When I first arrived in Cambridge, that all important question was looming over me. How do you get to know people intimately as fast as possible? I’m not here for that ‘friendship takes time’ bollocks, I want emotional efficiency. Well, while I was sat awkwardly in the kitchen trying to introduce myself, one of my new acquaintances handed me his phone. He’d given me a nifty website called bdsmtest.org, where by answering a slew of fabulously NSFW questions, you can find out what kinks would appeal to you. The results are displayed as a series of green, orange and red bars (green being very interested, red being not at all). In this moment, I feel like he answered my question.
As well as being much quicker than playing ‘never have I ever’ 600 times to work out who the biggest pervert in the group is (and much better for your liver), there are benefits to taking this test with your mates. It led us to some interesting discussions about past experiences, the discovery that one of my male friends had ‘very feminine feet’, and was a great bonding experience. After all, true friends know each other’s safe words. In just the first few weeks of term I’d made friends I felt comfortable talking to about more or less anything – I’m not pinning this entirely on the test, but I certainly feel it helped people come out of their shells early on.
I brought the test home with me during the holidays, when visiting an old school friend. Every time I see her, she manages to shock me with her lack of sexual knowledge; this time around, she’d managed to stick a medical swab in her urethra rather than her vagina. I asked her, somewhat incredulously, how she’d managed to get the two mixed up. She replied, ‘I don’t look down there!’ in disgust, as though she had a pocket-sized medusa lurking between her legs. For a laugh, I gave her the test to do on my phone, expecting all the options to come up red. They did not. I found this was a valuable way of helping her to understand her own sexuality better by questioning it directly, as well as encouraging her to ask me questions. After two hours of conversation, she was still freaked out by some stuff (I will never un-see her reaction to questions about ‘ingestion of fluids’ and honestly who can blame her) but definitely more comfortable with the idea of BDSM and armed with a new vocabulary to talk about it.
When my friend handed me his phone, I expected the test to confirm the things I already knew about myself. What I didn’t expect was to be handed an icebreaking tool and a sexual education resource rolled into one. Give it a try, you might learn something new about yourself or your friends (especially the innocent looking ones).