a blindfold, or cruising the local dungeon for a lifetime slave, there’s room under the big BDSM umbrella for you!

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Comments

I really in joyed this article and your review of kinks

11/29/2011

BDSM—kink—fetish: what are they? How does one do it? And, most importantly, who’s doing it? The answer might just be staring back at you in the mirror.

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