Friday, August 20, 2010

Kink 101, Part 5: Your Kink is Okay, So Is Theirs

This is the fifth in a six part series on kink. In this series, we will discuss the following topics:
8/16: Introduction to kink
8/17: Sadomasochism
8/18: Dominance and Submission
8/19: Abuses of Power
8/20: Your Kink Is OK
8/21: Safely Expressing Extreme Fetishes

There is a common expression in the kink community: "Your kink is okay." It is an expression of understanding that everyone in the kink community enjoys activities that might be considered unacceptable in the mainstream public. Kinksters may find that other people's kinks are disturbing to them, but they understand that some find their proclivities improper, so they try to show acceptance to others.

My Kink is OK, Yours Is Messed Up
This is not as easy as it sounds. Humans naturally form biases against people who are not like them in one way or another. Even the kinkiest, wildest people out there, people's whose lifestyles are too extreme to talk about on pay cable TV, even these people may look at someone else's interests and think that they are "messed up."

Dominick says: I'm into a whole lot of kinky stuff, but there are some people out there in the scene who are really screwed up. I mean, there is something wrong with them. Watersports? Seriously! Why would anyone do that.

Like any other community, there are behaviors that are considered normal and others that are considered deviant. For example, in Dominick's circles, thug play is common. While Dominick understands that there are many who would find the violence in thug play too intense to even watch, he does not understand that he should afford to others the same acceptance that he expects from others.
Safe, Sane and Consensual
For many years, the standard in the kink community has been "safe, sane, and consensual." There are some in the community who prefer the term RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). I will discuss the difference in a moment.

By safe, this standard means that the participants avoid activities which have a reasonable chance of causing severe physical injury. If the activity that the participants desire to engage in is inherently dangerous, such as breath play, then they will take all precautions to make it as safe as possible.

Sane is a subjective standard of sanity of the activity. Golden showers are not really dangerous, and many people find them objectionable, but they do not tend to lead to negative consequences, so they would be perfectly sane for this purpose. On the other hand, a couple into sex in public doing it on a public bench on Fifth Avenue would not be, in the author's opinion.

Consensual is exactly what it sounds like. Both parties must consent to what is going to happen with full knowledge, as much as possible, of the implications of the activity. This consent must be revocable by either party at any time for any reason.

Because the kink community is a group of people who a brought together by the common factor that mainstream society thinks that something they do is improper, it is a bit improper in itself for one kinkster to judge another kinkster's interests unless there is something about it that fails to be safe, sane, and consensual.

RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink)
Some people disagree with the use of SSC because they feel it is too limited for some activities. They feel that some things are inherently dangerous and engaging in them entails a certain degree of risk, thus not "safe". The "Risk Aware" portion replaces "Safe, Sane" meaning that all parties understand all risks and have done their best to mitigate them. The debate between SSC and RACK is mostly a debate of semantics rather than actual philosophy, but I felt the need to touch on it here to stave off reader discontent.

Your Kink is OK, and So Is His and Hers
As you consider your own interests and desires, it is important to remember that, just because something does not appeal to you does not mean that there is anything wrong with it. You may not like Indian food, but that does not mean that every Indian restaurant should be closed down, just that you should not eat there yourself. Likewise, with any activity that is safe, sane, and consensual, you may not be interested in engaging in it, but you have no right to judge someone who does enjoy it.

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