Kink, Sexuality, and Intimacy

Hey everyone! Weezie here, doing another guest post. Thanks for giving me a soap box again, DD!

I don’t like kinky porn, and though I’ve written about it a few times I wasn’t quite sure exactly why I didn’t like it.

As I was lying in bed pondering, I realized it was the same reason why I’ve always been disappointed with local kink meetups, parties, and most kinky people in general.

I jumped up out of bed and whipped up this (grossly over-simplified) Venn-diagram:

THE FINE PRINT

Now, I know this diagram is missing a lot of things. Where do friends fit in? What about musical tastes? What about things like Trust, and Romance? The internal labels, too, should be filled with hundreds of examples instead of just the one or two that are there now. Please, feel free to fill in any missing details you want – but this is as simple as I could get my concept. :)

Note that I am using a Venn-diagram for clarity here. In reality, there are no hard lines – no blacks and whites, just shades of grey. Lines always blur and there are usually exceptions.

PERSONAL ANALYSIS

When I sat back and first looked at this diagram, and how it related to me, I noticed that I didn’t like any of the individual circles. I’d hate to have a sexual experience without intimacy, for example. I’d also have trouble if any of these circles was missing; a life without kink? Yikes!

So for me personally, the center tile is the best possible experience – a perfect mix of sexuality, intimacy, and kink.

EXTERNAL OUTLOOK

I then compared the diagram to what I see at the local kink events. The kink circle is pretty much always present, as to be expected. The Sexuality circle is usually out in full force, too – even if a particular venue for a play-party doesn’t allow full-on sexytimes doesn’t mean there isn’t a thick atmosphere of sexuality all around. So “Sexual Kink” tile of the diagram is very well represented.

Likewise in porn, it’s almost always entirely the sex circle. Even if it’s labelled as kink, kink can be missing entirely! But sometimes it is there, if you look around in the right places.

The one element that I never see is the Intimacy circle.

IT’S HARD TO REPRESENT INTIMACY

I’m not saying that intimacy isn’t present at local kink events, or that people in porn don’t care for each other, or anything like that. I know that there are many loving relationships going on that have a ton of intimate moments. The problem I have seems to be the lack of VISIBILITY for Intimacy [within kink].

As members of a kink community, we are particularly open with our sexual attitudes. We discuss sexual topics that are normally taboo, and we revel in our kink with each other. Why aren’t we so open about intimacy though? Why do we still reserve that for the special at-home times or our semi-private after-care corners?

Intimacy is so important to me, my sexuality, and my kink – I expected the local groups to be a bit more open about that kind of stuff. I expect it to be better represented in the porn field. I find anything without to feel hollow and shallow. I was actually taken aback by how hidden that part of us is, and how absent it is from the public view, when attending local munches even.

Can’t we strive to do better?

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39 responses to “Kink, Sexuality, and Intimacy

  • cucktimmi

    I like your diagram. From my personal experience, bdsm/kink play parties tended to be in the non-sexual Kink play part of the diagram. As you stated, the ideal is Full Mix, though any where in the inner circles works for me.

    • weezie

      I find a lot of the public play parties SEEM like they are in the non-sexual kink category, but that’s just because of local rules. There’s a lot of sexual tension going on (plenty of boners in the room), and that’s enough to give it the crossover to the sexual-kink section there.

      I do know a few people that are into kink not for the sexuality of it – but instead for the endorphin rush. No sexual component at all, not even privately.

  • dominationdiary

    Sure we can strive to do better. In fact we all should! I think it’s all about balance, for most the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle but there’s often times when something closer to one of the extremes is the order of the day.

    I’m intensely private about our lifestyle and haven’t ever been involved in the club/meet scene so can’t comment on them. If anything, for me, intimacy is probably the most constant! That might be the result of being in the same kinky relationship for over 20 years!

  • Peroxide

    Yay, for Venn Diagrams! definitely my favorite type of diagram. I agree the middle is what I want, both in real life and in my personal fun-time entertainments.

  • maymay

    As a personal exposition, this is probably a really valuable post. Good on you for writing and publishing it.

