Kinkster

Last Updated: January 25, 2021

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Definition - What does Kinkster mean?

A kinkster is a person who enjoys sexual activities that are considered to be outside of the sexual norms of their culture. It is derived from the term kink, which, in connection to sex, is most types of sexual play that isn’t heterosexual, cisgender copulation for procreative purposes focussed.

What is considered “normal” in sexual expression and relationships in Western societies is largely based upon settler/colonial views of intimate relationships. Our current Western ideas of what is vanilla and what is kinky are deeply embedded in a Judeo-Christian European perspective on a right/wrong way to express our sexual and romantic desires.

Just because a certain behavior is seen as part of the Western kink community does not mean it would be seen that way in other cultures of across history- and the same is true for what is viewed as vanilla. For example, research published in the American Anthropologist demonstrates mouth kissing is rare as a sexual expression globally but is embedded as vanilla/normal in Western Colonized civilizations.

Anyone of any gender, sexual identity, or in any kind of relationship structure can be a kinkster. Frequently, the term kinkster is most often associated with people who enjoy BDSM (pain and impact play, humiliation, dominance, submission, etc.) and those who participate in polyamory.

However, it can be much more widely applied to people who have fetishes and other desires, including feet, rubber, watersports, leather, shibari, voyeurism, pet play, role play, and many, many more.

Being a kinkster can mean different things to different people. Some kinksters will engage in kinky activities during sex some of the time. Other kinksters are exclusively interested in kink-related activities. For some people, being a kinkster is limited to the pleasure they seek during sexual encounters. Others, however, will merge their identity as a kinkster into their daily lives, embracing that part of their personality into their employment, fashion and social activities.

Some kinksters form social groups that can focus on meeting other kinksters for casual discussion and information sharing. These gatherings are called munches and can be for wider, kink-encompassing audiences or smaller, focusing on a specific kink.

Kinksters also have many different options to meet to engage in kinky sex, including sex clubs and events that cater to kinksters in general or specific kink themes. Kinksters have also carved a significant place for themselves online, with many different communities and dating sites that offer the opportunity to meet for sex and to share feelings as well as to seek out tips and information.

Kinkly explains Kinkster

The term kinkster is a good example of sexual language evolving from a place of scorn and embarrassment to embracing difference. First coined by Elisabeth Sheff and Corie Hammers, the growing use of kinkster replaces more derogatory terms such as pervert and deviant. While some in kink communities may use these words affectionately or for humiliation purposes, popularizing kinksters is both more inclusive for the kink community, and less stigmatizing when discussing with more mainstream people. Kink has been emerging from the sexual shadows and more people are coming to understand that kinky sex can be a part of their lives. Removing caustic language markers will help more people embrace their kinkster selves.

Unfortunately, this brave new kinkster-friendly world is still evolving and over the years, folks into kinky sex have had to create and innovate in order to meet other like-minded sexual souls. One way kinksters used to silently meet was by adopting the hanky code. By wearing different colored hankies in a specific pocket to signify your sexual or kinky preferences, queer and kinky folk could silently peruse and cruise in safety from societal prejudices. Being out in certain places could (and still can be) very dangerous. Hankies were a community language to communicate desire and safety.

While kinksters have always had to look out for each other, they have also been at the forefront of other aspects of sexual security. Understanding and embracing consent is a hallmark of the kink community, Much of the explorations and learning about consent that are being imbued into mainstream society have come from kinksters. When sexually playing with power structures, pain, and psychology, affirmative consent is a critical element that needs to be understood, embraced, and championed. This ideal is reaching out across kink communities and making headway in mainstream sexual culture, with kinkster sex-ed advocates helping to lead the way.

On the other side of the coin, it is important to note that not everyone who has adopted the term kinkster and become part of the community is a safe person. As in any group, there are people who use the term kinkster and who abuse and manipulate their roles in relationships and the community. Anytime someone feels that they are physically, mentally, financially, spiritually unsafe or harmed they should seek help immediately, no matter what title or role they or their partner identify with in a kink role/space.

Reviewed by Laura McGuire
on January 11, 2021

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Kinkly uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content including peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, professional organizations, and governmental organizations.
  • William R. Jankowiak, Shelly L. Volsche, Justin R. Garcia. Is the Romantic–Sexual Kiss a Near Human Universal?. American Anthropologist, (2015).
  • Corie Hammers, Elisabeth Sheff. The privilege of perversities: race, class and education among polyamorists and kinksters. Psychology & Sexuality, (2011). P. 198-223.

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