Oh baby, baby/ How was I supposed to know/ that kink was so exciting? Hit me baby, one more time.
Was Britney Spears telling a horny, 15-year-old me that sex is more than vanilla missionary heteronormative sex? Could this early aughts pop anthem–that was hypersexualized and borderline fetishized age play–have been subliminal messaging that led me to pick up a riding crop a decade later? I blame pop stars and Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy” for helping me explore what was on the other side of my idea of sex and pleasure.
Kink, by definition, is the use of unconventional sexual practices, concepts or fantasies. It’s a play on “kink in the road,” a sharp twist in something that is otherwise straight. But what is determined to be a deviation from the sexual norm is all about context and culture.
Blowjobs might be considered kinky in a conservative ultra-Christian community, while the Moche tribe in Peru used to regularly encourage anal sex during breastfeeding. The context (blowjobs aren’t for reproduction) and culture (the notion that orgasm increases breastmilk production) are what inform the kink here.
My sexploration started in high school, where deviations from the norm were not normal for me. Masturbation was a rumor, female orgasm was elusive, and penetrative sex was always the end goal. Not until college did I meet people who explored their sexuality through sex toys, partners of multiple genders, and a deep connection to self-pleasure. I decided then that kink was for me.
You are the only one who can decide what you think your level of kink is–from lukewarm to five-alarm fire hot. And no matter what you decide, your level of kink and the way you practice it are valid.
If you were anything like me, thinking that kink meant leather, chains, goth makeup and Marilyn Manson, let’s destroy that notion together. Kink is for anyone who wants to step outside the box of cultural normativity.
I once saw a 50-year-old “stepford wife” soccer mom do needle play at a party. I was petrified of needles at the time–even though i had been a proud pain slut for paddles, hot wax and oversized toys for a while. Watching the serenity on her face during the scene in which she has medical-grade needles placed under her skin to form a circle made me realize that kink can be invigorating for some and calming for others. There is no “right” way to follow your kink path.
Just as gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum, so does kink. There isn’t a finish line you have to cross to get your kink medal. There is no such thing as the Kink Olympics–although the Citadel in San Francisco did host the Pegging and Blowjob Olympics, put on by Alice in Bondageland, whose parents were both Olympic athletes.
A great way to start out your kinky journey on a road that can get as twisted and curved as you want it is exploring impact play.
Whether it is an over-the-knee spanking or smacks with an impact toy like a wooden paddle or suede flogger, impact play will stimulate blood flow to different areas of your body and can give you a rush of adrenaline–which will increase your heart rate and make your body more sensitive to touch. Just as your sexual response stimulates your erogenous zones to swell during foreplay, impact play can be a great way to warm up before sex or spice things up during sex. Being on either side of the spanking can also produce a pleasurable effect–both being in control and giving control over to you partner.
There is one main rule to impact play: Don’t push yourself past your limits because you think it will make you a “better kinkster.” Hurting yourself for the sake of the scene hurts everyone. Your partner can’t trust you to know your limits and communicate them effectively, and you end up not being able to enjoy yourself for several days after.
I have had many sexual experiences where I was performing my pleasure for a partner through faked orgasms and blurred lines of enthusiastic consent. Kink is the way that I learned to blend the pleasures and desire of myself and my partner together by using activities that were not my definition of typical “sex.”
If you are more of a hands-on learner, I’m teaching SPANKSGIVING: Impact Play 101 on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at Autonomous Love (2419 J St.),where you can explore how pain can bring you pleasure. Buy your tickets now!
Got a burning desire, a burning sensation, or an issue that’s about to burn all your bridges? Let Kenna A all your Qs for Sex and the River City! Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.