What Is Kink-Shaming?

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(And Why You Should Avoid Doing It)

By Alex Manley

How Kink-Shaming Can Keep People From Feeling Sexually Liberated

You’re hooking up with someone for the first time — or the second, the tenth or the hundredth — and you think you know what to expect, but then they ask if you can try something new. 

Immediately, you’re a little cautious. What if it’s weird? They blush a little bit. “Well, you see, I’ve always wanted to try this thing … but it’s a little kinky…” You gulp as they lean in and whisper the secret desire into your ear. You want to make them happy because you’re not a jerk, but this fetish is way out there, and not at all something you’re used to.

“Gross,” you say. “You’re really into that?” Your hookup buddy looks embarrassed. “Never mind,” they say, grabbing their clothes from the floor. “I should probably get going

What just happened? Well, there’s a name for it: kink-shaming. And even if you don’t think you’re doing it, you probably are.

What Is Kink-Shaming?

“This girl I met on Tinder told me she wanted to try this thing called ‘caking’ — spreading cake batter all over your naked self. I was like, ‘Hmmmm, no.’ Very unsanitary, and I don’t like wasting food.” – Miguel, 28

Kink-shaming is basically exactly that —shaming someone for their sexual desires when they don’t line up with what you think is normal.

“Kink-shaming is when you embarrass someone for their sexual preferences and believe something is wrong with them because of their sexual interests,” says Dr. Janet Brito, a sex therapist based in Hawaii.

This could be about a fetish, a kink, a preference, a history of certain behaviors, or even just an openness or willingness to try something that the other person considers unconventional.

“I would define kink-shaming as the negative judgment and criticism of all sexual contact that isn’t considered vanilla or ‘mainstream,’” says Jor-El Caraballo, a relationship therapist and co-creator of Viva Wellness.

Brito notes that some common targets of kink-shaming include “fetishes that are uncommon, such as titillagnia (arousal to tickling other people) or urophilia (arousal to urine or urinating on others), dressing up as a furry or a desire to be choked or spanked.”

However, there are some that are gender-focused — men, for instance, often kink-shame “their girlfriend’s/wife’s interest in group sex, public sex, threesomes, double penetration, having a rape fantasy, masochist or sadist interestsl,” notes Brito. Or when talking to other men, they might be judgmental toward things like “same-sex attraction, same-sex fantasies, autogynephilia, men attracted to transwomen or non-binary folks.”

This kind of thing can play out in all different ways. It could be as simple as making fun of your friend for a hookup story with an unexpected detail in it, or it could be your long-term significant other trying to make you feel dirty for asking for something new in bed.

While it might not be coming from a place of hurtfulness — it’s as often a sense of surprise or shock rather than outright cruelty — it can still be incredibly demeaning.

How Does Kink-Shaming Negatively Impact People?

“I had a man recoil and tell me he ‘doesn’t do that weird sh*t’ when I placed his hand closer to my neck. It made me feel super uncomfortable for the rest of that interaction.” – Maria, 29

“Kink-shaming really only serves to make people live in silence and fear of judgment,” says Caraballo. “It creates negative internal emotional consequences, leaving the receiver to question the validity of their own desires. This could exacerbate any lingering questions of self-worth, depression or anxiety that the receiver already has about their sexuality and identity. It can negatively impact their ability to have and enjoy sex, and might kill desire altogether.”

It can also have a serious impact on a person’s mental and emotional well-being, ultimately causing psychological harm in the end.

“They may feel invalidated, dismissed, misunderstood,” says Brito. “It can negatively impact their relationship with their significant other, cause someone to withhold information or hide their kink from them. [And] at its worst, kink shaming can be used as a weapon against someone, and can cause someone to lose their job or their family.”

That might sound extreme, but instances of people’s sex lives becoming public knowledge are often weaponized against them in some form; the belief that a certain non-conformist sexual interest is unacceptable or somehow indicative of a person’s core moral character lives on in popular thought.

As a result, it’s worth thinking about how kink-shaming functions on a greater societal level, rather than just instances of one person shaming another. When we normalize kink-shaming and general sex-negative attitudes, people grow up feeling ashamed of desires they cannot control.

How Can You Stop Kink-Shaming?

“When I was in my teens (and probably even into my early 20s), I thought it was really funny to make fun of furries. But at some point, I realized that I was belittling people for sexual desire that I didn’t understand, even though it was being practiced by consenting adults. There was no real justification for it other than that it felt good in a shallow, sh*tty way to mock outsiders and people who don’t conform. I never tried to shame anyone directly, but I definitely carried that prejudice for many years.” – Ian, 30

Considering the widespread societal consequences of kink-shaming attitudes, and the seriously negative consequences it can have on a person’s wellbeing, it’s worth considering how we can move away from kink-shaming in general.

To that end, sex education — not just about the physical ins and outs of sex, but how desire works — can be a huge factor.

“I think that education is the biggest way to combat kink-shame,” says Caraballo. “There are a lot of misconceptions about why people enjoy kink (or certain forms of kink) and getting exposure to accurate information helps combat negative, internalized puritanical views about sex and kink.”

Brito agrees that education is important, but notes that there are lots of ways we can help shift our culture away from its current kink-shaming state.