    However, as written, this post has so many problems I don’t even know where to begin to unpack it. So I’ll start with the most glaring problem of all: not once in your entire post do you use the term “BDSM”, instead using “kink” to represent what is so obviously referring to the semi-public BDSM Scene. If you had simply replaced every occurrence of the term “kink” or “kinky” with the term “BDSM,” this post would be an order of magnitude better than it is.

    As for further discussions of intimacy, I’ll simply encourage you to at least rethink if not totally drop the term “friends,” and to understand that the BDSM culture’s discourse expresses intimacy as consensual yet violative risk-taking (not happy-feeling-intimacy but scary-feeling-intimacy; think horror movies, not romantic comedies).

    So intimacy, counter to your assertion, is actually visibly there at the munches and in the disgusting porn you and I both hate so much. It’s just that the BDSM community’s discourse makes the truly pathetic blunder of mistaking the representation of intimacy (the fashion, the scowls, the attitude) for intimacy itself.

    The relationships BDSM’ers have become not with one another, but with their own fetishes.

    Most of them love their whips and don’t know how to love the people on the other end.

    • weezie

      Thanks for the feedback! A few responses:

      “not once in your entire post do you use the term BDSM”

      It’s true! I use “kink” and “BDSM” fairly interchangeably, because I don’t want to exclude all those kinks that fall just outside of BDSM. Perhaps that makes things more confusing?

      But in real life, we have “kink” parties and “kink” munches and we don’t really use the BDSM term all that much. Maybe we’re doing it wrong? How do you differ between the two?

      “Drop the term friends”

      I think I only used it once in passing, not sure what the problem there is?

      “So intimacy, counter to your assertion, is actually visibly there at the munches”

      Humm. I see what you’re saying, and I fear it’s getting a bit too philosophical to wax on about here in these comments. but I will say this;

      I’ve seen SOME very rare moments of (“normal”) intimacy. I’ve seen loving looks, embraces, smooches, cuddles, and everything else I’d expect to see at “intimate” events… I’ve just seen it once or twice. I want more of THAT, whatever that was. :/

      Same with porn: Almost all porn is devoid of feeling. However, Dishevelled Domina’s Tumblr Porn is amazing precisely because she hand-picks ones that convey feeling and respect in those intimate moments. I just wish it was easier to find more of it.

      • maymay

        [I]n real life, we have “kink” parties and “kink” munches and we don’t really use the BDSM term all that much.

        And you want to be like the munches and parties you dislike…why, weezie? Are you part of this group you dislike? Is that why you write “we”? And if you are, why are you letting this groupthink determine your use of language, which is arguably the most powerful tool for change you have as a writer?

        Your behavior seems self-defeating to me, and since I don’t believe you intend to sabotage your own effectiveness, I have to conclude you are instead simply writing without thinking.

        How do you differ between the ["kink" and "BDSM"]?

        *Sigh.* Read. Think. Watch. (Yes, these are the same links as before.)

        I’ve seen SOME very rare moments of (“normal”) intimacy. I’ve seen loving looks, embraces, smooches, cuddles, and everything else I’d expect to see at “intimate” events… I’ve just seen it once or twice. I want more of THAT, whatever that was. :/

        Same with porn: Almost all porn is devoid of feeling. However, Dishevelled Domina’s Tumblr Porn is amazing precisely because she hand-picks ones that convey feeling and respect in those intimate moments. I just wish it was easier to find more of it.

        Intimacy is presented as scarce for reasons that are larger than the scope of the poisonous BDSM culture, so I would encourage you to forget about BDSM and focus instead on trying to discern intimacy itself. Your question about “where do friends fit in” betrays the fact that your analysis does not actually center on intimacy but rather on the crude representations of it—in this case, the mirage of “friendship” as a stand-in for emotional closeness. In other words, your appraisal falls so short because it suffers from the identical phenomenological misapplication as the BDSM community’s discourse; I think it is laughable at best to analyze others’ legitimate failures (as you have rightfully done to the BDSM community) with a critique that suffers from the same failure as that which you are critiquing.

        Forget BDSM, “kinky,” and “vanilla.” Forget “friends,” “lovers,” and “play partners.” None of these words are useful in discerning intimate relations versus superficial ones. Focus on relationships instead.

