Sunday, July 20, 2014

30 Days of Kink: Day 17!

Day 17: What misconception about kinky people would you most like to clear up?
I have to pick just one?

I think what I'd most like to clear up is the single image I feel like most people have of kink.  I think there's an idea that all kink is super-serious, heavily sexual, involves both dominance and SM, involves a lot of trappings and props, and is between a man and a woman.  And everyone's got a collar on.  Even the doms.

When... there is no one image of kink.  But here's a couple images I'd like to mix in with the black leather:

- Me, fully clothed, cheerfully folding and sorting Rowdy's laundry.  He hits me afterwards, not as a punishment, but as a reward.

- At a party, a woman demonstrates how she uses a urethral sound on her partner.  She's wearing gloves and using surgical lube.  She's joking around a lot and everyone is laughing, including the guy with the sound in his dick.

- Cuddling with Rowdy, I ask him to bite me, and he does, still cuddling me.

- Kinky people gathering in a mall food court, not to do anything kinky, just to socialize and connect in an atmosphere where they don't have to hide who they are.

- A bondage workshop held in someone's living room.  Some people are clothed and others are in underwear, mostly just for freedom of movement.  People are passing around books with bondage diagrams and instructions and trying them out.  Other people are in the kitchen nibbling on the cookies someone brought.

- A different party.  I went with Rowdy planning to play, but the energy just sort of feels off to us, and we're more tired than we expected, so we just cuddle and watch people play.

- A friend playing as a puppy.  He's not doing anything kinky or sexual, he's just going up to people who pet him and fawn over him, as you do with puppies.

I could go on forever.  I'm still missing lots of stuff here--my experiences are really just one little corner of Kinkland.  But you get the idea.  There's a lot in kink that you don't see in images like this.  I don't want to say "it's not black leather, it's t-shirts," because that's just reductionism in another direction.  It's not black leather; it's black leather and t-shirts and pink latex and nice button-down shirts and people running around with no shirts at all going "wheeeeeeee."

20 comments:

  1. I want this so badly. And I'm a young woman living in Manhattan, so I should just go get it! And I will! As soon as I can tear myself away from Netflix...

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  2. Comradde PhysioProffeJuly 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    I had a cystoscopy a few weeks ago, and it was fucken wild to watch the video as the camera probe went up my urethra and into my bladder. The worst parts comfort wise were when it went through the prostate and then the bladder sphincter. Sounding for pleasure is usually just a short way in, correct?

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    1. It depends? In the scene I saw she was pretty much going to town on him and he said it didn't hurt, but he also said he was very experienced with sounding and that it wasn't nearly so easy when he started.

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    2. Comradde PhysioProffeJuly 21, 2014 at 7:42 AM

      I can certainly see how you could get used to it (like almost anything).

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    3. From some of the research I've done: Some people really enjoy depth and some people don't. Some people really enjoy (or "enjoy") the discomfort, some people just like the sensations with as little discomfort involved as possible. It really depends on the person. Different toys will give different lengths of penetration, but usually the people really interested in depth play will get something semi-flexible like a catheter.

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  3. On the ubiquity of black leather in kink imagery, it's my understanding that a lot of the early organized kink communities didn't allow anyone into a club who wasn't wearing a particular type of fetishwear in order to keep from being raided by the cops/hounded by journalists/pointed at by non-kinksters. I'm not saying that excuses the continued idea that all kink is one particular image, but when I learned about that it really helped me understand where the imagery came from.

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    1. True. Although a lot of those communities were also composed of gay men, and the media sure didn't hang onto that one too long.

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  4. I just wrote a really long comment and then my Wordpress login failed, and I'm too tired to retype it. Forgive me if this ends up sounding brusque, it's not at all the intended tone.

    Is it wrong for me (a vanilla person) to think that kinkiness is about sex / sexual arousal / sexual pleasure? A lot of your examples seem to emphasize the idea that kinky people aren't always, like ... totally decked out in leather and spikes, chained up in basements, etc. when they're doing their kinky thing. And I definitely get the underlying message about how being kinky doesn't define one's every waking moment and aspiration, the same way that {some gay people are Republican; bisexual people aren't attracted to every single person; fill in your LGBT identity misconception here}. But it is still about sex, right? I mean, I was mostly confused in your last example, when you wrote "A friend playing as a puppy. He's not doing anything kinky or sexual" -- is that just something a kinky friend happened to do one time? Or is his kink "playing as a puppy"? Because in the latter case, I would (wrongly?) interpret that to mean that he got sexual pleasure out of it ... not just regular being-goofy-with-friends pleasure.

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    1. Can you define "sexual pleasure"?

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    2. Kink isn't necessarily sexual. It's hard to define.

      So playing as a puppy is some people's kink, and having sex or being aroused is not always part of that. So what makes this a kink rather than, like, a hobby? Hard to say. Basically just that they say it is.

      I probably give out some confusing messages about this, because kink is very sexual for me, but sex does not define kink. Doing... you know, the stuff we do... does.

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    3. It depends! For some people, kink involves sex (sometimes, or all of the time). I happen to be an asexual kinkster, and I have lots of fun playing with other folks without sex. In ten years, I've only had to turn down one partner because sex was an integral part of kink for him...and we figured out our differences in pre-negotiation, so it wasn't even a fraught conversation. More like, "Oh, you take cream in your coffee? I don't like it that way, but enjoy your drink!" and we went on to play with other people.