She suggests “being willing to learn more about the diversity of human sexuality by being exposed to more sex-positive messages, by de-stigmatizing sex and knowing how to distinguish the difference between a sexual fantasy and reality, [and] by speaking up when someone is shaming someone’s kink.”

Brito also notes that some of the most common kink-shaming occurs within the self, meaning people shaming themselves for their own desires. If you struggle with that kind of thing, it’s worth putting in the effort to shift gears “by practicing self-acceptance, since working on embracing one’s interests is the first step toward accepting others.”

Finally, she adds, you can make a difference “by embracing the notion that everyone is different, and that having unique or non-traditional sexual interests does not mean something is wrong with you.”

Experiencing sexual desire is normal, and what exactly turns you on is often largely out of your control. Until you recognize that your desires alone don’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, it’ll likely be a struggle for you to genuinely accept yourself and your sexuality.

But if you commit yourself to working through these issues — with a partner, perhaps, or in therapy — it’s absolutely possible to arrive at a healthier, more confident place where your own comfort with your sexual desires means you’re not looking to ridicule, diminish or shame others for theirs.

Complete Article HERE!

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We asked a sex educator every question you probably have about spanking

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By Tiffany Curtis

While the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy might be the most mainstream (and, honestly, lackluster) depiction of sensual spanking we’ve seen in recent years, the act of receiving or giving some good ol’ ass slaps isn’t new.

Erotic or sensual spanking is a method of impact play. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “impact play,” it is defined by Kinkly.com as “a sexual practice where one person is struck by another person for the sexual gratification of either or both parties.” While spanking, which can vary in its levels of intensity, and other forms of impact play are often a part of BDSM, you don’t have to be a part of the lifestyle or identify as kinky in order to master and enjoy the act.

Despite the fact that many people enjoy erotic spanking (24% of Americans, according to this study), the topic remains somewhat taboo and bogged down by misinformation. “Most media representations of kink, BDSM, and spanking involve persons who are psychologically troubled or have experienced abuse,” said Candice Smith, co-founder of The KinkKit, when the reality is plenty of people who were never victims of abuse or trauma choose to practice BDSM.

Again, it’s important to note that you don’t have to self-identify as kinky in order to experience the pleasure or potential benefits of safe and consensual spanking, or other forms of impact play, but those who practice elements of BDSM experience higher levels of life satisfaction, lower anxiety, and more communicative relationships, according to a 2013 study conducted by the International Society for Sexual Medicine—just in case you needed reassurance that spanking is a normal and healthy sex act.

Maybe you’ve wanted to ask for a good spanking, but you aren’t sure how to initiate the conversation with a partner? Or maybe you’re already a spanking pro, and you’re wondering how to level up beyond just being taken across someone’s knee?

That’s why we reached out to Dirty Lola, sex edutainer and host of Sex Ed A Go Go. She recently collaborated with The KinkKit on a sensual spanking skills kit for adults, and she spoke to us about the ins and outs of spanking.

HG: For anyone who might be new to the term “sensual spanking,” what is it?

Dirty Lola: Sensual spanking is spanking with the intent to give pleasure. It should be consensual, mindful, and focus on the connection between partners. In this case, sensual should not be confused for gentle. While sensual spanking may start off with light smacks, it can most definitely move into harder, firmer blows. It all depends on the needs and desires of the person being spanked, aka the bottom.

HG: What do you think makes this particular kind of impact play pleasurable for folks?

DL: I think sensual spanking is a popular form of impact play because it’s so accessible. You don’t need special furniture or implements to start exploring sensual spanking. While those things can definitely take your spanking game to another level, if you’re just starting out, all you need are your hands, a willing bottom, and a little know-how.

HG: How can someone who wants to try sensual spanking bring up the conversation with their partner(s)?

DL: I’m a big fan of making time to chat with my partners about sex things when we aren’t having sex. For instance, the next time you’re hanging out on the couch with your boo, you could mention that you read a great article on sensual spanking that piqued your curiosity. This will definitely open up a dialogue about trying out new things.

HG: What things need to be in place before incorporating spanking into your sex sessions?

DL: Before you begin to incorporate spanking into your sex sessions, you should definitely know how to safely administer a spanking so you reduce the chances of harming your partner. You should also know what sensations your partner likes and what level of pain they would like to receive. Most importantly, you should have a safe word in place or use the stoplight method (Green = more / harder, Yellow = keep the same pace, Red = stop) in order to ensure an open line of communication with your partner and fewer misunderstandings.

HG: While the over-the-knee position is pretty common, what are some other positions that can make getting spanked, or doing the spanking, more fun?

DL: Have your bottom stand and bend over and hold on to their ankles, a low table, or a stool. This position is great because it really showcases the butt and exposes more of the upper thighs. If you want to experiment with a standing position but your bottom needs more upper-body support, then you can have them stand at the end of the bed and lay their upper body across the bed while keeping their feet flat on the floor. This position can also be achieved by leaning over the arm of a couch. If your bottom enjoys the sensation of their entire body being supported while receiving spanks you can try spanking them while they are on their knees on a bed or couch with their chests flat against the surface and their asses in the air. Both of these positions allow the person doing the spanking, aka the top, to easily move around and change angles during the session.

HG: Where on the body, should we be spanking/getting spanked?