        You seem attracted to more or less the same kind of imagery as I am (I also like Disheveled Domina’s Tumblr), but you aren’t analyzing intimacy objectively, you’re calling the-thing-you-like “intimacy” when in fact it is simply “normal”—your word—manifestations of intimacy. If you continue to fail to recognize that distinction, your approach will at best pathologize non-lovey-dovey expressions of intimacy—expressions that the BDSM community’s discourse emphasizes—because that approach fails to acknowledge that “lovey-dovey” stuff like “cuddling” or “smooching” (also your words) are in no way intrinsically intimate at all.

      • weezie

        Your links don’t seem to discuss the word “kink”, they seem to be discussing some sort of group (kink4all for example)? I’m not sure what you’re getting at, and the three links posted are very long. Could you sum up the difference between “kink” and “BDSM” real quick? I want to understand where you’re coming from.

        “Are you part of this group you dislike? [...] And if you are, why are you letting this groupthink determine your use of language[...]?”

        Yes, I’m part of the kink community – in general, and the locally specific groups as well, not to mention my membership in little offshoot clubs like the Dishevelled Domina Tumblr Porn Fan Club. That’s why I’m passionate (read: upset, ranting) about it; I care about it, and it’s direction.

        And yes, I let groupthink help define my language. Is that bad?

        “Your question about “where do friends fit in” betrays the fact that your analysis does not actually center on intimacy”

        My analysis isn’t really centering on Intimacy. My Venn-diagram is very much focused on what I consider to be the three most important pillars in a relationship… For me. I casually tossed “Where does friend fit in?” into the mix, because I wanted to let people know that the diagram is incomplete.

        There should be about 60 overlapping circles, and I could probably write a ranty article about any combination therein. However, that display would be rather cluttered, and the extraneous information is probably not adding to the value of the discussion.

        For example, if I had added a fourth “friend” circle, it would have mostly been noise. Would you be intimate with, have sex with, or be kinky with, someone who could not and would not be your friend? Probably not. There are probably some edge cases there (there always are!), but it’s safe to assume that “friendliness” is a common thread amongst all the scenarios I’m discussing here today.

        I’m also not including the “you are human” circle (though there are DEFINITELY edge cases there); I’m not including the “likes the same color rope as you” circle (that only matters for certain subcircles of kink too).

        Anyway, you go on a lot about the importance of language. That’s cool. Normally I’m right there with you. But I’m new to all of this – this article itself is a journey of self discovery. I don’t yet have the proper vocabulary to be verbally competing at your level. I ask that we instead look at the ideas presented herein, and respond to them. Not the words I use, but the ideas I convey.

        As time moves on, my words will get better. :)

      • SunflowerP

        ‘I use “kink” and “BDSM” fairly interchangeably, because I don’t want to exclude all those kinks that fall just outside of BDSM.’

        As someone whose kinks mostly do fall outside of BDSM, I don’t so much feel included when “kink” and “BDSM” are used interchangeably, as I feel erased – this isn’t inclusion, it’s subsumption.

    • drtalon

      > (not happy-feeling-intimacy but scary-feeling-intimacy; think horror movies, not romantic comedies).

      I disagree completely. There’s plenty of kink and plenty of BDSM that doesn’t originate from a horror movie mindset. I think it’s a closed mind that believes it does.

      And, even in the case of that kink and/or BDSM that does grow from a more horror-movie mindset: YKINMKBYKIOK.

  • m

    I’m also at home in the inner circles. the middle is the best, but as already said,all of the inner circles and even some of the outer parts work for me in times.
    I don’t think the problem of lacking intimacy will change any time soon. I have been watching that for a while and getting a beating is sometimes very intimate between the people involved but not visible from the outside. sometimes if you are very emphatic it might be feelable. But the moment intimacy is visible it makes the involved people more vulnerable than being naked. And people don’t show their vulnerability. I sometimes do. The price to pay is to be more easily hurt. I personally think it’s worth it.
    Out there, most people don’t think that way. no matter if it’s the vanilla world or the kink scene. It just doesn’t happen.
    If that is, what you want, in my experience it sometimes works at small private parties. there, if you are lucky, you can get the full on everything.

