Why Getting Kinky Can Be A Good Thing

The ties that bind are more psychological than physical

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Image credit: TheEarth.com

First a disclaimer: I have never, and will never, watch any of the 50 Shades movies.

In an act of kindness The Economist magazine some years ago humorously published three sample paragraphs from the first 50 Shades novella and that was more than sufficient to alert me to the fact that as life is far too short to tolerate atrociously bad writing I shall consequently never waste a second on that tenth-rate garbage.

Nevertheless I understand from various sources that the 50 Shades phenomenon, which in France is termed Porno pour les mamans, has led to a significant number of people becoming interested in spicing up their sexual lives with a bit of kink.

But what is kink?

Is it tying the wrists of your partner with red satin cords before seducing her with a lengthy explanation of the connection between total money supply and its velocity of circulation?

Is it getting all worked up by looking at pictures of Carl Sagan?

Or is it being spanked and then ass-fucked while being told what a very naughty girl you are until you cum harder than you’ve ever cum before?

My personal definition of kink is very simple: kink is something someone else enjoys that you haven’t yet decided that you also might enjoy.

The problem with this definition, of course, is that kink is now fashionable so everyone and their duct-taped hamster wants to identify as kinky.

To be kinky is to be a complete sexual being.

And, frankly, I think this is a very good thing. Especially in the USA, which for the most part believes itself to be trapped in 1870s Victorian England, only with an over-abundance of guns and without the really good tea.

Exploring one’s sexual potential is no different from exploring one’s intellectual potential, one’s athletic potential, or any other undeveloped personal capacity. We can either sit slumped on the sofa staring vacantly at the latest must-binge-watch streamed video series or we can seek out opportunities for growth. Life is very short and very precious, so squandering it is basically an indicator of a woeful lack of imagination.

And with kink, imagination is the key that unlocks many doors.

Kink is not really the accoutrements. Sure, it’s fun to have some handcuffs, a blindfold, a couple of buttplugs and nipple clamps readily available. Probably also a whip, a paddle, and the always-essential duct tape for the hamster.

But the really important part of kink is opening up to your hidden desires, exploring the things you may not even have been conscious you were curious about.

Kink requires honest and clear communication and that’s what marks it out from traditional vanilla relationships.

According to studies, 90% of American couples will never share their hidden desires with their partner for fear of being judged adversely. And that is immensely sad. I can’t imagine living day after day with someone I believed would think less of me because I told her about my sexual fantasies (and what’s wrong with making love in a bath full of spaghetti carbonara flavored ice-cream anyway?).

Silence seems so stunted, so closed-off; little more than a joint-mortgage life sentence. No wonder the typical US couple has sex fewer than twice per month and for less than eight minutes per session.

But when you start to talk to your partner and discover that not only are they interested in hearing your fantasies but they also have some of their own, you engender trust and you increase your mutual comprehension.

It also increases your ability to empathize and negotiate. Life isn’t always fair or kind, so one person may want to dress up as a French poodle and be led around the house on a leash while the other wants to be tied to the bed, spanked, and given a very thorough fucking. Sexual compatibility isn’t guaranteed, but with a bit of goodwill there’s often the opportunity to find mutually enjoyable activities beyond the usual missionary-position-on-Saturday-night-if-we’re-not-too-tired routine. Sometimes a duct-taped hamster is the perfect ice-breaker.

When we consciously co-create our sexual adventures, eroticism begins to permeate the rest of our lives. Some racy text messages or a naughty post-it note left on the fridge can spice up a whole morning that otherwise would be tedium incarnate. And with smartphones now ubiquitous, a fifteen-second video clip of your partner masturbating or wearing something provocative could be deliciously arousing.

The point is: once you know each other more fully you’ll have a better idea of what will be a turn-on for you both.

Kink also lets us expand our boundaries. I knew a woman who fantasized intensely about being tied and whipped, yet naturally she was afraid of the pain that realizing her fantasy could entail. So we started very gently, having previously discussed what we were going to do and having a clear way to stop the action at any time.

As it happened, about ten minutes into the things she discovered the combination of trepidation and pain-induced endorphin rush was irresistible and wanted more. By the end of that initial session she was begging to be whipped more forcefully. Being somewhat experienced in these matters, I increased the intensity just enough to allow her to expand her previous boundary but kept things well within safe limits. The result: she was delighted by her first foray into mild kink and looked forward to exploring further in the days and weeks ahead.

In this tiny vignette we see some key components: mutual respect, open and honest discussion, agreement on a particular type of activity, the trust necessary to go from discussion to action, building in the requisite safety, a gradual build-up, and finally significant erotic pleasure.

None of these things can occur without a mutual willingness to engage. It’s easy for one partner to sabotage the entire attempt with an ill-chosen word or an action that breaches trust. It’s easy for one person to signal disgust or contempt or simply disapproval. Let’s be honest: it’s always easier in any walk of life to destroy than to create.

But is that who we want to be?

Don’t we want to be people our hamster can admire?

NOTE: for those who may be concerned, no conceptual hamsters were harmed during the writing of this piece.

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