DL: The main area of concentration during a spanking is the convex buttocks, or as I like to fondly refer to them, Booty Meats. The Booty Meats are the lower, fleshier portion of the butt. All of that fleshy goodness is what makes it the prime target during a spanking. However, you can also spank the sides of the butt (stay away from the hips), as well as those delightful creases between the thighs and butt as well as the upper thighs. These areas should receive fewer swats because the skin in those areas is more delicate and prone to bruising. Of course, if that is your thing, then proceed accordingly. You should avoid spanking near or around the tailbone completely. You especially want to avoid spanking anywhere around the lower back, as heavy blows can cause kidney damage.

HG: Is a partner necessary in order to experience spanking?

DL: You don’t need a partner in order to enjoy the fun of spanking. You will, however, need long arms or implements with long handles in order to be your own bottom and enjoy a bit of self-flagellation. Positioning is also key when spanking yourself. Standing and leaning over the arm of a couch or a stool or a high chair will position you in such a way that your butt is sticking out giving you more access.

HG: What are some of your favorite spanking techniques/tools?

DL: I love giving and receiving spanks with bare hands. There is something special about feeling the heat of skin-to-skin contact during spanking sessions. Hands also have the ability to squeeze, rub, tickle, and pinch. All things you can add into your spankings to heighten sensation. If I am using an implement or having an implement used on me, I prefer a small, sturdy paddle. Small paddles make it easier to dole out harder blows while using less energy. I also love having something soft to run across the skin post-spanking, like a feather or a silky piece of fabric, to change up the sensation during a long spanking session.

HG: What kind of aftercare should be taking place after a spanking session?

DL: Some examples of post-spanking aftercare are cuddles, gentle touches, words of affirmation, massages (butt and hand), and, of course, verbally checking in with one another. Yes, tops need aftercare, too. It’s also a good idea for everyone to hydrate post-spanking. If the spanking resulted in bruises, you can add a bruise reducer to your aftercare ritual.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Psychology of Sexual Kink

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The word kink has myriad associations — leather, spanking, corsets, whips, maybe even a ginger root. While its depictions in popular culture are abundant and eager, they are hardly ever accurate. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, is the most recent, and perhaps the most famous, example of kink, specifically Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (BDSM), in mainstream pop culture — except it gets kink wrong. BDSM practitioners have called the movie more vanilla than BDSM, or dangerous, because of its superficial understanding of violent sex, glorifyingly portrayed without context.

The kink sexual preference is a greatly stigmatized one, and the psychology behind it misunderstood. Kink is believed to stem out of trauma, which is false; it’s perceived to bastardize the tender idea of making love, again false; and it’s considered ‘freaky’ and ‘not normal,’ guess: false. Understanding how kink develops and what kinky people get out of it are initial steps toward normalizing an integral aspect of human sexuality.

Kink is defined as “consensual, non-traditional sexual, sensual, and intimate behaviors such as sadomasochism, domination and submission, erotic roleplaying, fetishism, and erotic forms of discipline,” psychological researcher Samuel Hughes, who has determined the five stages of kink identity development, writes in Psychology Today.

Kink can develop innately in childhood, or be adopted later in life

Individuals may gravitate toward kink in two ways; the journey is either innate and realized as a child grows up, or an acquired taste later in life for others wanting to explore their sexuality. Children, even before age 10, can develop initial engagement in kinky behaviors, such as “wanting to be captured while playing cops and robbers, or seeing television shows with superheroes in peril and feeling absorbed by the show,” Hughes writes. For some, these initial excitements could graduate to exploring those desires with their bodies, through “fantasizing, seeking out erotic media, masturbating, and exploring material sensations on their bodies.”

Between ages 11 and 14, kids come to terms with their interests. “It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them, and sometimes actively engaging in research in order to try to label and understand their interests.” Once they realize there might be people like them out there, they can attempt to find others who share their interests, through the internet and popular culture. The last stage of kink development includes engaging in kink interests with others, which usually happens after a kinkster surpasses 18.

The word kink has myriad associations — leather, spanking, corsets, whips, maybe even a ginger root. While its depictions in popular culture are abundant and eager, they are hardly ever accurate. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, is the most recent, and perhaps the most famous, example of kink, specifically Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (BDSM), in mainstream pop culture — except it gets kink wrong. BDSM practitioners have called the movie more vanilla than BDSM, or dangerous, because of its superficial understanding of violent sex, glorifyingly portrayed without context.

The kink sexual preference is a greatly stigmatized one, and the psychology behind it misunderstood. Kink is believed to stem out of trauma, which is false; it’s perceived to bastardize the tender idea of making love, again false; and it’s considered ‘freaky’ and ‘not normal,’ guess: false. Understanding how kink develops and what kinky people get out of it are initial steps toward normalizing an integral aspect of human sexuality.

Kink is defined as “consensual, non-traditional sexual, sensual, and intimate behaviors such as sadomasochism, domination and submission, erotic roleplaying, fetishism, and erotic forms of discipline,” psychological researcher Samuel Hughes, who has determined the five stages of kink identity development, writes in Psychology Today.