    m

  • Sunshine Love (@tSunshineLove)

    Hm. Midori also wrote about the lack of intimacy in the BDSM scene fairly recently.Thing is, I think both public BDSM and sex necessarily become somewhat performative, whereas what we think of as intimacy is much scarier to present or allow to be shown in its authenticity. In my own sphere, I hadn’t realized until this post just why I’d had such reluctance to write my own recent adventures – it’s not because I fear they’re too kinky, but that they’re deeply personal and intimate. And who wants to read/see THAT kind of stuff, anyway? With recreational SM and sex, it’s easy to be a rebel, to say “See, look how on the edge I am!” It’s harder to do that with intimacy. What would that look like, anyway? Nauseating, I’m sure. And while love may indeed be the most transgressive thing of all, it lacks that “cool” factor attached to sex and kink.

  • maymay

    Could you sum up the difference between “kink” and “BDSM” real quick?

    Sure, weezie.

    “Kink” is to slut as BDSM is to intercourse. Someone who’s “slutty” is simply someone who is more promiscuous than you. Someone who’s “kinky” is simply someone whose sex acts entail less normative behavior than yours.

    The term “kink” is used vastly differently depending on whether the person is a practitioner of non-normative sexual behaviors. For example, anal sex is “kinky” to a “sheltered” college girl in Idaho; the same is not true of sex-magic practitioners, for they think “kink” equals BDSM, which is false. (For the most part, so do polyamory community members and, of course, the entire BDSM culture.) Therefore, “kink” is not the same as BDSM. Treating the words as if they are synonyms, however, promotes misunderstanding between the two groups of people commonly, though equally inaccurately, referred to as “vanilla” and “kinky.” Thus, it is a dangerous, self-defeating thing to do.

    I don’t yet have the proper vocabulary to be verbally competing at your level. I ask that we instead look at the ideas presented herein, and respond to them. Not the words I use, but the ideas I convey.

    As time moves on, my words will get better.

    I don’t feel like we’re competing, so it’s telling to hear you say that.

    In any event, you know how to reach me when your words “get better.” ‘Til then, good luck on your journey. You’ll hear from me most often when I think you’re doing something harmful to the information landscape of topics I’m passionate about—like using “kink” and “BDSM” as synonyms. It’s not personal, I promise. :)

    • weezie

      “I don’t feel like we’re competing, so it’s telling to hear you say that.”

      “Competing” was probably the wrong word. See my above post re: use of words. :)

      “The term “kink” is used vastly differently depending on whether the person is a practitioner of non-normative sexual behaviors. [...] Treating the words as if they are synonyms, however, promotes misunderstanding between the two groups of people “

      Ah, but I’m not trying to draw a distinction between the two groups of people. I’m using the word who’s definition is something like: “The reader finds this to be pushing the boundaries of sexuality”. If I search-and-replaced “kinky” with “BDSM” in my article, the sheltered college girls would be under-represented. Limiting the scope to just BDSM is a big mistake, too; there is plenty of Kink (by my standards) that would feel excluded. But they are equally valid in this discussion.

      My intended definition aside, on the philosophy of the words themselves:

      I like using the word Kink because it has a friendly tone, is accepted by vanilla culture (I could say it in front of my mom), and has a good positive vibe around it. You can even subtly morph it for those in-the-know (saying “kink” in front of my mom is indeed different than saying “kinky”, though she wouldn’t know the difference).

      BDSM on the other hand, has a cold, distant feel to it. It feels authoritative and looks ugly. It gets negative responses from most people on the planet, and even shows like CSI say it with a bitter disdain as if BDSM were equal to trouble-making perverts.

      I’d argue that the word “bdsm” is more damaging to our community, and more exclusionary and alienating, than “kinky” is.

  • Tom Allen

    Someone who’s “kinky” is simply someone whose sex acts entail less normative behavior than yours.

    This reminded me of a time in college when I was between girlfriends. Some friends wanted to set me up with a girl who described her self (loudly and often) as “kinky”, so they thought we would get along. Turns out, her idea of “kinky” was to have oral. Oh, and to have intercourse in a couple of different positions. My suggestions of fetish wear, bondage, and sensation play didn’t seem kinky to her – they were “gross” and “perverted.”

