Parsing the Center For Inquiry’s Non-Statement about Ron Lindsay and the Women in Secularism 2 Conference »« Pain, Kink, Shame— and a Unicorn Chaser. Greta Christina’s New Erotic Epic! Susie’ Bright’s Review of “Bending,” Plus Extended Excerpt from “The Shame Photos”

Why Is Kink Fun? Guest Post on En Tequila Es Verdad

Why is kink fun?

Why is it that some people — in very specialized, negotiated, enthusiastically consensual circumstances — find it not just acceptable, but actively and deeply pleasurable, to be controlled, dominated, physically hurt, used, objectified, shamed, humiliated, and/or have their freedom curtailed?

Quick bit of background. I’ve recently published a collection of erotic fiction — mostly kinky — titled “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.” (Currently available as an ebook on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords — audiobook and paperback are coming soon.) The book has gotten an excellent reception so far, with lots of lovely gushing reviews. But it’s also been received with some bafflement, and in some cases even hostility, from a few readers and people who’ve seen excerpts or read what I’ve written about it… and who don’t understand how it can be healthy to get sexual pleasure from experiences that are so obviously unhealthy and negative and bad. Example: I got this message on Facebook recently, which I’m printing with the senders permission (anonymously at their request):

I am right in the middle of your book “Bending”. As someone who has a very “vanilla” sex drive with no kinks (literally, none.. I’m as bland as they come) I don’t quite see the appeal to feeling shame that comes with BDSM-style punishment and discipline. As someone who’s been shamed in real life by religion in years past, and by friends and family who don’t understand my hobbies and quirks, I find it hard to empathize with how shame can be a turn-on for some people.

I ask this in the most non-judgmental way possible… but, what is the appeal? I’m a little hung up on your book because I don’t understand how humiliation can be erotic. I think the book is very well written but I’m just having a hard time reading through it because there is a stark disconnect between my sexuality and the sexuality of the characters portrayed in your short stories.

Thank you very much for your time. I love the work that you do and look forward to possibly hearing back from you.

I’ve been doing kinky sex for so long, I sometimes forget how incomprehensible it sometimes seems to people who aren’t into it. But I do recognize why this might be hard to understand. In some ways, consensually sadomasochistic sex can almost be defined as sex that eroticizes, and makes pleasurable, experiences that would normally be actively unpleasant, and in some cases even horrific.

What about that feels good?

*****

Bending coverTo read the rest of this essay, go to Why Is Kink Fun?, my guest post on Dana Hunter’s En Tequila Es Verdad.

Here’s the deal: I’m doing a blog tour for my new erotic fiction collection, “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.” Today’s installment in the tour is an essay by me exploring what it is about kink that kinky people find pleasurable, a guest post on Dana Hunter’s En Tequila Es Verdad.

And remember — the book is currently available an an ebook on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. Audiobook and paperback are coming soon!

Previous stops on this blog tour:

6/3:
Ozy Frantz’s Blog: Is Erotic Shame Real Shame? (guest post by me)
Ozy Frantz’s Blog: Christian Domestic Discipline (extended excerpt)

Ozy Frantz has taken down their blog. These posts have now been reprinted on my own blog:
Is Erotic Shame “Real” Shame? (essay)
Excerpt from Christian Domestic Discipline (extended excerpt)

6/4:
Brute Reason: Greta Christina on Writing Dirty Stories (interview with Miri)

6/5:
Lusty Lady, Rachel Kramer Bussell: Excerpt from Craig’s List (extended excerpt)

6/7:
Charlie Glickman’s Blog: “Discover just how far sexy goes” (brief review/ blurb)

6/10:
WWJTD? JT Eberhard: On Being an Atheist Writing Religious Porn, plus Excerpt from Penitence as a Perpetual Motion Machine (guest post by me, plus extended excerpt)

6/12:
Passions and Provocations, Pam Rosenthal (a.k.a. Molly Weatherfield): How to Read a Remarkable Work of Erotica (review/ essay)

6/13:
Curvacious Dee’s Blog: Bent Fiction, plus Excerpt from Doing It Over (review, plus extended excerpt)’

6/13:
Susie Bright’s Journal: Pain, Kink, Shame — and a Unicorn Chaser. Greta Christina’s New Erotic Epic! (brief review and extended excerpt from “The Shame Photos”)

Comments

  1. johnthedrunkard says

    Of course, for some people ‘kink’ isn’t fun. They will write many comments, invoking the shadow of real violence against women etc.

    It is still bothersome that there is no single definition of ‘kink.’ There is no shortage of sexual expression that is ‘minority,’ ‘transgressive,’ ‘proscribed,’ ‘non-vanilla,’ but doesn’t involve spanking-rope-shame etc.

    As a ‘kinky’ but non BDSMish person, I think what might make these things fun for ME (it could certainly happen) is the feeling of making profound things happen inside another person. A partner’s orgasms are as much a point of sex as mine. Restraint and pain obviously have similar depth in their capacity to evoke response. In the event that the recipient was delighted by those responses—I’m all in.