Kink can develop innately in childhood, or be adopted later in life

Individuals may gravitate toward kink in two ways; the journey is either innate and realized as a child grows up, or an acquired taste later in life for others wanting to explore their sexuality. Children, even before age 10, can develop initial engagement in kinky behaviors, such as “wanting to be captured while playing cops and robbers, or seeing television shows with superheroes in peril and feeling absorbed by the show,” Hughes writes. For some, these initial excitements could graduate to exploring those desires with their bodies, through “fantasizing, seeking out erotic media, masturbating, and exploring material sensations on their bodies.”

Between ages 11 and 14, kids come to terms with their interests. “It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them, and sometimes actively engaging in research in order to try to label and understand their interests.” Once they realize there might be people like them out there, they can attempt to find others who share their interests, through the internet and popular culture. The last stage of kink development includes engaging in kink interests with others, which usually happens after a kinkster surpasses 18.

If this identity development doesn’t occur early on, then it leads to internalized shame, causing anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, Hughes says. He adds that young kinky people often feel like they are freaks, sick or evil for entertaining their desires. This is mostly due to the stigma and silence around kinky behaviors, which leads to rampant pop psychology pathologization of kink in media and the law. “Studying the identity development of kinky people can help us to better understand how kinky people develop resilience in the face of a world that often thinks of them as, at best, a joke, and at worst, violent criminals or mentally deranged,” Hughes writes in Psychology Today.

Social stigmatization of kink can be a detriment to kinksters’ mental health

Let’s take the example of age play, one of the most stigmatized kink expressions, as it can involve adults dressing up/behaving as babies or toddlers in a sexual situation. It is classified into “ephebophilia, or attraction to older post-pubescent adolescents; hebephilia, or attraction to pubescents; pedophilia, or attraction to prepubescents; infantophilia, which is often considered a sub-type of pedophilia, used to refer to a sexual preference for infants and toddlers (ages 0–3, though some raise it to 5),” sex therapist David Ortmann writes for Alt Sex NYC Conference, an annual event that brings together scholars from the kink community to expand popular discourse around kinky identities.

A majority of the stigma against age-play arises from the conflation of pedophilia with child sexual abuse. The former is a sexual preference, while the latter is an illegal practice that harms minors who cannot consent. In age-play, the consenting, adult sexual partners act an age different from their own, for various reasons: those who act younger may want to be cared for, or disciplined or simply play an age that they feel most familiar with. For those who gravitate toward older ages, their instincts might arise from wanting to act as caregivers or protectors of their partner, fulfilling their partners’ desire to be disciplined, and myriad other reasons, according to ABCs of Kink.

Ortmann adds that he has treated such kinksters for 14 years, and the main reasons they seek therapy is “to be seen, to be heard, to recover from shame, discover how to have sexual pleasure without harming themselves or others.” It is important to understand that “age-play is a form of roleplaying in which an individual acts or treats another as if they were a different age, sexual or non-sexually,” Ortmann writes. The important thing to remember, he adds, is that it “involves consent from all parties.” There needs to be more research into the kink origins of age-play, which has historically been difficult to accomplish owing to the silence of the community that doesn’t trust outsiders easily. “Let’s work together to find language for the very in-the-shadows sexual minorities that allow for empathy, instead of evoking fear and disgust.”

Normalizing the kink for the person, and helping them find a like-minded or accepting partner, is most important, writes Rhoda Lipscomb, a certified sex therapist, in a presentation for Alt Sex NYC Conference. With those steps come self-acceptance, less anger, better sleeping habits and better relationship patterns for those involved.

The supportive environment of kink can be a haven for those with non-normative desires and bodies

For dominant-submissive relationships in BDSM, the underlying psychological motivations are more clearly researched. For tops (in kink speak: tops are those who adopt a dominant role for a particular sexual encounter, as compared to doms who gravitate toward dominance more frequently), “I can determine what happens next; I can be independent; I can feel cherished,” make up some of the erotic motivations, according to an Alt Sex NYC Conference presentation by sex therapist Dr. Petra Zebroff. For bottoms (in kink speak: bottoms are those who adopt a submissive role for a particular sexual encounter, as compared to subs who prefer submissive sexual identities more frequently), they include, “I can hold extreme focus; I can feel safe; I can feel cherished; I don’t have to make decisions; I don’t have to worry about my partner’s reactions.” For both tops and bottoms, “openness, exploration, trustworthiness, communication, humor (playfulness, laughter, and fun), sensual experiences” are prioritized for themselves, and their partners. In tops, their bottom partners require “trustworthiness, warmth and caring; ability to read a partner; confidence and strength of character; knowledge and skill.” In bottoms, the tops need “self-knowledge, rebellious qualities (such as bratty), expressiveness, surrendering of power (servicing).”

In addition to understanding the motivations of the sexual players, it is also important to destroy the myth that BDSM encourages unwelcome violence against partners. In sexual play that involves intense sensation (sometimes, pain), for example, the players seek to achieve pleasure and challenge their boundaries, Michael Aaron, Alt Sex NYC co-organizer and sex therapist and sexologist, writes in a presentation.