      I figured out I was kinky a good 5-8 years before I figured out I was asexual, but I've always appreciated the fact that I've never felt pressured to have sex with my play partners. It's common enough to play without sex (especially at public parties that may or may not have a red room), that no one's ever seriously questioned this particular boundary of mine. I actually get way more pushback in the "vanilla" world if I mention being asexual (to the point that I'm further in the closet on that front than I am about being kinky!).

      So yeah, there can be lots of awesome sex with kink, but there doesn't have to be. I'm happy to be beaten, serve as human furniture of be strung up from the ceiling, no orgasms necessary. I do get pleasure out kink, but it's qualitatively different than sexual pleasure. For me, it's mostly a chance to get out of my head and not have to worry or think about meeting other people's inscrutable expectations. I find a similar (though much paler) sense of relief in meditation, but though kink I can let myself open even further because I know I have someone to guide/push/support me through the experience. I can shut off more of my brain knowing that I have a safety net, and I come out of it happier and much less stressed.

      My experience is only my own, but there is indeed room for non-sexual pleasure in kink.

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    4. Just to confuse you a little further, it's possible to have some kinks which are sexual and some which aren't. As a whole, all my kinks make me feel *good* in some way (otherwise, I guess, I wouldn't indulge in them). Sometimes that's good in an orgasm way and sometimes that's good in any of the myriad of other ways humans can feel good: feeling loved, feeling safe, feeling like you're having fun, feeling like you're making a connection with another human being, feeling important, feeling physically good the way a massage makes you feel, etc.

      This may be a bit of a cop-out, but maybe kinks are just defined by being outside the mainstream. I'm not sexually aroused by puppy play (though I enjoy it) but if I went around being a puppy at work, the vast majority of my coworkers would NOT accept that. So it gets brushed off to the sidelines and picked up by the kink community.

      I'm also tempted to say kink can involve anything with strange power differentials (e.g., puppy play) but capitalism isn't a kink and, say, latex isn't always about power so that's obviously not the right definition.

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    5. "but capitalism isn't a kink"

      To shamelessly connect the two current running Pervocracy post series: it is to E.L. James, apparently...

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    6. Cannot say how reassuring it is to read that kink isn't necessarily sexual all the time. Because I am sexual, and I like to be hit and hit people but I wouldn't consider one related to the other. Which made me feel like a bit of an imposter going to my first couple of munches, then again so did nor really being involved in any sort of play at that time.
      For me it's much more of a *wow that's focusing* followed by "hey look at all the cool marks we've made on each other" with excessive giggling. Which may or may not be followed by sex. Definitely a very different head space to when I'm doing non-kink stuff where I have to worry about being weird.

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  5. YES. All of this. Thank you Cliff.

    A couple of years ago, if someone had told me I'd be a Sub in a 'kinky relationship' I certainly wouldn't have pictured being hand-fed hula hoops, or laughing at my partner's attempts to remove ink stains from his bedsheets before his mum saw them, or getting toothpaste everywhere trying to brush my teeth in time for my assigned bedtime. And maybe if I'd been able to picture that I would have seen it as a viable option sooner. Stereotypes get in the way of happiness, people!

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  6. I've been looking for a job, including at government agencies, and I have a fear that if I am hired by one, and my interest in kink becomes public knowledge, the image people will have is of me kneeling naked in front of a woman in black leather, who orders me to act in a way contrary to the interests of the people my agency serves.

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    1. I wouldn't dismiss government jobs out of hand because you're kinky. You could be "outed" at any job, though that would reflect more poorly on the person who out you than yourself. I got a government job, and I had an explicit and slightly awkward security interview with one person. The organization's primary goal in sussing out employee's past was primarily to figure whether they would be susceptible to bribery or corruption. By offering full disclosure, we were able to negate that potential threat.

      There are precautions you can take. I agreed to no longer play publicly once I was hired, and that was a choice I was happy to make. Beyond my security interviewer, no one at work knows that I'm kinky except my close friends. I don't bring it up at work because it's not relevant. Unless you are publicly active in the kink community and do not want to give that up, it's possible to be discreetly kinky (play in private with friends, etc.) and be a government employee. If someone does decide to be a jerk and "out" you, I would just say, "So what? My private life is private."

      There are kinky people in every profession. You may or may not need to disclose your kinky history for a government job. If you do, just treat it without shame, and otherwise just keep work separate from your private life.

      On the other hand, if your kink identity is bound up with public events and the freedom to be outspoken, then maybe you might be happier in a job that would allow you to express that part of yourself.

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  7. You know, I read your work and start to think, "huh. Maybe I'm kinky." And then, I read a post like this, followed by these comments and think, "maybe I'm not so kinky after all." And then I think to myself, "aw, fuck it. Why do I feel like I need a label? ;) Keep up the great writing!

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    1. My experiences are highly slanted towards a certain (young, middle-class, American East Coast, urban, liberal, pansexual, kink-community-based, etc., etc., etc.) experience with kink. There's a lot of other kinds of kink that don't fall within my personal experience but are just as valid.

      I'm not saying "clearly, you are kinky," but don't rule it out because you haven't done any of the things I've listed here.

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    2. I have been thoroughly enjoying your blog. Where I feel I may have been unclear in my comment is that "kink" is such an incredibly huge, overarching word that it seems near impossible to define. Can I be kinky without sharing a single experience in common with you? I would suspect so. So, what specifically would make me kinky? I have no idea, and I think that's probably okay, certainly for now anyway.

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