    Anecdote: In the 30s Hungarian film ‘Extacy’ (famous for Hedy Lamaar’s pointless nude scenes) the effect of ‘orgasmic’ facial expression was supposedly achieved by an offscreen Assistant Director poking Ms Lamaar with a pin.

    Hmmm. something about that seems to explain what I think I want to convey.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I think the question is wrong. [No offense to the asker, who was very respectful. This framing is very common even among the kinksters I know well enough to converse about such matters.]

    The question, really, is why is fun stuff kink?

    There are tons of straight men and not a small number of queer women who don’t enjoy going down on a person with a vagina. That’s not mentioning the multitudes of straight women who would, presumably, decline. So going down on a vagina-bodied person is a sexual behavior only a minority enjoys.

    Being smacked on the bum? Well, I know that probably not that many people buy floggers or something, but if you ask the questions, “has anyone ever smacked your bum with anything, while in a sexual context? Did you, even once, enjoy it?” you might very well get a majority answering the 2nd question yes.

    But spanking is kink, and oral sex is vanilla. What?

    I mean sure there might not be that many spanking enthusiasts who wanna get a smack on the bum or 40 every time they have sex. But not everyone who has ever liked going down on vagina-bodied people wants to *have* a vagina bodied partner every time they have sex, much less go down on that vagina-bodied partner. Oral sex enthusiasts are a minority of people theoretically willing to perform oral sex just as spanking enthusiasts are a minority of people theoretically willing to be spanked.

    I’m happy to admit that I don’t understand the humiliation thing. I don’t. It’s not sexy to me. It’s humiliation, and I’ve had enough, thank you. But I don’t get hung up on, “how can humiliation be sexy, when it’s not to me” any more than I get hung up on “how can it be sexy to watch porn where 2 women with 2″ long press on nails spend 15 minutes dangerously courting clitoridectomy-by-fashion”? There are a lot of guys that watch that porn and find it sexy. But you don’t find nearly as many discussions about, “How can it be sexy to voyeuristically watch other people have sex, especially when those press-on-nails look so dangerous?” as you do, “How can it be sexy to be humiliated?”

    I think it’s revealing that no one I’ve met has asked, “How can it be sexy to humiliate someone?” In the very framing of the question, we’re assuming the bottom has the power, that it’s the bottom’s consent that must be gained and that is always at risk of revocation. But while I don’t find being humiliated sexy, while I find it a turn off, I find just the barest hint of the idea of humiliating my partner to be nauseous in the extreme.

    And yet, I get the second one better, at least intellectually: in bed I do things for my partner because she asks. “Kiss here? sure.” “Stroke there? Sure.” I may not be personally inspired to run my fingers over her temples, but if she wants light stroking from her temples to behind her ears, and she enjoys it, then I will witness her enjoyment and be oh-so-happy that I can bring her joy. I assume that we like to please our lovers. When someone likes pain, when pain pleases that someone, then the person inflicting that pain – while they may or may not get off on the fact that the method of pleasure bringing is through inflicting pain – will in most cases experience pleasure that the partner in question is pleased. In acting out a scene, a person might say anything, [“Oh, please, oh, please, Not the Comfy Chair!”] but in touch with a lover the signs of enjoyment other than the protestations against being placed in a comfy chair are likely to be as noticeable as my lover’s signs that she enjoys having her head lightly stroked.

    So I even see one route to finding pleasure in humiliating another – assuming it’s desired, consensual, and ultimately pleasurable for the humiliated person – but it still turns my stomach.

    And after all that I still don’t see any reason to ask, “But how can this thing that isn’t sexy to me possibly be sexy to someone else?”

    It’s sex. Some of us like red hair, or delaying orgasm, or slow back massages, or making out, or going down [on a specific body type or in general], or being humiliated.

    But only some minority sexual desires are kink. Only for some does it **matter** that the majority doesn’t get the minority’s desires.

    I’m a big proponent of making out. I could ditch genital sex if I got lots of making out. I love the connection. I love the sensitivity of the lips and tongue. There are so many things I like about it I feel silly even beginning to list them. Yet most people who reach 30 have long since given up making out as a sexual activity on its own. If it’s in their repertoire at all, it’s foreplay – and frequently a small part of the foreplay.

    But no one is going to say, “That’s so kinky that you actually make out!”

    People may think it’s unusual for an adult. They may think it’s sweet. They may think a lot of things. But, “Making out? That’s so kink!” is not likely to be one of them.

    So sure, talk it out – what is it that makes X hot for you. But I think we need to ask, “Why is it so important to ask this question – ‘how could you like X?’ when we don’t ask ‘how could you like Y?’ “.

    Because the question “why is humiliation hot for some people” is exactly as interesting – and exactly as boring – as “why is it hot for some people to have heterosexual intercourse.”

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