People choose to harm themselves for a variety of reasons, Aaron writes: to alleviate negative emotions, to direct anger at themselves, to elicit affection from others, to interrupt feelings of being empty, to resist suicidal urges, to generate excitement, or to feel distinct from others. The bodily harm from when an individual inflicts injuries on themselves outside of a sexual context — what is called non-suicidal self-injurious behavior (NSSI) — is different from BDSM, mainly in the ways an individual feels after the hurting has happened, Aaron writes. NSSI can arise out of wanting relief from overwhelming feelings and wanting to distract emotional pain with physical. After inflicting pain for these unhealthy reasons, however, the individual feels broken or damaged, and more alienated from others.

In BDSM, Aaron clarifies, the motivation to indulge in NSSI in a sexual context emerges from “desire, hunger, eagerness, [anxiety] to start.” While indulging in the kinky behavior, feelings of excitement, pleasure, connection abound. After, players feel “satisfied, content, calm, secure, fulfilled,” and “empowered, loved, authentic.” Aaron found that most individuals who engaged in NSSI eventually stopped harming themselves after they sought the feeling through BDSM, according to a survey he conducted.

For others, engaging in kinky behavior may help in dealing with past trauma. While the trauma itself doesn’t serve as a catalyst for developing a kink (which is a popular misconception), it can be alleviated through play. “For example, a sexual assault survivor might initially feel afraid, weak, and powerless during their actual sexual assault,” Hughes writes in Psychology Today. “However, simulating that assault via consensual roleplaying with a trusted partner can help them feel powerful (because they consensually negotiated and agreed to it, and can use a safeword to stop the scene), strong (because they feel they can get through whatever physical pain or intensity comes their way), and brave, for facing what can often be dark times in their past head-on.” A major part of it is “aftercare,” the word for the time and space kinksters use for emotional and mental health, often with their partners, after having engaged in BDSM. It involves “cuddling, talking, rehydrating, and ‘recentering’ oneself, which can help those who are using kink to overcome hardships process their experience in a healthy and safe environment,” Hughes adds.

However, the process of navigating a past trauma proves difficult even within the kink communities, according to licensed sex therapist Samantha Manewitz. In an Alt Sex NYC Conference presentation, she lays out how kinksters with trauma can internalize shame, be unwilling to give up power to their sexual partners or be able to explain their own responses in BDSM play. Some scenes can also trigger trauma or feelings of isolation. It is important to empower the survivor in such situations — build their coping skills through negotiation before an act, exposing them to the act during play, and integrating their thoughts with their feelings after BDSM through aftercare, Manewitz writes.

Kink can also help build an inclusive environment for queer folks. Hughes compares the identity development for kink to the way in which kids can realize their queer identities. The emotional stages are similar, including dealing with stigma and making positive associations with those realizations. BDSM as a sexual orientation is a popular hypothesis, explained as attraction toward specific activities or toward a role (dominant, submissive, switch) — be it the individual’s or their partners’, according to Daniel Copulsky, founder of sexedplus.com and researcher of social psychology. “Everyone has a sexual orientation in regard to gender because that’s how we’ve defined sexual orientation,” Copulsky writes in a presentation for the Alt Sex NYC Conference. “Everyone has a sexual orientation in regard to power, too, if we define it as a submissive, dominant, switch, or vanilla.”

Kink can also help marginalized communities feel more comfortable in their own skin. For trans people, their relationships with their bodies are colored by dysphoria, awkwardness, and trauma. For a group whose bodies and existence are unabashedly questioned, fetishized, or who are made to feel unwelcome in societal institutions, consent in a sexual scenario holds utmost importance.

“Consent is the explicit indication, by written or oral statement, by one person that he/she [or they] is willing to have something done to him/her [or them] by one or more other persons, or to perform some sort of act at the request or order of one or more other persons. In terms of sexual consent, consent may be withdrawn at any point, regardless of what has been previously negotiated orally or in writing,” licensed psychotherapist Laura Jacobs writes for Alt Sex NYC about a core kink principle.

Trans or gender non-conforming folks can greatly benefit from this structure, as they may not have been accorded the opportunity or the language to communicate their sexual needs. Through using safe words, they can feel protected and respected; and through tight-knit local BDSM communities, they can encounter people who will respect them and their boundaries. “Ultimately, for a large number of people in the trans and gender-nonconforming community, heteronormative or not, reveling in these nontraditional forms of sexuality and relationships is part of our ongoing examination of the human experience,” Jacobs writes.

It is a shame, then, that some forms of kink, and within it BDSM, are regarded as detached, cruel and violent. In reality, kink can be a vehicle for people to embrace their vulnerability, maintain intimate bonds with various people, and learn to communicate and negotiate varied sexual preferences in a non-judgmental way. Kink is not “weird,” or something to sensationalize. When we achieve a greater understanding of non-normative sexual practices, we normalize identities that are otherwise marginalized, and who knows — might even learn a thing or two instead, both in and out of sex.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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How to talk about kink with a new partner, because it doesn’t have to be awkward

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By Tracey Anne Duncan

“I like to struggle,” I whispered. What I meant was: Hold me down. Instead, she wrapped her arms around me and held me sweetly, nuzzling her face into my neck and petting my arm lightly with her fingertips. Oh, I thought. That’s not what I wanted. We had just been all sweaty and frenzied and now we were cuddling? Was she purposely withholding? Embarrassed? We had only hooked up once before, so I didn’t know her that well. “Are you into that?” I asked — determined to tell her about my kink preferences — but she was already gently snoring.

