Monday, August 16, 2010

Kink 101

Today marks halfway through my project of 31 articles in 31 days, and that means it is time for another series, this on one 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

The pursuit of kink could be described as taking sex to a hobbyist level. Many people have sex, and some people think about sex a great deal, but most people do not often think about sex as a skill to be developed and a discipline to be studied. Kinky folks often look at sex as not merely something that you do, but something worth doing very very well. They spend great thought and effort to develop their ability to provide their partners and themselves with physical satisfaction as well as emotional and even spiritual satisfaction.

I define kink in the way because I wanted to stay away from defining it by specific activities. When people think of kink, they often think of leather, spanking and flogging, and ropes and chains, but there are kinky people who are not interested in any of that. Some are only interested in role playing, others might be into age play, gender play, wrestling, wax play, or any number of other activities. The important thing is that people in the kink community understand that there is more to sexual satisfaction that sticking Tab A into Slot B.

In many kink scenes there is a "top" and a "bottom". The top is the one who is doing something, and the bottom is the one to whom it is done. This is different from a "dominant" and a "submissive." Dominants are often tops and submissives bottoms, but not always.

In most kink scenes, something called a "safeword" is used. It is a word which would not normally come up in a scene. When the bottom uses it, the scene stops immediately. They will use it if there is a problem, if things have gotten too serious, or even if they just feel uncomfortable.

The most common activities in kink break down into a few broad categories: bondage, dominance and submission (D/s), sadomasochism (collectively BDSM), role play, and humiliation. This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers the lion's share of the activities that fall into the kink realm.

Bondage is where a top uses things like rope, cuffs, chains, or anything else to inhibit the bottom's movement in some way. Sometimes this is part of a larger scene, but for some the bondage itself is the activity. Many rope tops become extremely involved in developing and exhibiting their skills in rope use and tying. Likewise, for many rope bottoms, there is an almost visceral satisfaction in the process of being bound and the state of being restricted.

Dominance and Submission (D/s)
D/s refers to an intentionally created power dynamic where the submissive voluntarily cedes power to the dominant. This can be for a single scene or it can be 24/7 situation in a relationship. In a healthy D/s relationship, it is understood that this power is granted voluntarily and can be rescinded at any time. Many dominants enjoy this situation because they enjoy the thrill of having power over another person. On the other hand, many submissives enjoy the experience of being able to give up control, and, more importantly, responsibility to someone else. Often people find what they are lacking in their daily lives in D/s, so people who have great responsibility will enjoy being submissive and people who desire more control find it in dominance.

A more advanced topic in D/s is humiliation. It could be referred to as an extreme form of submission. It takes the power dynamic to an extreme as the dominant will humiliate and dehumanize the submissive. Like other D/s, this is entirely consensual and the submissive can stop it at any time with the use of the safeword. The simplest form of humiliation would be using dehumanizing language and attitudes, and it can be as complex as rape scenes and gang bangs. To someone unfamiliar with the concept, this can sound like a terrible thing. Who would want to voluntarily submit to such treatment? However, for many submissives who are into humiliation, they find it cathartic and empowering. It is cathartic because it is an intense experience. After all, it's a lot easier to deal with the boss's attitude the next day when compared to the gang bang the night before. It is also empowering because, ultimately, the submissive has complete control over a scene due to the ability to stop it on a dime with the use of a safeword.

Candy says: I am a submissive, and I have done some pretty serious scenes. Some people hear about that and wonder why I would want to demean myself like that. They don't realize how empowering it is. Here I am being dommed by some serious guys with some incredible power of personality. They are doing some things to me that, were it not consensual, would be really bad, but they are doing it all for my benefit. They are giving all of that power and all of that skill for my enjoyment, and, with a single simple safeword, I can bring all the power and energy to a stop. Tell me anyplace else in life where I can feel that kind of empowerment.

For some people, intense sensations, especially pain, create intense experiences. When in the right headspace, a masochist feels pain, not as the unpleasant sensation that we usually associate with pain, but as an intense, awareness-increasing sensation. Physiologically, it causes a release of chemicals called endorphins, the same chemical that is created by intense exercise. For some masochists, the experience creates a heightened sexual experience. For others, it is a cathartic experience, a release of tension and stress, leaving them relaxed and comforted after the experience.

Emily says: A masochist gets off on pain in a scene, but it's not just any pain. It has to be in the right environment with the right mood. I enjoy a good flogging or spanking, but if I get a headache, I take an Advil just like anyone else.

Role Play
This is one of the more common areas of kink that people in the vanilla (non-kink) world often venture into. Role play is taking on a role of some kind. It could be something explicitly sexual (naughty nurse), or it could be something else, but for the purpose of achieving some kind of visceral satisfaction, such as an interrogation scene. Role play is excellent for bringing new excitement to an existing relationship, as you get to play a character different from yourself in exciting new roles. Perhaps you were an awkward geek in high school, but the thought of being the jock who deflowered the cheerleader appeals to you. You can do it in role play. Does it appeal to you to be a defenseless damsel captured by a rapacious and heartless evil lord. You can role play that too. It is almost a way to create your own custom-made, live-action porn of which you and your lover are the stars.

One of the best things about role play is that there are no limits. You can be rich. You can be vicious. You can be an innocent virgin or a crazed ax murderer. In role play, you can have a magic wand that causes orgasms; you can have force fields of bondage; you can even have mind control if you and your partner can act it out well enough. Whatever you and your partner are interested in playing out is fair game, and imaginary props are much safer and easier to clean than real props.

Of course, kink is a broad topic, and it is impossible to do it proper justice in a single article, but I hope that this gives you a general understanding of what kink is about.

1 comment:

  1. I have always had a hard time with "kink" as a term. I kind of think of having a kink as having something you want to explore. It may do it for you and be really HOT, but the next time you do it it doesn't really do anything for you. I think of that as a kink. I think of a fetish as something you can do over and over and expand upon and still get off on it intensely.
    That is kind of why I feel "being kinky" more refers to trying something different and new, while fetish is something a little more serious. It is a little like the difference between "bi-sexual" and "bi-curious".

    That being said, I can't wait to see the rest of these!