The Kink Disparity

Jessie Mathewson 10 November 2016

I have a theory, which I call the arsehole theory. It’s not about literal arseholes, which may be of relief to anyone thinking that this column had taken a turn for the anal. The arsehole theory is instead a measure though which to determine who to sleep with (and how, and when etc.). The basic premise is that if anyone is a little too forceful in suggesting you hook up, or that you look a certain way when you do, then they’re probably an arsehole and therefore you wouldn’t want to shag them anyway. If a potential partner wont respect my opinion or preferences, be that in regards to pubic hair or my weirdly erotic relationship with chicken nuggets, then I sure as hell am not trusting them with my vagina (which is phenomenal and must be respected as such).

Sadly, my theory turned out to be more on the Titanic than the Tupperware end of the watertightness spectrum. I maintain that it’s a solid benchmark for the casual fling or one-night-thing, but is less applicable when the aforementioned potential pressurer is your partner(s). Procedure isn’t clear-cut when you’re in a committed emotional and / or sexual relationship with someone else who has vastly different preferences and tastes to your own. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, and I’ve done a few things that I loved and a few things I never wanted to do again. Both responses to trying new things are okay – the most important thing is that it’s something that’s discussed to make sure everyone gets the most out of having sex.

I did not come here to kinkshame. For the most part, I think we all have our sexual desires and fantasies, and these aren’t anything to be embarrassed about. They seem for most people to be pretty inherent (as opposed to learned behaviors). I may be wrong, but I don’t think many people would actively choose to be turned on by feet, or pee, or any other number of increasingly esoteric fetishes. If I were to give one piece of advice to a kink-wary individual, it would be to tread carefully around a partner suggesting you delve into something new. Sex makes us all vulnerable enough, and I suspect it’s a lot harder to open up about wanting something a little unconventional: even if your initial reaction is literal disgust, be non-judgmental. You don’t have to want to do it, but you do have to not be a prick about that fact. When an ex-partner discussed with me their kinks for the first time it felt very much like a confession: most people don’t exactly advertise their sexual norms (unless they’re me and feel the need to do so in print).

Regretfully, kink is still a little taboo. The lack of normalized and respectful depictions of this in porn as well as the mainstream hasn’t helped. I’ll admit I haven’t actually read Fifty Shades – the portrayal of kink in a context of a chronically dysfunctional and creepy relationship was ignorant at best (though to be honest it’s the shitty grammar I really couldn’t handle). With regards to the movie, it probably rivals the 2016 elections with regards to viewer merit. There are lot of misconceptions about what can happen and how, and there are so many ways of practicing new things. This can make it confusing, sure, but it also means that there’s a great scope for compromise and collaboration within the boundaries of everybody’s comfort: hopefully you can meet halfway between the sex-dungeon and the church.

It’s like when one person wants Chinese and the other person wants a pizza, except instead of just getting hangry together you can create some kind of crispy-duck-chow-mein laden pizza base (and if that isn’t a perfect metaphor for love then I don’t know what is). Its okay to branch out yourself – you might really like it. I’d go as far as to say that communication and consent are the most important caveats for any healthy and functioning relationship – and experimenting with kink and BDSM can challenge (and hopefully strengthen) both. Just be sure that with whatever you do, you’re doing it for the right reasons: namely, that you’re actually want to (for yourself, and nobody else). Your partner isn’t entitled to sex, let alone your bending over backwards to provide it how they like it (literally or otherwise).