    • DD

      Oh Tom,
      you are so out there!

      I thought it went like this;

      I am sexually sophisticated.
      you are kinky.
      THEY are perverts!

    • Peroxide

      Jeez, at this point isn’t oral several degrees less kinky than intercourse, Like OMG, we didn’t actually have sex. Just oral!

      • Tom "But you can bring me home to Mother" Allen

        Yeah, well, this was like in 1978. To give you some idea, my previous gf and I once (okay, maybe three or six times) had sex on the hood of my car. When we mentioned this to our friends, they were totally freaked. They would sit around talking about what “freaky” thing they did, and we would always say something like “Oh yeah, we tried that a few times…” or “Yeah, that’s great, but did you try it with…?” Eventually they stopped talking to us about sex because we were too far out there for them.

        Actually, I was very fortunate that one of my first gfs was very experimentive. Unfortunately, I believed that all girls would be like her, and I was generally very disappointed for years afterward.

        • Peroxide "The times are a changin'" McSmartass

          On the Hood of a car!?! that is far out man. Wait, Doesn’t that dent the hood?

          • DD

            Come sit here on the floor, Peroxide, and I will tell you a story about back when pappy Tom was a youngster.

            A very long time ago, long before you were born, cars were made of a substance known as…steel. Steel was a very, very hard metal, and it was sooooo strong.

            In fact, it was so strong it could support the weight of a grown-up, and even two, without aaaaaany problem.

            Isn’t that interesting?

            Then someone said, “If we made cars out of something that absorbed shock then being in a fender-bender wouldn’t feel exactly like being hammered by a huge steel slab!”

            So all the car people started making magic crumply cars.

            This angered all the people who used their cars for things not related to driving because now in addition to leaving hand prints on the hood of their cars they also left big dents.

            But they all got old anyway and ended up driving mini-vans with hoods that were soooooo tiny and sooooo steep they couldn’t really do anything with them anyway.

            So Tom found another use for hard metals and they all lived happily ever after.

        • Sunshine Love (@tSunshineLove)

          Heh. I do phone sex and every once in awhile I’ll get a caller who asks me to tell him the freakiest/nastiest/kinkiest thing I’ve ever done. Turns out this is not the information they are actually looking for. For the most part, I think they’re hoping to hear I’ve eaten pussy or some such.

  • Tom "I'm Tom Allen, bitch!" Allen

    Peroxide, since I’m already way off topic here, I’ll confess that in the 70s I had an El Camino with shag carpeting in the back. I kid thee not.

    It was great because there was a drive-in movie theater in the next town.

  • Peroxide (also Roy Orbison died before I was born)

    Tom, Since I’m doing my darnedest to make you feel like an old fogey, There hasn’t been a drive-in theater in my county since I was like seven. Also the cold war was over before I started pre-school.

  • Tom "I'm Tom Allen, bitch!" Allen

    H2O2, we used to drive our “cars” to the “drive in”, where we would park in rows, just like at the mall, but we’d all face a huge metal screen, onto which we would see moving pictures. Amazingly, they weren’t caused by LEDs in the back, but by “projecting” the pictures from a little house, with a machine that caused “film” to scroll past a lens with a powerful incandescent “light bulb.” We listened through metal speakers (mono) which were fed by “wires” laid under the ground.

    When we were in high school, I made a point of parking in the back rows, so my date and I could crawl under the tarp covering the back and make out. When I was dateless (yes, sadly it happened sometimes), I’d throw a small keg of beer in the back, and my friends would park next to me,and we’d have a tailgating party.

    I’m sure that you kids today have fun playing Captain Spock in World of Starcraft, but we got a lot more fresh air back in my day.

  • Kink, Sexuality, and Intimacy » Weasello's Wordpress

    [...] made a guest post over at Dishevelled Domina‘s blog – it even has a Venn-diagram! Here’s a quick excerpt: I don’t like [...]

  • Stabbity

    I’m thinking out loud here, apologies if this comment doesn’t make much sense.

