We call these people freaks, kinkballs, crazy. But everybody knows one. Apparently, chains and whips excite not only Rihanna. They rock our worlds right here on the Hill.
According to the Kinsey Institute, 5-10% of the U.S. engages in sadomasochism (SM) for sexual pleasure on at least an occasional basis. (That’s, holy leather chaps, equivalent to 184 people doing it right here at McDaniel).
However, from my informal and frantic attempt to get people to open up about their most intimate exploits, I think this is a gross underestimate. Nearly everyone who I spoke to had a “freak story.” And now I am humming “Freak-a-leak” while my feminism questions my choice in music.
For a long time, “kinky” sex was the boogeyman of sex. Even to this day, men, women and non-gendered individuals are scared to whisper to their significant others, “Honey… can you…tie me up in a pretzel-knot, find that handy-dandy cane that I’ve been hiding under my bed for the first eight months we’ve been dating, and beat me around a bit? Love you!”
Here’s some hard facts about playing hard: In a study conducted in 2006, researchers found that there were “no significant differences between Bondage, Dominance, Submission/Sadism, and Masochism (BDSM) practitioners and the general population on measures of psychopathology, depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychological sadism and masochism.”
And while there are going to be readers who are surprised by the fact that those who prefer Rocky Road ice cream-sex over Vanilla Bean-fucking are *gasp* NOT messed up, this shouldn’t be surprising. The marshmallows and nuts are exciting. The caramel is frustratingly sticky, but good.
When I was naïve, fresh, and new to world of such play, it was all shocking. I couldn’t believe that I had known people my entire life who had engaged in some pretty freaky shit. They came from different walks of life, were different kinds of people.
Safety words? Apparently you needed one. Not unlike in regular sex, several varieties of BDSM sexual play could be dangerous if taken too far. So, in proper play, a safety word is established to let partners know when it’s getting too rough. Some even use the internationally recognized traffic light system: green means continue, yellow is a warning, and red is an immediate call to end action. However, you’re free to make up your own (like “pineapple”). But you can’t use that one…it’s already claimed.
In commonly practiced sex, if you want someone to stop or change what they’re doing, you’re left with screaming some version of “no” that might go ignored or trying to hint politely that you don’t want your nipple gnawed off. A “no,” especially in our culture, could easily be misunderstood to mean “more.” It would be so much easier to say, “yellow,” every time the angle was just not to your liking. With BDSM, there are rules that everyone expects to be followed. I wish regular sex was this simple.
And while several of the stories shared with me in confidence, cataloged in the list, are not BDSM-type activity, there should still be a tolerance, if not an acceptance, for those who are brave enough to admit to what gets them going. Except the vampires role play. Seriously, guys? I’m imagining people playing Twilight and screaming, “Turn me, Edward, turn me!
So kinkballs, be safe, get consent, and go and get thy gigantic freak on.