“The idea of ‘realness’ in BDSM is a very dangerous concept. It puts unrealistic expectations on behavior and doesn't allow for personality, triggers and personal preferences. It’s as if this so-called [kinkster] is trying to put BDSM in a box that fits everyone - or at least every person with which he or she interacts. Newbies sometimes also use this language to try to appear more experienced than they really are.”
In Christine Blackthorn’s piece, “I am submissive – or am I?”, she points out that there are “thousands of different kinds of submissives and Dominants out there – just as there are thousands of kinds of people.” Which is why it’s so hard to pinpoint exactly what these terms really mean.
Yesterday, I talked a bit about the necessity for nuance in kink terms. Kinksters are just the biggest, geekiest nerds you can shake a pair of twenty-sided dice at. And we LOVE our terms. From SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) to RACK (Risk-Aware, Consensual Kink) to PRICK (Personal Responsibility, Informed Consensual Kink) to YKINMKBYKIOK (Your Kink Is Not My Kink, But Your Kink is OK).
Even BDSM—which stands for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism—is just the perfect proof that we are pedantic word nerds.
And, for the most part, I, as a word nerd, love it! I love defining and dissecting the meaning of terms and phrases. I think that, when talking about kink, these terms can help build ideas of identity and community. The world too often makes us feel like outsiders, so anything that can foster feelings of inclusion and belonging are awesome in my book.
My worry, though, are the times we use these terms to exclude.
Because here’s the truth: There is no one true or real or right way to do kink. So long as everything is done safely, sanely, and consensually, you are unequivocally doing it right. Whatever your play looks like—whether it deals with power exchange or doesn’t, whether you play with pain or don’t, whether you use toys or not, whether your kink is wildly popular or is something only you and your partner seem to enjoy—so long as everyone involved is having a good and healthy time, go for it! Enjoy it!
And anyone who tells you differently, anyone who insists that there is some universal “necessary part of submission” or Dominance or fetish or kink, I promise you, they are the ones doing it wrong.
One of my favorite parts of kink is that it is what you make of it. It is the questioning and sometimes even the necessary abandonment of traditional norms. It is all about negotiating and advocating for what you want. We are kinky because we defiantly would not let the world tell us how to live and love.
If no one is being harmed, then who are we to judge each other? Who are we to try to force each other into boxes and roles? Don’t we have enough people doing that already?
That was one of my goals with Show Me, Sir. I wanted to present a style of Dominance and submission that doesn’t fit the normal standards. That doesn’t look the way we’ve been accustomed to seeing it. Because it does not have to.
As I’ve said before, kink exists—thrives on and needs—context. Without it, everything we do falls apart. Without the consent and enthusiastic enjoyment of the participants, kink just isn’t kink anymore. So, however you want to do it, do it safely, sanely, and consensually and don’t worry so much about what anyone else thinks.
After all, even if it’s not my or yours or anyone else’s cup of tea, YKINMKBYKIOK.
Read Christine Blackthorn’s full piece “I am submissive – or am I?” here.