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You would think that the question, “What does it mean to be kinky?” would be the most basic and easiest question to answer in the kink and BDSM world, but it isn’t. This question stumps both kink-curious and people who have been in the lifestyle alike. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re leaning towards the kink-curious side of the spectrum, and you’re looking to sort out and answer this question for yourself once-and-for-all. This article will give you all the information you need to answer this question and some practical tips on how you can get started with kink and BDSM  if this is something you decide you’d like to try.

 

What does it mean to be kinky?

Before I go into the definition, let me give you the reason why defining what it means to be kinky is not so straightforward. Kink is different for everyone. No two people practice their kink the same, even if they are into the exact same thing, like bondage. It’s because they are inherently two different people.

What is kinky for you is influenced by many factors: your culture, your society, your family and upbringing, and your friends for example. Then, those factors determine how you interact and associate with the concept of kink. Therefore, what is considered kinky for you, may be too kinky for Sally Sue, and just another Wednesday night for Paul.

What I’m trying to say is, kink is SO personal and subjective for everyone. No two definitions are the same. Now, that being said, because I run a membership experience teaching people from all walks of life experience kink and BDSM where education is one of our core values, I’ve done my best to come up with a broad and encompassing definition. What it means to be kinky is embracing and exploring your sexuality, sensuality, lifestyle, and relationships that go against the grain of what society expects from YOU.

So, if you were raised under the strict belief that sex was was a tool mainly used to further your family lineage, and that experiencing pleasure from sex is considered sinful, then hell yeah, having sex with the lights on might be REALLY kinky for Sally Sue. But, on the other hand it’s something completely normal for you, because you were raised with progressive and sex-positive parents. See what I mean by kink being subjective and personal and hard to define?

Because education and, de-stigmatizing, and transparency in kink is so important to me, I’ve collected over time other people’s definitions of what being kinky means for them:

 

Being kinky means being able to lean over to your partner at the end of a long day when the kids are in bed, take her hand and say, “I love that you’re just as much a freak as I am. That makes me happy.” 

–Becky

 

 

“Being kinky is going out at 2 am jogging nude!”

–David

 

 

“To know what turns me on and what doesn’t and to find the words and ways to articulate this to men I date in a way that is inviting and fun.”

–Jennifer

 

 

“Being kinky for me is about the ability to express myself by exploring what is exciting for me: my partner consensually giving me control over her mind, body, and soul.”

–CR

 

 

“It means to be free of judgement and able to express your desires, wants, fantasies, and even fears.”

–Gwen

 

 

“To me… playfulness!!! Dropping your guard, being vulnerable, saying what you want, trying things at least once, not judging, being open but happily clear on your boundaries. Naughty but always fun!”

–TJ

 

 

It means being open, sexually and otherwise, to new experiences and ways of being.”

–Sharon

 

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You see how varied the definitions are? It’s because kink and being kinky means something different and personal for everyone. But I get the frustration and confusion. Especially if kink is something you’re curious about and want to know if it’s for you. You want to have the most basic information available and clear to you.

Unfortunately, it’s not so clear cut and easy. But, at the same time, that’s what is so beautiful about exploring kink and BDSM. You ultimately get to create your own rules under a governed set of philosophies rules centered around safety and consent for all that are involved.

The most important question to ask is not what it means to be kinky, but what it means to be kinky for YOU. And who knows, you could be exploring kink already or doing things that are considered kinky.

 

Kink Culture

If there’s anything I’ve learned about kink culture by being a member of my local community in Portland, Oregon, is that it’s such an accepting place to be. I used to have this immense fear that what turned me on or what I was curious about meant that I was a gross and perverted person. I’ve found nothing but acceptance, friendship, and support. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that what turns me on doesn’t define who I am.

What do I mean by this? For me specifically, as someone in a dominant and submissive BDSM relationship, I feared that deep down, I was a really weak person. I mean, who wouldn’t think that after looking up the definition of submissive in the dictionary. Or, that I worried my decade-long experience with sexual molestation and abuse influenced my desire to be kinky. As a kid, I always knew I was different, especially when I realized that I was into kinky and BDSM things since the age of 4 thanks to Disney. You can check out my story there.

When you’re part of a kink community, it’s inevitable that you get asked about your kink origin story, “How did you know you were kinky?” or “What got you into kink?” I was extremely hesitant sharing my origin story, because I thought it was going to be too weird or out of this world even for the kink community. But you know what? As I told my story, I was met with such compassion, support, and acceptance. Despite what I had heard about kinky people, kink culture, or kink lifestyle, we’re all just a bunch of people looking to be accepted for who we truly are.

 

Kink Shaming

Unfortunately kink shaming/kinkshaming is a thing. While I briefly touched upon how accepting the kink community was of me, there’s always an exception. I’d like to say I choose my friends well, and choose to be surrounded by open-minded and accepting people. However, there are places both offline AND online where people are judged and shamed not only for their kinks, fetishes, and sexual desires, but how they discovered kink and BDSM, too.

That is not okay. Not is not what kink stands for, nor is that the philosophy in which kink and BDSM were founded. If you’ve stumbled across anything that remotely resembles any form of kink shaming, run the other way.

You’re already insecure and vulnerable as it is, the last thing you need is to have that negativity further cementing your desire to try kink and BDSM when it’s such a positively and liberating life-changing experience when experienced correctly.

Kink shaming can also come from within, too. Yes, it’s not just other people kinkshaming you, you can kinkshame yourself! This happens when your kinky inclinations and curiosities go against the values and expectations you were raised with or educated about.

Feminism and submission: can I be both?

I’ll use myself an example of self-kinkshaming: I REALLY got into the idea of wanting to be a submissive to someone after reading this amazing Harry Potter fanfiction in college. It really cemented that desire unlike anything else before.

Yet, at the same time, I was also taking a Feminist Studies 101 class. I felt so much guilt and shame, wondering if I was actively choosing to “undo” the hard work these men and women before me have done for us to fight for women’s rights. And! As icing on the top, I had also considered myself a feminist at the time, too. Feminism and submission…could I be both? 

Confession: my idea of what it means to be a submissive was skewed a little incorrectly. I know now that being a submissive and holding that title is complex. So, I was able to figure out how to reconcile it and make seemingly opposite philosophies work harmoniously together. You can check out this article I wrote documenting this: Yes, It’s Possible to be Feminist, CEO, and submissive.

 

How to be kinky

All right, so if you’ve read this far in the article and feel like kink and BDSM is something you’d like to try, here are some resources for you. Kink for couples or if you’re single, the resources listed apply to any situation:

 

As you can literally see, defining what it means to be kinky is not easy, and for good reason! It’s such a personal experience and journey for people, that it stands to reason why no one can properly nail down its definition. What’s important is that you define what it means to be kinky for you, because this is your journey.