What Being Kinky Means to Me: The Basics

Definitionally, what makes me describe myself as kinky is that what I experience as erotic is substantially different from what is normative.

I desire and seek out erotic experiences based around power, sometimes involving pain, and not necessarily involving sex.

I do not desire or seek out, and generally do not consent to, erotic experiences that do not involve power or pain. (Some kinky people do, but I don’t.)

I do not desire, seek out, or consent to sex without power or pain. (I am unsure these days whether I desire, seek out, or consent to sex at all, but that is another story for another time.)

I am trying to be precise in my language because I want to avoid misunderstandings. There is often a vast gap between what someone thinks I mean when I call myself kinky and what I actually do mean. This effect is amplified by how many knee-jerk reactions there are to bringing up the topic of eroticism at all. Talking about eroticism, desire, or sex is considered uncouth, icky, crass, and too much information. It’s hard to hear nuance when one is dazzled, or horrified, or titillated, or embarrassed by the topic at hand.

What I am supposed to do, of course, is not to talk about eroticism in public. What I am supposed to do is recognize that there’s no need to talk about it, outside partnerships, or maybe small intimate circles, because eroticism is basically just sex, and sex is unimportant and obvious, and anyway, it works basically the same way for everyone.

Only, of course, it doesn’t.

I talk about eroticism because of that gap between what is understood to be true for everyone and what I know to be true for me. I talk about eroticism because I want it to be more broadly understood that someone might want the kinds of things I want and might not want the kinds of things I don’t want.

Speaking of which, if you are still concerned that talking about being kinky is giving out “too much information,” perhaps you will notice that I haven’t given out much information at all. I’ve noted categories—power, pain, sex—and stated my general alignment toward each, but I haven’t at all gone into specifics. For the purposes of this conversation, specifics are unimportant.

At its simplest, what being kinky means to me is that what eroticism looks like for me is different from what is expected. It means that you can’t correctly assume from looking at me, or from knowing that I’m queer, or a femme, or a woman, how eroticism works for me.

It means that desire, intimacy, and connection—no matter how socially unacceptable the topic—are things we have to talk about.

Welcome to my Kink Autumn blog series. Let’s talk.

2 thoughts on “What Being Kinky Means to Me: The Basics

  1. hey, this might sound really stupid, but as a kinky person, I never knew I was allowed to not consent to those things.
    “I do not desire or seek out, and generally do not consent to, erotic experiences that do not involve power or pain.”
    Holy shit, like, I’m allowed to say no instead of just dissociating? Even when it’s something “normal” that other people would say yes to?
    Game changer holy shit. This kind of changes my entire life.

    • I’m so pleased to hear this was helpful for you! You’re definitely not alone in not having realized it was ok to consent to kinky stuff but not more normative stuff. I think there’s this idea that kink is like, wild and extreme, and if you’re into extreme stuff, how could you not be into less extreme stuff? If you’re interested, and if you’re up for a read about coercion and trauma, I have a piece that breaks down this idea a little more: https://theestablishment.co/no-erotic-act-is-inherently-nonviolent-8238a7261c9e/. Thanks so much for commenting, and wishing you all the best!

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