Posts Tagged ‘kink’

Kink, Asexuality, and Me

[My post for the March Carnival of Aces]

I’ve been kinky for literally as long as I remember. In preschool and kindergarden I was already having fantasies, telling myself stories as I fell asleep at night, having my toys keep other toys as ‘servants’ and practice corporal discipline, making myself a whip out of jewelry cord.

Kink and asexuality have been intertwined for me from the beginning too. When I was 12 or 13, I came across the first mention of maybe-I’m-not-alone for the former – an article on S&M on a website for adolescent girls I frequented. I remember thinking, ‘this is pretty much exactly like my stories, except that mine don’t have sex in them, and mine don’t have me in them’.

Coming into the two was also linked. After years of not knowing about my orientation – reading sexuality books while not knowing where I fit, thinking of this as another part of my general alienness, having the idea to ask a speaker my high school’s GSA brought in ‘what are other ways to tell if I’m gay or not, if I haven’t been attracted to anyone and therefore can’t use that’ (but not actually doing it) – I finally found the word and the concept ‘asexual’ on TV Tropes when I was 19. 

Following the link to AVEN, one of the first posts I made was about my kink – about how sometimes power dynamics and pain in movies and such aroused me, and sometimes I just really liked them, but it’s not about sex and I don’t want to be in a power dynamic relationship myself and are there any other people like this around.

There were. I got linked to Fetlife, which I proceeded to explore and eventually follow into my local community, got more stories of other’s experiences to help me in my efforts to figure all this out and conceptualize it and understand how it might work for me. 

I’m still working on that. I’m probably always going to be working on that, because it’s a huge world both out there and here in my own mind, ever-changing and with seemingly infinite variations. 

It’s taken me to a lot of cool places. I know much more about the kinds of things I like (role-play to take my stories into the real world, something I wrote about hesitantly in that first post and have had rather amazing times with since then; masochism both in and out of said role-play; and a whole world of things that, while not actually giving me kink-feelings, are quite a bit of fun anyway). 

I’ve thought about how these feelings work for people. Some people just like things, the same way they might like rollerblading or singing – for the physical or mental experiences, because it’s fun or intimate or stress relief or any number of other things. Some people have kink-feelings like I have kink-feelings – captivated by particular lines in books or scenes in movies, maybe (or maybe not) thinking of ways to bring it out of the page. Some people’s kink-feelings are sexual feelings. Some people’s aren’t. Some people’s vary. Some people have a kink drive and some don’t. Some people have both a sex drive and a kink drive, and some people have one subsuming the other, and some people don’t.

A lot of these people aren’t asexual. Clarisse Thorn wrote an article a bit back that this always makes me think of, where she wrote: 

“there are also unmistakable ways that BDSM feels different from sex. There is something, bodily, that is just plain different about BDSM, as opposed to sex. I often find myself thinking of “BDSM feelings” and “sexual feelings” as flowing down two parallel channels in my head … sometimes these channels intersect, but sometimes they’re far apart. The BDSM urge strikes me as deeply different, separate, from the sex urge.”

She quoted another person who said they felt like they don’t have the language for talking about these things that doesn’t use sexuality (and in fact then referred to the work the asexual community is doing in this regard).

I’ve definitely had this problem. When I reach for words to express my kink-feelings, all I find are words already tied to sexual-feelings, and that therefore never feel right – ‘hot’, ‘erotic’, ‘sexy’, ‘horny’. I have to make do with words like ‘interesting’, or phrases like ‘catches at my mind’, while wishing for the existence of some kind of parallel-but-seperate vocabulary I could use. 

Meanwhile, I work on conceptualizations of my own. I’ve told people that the way it seems to me, my kinkiness took over my empty sexuality wiring and now proceeds to run all the lights itself. The same things most +sexual people’s sexuality gives them – fantasies, interest in fanservice, desire – my kink gives to me instead, in its own way.

There’s still a lot of things to struggle with (or against). It’s hard for me to find material that would be my erotica, because most of what exists is all about sexual-feelings and/or sex, and that’s not what I like. I feel the lack of things to draw on when creating – most stories I see with power dynamics  also tie them in to sex or sexual-feelings, and in the absence of material to go to, it’s hard for me to conceptualize the things I like and want. I want people who share my interests, a corner community of my own I could go to. A community means more ideas, people sharing the things they have and making more inspiration and material and not having to invent it all yourself while knowing that’s really beyond your ability. I look at other communities, and wish a lot that I knew how to find that. 

I worry about compulsory sexuality – about events with fetish-wear requirements (haven’t run into any yet myself, fortunately, but I know they’re out there), or just about people looking at me oddly for my leggings and t-shirt and preference that said t-shirt stay on if possible. I recently had a very, very bad experience in a scene that can be partly traced back to my anxiety about not wanting sexual things where others might. 

But even as I struggle with these things, I’m glad and grateful for all the good things. For the people who came before me and were there to answer my AVEN post. For the other people working on words and conceptualizations and variety. For the wonderful experiences and thoughts and everything I’ve had, and everything that made that possible. 

These are some of the places I’ve been and am. These are two central, vital, and often intertwined parts of me. I’m quite curious to see what else they’ll show me. 


The personal and the societal: What do I mean when I say ‘kink’?

{reposted from my kink blog here}

As a general rule, when I say ‘kink’ on my kink blog, I am using it as a way to say ‘I have a thing for’. I have a thing for punishment, I have a thing for honorifics, etc. And, it seems that a lot of people use it in this same way (case in points, kink memes). This usage can then means several things.

  • “This thing gives me specialfeelings. They are a particular kind of specialfeelings that are kink feelings”.
  • “This thing thing gives me specialfeelings. They are sexual feelings.”
  • “This thing gives me specialfeelings. They are are particular kind of specialfeelings that are kink feelings, which are a subset, a superset, or in some other way related to my sexual feelings”.

(The first is the one that is the case for me).

However, I also use ‘kink’ in a way that means something beyond the personal. If I talk about ‘kinky people’, I don’t mean ‘people who have things for the stuff I have a thing for’. I mean something wider than that. Well, what do I mean?

Now, the one thing this could mean would be ‘they have a thing for some thing(s), in one of those aforementioned ways. Just like I have things that give me specialfeelings, they have things that give them specialfeelings (though their things and specialfeelings are possibly different from mine)’.

However, in practice, there’s often another distinction. Often, kink doesn’t just refer to having specialfeelings for anything, it refers to having specialfeelings for things outside the mainstream. So, if I were to have PIV sex with someone as equals, this would not be considered a kinky activity even if I had a thing for it, while if I were to tie someone up, this would be considered a kinky activity whether or not I had a thing for it.

I do think both definitions have their uses. The second is important for group identity in the face of social non-inclusion, and generally acknowledged as such. However, it is also important to not lose sight of the distinction between ‘I have a thing for this’, and ‘having a thing for this is outside the social mainstream’. Because personally, I don’t have a thing for either PIV sex or general bondage, I do have a different kind of feeling about both of them, and the fact that one is considered kinky and one isn’t has no bearing on this for me.

Meanwhile, the first is useful as a way of thinking about things. Thinking of things in terms of ‘what do I have a thing for? What gives me specialfeelings?’ (as opposed to in terms of ‘this is How This Is Done, this is the Way of Things’) is important, and it’s important for everyone, including the people whose ‘what gives me specialfeelings?’ does end up lining up with the cultural mainstream.