Some of us, one could argue both the lucky and the unlucky ones, knew we wanted something other than the vanilla heteronormative relationships that society in the 80’s and 90’s tried to condition is to want. Lucky because it is easier to find something when you know you’re looking for it; unlucky because you’d be surprised how many people want nothing to do with someone questioning and experimenting with their own sexuality. Perhaps my experiences would have been different today, but I can only embrace that which is mine and move forward with that knowlege.
Had I desired that vanilla heteronormativity, I’d have had lots of opportunities to figure myself out in middle and high school. Unfortunately, instead my late middle school and high school years are a jumble of memories of cuddling with females and being too afraid to take that next step for fear of rejection, and dark porn, clearly staged, badly acted, and a foundation for some sexual imprinting. For those of use who want bondage or any kind of same sex relationships, we don’t have those same opportunities to explore. That’s why the jokes about lesbians not knowing if they are being hit on and awkward bisexuals exist. We lack that early practice and have to stumble through the finding ourselves part while trying to have adult relationships. That’s a lot of pressure all at once.
The same goes for kink. We don’t have shibari opportunities in high school to figure out what works for us. So we all just do the best that we can and figure things out along the way as we figure them out. We are all on our own timelines. Some of us don’t discover that the things we like are not “normal” until someone slaps us in the face with that information. Maybe literally, who knows?
So what does that mean for the questing adult who has tripped over kink rather than sought it out? I have wondered lately how to explain what we do to someone without the foundation I assume people have when they seek us out. I suppose I would start this way:
Kink is many things to many people. It is not up to me to decide how an individual defines that for themself. It is not for me to judge provided the desired activity is consented to by and with a human of legal age who is capable of giving consent, and does not have the purpose of doing lasting harm, rather than fleeting hurt.
I would tell them kink can absolutely be sexual, but that it doesn’t have to be. Sure, threesomes are probably classified in there somewhere as kink, but when the umbrella encompasses so much variety and many different viewpoints, often times sex can take a backseat to pain, even if that pain has sexual connotations or elements to the people engaging in its practice.
I would tell them to find something that appeals to them, and then to seek out more information. Read books, browse fet, find local people and have conversations. Though it can be difficult, try not to find us scary or intimidating. We’re just normal people who happen to have bonded over a common interest. With some it’s video games or comic books, sports, or food. With us, we bond over kink. It’s easy enough to fit right in.
Above all, I would tell them to ask questions. It’s okay not to know everything. Our honesty is our strength. Everyone won’t know everything., and it is okay not to know this.
Most of all, I would suggest finding someone trustworthy to show them the rules. We see consent very differently from the whole of mainstream society. Sadly. It shouldn’t be different, yet the kink community’s views on consent are so much more empowering than the old rules I was raised with. Even with those differences, missteps are easy. Having a guide can make a huge difference.
Be open to new experience. Every day is a gift when we accept what is coming.