By Alex Hawthorne
We are a society obsessed with ladders and greener grass. Everything we put our minds to has to be on an escalating scale, with some end goal in mind. One would think that opening your mind to experimenting with the kinkier side of sexuality would be free of this target setting, but I’ve found the community more closely resembles a bunch of collectors rather than free spirits. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some wonderful people in the kink community both in real life and online. They have helped me unpack my guilt around my once closeted desire for dominance and submission. Growing up in Catholic Ireland was really not the open-minded playground I would have wished for, and for many years my thoughts festered rather than flourished. So when the curtain was lifted by a friend and a whole community was revealed to me that was totally accepting of my long held secrets, I jumped in with both feet, and promptly fell down the rabbit hole.
My Black Lace Covered Eden
At first I was dazzled by a collection of fellow enthusiasts; people willing to talk about what I had always hidden; they welcomed me with open arms to parties and kink gatherings. At long last I could walk naked, be an exhibitionist, be a voyeur, and not just from the perch of my keyboard. It seemed like a black lace covered Eden, and the long forgotten teen Goth in me rejoiced. Take it as a given that I’ve had wonderful, spiritual, mind expanding experiences thanks to the Kink community. I wouldn’t still be a part of it if it didn’t add to my life.
I’m a Chaotic Fusion of Idyosincrasies
There is another side to Kink that isn’t often spoken about, that a lot of people when offered entry into this candy land commence sexual box ticking rather than engaging with the person before them. Maybe they want an FFM (female, female, male threesome), or to dress like a nurse while ordered to clean the floor; maybe they want to be spanked while a room full of people watch, to each their own–each person needs to live their dream. What I do find irksome is that people have an itinerary; others are sized up for their potential to fulfill their fantasy, kinksters are reduced down to a list of likes and dislikes, assessed for their overlapping Venn diagram. Yes I’m bi, kinky, and poly, but I also like red wine, Alain De Botton, and low-rent disaster films. I’m not just a list of criteria, I’m a chaotic fusion of idiosyncrasies; something that I feel is erased by other community members in their race to make me fit their list.
Too Old, Too Hardcore, Too Far Away.
At the start I did it too, excusing it as efficient short hand for sorting out who was suitable and who was ‘too old, too hardcore, too far away.’ I was callous; I am ashamed to admit now. I’d like to say it was good time management, but it was me erasing the messiness of people, bypassing the ‘getting to know you’ part, and going straight to ‘what are you into?’ We can see this across the board with online dating. Most of my various inboxes are filled with ‘How u babe? U free later? … Are u into hangin’ out with me and the girlfriend?’ If Tinder is the ego boosting game for millennials, then kink can be the Pokemon Go of sadists and masochists. Gotta catch ‘em all!
Your Kink is Not My Kink, But That’s Okay…
If I’m so disillusioned, why do I still consider myself Kinky? My issues with the scene don’t stop my enjoyment of surrender, the thrill of power willingly given, and the frisson of electric, delicate, wet anticipation. When it works it is transcendent. When you find someone you can do that dance with, it is the definition of play – a place to learn, grow, and be happy – which quite frankly as adults we have too few spaces for. I’m more discerning with whom I choose to spend my time. I will not be a trophy, or an item on someone’s list. I too take responsibility for not fetishizing those within my near grasp, unless I want to hang out with a person for coffee and still think they’re good company, then I won’t play with them. It’s a standard that works well for me, it slows me down, makes me appreciate the play I do partake in, and makes me feel more than disposable. I know that’s not the same modus operandi for everyone, but as we like to say in the community ‘Your Kink Is Not My Kink, But That’s Ok.’
About The Author
Alex Hawthorne has been writing for several years, but she wasted far too many of those words being a polite good girl, far too eager to please, with no idea of her real voice. She now writes about being a bi, poly, feminist, and hopes to be the example that she never had growing up in repressed Catholic Ireland. She is a chameleon entrepreneur, an extrovert in love with her fluffy blanket and sofa, and outspoken advocate for self care, body positivity, and sexual wellbeing. She is violently allergic to dishonesty, oranges, and cats, and lives quietly and happily with her partner and his collection of wigs. She is currently working on her first novel, and you can also find her writing on her blog.
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