Last weekend, I went to UTK and celebrated the third annual OUTstanding seminar in Knoxville. OUTstanding is basically a day long series of events surrounding the LGBT community and packed with a variety of topics and issues to discuss. I went to sessions about queer gamers, transgender advocacy in schools and listened to a slam poet talk about her life in Jamaica. It was awesome.
The event I was most excited about, however, was a panel discussion called ‘KINK: BDSM Queer Community as a Doubly Repressed Minority.’ When I saw this, I was instantly psyched. I was going to get to sit in a room full of queer kinky people and talk about social justice? This was going to be like a wet dream for me; all of my favorite things wrapped up in one hour-long debate.
But, just like so many things we feel unbridled passion for, it was totally disappointing.
The panel was a flop, and the people on it were definitely not trained to be public speakers or educators of sex. They were all nice, and seemed to be well versed in the ways of BDSM, so it was not all bad. They just had a hard time conveying their information in a way that made it easy for non-kinky people to understand and accept. So, for the benefit of the Maryville College community, I thought I would give it a try.
Some of you may be wondering what the word “kinky” even means. Even if you’ve heard it before, which I am sure most of us have, you may have some misconceptions. I want to fix that.
Kinkiness can be defined as any sexual acts that are non-conventional. Before we start, I want to make sure my biggest, loudest point in this article is that there is nothing wrong with being kinky.
There are tons of negative opinions out there about kinky people, and that is simply not fair. Their sex is just sometimes different. Chisel that into stone and plant it on your lawn so everyone can see it, because it is important to understand.
Now, I use the term “kinky” because it is so broad; it can basically cover any non-conventional acts that I talk about. Another closely related term, however, is BDSM. This is an acronym of “B&D” (bondage and discipline), “D&S” (dominance and submission) and “S&M” (sadism and masochism). The double uses of the letters in BDSM serve to better represent the entire kinky community, which is vast and multi-dimensional.
I want to address some common questions and misconceptions people have about kinky sex, and I want to do it in a way that shines a positive light on the whole community.
One of the most common misconceptions I hear is that kinky stuff is always hardcore and solely reserved for the freaks. That is not true.
I think of kinkiness as a spectrum, like almost everything else sex-related. Though there is an extreme end, there is also a soft, light end on the other side. In fact, a lot of people participate in lighter kink without even realizing that it’s kinky.
For example, if you tie your partner up with a scarf, you are being kinky. If you play with food, spank your partner, or experiment with some kind of power play, like being “the boss,” you are being a little bit kinky. It is ok. Don’t run. Embrace it.
Not only that, but some view the kinky community as a scary underground world where everyone wears leather, gets chained to walls and beaten with various painful objects. Let me just say that some of this is, in fact, true. People do like bondage and being restrained; people also like to be hit.
But it’s not scary, and it’s always consensual, which I think a lot of people do not realize. Some of the BDSM community’s biggest concerns are safety and consent. Education, discussion and trust are some major parts of a kinky relationship, and are widely promoted by the community. If you’re not educated in what you are doing, especially if you’re participating in more hardcore kinks, you could seriously damage someone both mentally and physically. And that is not at all the goal of BDSM.
You also need to know your partner’s limits, which is where the discussion comes in. And, in turn, the trust. If you know what you are doing, know how far your partner wants to go (and where they don’t ever want to go), and have mutual trust in the relationship, you are having a safe and pleasurable experience. And that is what you want out of kinky sex.
If you’re a complete novice to BDSM, you may be confused at this point. Since some kinky acts involve pain, how can the experience be safe or even feel good? That’s where personal preference comes into play.
Some people legitimately feel sexual pleasure from pain. This may be hard to ingest for some of you, but it’s true. And, like I said before, it’s completely natural and deserves respect, just like all sexual preferences.
If you are asking why people have these preferences, that is a little more complicated. Just like the conventional kinds, kinky sex can be an intimate, personal and meaningful experience. Some say they like BDSM because it helps them explore themselves, let go of stress or express their love or trust for a partner in a deeper way.
Not only that, but sex is fun. It is fun to explore different kinds of sex, in a safe way, remember, and therefore get a better understanding of both yourself as a sexual person and of your partner. Again, it all comes down to the individual.
Obviously this is not the space to cover all aspects of kinkiness. What I wanted to do with this article, and what I wish they’d done at OUTstanding, was introduce kinkiness in a positive, informative way.
As a member of the BDSM/kinky community, it means a lot to be represented accurately and fairly; I know there is nothing wrong with the way I have sex, but a lot of people out there disagree. Sharing my experiences and opinions as a kinky person is important because it may dispel some totally false assumptions that a lot of people have. It may even give someone the opportunity to discover the little kinkster inside themselves.
Anyway, remember my important points: being kinky is ok, nothing is scary about kink, and a lot of people do it. Now go, my friends. Go get your kink on.