And then it hit me. She thought I said, “snuggle.”

I laughed to myself. She was a thoughtful lover and was just trying to give me what I asked for. She just wasn’t kinky, and I am kind of kinky. For the unfamiliar, that means that I like to do things in bed that some people find unusual. Kinky people call people who find our desires unusual “vanilla.” Although some people say it with shade, vanilla is my favorite flavor and I’m not here to judge anyone.

In any event, kink isn’t actually that unusual. Even though most people don’t consider themselves kinky, studies show that most people have kinky fantasies, even if they don’t actually have kinky sex. Interestingly, kink preferences often break down along party lines. Liberals tend to be drawn to BDSM (bondage, domination or discipline, sadism, and masochism), while conservatives are more likely to be into taboo-breaking activities, like age and incest play. Personally, I like to play with power dynamics. In kink circles, this is called domination and submission and they, along with bondage, are some of the most common practices of kinky folks.

But it wasn’t that long ago that I began exploring this facet of my sexuality. It’s taken time to learn how to communicate about kink well, and I still have questions — when is it OK to tell people I’m dating about my kinks? And how do I bring it up?

“There’s no one size fits all answer for these things,” says Dulcinea Pitagora, a NYC-based psychologist and sex therapist. “Anytime I hear someone say ‘that’s the rule,’ I immediately discard it. Disclosure is a privacy and a boundary issue. It’s entirely based on someone’s comfort level.”

Amanda Sanflippo, a New Orleans sex educator with an adult sex ed radio show, agrees. “It depends on the person,” she says. “I don’t have a formula.”

But if there aren’t any rules, what’s an aspiring kinkster to do with a new-ish partner when they want to try something that the other person might find strange? First of all, wait until you’re comfortable with someone and have developed a sense of trust. The experts are right in that there’s no formula for this, but you can typically tell if someone is basically trustworthy. While some people say that you should just let your freak flag fly from the very start, there are real risks around putting your private sexual desires out into the public domain, so trust is key.

“If somebody gets outed, they could lose their job, their apartment, or even their children. Discrimination happens in many different ways. There’s a possibility of disclosing that could put you in a dangerous situation,” Pitagora notes. She adds that these are worst case scenarios; if your employers or sex-negative people in your community find out about your “unusual” desires, you might just end up feeling uncomfortable, making someone else uncomfortable, or scaring off a person you want to get to know.

Sanflippo says that if you meet someone on a dating app and who is likely to be just a hookup, it’s OK to be upfront about your kinks. You can do this before you even give them your phone number or real name, so there’s no safety or outing risk. Recently, I was messaging a guy on Tinder and within the first few messages, he asked, “Are you sub?” What he meant was: Am I sexually submissive? It felt safe for him to ask and for me to answer honestly because our flirtation was still anonymous.

So if you’re chatting anonymously with someone and it feels safe to you, don’t hesitate to indulge in a little freaky banter. And if you’re already sexting on an app, it’s also OK to say, “I want to tie you up.”

But what if you meet someone IRL? Sanflippo suggests first asking your potential crush what they’re into, instead of just dropping the kink bomb on them. “If I was considering being intimate with someone, I might ask a person if they are into kinks rather than divulging my own,” she says. “I’ll ask them what kind of sex they enjoy. Then you can sense if they’re comfortable.”

This is a great rule of thumb. Wait to talk about sex with someone until it seems like you might want to have sex with them; if you’re already thinking about exchanging fluids, exchanging a few words beforehand can’t hurt.

And if you do plan to have sex soon, instead of making a demand like, “I want you to forcefeed me cake,” you can ask a question like, “What do you like to do in bed?” This is a direct and emotionally friendly way of figuring out whether your hookup might be into the same things as you. It’s also a good way to game out your sexual compatibility and strategize about what sexual activities might be mutually pleasurable in advance.

“The conversation about consent is what’s actually more important,” Pitagora says. “The nitty gritty and specifics aren’t as important.”

Basically, you can say you’re kinky and not go into detail — but you can’t not ask for consent. Since I’m already oversharing, I will tell you that more than half of my recent male partners have tried to do some pretty aggressive and dangerous to me without asking for permission. I don’t know what’s going on in cis-het 50 Shades of Patriarchy land because I mostly date women, but you cannot assume that people are into rough sex or BDSM.

“It’s important to know that it’s something that some people are into,” says Pitagora, “but some people aren’t and they could be traumatized. You don’t want to traumatize your sexual partners.”

Um, yeah. What she said.

Activities such as sexual choking, which is rising in popularity in vanilla het sex and porn, are considered “edge play” in BDSM communities. That means that it’s dangerous, and so not only do you have to ask for consent, you also have to know what you’re doing. “The person not asking for consent is also not trained to do it,” Pitagora says. This means that they shouldn’t do it, ever.

I’m (really) not trying to scare you away from BDSM, but sexual choking is also called “erotic asphyxiation” and you’ve definitely heard of it because people die from it. Tying someone up the wrong way can lead to all kinds of injury, including nerve damage. Getting and giving consent and talking about what you and your partner do in the bedroom aren’t just issues of ethics and pleasure — they can be issues of life and death.

