Can you tell us a little about how and why Kink Academy was started? What is Kink Academy’s mission?
I launched Kink Academy nearly 11 years ago because I had been spending quite a bit of time teaching at BDSM conferences, and a large chunk of my social circle were other kink and sexuality educators. I really felt that something magical was happening at these conferences, and felt that people who weren’t able to come to these conferences were missing out. Because of this, I saw there was an opportunity for real education that could teach folks how to explore their sexuality as safely as possible. I wanted to bring this incredible education to the masses.
Kink Academy’s motto is “be accepted.” We encourage and create a sense of inclusively and diversity that represents the huge range of sexual exploration that the idea of kink encapsulates.
Our mission is to help any consenting adult who wants to learn to explore and express their sexuality in a more creative way, to do so by learning from a variety of perspectives. At the root of the Kink Academy philosophy is the commitment to show the range of human beings that explore kink, which means people of all different ages, ethnicities, and body shapes doing kinky things in realistic ways. We also wanted to “draw back the curtain” to show the mechanics of what it means to put together a successful kink scene.
It can be exhilarating and inspiring to watch porn and even edu-porn that is focused more on titillating than on educating. I wanted to flip that framework, and show our members exactly how to do these activities (like bondage, impact play, and gender exploration) in a way that allowed them to then go and create their own titillating experiences.
In your opinion, what makes Kink Academy unique compared to other educational sites/platforms?
One is that the site was created at the start of what is now called “the #sextech movement.” We were one of the first, if not the first web site, to tackle BDSM sexuality in video format with an intense focus on educational portrayal, and with its philosophy rooted in the community and in realistic portrayals of kink. We also offer a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. We have folks who are longtime bondage riggers alongside therapists, doctors, certified sex educators, and longtime sex workers. We really try to give our members a lot of options so that they can find someone that they relate to in order to learn the most effectively.
We focus on videos (with both a free and paid section) plus a free blog and podcast. Videos are between three minutes and 12 minutes. You can watch a single video to learn a new technique or concept or a series of videos, which allows one to sit and watch four to six to 12 clips or more on the same subject (which becomes more of a comprehensive class). You can also watch our videos based on your own schedule, which is a really important feature of Kink Academy.
What kind of content do you publish on the site? What subjects/topics are featured on the site? How wide is the spectrum of what you feature/want to feature?
The subjects and topics range from all kinds of creative sexuality including kink-related and BDSM topics such as: bondage, discipline, dominance, and submission. Everything from tickling to feederism. We cover a wide range of fetishes. We also explore different relationship structures like polyamory, monogamy, and swinging. We also have some fantastic educators who talk about gender identity and gender exploration. So, really anything that has to deal with sexuality, relationships, gender, intimacy, and communications in an interpersonal dynamic.
We still have a lot of topics that we would love to add to Kink Academy. There is a never ending spectrum of topics when it comes to sex and gender and relationships, and we look forward to adding even more subjects that we haven’t yet addressed on Kink Academy as well as revisiting popular topics with new educators and experts with new perspectives.
On your site, I noticed that there are three different skill levels- can you elaborate on how this is useful for those in the community?
We have three different skill levels on the site that all of the videos are categorized by. However, the levels are a general guideline. One of the most important things to remember as you explore your own kink journey is that everyone has a different yardstick, and that’s OK. What might be labeled as a beginner on Kink Academy might feel very advanced for you. So, you should go with your own assessment. The beginner, intermediate, and advanced labels are to just give a suggested framework for where these different activities lie.
I’ve personally set the categories based on my nearly 15 years of experience as a BDSM educator. In my experience, spanking is something that can be done relatively safely and relatively simply. So, that’s something that would go under the beginner category in the larger framework of kink. Whereas, bondage and humiliation are things that you need to have quite a bit more experience with, and need to have a greater awareness of safety and communication.
I know you are a company that always tries to have something new on the horizon. Can you tell our readers about some of the new and upcoming things viewers can look forward to on Kink Academy?
We have some exciting things on the horizon! The last couple of years we’ve been focusing on the 2,000 videos that currently make up our library. But we’re starting to shoot new videos with some of our most popular educators, as well as some new faces. We’re especially focusing on marginalized voices including women, non-binary folks, bottoms/submissives, and niche fetishes. Our new way of shooting and collecting content is going to be an exciting opportunity for BDSM and sexuality educators that we’re hoping to launch in the next few months.
We are also working on different ways to make the site more accessible to folks with disabilities such as hearing impairments or visual impairments. While we are a very small company with a small budget, we are committed to improving the accessibility of Kink Academy in any and every possible way including making our blog posts audio files, and working on starting to get our new videos to be closed captioned.
What are some stereotypes that Kink Academy tries to dispel?
