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May 10, 2015

Let’s Celebrate Being Kinky

A version of this post was originally published in the Bay Area Reporter. You will find the original online version here.

This post is about celebrating our kinkiness. Obviously that means I’m assuming you who are reading this consider yourself kinky. If you don’t, keep reading anyway. You’ll hopefully find this interesting.

When we choose to celebrate being kinky, one of the first things that comes to many people’s mind is why are some of us into leather, BDSM or otherwise kinky in the first place? The truth is, much as we don’t know why someone might be gay, lesbian or some other orientation, we don’t really know why people are kinky. If you look at the entire body of research to date, there’s no definitive reason why someone’s sexuality edges towards the more radical and non-mainstream. Casual theories abound, but no one really knows the answer.

There are ongoing attempts to delve into questions like this though. Richard Sprott, a psychology professor and researcher, and the Executive Director of Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternatives Sexualities (CARAS), has been conducting a study on kink identity development. He said “The results, so far, of my study on kink identity development is finding a lot of people who have images or stories that influenced them early in life, like 5-8 years old, that are often their first kink memories. Others seem to have an experience of a ‘Door Opens to Oz’ moment later in life when they are exposed to kink and it hits them like ‘seeing color for the first time,’ but no early ‘kinky’ memories. There aren’t many studies of sexuality and how it begins, though.”

My own opinion is that ultimately it’s not really important why we’re kinky. If we are and it works for us and we’re happy, why does it really matter? We like what we like.

I recall a lunch I had one time many years ago with Guy Baldwin¬†and Dr. Robert Stoller, a psychoanalyst and world renowned sexuality researcher. During the lunch I asked Dr. Stoller what percentage of the population he believes is kinky. Without missing a beat he said, essentially, “everyone is kinky.” He then went on to explain that during his research he found that everyone he studied had something kinky about them.

So, who knows. Maybe every person reading this really is kinky in some way. It’s something to at least ponder.

With all that said, those who are not just occasionally kinky but identify intimately as a part of the leather or kink community may not know why they’re kinky, but they sure do enjoy it. I recently asked some friends what they enjoyed about being a kinkster (my preferred word these days) and why they choose that as an identification. Here are just a few of their reasons why they celebrate their joy in being kinky.

“I believe in moving sex out of the shame and shadows.”

“For as long as I can remember I’ve been turned on by various fetishes and fantasies that others would call perverse.”

“It is integral to my sexuality.”

“I was born that way.”

“It connects me with more of the people I feel connected to.”

“No other type of relationship works for me. I get bored far too easily and quickly without the spice of kink. It’s who I am at the core of my being.”

“Because most of the kinksters I have met demonstrate remarkable self-awareness and courage in the pursuit of their sexuality and fetishes.”

“It’s a lifestyle I’ve embraced and has accepted me and loved me. It’s something I cherish, love and respect, and I couldn’t be happier for it. I am a leatherman to my core.”

Those are just a few of the many answers I received. So my advice to anyone who has kink as part of their identity, or simply enjoys some kink now and then, don’t worry about why you like what you like. Just be responsible and ethical when you do it, and celebrate in the joy and fun it brings to your life.

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