“People should embrace saying the obvious,” Pitagora says, especially straight, cisgender men. “Cis-het men are used to being dominant by default. They might think asking for consent is too obvious, but because we can’t know, it’s just not obvious.” In other words, even if you are already pretty sure that someone is saying YES, you need to ask them to say (or scream, if you’re into that) YES out loud so that everyone’s signals line up. Consent can also be a great lead in to talking about your kinks. “Is it OK for me to kiss you?” is just a single word switch away from, “is it OK for me to spank you?”

In the past year, I’ve gotten a lot better about being explicit about what I want. In some ways, I was late to the kink party — I was basically married for half my life to vanilla folks and I never really thought to sexperiment with them. But, actually, I’m not late. Most people become more sexually adventurous as they age, and it can take a lot of trial and error before you get good at saying what you like out loud to new partners.

It’s definitely worth it, though. I’ve had more great sex in the last six months than I did in the first 20 years of my life. So if you’ve got some kinky fantasies, don’t worry, you’re not late, either, it’s just might take you a hot minute to learn how to talk about them.

A few weeks ago I hooked up with my sweet, snuggly friend again. She straddled me and playfully held my hands together over my head. When I resisted, she let go.

“No,” I said, “when I resist, I want you to push harder.”

“Ohhhhhhh,” she said, smiling. And then she held me down.

I think I like her.

Complete Article HERE!

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There are infinite ways to have sex & there’s nothing unnatural about any of them

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The famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey once said the only unnatural sex act is one that can’t be performed.

By and

Humans have discovered an almost infinite amount of ways to have sex — and things to have sex with. The famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey said: “The only unnatural sex act is that which can’t be performed.”

From foot fetishes to the kinkiest outfit or habits, fetishes are an endless rainbow of preferences and practices. Although human studies on fetishes and atypical sexual interest are few, case studies and research on non-human animal behaviour have revealed some insights about them and how they may develop.

In fetishism, the subject of the desire is not necessarily related to sexual intercourse, yet the fetish drives a person’s sexual arousal, fantasies and preferences. Fetishes can be part of a healthy and playful sexual life for individuals and couples, and also forms the basis of some sexual subcultures.

Unfortunately, fetishes have often wrongly been associated with sexual deviancy, making it easy to feel weird or shame about them. Many of us are quick to judge things we do not understand or experience. When it comes to sex, we can believe that things we don’t do are weird, wrong or even disgusting.

Let’s not judge each other’s sex lives. Instead, embrace your curiosity.

The Pride marches taking place this summer began as a social movement against repressive and discriminatory practices against LGBTQ people following the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. Fifty years later, Pride month has become a commemoration and celebration of sexual minorities and diversity.

Let’s take a look under the covers together to paint a more positive view of these so-called “perversions.” We all may have a kink or two. So why not feel more accepting of our more obscure sexual desires?

What are fetishes?

Fetishes are not just about whips and leather, but part of a natural curiosity to explore the unknown territories of our sexuality.

A lot of the early science claimed fetishes were sexual abnormalities or perversions. However, most researchers and clinical practitioners now only consider fetishes to be harmful if they cause distress, physical harm or transgress consent.

Scientists have recently begun to understand how some fetishes develop. Several animal studies and case reports on humans suggest that early imprinting and Pavlovian or classical conditioning can shape the formation of fetishes. We believe learning from experiences plays a large role in forming fetishes.

From a Pavlovian conditioning perspective, fetishes are seen as the product of associating early and rewarding sexual experiences with objects, actions or body parts that are not necessarily sexual. This is perhaps why different people have different fetishes.

As for early imprinting, the best example comes from a study in which newborn goats and sheep were cross-fostered by a mother of another species. Goats were mothered by sheep, and the sheep mothered by goats. The results showed male goats and sheep had sexual preferences for females of the opposite species, meaning the same species as their adopting mothers, while females on the other hand were more fluid in their choices and were willing to have sex with males of both species.

Studies with rats have shown that other non-human animals also develop fetishes.

This study shines some light on sex differences in human fetishes, as men with fetishes tend to vastly outnumber women with fetishes.

These sex differences appear to be explained solely by differences in sexual urges, where men tend to show higher arousal or less repulsion towards various “deviant” sexual acts than women do. This, nevertheless, does not imply men have more psychological disorders.

Fetish-related disorders

Fetishes, just like any other thing in life, can be taken to where it may be a little “too much.” They may not only be preferred, but also needed in the expression of sexual arousal, which can impair the preferred pattern of arousal or performance.

Fetish-related disorders are characterized by the expression of two main criteria: recurrent and intense sexual arousal from either the use of objects or highly specific body part(s) that are not genitalia manifested by fantasies, urges or behaviours; those which can cause great distress or impairment of their intimacy, social or occupational life.

Some are particularly troubling, like exhibitionism or frotteurism. These paraphilias are believed to be distortions of normal sexual interactions with others. Sadly, both of them still remain poorly understood.

As previously mentioned, if by some reason we can establish associations that can drive our arousal through learning experiences, research has also shown that these associations can be “erased.” However, this process can be quite slow, difficult to change and susceptible of being spontaneously triggered by familiar cues.

No definition of normal

Fetishes have the potential of enhancing or expanding the repertoire of sensations we experience during sex. In fact, experimental data shows that animals become more sexually aroused when they learn to associate sex with fetish-like cues.

