The Right to Kinky

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kinkyresized “We’re perfectly ordinary people except that we like kinky sex.” -Susan Wright, spokesperson for National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

Sexual freedom is on the rise. Just this past week, several notable Republican law makers came out in favor of the right for marriage equality regardless of gender preferences. The interesting thing about change is how after it is done, we can hardly remember how it was before. Before long, coming out will no longer refer to gender orientation and who we have sex with. According to a recent article reported in the NY Times, ‘coming out’ will increasingly be about how people choose to have sex. Thanks in part to the 65 million copies of Fifty Shades of Grey in circulation, practitioners of kinky sex are now coming out and their numbers are multiplying fast. Fetlife, a website catering to kinky persuasion has added 700,000 new members this year bringing their total membership to over 1.7 million.

BDSM clubs and the shops that cater to the wide range of submission, dominance and masochistic behaviors are also seeing a surge in what they call newbies. More and more people are experimenting with bondage and punishment in the context of their sexuality and many kinky practitioners are hoping that this surge in interest will translate into allowing them to not have to hide their sexual preferences any more. The advocacy group, Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund has been lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to update definitions of kinky sex and de-pathologize the practices in their Diagnostic Manual.

Interestingly, many dungeon clubs, which offer both the tools and stages to act out violent fantasies, seem pretty tame at first glance. The clubs do not serve alcohol, allow drug use or even permit oral sex or intercourse. Safe words, the agreed upon signals to stop, are required for everyone. Practitioners say that submission and dominance has no relationship to physical abuse, because both parties are both fully consensual and communicating about what fantasies they are fulfilling. Some even argue that the degree of communication required makes for longer and more stable relationships over time. Certainly, a willingness to be transparent and experimental with your sexual desires is powerful in any relationship, so it stands to reason that this very intense sexuality might build even stronger bonds.

Still, it is difficult for onlookers to witness the difference between abuse and sex appeal when people are being tied and whipped with a variety of instruments. Even Christian Grey, the main character of Fifty Shades of Grey, ultimately perceived his fetishes as a form of domestic violence. Coming to understand the link between pain- both the receiving and inflicting in these practices- with sexual pleasure is a reach, even for many of the people who are drawn to it.   Over and over I come back to Stanley Siegel’s enlightening perspective on the way that sexual fantasies are perhaps the deepest source of healing for our painful memories from early childhood.

In fundamental ways our fantasy predilection, and the sexual preferences that grow out of it, is akin to our gender identification, in that it is not a conscious thought that chooses these attractions for us. It is the subconscious brain that controls how our past traumas are translated through our libido. We don’t choose the powerful fantasies, and there is some argument about whether we can forget them or not. There is some evidence that people can be successful in transforming their fantasy life, but more often than not, people try to suppress sexual fantasies that overwhelm them. Anyone who has worked at repressing a sexual impulse will tell you it’s a losing game. Understanding BDSM and other fetish sexuality as a healing modality, even as it hurts, is one way of recognizing that we are all more similar than we are different in our sexual needs.

That said, being submissive or dominant sexually is arousing for different reasons for every individual that practices it. Yet, the orgasmic release that these practices stimulate holds the same promise for everyone. Orgasmic energy heals because it transforms the shame, rejection, helplessness, and unresolved anger that gets stored in our cells in our youth into the most powerful release of pleasure available to us. Sexual freedom ultimately is mostly about this, normalizing everyone’s right to find release, and at the very least, giving up demonizing our need to do so.

Source:The Right to Kinky

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