Ask any clustered group of kinksters what their rules are and you’ll get a variety of responses. Some may talk about what they restrict or their version of dungeon etiquette. One of our biggest places of disagreement lies in those details. However, there is one thing most everyone can agree on: as long as the parties involved are able to consent, kinksters should be free to do whatever “their thing” is without judgement. By able to consent, of course, that leaves three very important groups out of our kinking: anyone under the age of consent; anyone whose ability to give consent is impaired, such as by drugs, alcohol, or a disability which would impact that function; and animals, who cannot speak to give consent. Often, those who have been around a while may assume this understanding is a natural one for anyone coming into the kink community, but it is always important to clearly state these things rather than to assume others come equipped with the knowledge.
Start talking about things like SSC and the fights break out. Sure safe, sane, and consensual is a way to handle your kink business. Others will argue that half this stuff isn’t sane, so they follow RACK (risk aware consensual kink). I personally prefer RASH, an acronym a friend shared with me, which stands for risk aware, shit happens. Because it does. We’re still all pretty much on board with that consensual word.
So now that we’ve got a clear understanding of who cannot consent to our kinky fun, and that consent is key to all this, anything else goes, right? Well, sure, except I can’t tell you how often I see judgement from people coming into kink spaces. Maybe that judgement is towards a specific kink in a negative way – I see this sometimes with people dealing with littles and those who participate in ABDL. I believe that acronym stands for adult baby diaper lover, though this is not an area I specialize in, so my apologies if I have used incorrect terminology. Y’all get the gist, though. Those groups can often feel separated from the rest of the kink community because others have a preconceived notion of what that kink entails and have decided it’s “icky.” They aren’t the only ones who corner the market on receiving judgement. For a bunch of people who say we’re open-minded and accepting, kinksters can be among the judgiest of judgy bastards. Rainbow play (vomit), scat, feet, clowns, consensual non-consent (CNC), needles, a ball gag made of teeth, whatever it is, many people have something they may privately need to get a cookie when it happens at an event AND THAT’S 100% OKAY. I want to be very clear. No one should ever feel forced to watch or participate in anything that may upset, disturb, or trigger them. Again, to be clear, I use the word triggered as in a to trigger a PTSD response, not as in taking offense, though if something may be offensive, that is another good reason to step away from a scene and visit the kitchen for a cookie. Or a snack. Or go outside for a smoke. Or whatever someone needs to do to provide self care.
What isn’t okay is to stand around saying belittling things about others’ kinks, whether that’s while watching a scene in a dungeon or talking to someone on the internet. There should only be one question: is it consensual by all participants. If the answer is yes, don’t say anything if you don’t like it, just walk away. Don’t type out how abusive someone’s partner is for whatever was done in that photo on Fet. Keep that shit to yourself. You may have some kink others feel the same way about. Do you want to come to a community where you should be safe to do all those delightfully deviant things we all say we’re here for without overhearing someone say “Ew, gross” in the midst of it? I do. I love the feeling of safety I have to be my authentic self within the kink community. If hearing Judgy McJudgerson yuck your kinks sounds fun to you, in that case you can get that from Vanilla World™, or negotiate for someone to do that consensually. The rest of us prefer to kink in peace without a Karen telling the manager we should be removed for being icky.
PSA: This goes for polyamory, too. Stop judging others for how they set up their relationships. The only time it is your business is when you’ve been invited to be part of it, and then you have every right to choose not to engage with someone you don’t feel practices the style of poly which works for you.
Remember, people, we’re all fellow humans trying to walk paths which aren’t always well-traversed. Show grace and acceptance to others. Or, to sum up, don’t be a dick.
Here endith the lesson.