One of the main stereotypes that Kink Academy has tried to dispel is that all kinksters are thin, white, conventionally attractive, heterosexual pairings. The real world of kink is comprised of such a huge range of individuals, couples, relationship styles, and interests; Kink Academy has strived and continues to strive to visually show a realistic portrayal of not only the kind of people that are into kink, but the way kink looks when it’s not overly glamorized or overproduced as well.
How broad is your educator network? How does one go about becoming an educator?
The Kink Academy educator network started out as my personal educator network with people that I already knew and respected within the sexuality field, or those that were recommended to me by folks that I respect. We have worked with educators all over America as well as some international educators. We’re really proud of the diversity of our experts (as you might have noticed because I’ve mentioned it a few times in this interview!)
Up until this point, Kink Academy has always been the one to travel to where the educators are located to shoot the content. With the expansion of technology and the ease of editing programs that have blossomed over the last decade, we’re going to be able to accept content from pre-approved educators from anywhere in the world. That’s really exciting because it opens the site up to being able to feature educators beyond those that we can physically reach.
If someone is interested in being an educator on Kink Academy or PassionateU, they can click on this link, fill out a quick form, and their information will be put into our mailing list. Then, when we’re ready to make the official announcement about submitting new content to everyone on the list, they will be notified and will be given the process of how to apply.
How long has the site been up and running? What do you feel helps the most when making a site last over a decade?
Kink Academy is in its 11th year! We launched in 2007, and it has been a long and incredible journey to keep Kink Academy going. I think that folks often don’t understand that BDSM businesses are generally driven by passion rather than profits. From the very beginning, I’ve been committed to being a positive part of the “kink economy”, including paying our educators and providing a 50% profit sharing program for community organizations and individuals to use as a fundraiser and income producer.
Kink Academy has really filled a void for folks who are not able to afford the costs of conferences. Kink Academy allows folks who have smaller budgets to still access high-quality education, and it also can become a supplemental resource for folks who are able to take in-person classes (this allows viewers to further practice physical skills, learn from experts who are not geographically close to them, and re-watch the classes so that their skills can become much stronger).
The thing I feel helps the most when trying to make a site last over the decade is having a vision and understanding that no one will care about your vision the way that you do. One of the most important things to remember is that if you have a dream, you have to be the driving force behind it, and you have to take a look at what you are able and willing to sacrifice in order to achieve that dream. Also, please understand that folks that may be interested in your dream may not always be interested in the work that it takes to get there. Remember that things always take longer, cost more, and are more complicated than you originally anticipated! You have to build a project that can sustain your passion throughout the obstacles.
What do you feel the Kink Community is missing the most at large? How do you think your site can help with this?
I feel that the Kink Community is missing more of a focus on soft skills. Graydancer was talking about this recently on Twitter after Ropecraft, and it’s something that I agree very strongly with. At conferences, attendees tend to want to go to the flashy, snazzy, hard skills classes – how to how to tie a hogtie, or how to flog someone, or how to do a face slapping. Obviously, both for safety as well as for the success of the scene, those skills are vital. However, I think that as a whole, the kink world tends to rush through what I call the “meta kink,” which focuses on what’s happening inside our minds, our spirits, and with our emotions and psychology. As an educator, I focus on helping folks understand what is happening inside of them so that they can then better manifest whatever activities will create the headspace that they are seeking. But, too often, kinky folks try to put the cart before the horse. One of my core educational concepts is “intention not activity.” This phrase addresses the assumption that an activity will automatically create the internal experience that one is seeking. “I flog, therefore I dominate. I crawl, therefore I submit.”
What is the long term goal for Kink Academy? How will accomplishing this goal positively affect the community at large?
The long term goal for Kink Academy is to become the most recognized resource for diverse and creative sexuality for consenting adults. We’re going to achieve that by continuing to grow our video library, continuing to improve the accessibility of the site, and continuing to incorporate new technology to make visiting Kink Academy more interesting and more functional for our members.
The way that this will affect the community at large is really twofold. One, is that it offers initial education to folks who don’t have access to in-person experiences, as well as being a supplemental resource for those who participate in-person in the Kink Community. But, I think that it also makes kink more reachable to folks that don’t consider themselves part of the “Kink Community.” Many of us consider kink to be a fundamental aspect of who we are, and it might affect our politics, our relationships, and the way that we move through the world. However, there is a huge part of the human population that is interested in kink in a more casual way. These folks want to learn to do things safely, and want to have creative, adventurous sexual experiences in their lives. But, they don’t identify in the same way a “kinky person” does. In short, Kink Academy is a resource for all of those people as well.
Princess Kali is a dynamic educator & entrepreneur that focuses on power exchange, confidence & communication. With over 16 years of experience in exploring sexually alternative lifestyles & professions she has presented over 160 times at venues such as Harvard, Kink in the Caribbean, Dark Odyssey and SXSW. Now her time is focused on personal coaching, running her revolutionary website KinkAcademy.com, speaking across the US as well as internationally and promoting her first book, “Enough To Make You Blush: Exploring Erotic Humiliation.