April 26, 2010
A Guest Post by BERNIE ROEHL
Believe it or not, 30% of sexually active adults have at least experimented with some form of kinky sex, and half of that group partake in kinky sex on a “regular or semi-regular basis”. That’s 15% of the adult populace – approximately one in seven people. In the Greater Toronto Area alone it is estimated that approximately 400,000 people are doing kinky things in bed. Although it’s not the sort of thing that most people talk about, it’s definitely out there.
Even so 15% is still a minority. The vast majority of people, including the 70% who will never ever dabble in anything kinky, hold a lot of misconceptions about kink. Most people think kink is all about “whips and chains”. After stumbling across some extreme imagery on the internet, or some very confused and sensationalized depictions of S&M on television or in films, they often assume that they know everything they need to know about the matter. It’s sort of like Americans who think Canada is all about hockey, beer and polar bears. Just as there’s hell of a lot more to being Canadian than those three things, and there’s more to kinky sex than bondage and S&M.
So what’s the reality? What exactly is kinky sex?
Well, the definition is pretty broad. Anything that gives two people pleasure (sexual or otherwise) beyond the “usual” activities is considered, by some, to be kinky. It might be as simple as one partner tying the other to the bed with the belt from a bathrobe, rubbing ice cubes over your partner’s body, or indulging in a bit of spanking. Kink can also involve role-playing, where you become someone else for your partner in order to spice up your relationship. The possibilities are endless.
Most people who identify as kinky say they’ve had those feelings all their life. From make-believe games as children right through to sexual fantasies in adolescence, they’ve always known they were a bit different. What varies is how these people react to that discovery. Some people (the 15% I mentioned earlier) embrace their difference, and in doing so they open up all kinds of new possibilities for themselves. They discover that sex can be more than just the same-old, same-old. These individuals eventually find new opportunities to express themselves as sexual beings, as well as new ways to stimulate and arouse their partners.
But some people who have these desires find that they’re not able to take the next step. They can’t bring themselves to turn their fantasies into reality, and so they live their lives without ever finding the kind of sexual fulfillment they know is possible. There can be many reasons for this. Perhaps they feel guilty about their desires, or have a sense of shame about sexual exploration. Maybe their partner is unwilling to take the journey with them, so they choose not to go there either. Or it just might be that the stigma associated with having ‘different’ desires from the mainstream is what’s holding them back.
Shame and guilt are something that everyone has to deal with on their own. Having a partner who wants to stay on the well-worn path rather than exploring something new is also a problem that is best addressed by the individual. However, the social stigma surrounding these activities is something that cannot be changed by an individual on his or her own, or even with their partner. Removing social stigma is something that all of us, kinky or not, must work together to accomplish.
So, even if you have no desire to ‘broaden your horizons’ so to speak, at least take the time to educate yourself about what it means to be kinky. If a friend of yours tells you that he or she is exploring kink, don’t rush to judgment. Instead, remember that this person is your friend and that he/she is still the same person they’ve always been. Then think about the fact that they’ve decided to open up to you about a very important part of who they are. Also, when you see negative portrayals of kink in the media make it known to your kinky friends that you don’t buy into those stereotypes, and that you recognize that they are offensive.
If you happen to be among the lucky 15% who indulge in kink on a regular basis, consider telling your friends about it. The only real way to change societal perceptions is at a grassroots level, one person at a time. If people know that you’re kinky and they recognize that you’re simply a human being just like they are, then there’s a good chance they’ll realize that they’re not quite as informed as they think. And then maybe, just maybe they’ll decide they want to find out just how much they don’t know about the joys of kink.
Interested in learning more about kink and live in Southwestern Ontario? If so, visit ehbc.ca for information on kinky events, organizations, and resources.