November 14, 2000 05:02pm
How to Be Candidly Kinky
by: Anneli Rufus
So you want to be spanked. Or yelled at. Or seared with hot wax. Or bound and gagged and flogged — and not because you've been bad but because you want to feel good. Really good.
It's not the sort of yen you can talk about in mixed company. Though ours is a highly sexualized society, the sex that saturates our TV screens and billboards tends to be vanilla: straight, naked, no whips or chains. And it puts that 10 percent of the population that calls itself kinky way out on the cultural margins.
Kinkiness isn't about orientation or whom you do it with but how you do it, says Janet Hardy. She was working at an advertising firm until coworkers, eavesdropping on her personal calls, discovered she was a dominatrix. Fired, she founded Greenery Press in San Francisco and started publishing books like The Bullwhip Book, SM 101 and The Mistress Manual. Some, like The Compleat Spanker, she wrote herself.
Flogging, which according to the Greenery catalog promises "sensations ranging from gentle massage to tearing agony," is just plain fun for some. And fantasizing about schoolgirls or slaves, Greenery's authors insist, doesn't make you a racist or a pedophile.
Kinkiness "has a lot of bad baggage attached," Hardy says. "In people's minds it gets all mixed up with torture and murder. They don't know about the very real lovingness and consensuality that's part of it."
So how, in a world that jumps to conclusions, can you get what you want? Renting videos or buying accessories discreetly is easy. But handcuffing yourself and spanking your own bottom is not. Luckily, plenty of organizations are out there full of like-minded people.
But what if shame has made you hide your kink so totally that even your own partner doesn't know? How do you ask, after all this time together, to hit someone or put on her underpants?
"It's terrible to feel unseen and it's terrible to not feel satisfied. Talk about being in a closet," says Hardy.
In their new book, When Someone You Love Is Kinky, authors Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt open the door to what they call "your kinky person's world." Joyously embracing the word "pervert," they write from firsthand experience about bondage, breast-milk fetishes, "painplay" and more for parents, friends and partners in language so direct it's comforting.
The first step "in dealing with this amazing news" that your partner wants a whip or nipple clips, the authors say, is to take a deep breath and not rush to judgment. After all, this is the person you love. After the shock wears off, you'll need to decide whether or not you can or will join in.
Hardy relishes letters such as the one she received from a shy reader who'd never had the nerve to tell his wife he longed to be submissive. After buying Hardy's book, The Sexually Dominant Woman: a Handbook for Beginners, he placed it on the coffee table one day while his wife was out. For two days the book lay there apparently untouched, and no one mentioned it. Then one morning he woke up tied to the bed.
Prime Nine Kink Glossary
In When Someone You Love Is Kinky, authors Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt offer their own well-considered definitions for terms that might have outsiders and neophytes baffled. Here's a sampling:
1. Age Play: Play in which one or more people act the role of someone younger — or older — than they really are.
2. Bestiality: Some people enjoy sexual interaction with animals. Informed consent is a tricky issue here.
3. Bondage and Discipline: Many people use this as a term for "softer," less intense S&M. It usually includes some form of tying someone up, and may include milder pain activities such as light spanking or clamps.
4. Cybersex: When two people — who may be thousands of miles apart — use their computers and modems to enact a "scene." These days it is many people's first exploration of kink.
5.Drag: Halloween for grownups. The term has been expanded to any kind of kinky dress-up - pirate drag, cowboy drag, baby drag and so on.
6. Ownership: A consensual agreement in which a Master or Mistress has the right to control many or most aspects of the life of a Slave. The parameters of many owner/slave relationships are defined by a written or spoken ownership contract.
7. Pain: For people who enjoy it, pain in the context of a loving and consensual interaction can be extremely erotic. Nobody knows whether people who like pain are neurologically different than other folks or whether they've just learned to process sensation differently.
8. Verbal Abuse: Play in which one partner yells at another or calls him nasty names — e.g., "Get down on your worthless knees, you slut."
9. Watersports: There are two meanings for this word. One is play involving urine — most often one partner urinating on another. The other is play involving enemas.