Kink Shaming

Updated: FEBRUARY 20, 2018

Kink shaming is the act of criticizing or attempting to make someone feel inferior for their specific sexual preferences. The term was first used on blogs concerned with social justice around 2008 before spreading to mainstream society.

Kink shaming is sometimes written as one word, kinkshaming, or hyphenated, kink-shaming.

More About Kink Shaming

Kink shaming can be as simple as expressing disgust at someone else’s kink. It can also involve outing the person’s kink to wider society, an act which can have serious professional and personal implications. Kinks are often taboo, and revealing them can damage reputations.

Kink shaming is frowned upon in most sections of society, as people typically believe what someone does or wants to do in the bedroom is no one else’s business, so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. Many online communities dealing with sexuality and fetishes have anti-kink shaming policies to protect their users.

However, there are some gray areas where in attempting to protect other people and preserve societal norms, people and organizations may inadvertently kink shame. For example, the belief that women are programmed to serve men who should dominate and lead women may be out of step with modern societal views. However, if a person is a member of the Gor subculture, this belief may be part of a kink. Condemning someone for holding it, as Drupal did when it removed a contributor from its community in March 2017, could be considered a form of kink shaming.

Some argue that kinks that objectify or fetishize others, like fetishes for Asian people or amputees, are dehumanizing and as such should be kink shamed.

Kink shaming that shames a person with a kink is unkind and never acceptable. However, there may be circumstances where a fetish is deemed unacceptable by individuals or wider society. In these cases the fetish, rather than the person that holds it, may deserve critiquing or kink shaming.


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