In other words, because we are socialized to see specific identities, presentations, and titles as better or worse than one another, this bleeds over into kink expressions and culture. To change this, we must first examine why we think of certain acts of desires as ideal and others as “less than.”
As sex counselor and author, Eric Marlowe Garrison, echoed:
“My favorite phrase from the kink community: "Don’t yuck my yum." (Don’t put down something (usually a kink) that brings me pleasure, even if you don’t do it, we won’t do it, or if you tried it and hated it). “
Kink is a place where shame should be left at the door. This is particularly true for those just entering kinky spaces for the first time. I asked Dr. Pitagora for her advice for newbies and handling the pressure to be less-vanilla or even just thinking they need to engage in certain kinks to prove themselves. She advised:
“Before engaging in any kinky interaction, it’s important to remember that there is no obligation to participate in any regard before there is the desire to [do so], and engagement in the scaffolding of consent as described above. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for how to avoid the inevitable person who attends group spaces and acts coercively to push limits, which depends on the person’s internal and external resources in the moment. Going with a friend or a date is a good approach. If [you're] going alone, it’s okay to completely ignore the person and walk away if that feels best in the moment. [You can] say [you're] not interested at the moment [and you'll] let the person know if [you] change [your] mind. If someone is acting in a pushy manner at a kink event, it’s not necessary to follow any sort of protocol, because protocol is something that should be consented to before followed…
Group spaces typically contain a high percentage of extroverts and exhibitionists, and it’s a good idea to remember this and remember that everyone has different intra- and interpersonal boundaries. The best way to understand and maintain interpersonal boundaries is to understand and talk to a trusted friend or partner about intrapersonal boundaries before exploring with others.”
Read: Kinky or Vanilla: Who Draws the Line?
Kink Is Personal
Identifying as kinky, or just being interested in learning more about kink is an entirely personal and individualized experience. Do not think that belong to kink groups or to visit kinky spaces you have to qualify as “kinky-enough.”
Research, discuss, and experiment with what feels right in your body, mind, and spirit. In the same vein, don’t look down on kinks that you find weird or unappealing (as long as they are consensual). Let’s commit to taking the hierarchy out of kink and making the community one of true love and acceptance.