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So you think you might be a little bit kinky?

bdsmSo what is the difference between being kinky and why is it called BDSM?
The term BDSM dates back to 1969; The term is believed to have been formed either from joining the term B&D (bondage and discipline) with S&M (sadomasochism or sadism and masochism meaning the enjoyment of giving and receiving pain). BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers, extreme body mod enthusiasts, animal players, latex or rubber aficionados, and others in an overall term called kinky.
Kink is a catch -all phrase to mean things like role-playing fantasies (everything from dressing up like a pony, to a one piece leather outfit. It can also mean exchanging gender roles, giving up or taking sexual power (dominance and submission), sensation play like sadomasochism, fetishes (think pantyhose, foot, or corsets). Tristan Taormino defines kink as “an intimate experience, an exchange in power between people that can be physical, erotic, sexual, psychological, spiritual in some combination. People who practice kink explore the territory between pleasure and pain, eroticize the exchange of power, experience intense physical sensations and psychological scenarios, and test and push their limits.”
Although kink can incorporate everything from people who sexualize stuffed animals to the occasional passion for great thigh-high boots I think there are three main areas of being kinky that appeals to the masses.
The first is Domination and Submission. This is about the power exchange. You surrender to the experience in a safe and consensual way . Being dominate, means that you find personal and sexual gratification from taking charge and having your play partner (called a sub) do what you want. Submissive means that you sexually enjoy doing what you’re told without thought again in a safe and consensual way. Some people go further and want to be humiliated, dressed in the clothes of the other gender and punished for imaginary slights. It is the release of power that feels cathartic for some submissive people. I’m convinced that a majority of people (70% in my estimation) are submissive, 20% are dominate and 10% can switch back and forth. It’s the most common fantasy for women (rip my clothes off and take me!) and is the most mainstream of all forms of “kinkiness”. Domination and Submission often (but not always) involves devices like clothes, restraints, rope, collars, and clothes such as leather and latex that can be called fetish.
Fetish is the second group of kink. Fetishism or sexual fetishism is the sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object, or from a specific situation. The object or situation of interest is called the fetish; the person who has a fetish for that object/situation is a fetishist.
By this we mean any body part or inanimate object that particularly turns you on. These are things like strong preferences “I’m a leg guy” or “I find the sexiest thing about men are their hands”. It can also be very specific. “I’m aroused by pierced belly buttons, or painted toes.” It can also incorporate an object. Things like rubber, lace, hats, shoes, balloons, nylons are all common fetishes. It just means that regular sex would be ranked as a 2, and sex with the object of desire would be an 11.
I have clients who can’t get aroused unless they are wearing nylons, or having their partner wear something that meets their specific fetish ie. Garters, tight pants, pointy boots, hats, raincoats etc.
The final group is that of what is called sensation play. This is a type of kink that includes the term sadism and masochism (S & M) where giving and receiving pain becomes sexual in nature. It can also include anything that triggers a strong reaction. Things like dripping wax on your partner, playing with an ice cube, using picks, floggers, canes on their skin. There is a fine line between pleasure and pain and sensation play weaves on both sides of that line.
The reason you are hearing about “being kinky” more (besides the 20 million copies of 50 Shades of Grey sold) is that the internet has made finding about your particular sexual interest much more mainstream. Anytime you get a group of people together with the same interests, it normalizes it. And now you can find people who are also turned on by your specific interest. That’s why there are over 50 main porn categories and hundreds of sub sets.
Most people fall on a sexual continuum like we’ve been describing from very vanilla, to five kinds of flavours with chocolate sprinkles. The challenge is to explore what you might be interested in by taking it one step at a time. There is also the difficulty that while one partner may find one form of kink interesting while the other finds it distasteful. Like with all sexual play, there is the worry that you must be some kind of pervert if you like this stuff. The truth is that everyone has secret sexual desires and fantasies. And the longer I’m a sex therapist the more I’m convinced that everyone ( and I mean everyone has something private that falls into one of these categories.
So read about them. Come up with safe words. Try sex out of your comfort zone. You may be surprised at how much it turns you on.

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