The world of kink
Sex is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Different people experience pleasure from many different activities, objects and people. Essentially, sex is whatever you want it to be. In discussing your wants, you might find that many people want the same thing and build a community. This is how you could shape the world of kink.
What is a kink?
The Merriam-Webster definition of kink is “unconventional sexual taste or behavior”. Words like unconventional, atypical or abnormal are often used to describe what a kink is. This definition is, in my opinion, flawed. By labeling something as abnormal, something else is defined as normal. A “conventional sexual taste or behavior” (the anti-kink) is what is sometimes called vanilla sex. The main difference between vanilla and kinky sex is the intention, and atmosphere. Vanilla sex has an element of gentleness and sweetness, where kinky sex is rougher and plays with power dynamics. People can have a preference for one of these types of sex, but it would be harmful to label one type as the default. In doing so, some people might never try the type of sex that gives them the most pleasure. So I propose a slight change to the definition of what a kink is. It is not atypical or abnormal, but personalized. Instead of being unconventional, a kink is simply a specific taste or behavior that enhances someone’s pleasure.
BDSM and other kinks
If the first things you think about when the word “kink” is mentioned are whips and bondage, you’re thinking about BDSM. This is an abbreviation of Bondage, Discipline/Domination, Submission/Sadism & Masochism. Power dynamics play an important role in this type of kink. Being tied up plays into this power dynamic, because by being tied you give your partner complete control over yourself. This type of kink is a physical act, but a kink could also be the words your partner uses. An example of this is dirty talk, which is when your partner uses very explicit sexual language. BDSM is about being turned on by certain actions and dirty talk is about being turned on by language, but there are also kinks that feature objects. An example of this is hosiery, in which having your partner wear pantyhose is a turn-on. These are just a few examples, but there are simply too many kinks to ever discuss in this blog. Whatever your kink is, there’s probably a name and a community out there for it. Explore it, and you might find yourself a community full of like-minded people.
The four dimensions of kink
A kink can be about more than just sex, in the same way that sex can be emotional. A recent study determined that a “kink” consists of four different dimensions. These dimensions are sex, power, headspace and community. The power dimension is when submission or domination play an important role. Submission and domination can serve as kink themselves, but some people also like constantly shifting these roles between themselves and their partners. In that case, this shifting between submission and domination is also a kink. The headspace dimension is also related to this kind of roleplay. By playing a certain role, someone’s state of mind is changed. By using their body, they have an out-of-body experience. Community is last, but not least, of the dimensions. A community can be built around a kink, in which people are accepting and kink positive. Some people even see their kink-community as a type of family.
In discussing these dimensions, you realize there’s a lot more to a kink than sex. This also means that a kink does not necessarily have to result in any sexual activity. You can take pleasure from your kink in any form you want to.
Communication is key
Anything you like to do/have done to you in the bedroom is perfectly valid, and important to discuss with your partner. Talking about sex can be difficult, but for all the people involved, an open dialogue leads to the best result. This means it’s important for us to learn how to communicate openly about what we want, and at the same time respect other people’s needs and boundaries. In doing so, you have the opportunity to discover your world of kink.
Harrington, L. & Williams, M. (2019). Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities. Tantor Audio.
Vivid, J., Lev, E. & Sprott, R. (2020). The Structure of Kink Identity: Four Key Themes Within a World of Complexity. Journal of Positive Sexuality, 6(2), 75–85. https://doi.org/10.51681/1.623
Yu, M. (2019, 1 juni). How To Talk About Sex (And Consent): 4 Lessons From The Kink Community. NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/06/01/728398532/how-to-talk-about-sex-and-consent-4-lessons-from-the-kink-community