    Looking at other’s comments about how important intimacy is to them and thinking back to DD’s discussion about private vs public kink, I’m starting to wonder if something about the public BDSM scene weeds out or repels people with an overriding interest in intimacy. Beyond some fairly basic information about physical safety and technique, the public scene doesn’t necessarily have much to offer people who are only interested in kinky activities in the context of an intimate, loving relationship.

    The emphasis on spectacle in terms of number of scenes done and the technical difficulty of said scenes (obsession with suspensions over just having a satisfying rope scene, anyone?) actively repels people who are only interested in playing with their partners in private. It seems to follow that soon the vast majority of people at public parties would be those who get everything they need out of not-so-intimate scenes, which of course makes those focused on intimacy feel that much more out of place.

    • weezie

      Considering how many times I hear “I’m in a loving relationship, I find the [scenes/parties/munches/etc.] not worth my time”, I think you might be right there.

      Which is too bad. I’d really like to hang out with more intimate-minded people.

    • DD

      I think that made sense and it’s a reasonable theory.
      We should start a poll or something to collect some data on it!

  • Tom Allen

    Beyond some fairly basic information about physical safety and technique, the public scene doesn’t necessarily have much to offer people who are only interested in kinky activities in the context of an intimate, loving relationship.

    I can’t imagine a situation or context in which public scening could do so.

    • Stabbity

      Well, not public scening as in playing in public, but I think there could be something gained from the public scene as in people getting together to talk about this interesting hobby they have. Like weezie said about, it would be nice to be able to hang out with more intimate minded people.

      • Peroxide

        I can certainly envision putting on a show of intimacy, but it would require some acting ability and the right setting. I feel like doing that sort of thing would require a lot more effort than most people are willing to put out just to entertain.

  • NessieMonster

    To go back to the origianl Venn diagram, I want to say Weezie, that it’s actually pretty useful. For me, I dislike my kink without ‘sexuality’, sexuality in this case meaning sexual attraction to the other person(s). I can do it without, sure, but it’s just not as satisfying when I do.

    I’d add something to your intimacy bubble and that’s an understanding of intimacy as emotional vulnerability. This emotional intimacy requires trust, honesty and a lack of fear of being judged, and usually (in my experience) shows up as that instantaneous connection we experience from time to time. This emtional intimacy is not the same as the physical tender/romantic intimacy of kisses, cuddles, snuggles etc that you give as signs of intimacy, and I haven’t seen enough of the UK scene to comment as to its presence of absence. It does however, seem to be absent from the limited quantity of mainstream kinky porn I’ve seen.
    Doing kink well in a way that meets individual needs requires some of that intimacy, else how can you ask for what you want/desire? But there’s also the intimacy that long-lasting relationships are built on and that’s different again.

    Sexual attraction doesn’t show up for me without the tender intimacy and some level of emotional vulnerability/intimacy, but those things are no guarantee of deep emotional intimacy that a long-term relationship can be built on. Nor, however, are they a guarantee of sexual attraction. If they were, I would have no friends-friends! Emotional and tender intimacy are needs in their own right IME, and trying to get those needs met through casual sex leads to not-so-pretty things. :-/

    • DD

      Nessie, I absolutely agree. I’d go so far to say that emotional vulnerability and the associated trust are the bedrock of intimacy. For me the snuggles, etc. that weezie entered into his diagram are very much an outward indication of emotional intimacy. I know that is subjective, and the experiences of others may not align with that. The vulnerability and trust though, they are major factors.
      I am dealing with long-term relationship type intimacy and I would say that I don’t think it is different… just that there is a cumulative effect.
      I also agree with you that trying to meet needs in one area with activity in another is very often a recipe for pain and/or disaster.

      I am so glad you shared your ideas on this!

      • NessieMonster

        hey DD, it’s nice to hear I had something good to say.

        You’re probably right about the lon-term intimacy being cumulative. I’ve not had enough experience to give an definitive answer, if there even is one. Guess I’m still trying to work out which things differ and how between short-term and long-term relationships. Probably to do with compatability in other areas? Meh.

        Also, loved your story about cars and steel. :)

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