Instead of focusing on what you should like or what should get you off or not, you’re better off wondering how that thing suits you or your partner. Normality falls within blurry lines, and it is up to you to expand its limits or not.

There is no exact definition of what constitutes normal or healthy. These definitions are highly dependent of the context (historical time and culture).

We get caught up with what appears to be more frequent, healthy, natural or normal: but what about what feels right?

So how do you know if you have a fetish? If there is consent and respect, it really doesn’t matter what you do between the bed sheets, on the kitchen table or on that secret hidden spot.

Perhaps you don’t have a fetish. But it’s never too late to try.

As North Americans celebrate Pride this summer, we should take it as a reminder of our colourful sexual diversity —and also the infinite ways to have sex, with nothing unnatural about any of them.

We believe all people should be allowed to express their sexuality and embrace it without the weight of stereotypes or “normal” standards to live by. Life is too short to not make the best out of it, especially when it comes to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh.

Complete Article HERE!

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If You’re Into Kink…

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You Need to Join One Of These Dating Apps

By Erika W. Smith

Kink can encompass a lot of things: bondage, yes, but also spanking, choking, feet, cuckolding, and watersports. And it turns out that many of us are at least a little bit kinky. One Canadian study asked over 1,000 adults about their sexual fantasies, and found that about half were interested in some kind of kink. The most popular kinks fell under the categories of voyeurism, fetishism, exhibitionism, masochism, and sadism.

“People want to be tied up,” researcher Christian Joyal told the Montreal Gazette. “As long as it’s with a consenting partner, people will be relieved to know that their desires are not necessarily abnormal.” He added, “One hundred years ago, oral sex was considered gross, 50 years ago it was illegal and now it is the number one fantasy. In 30 years from now, I would be surprised if BDSM wasn’t part of normal sexuality.”

Whatever you’re into, you’re far from alone. And while you can certainly ask your Tinder match if they want to choke you or exchange “kink menus” with your partner, there are also kink-specific dating apps out there to make the search for someone with compatible kinks a little bit easier.

Keep in mind that, as always, consent is mandatory — and if you match with someone who wants you to sign a “consent contract” or refuses to use a safe word, that’s a red flag. If you don’t already know your potential kink partner, sex and intimacy coach Shelby Devlin previously suggested to Refinery29 that it’s a good idea to “[go] on a couple of dates and [get] a feel for someone, giving them an opportunity to demonstrate that they’re good with boundaries, before you do any BDSM.” And that goes for any other kink, too.

On the plus side, many people using kink-specific dating apps may already be kinky pros, rather than someone who just watched Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time. Here are a few kinky apps to get you started

Complete Article HERE!

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Gay men reveal the fetishes they don’t want others to know about

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Kinky gay men who are open and honest with partners are more likely to have better mental health

By Joe Morgan

Gay men have revealed the fetishes they don’t want others to know about.

XTube surveyed their users to determine and rank which fetishes they get turned most on by.

The winner was ‘partialism’, also known as a fetish for a particular part of the body. This could be anything from feet to a hairy chest.

Role play was second on the list, while narratophilia (or dirty talk) was third on the list.

The answers was collected from over 3,000 gay or bisexual men over the age of 18.

Fetishes

The full list:

1. Partialism (9.54%)

2. Role play (8.24%)

3. Narratophilia [or dirty talk] (7.55%)

4. Uniforms [firefighters, soldiers etc] (7.41%)

5. Bondage (7.31%)

6. Submission (7. 3%)

7. Exhibitionism [sex in a place you can get caught] (6.28%)

8. Voyeurism [watching others have sex] (4.7%)

9. Maschalagnia [armpits] (3.4%)

10. Macrophilia [someone being bigger than you] (2.79%)

11. Olfactophilia [smells and odors] (2.52%)

12. Clothing fetishism [leather, rubber] (2.14%)

13. Underwear fetishism [jockstraps, etc] (2.01%)

14. Ablutophilia [baths, showers] (1.78%)

15. Technosexuality [robots, toys etc] (1.4%)

16. Medical fetishism [doctors etc] (1.36%)

17. Podophilia [feet] (1.24%)

18. Coulrophilia [clowns] (1.11%)

19. Sitophilia [food] (1%)

20. Pygophilia [bums] (0.79%)

21. Transvestophilia [wearing clothing typically worn by the opposite gender] (0.65%)

22. Toonophilia [cartoons] (0.3%)

Kink and mental health

If you are kinky, psychotherapists advise to share it with your partners if you already have good communication.

Also, some studies say people who do engage in kink are more likely to have positive mental health.

Deborah Fields, a kink-specialist and psychotherapist, told Gay Star News: ‘[There are studies that say] people who are kinky are more likely to be ok with themselves. People who are kinky tend to have better mental health than people who are not.

‘It’s a hard one to judge. I see a lot of mental health issues. However, do I see any more mental health issues than those outside of the kink community. No.

‘I think what kinky people do is talk more. We have to talk about our shit more than someone that doesn’t. You’re negotiating consent. That community, we, are more likely to discuss things and be open about mental health upfront. The idea of being risk-aware is also including mental health.

‘Research says we’re quite ok. However, there’s no widespread research that has yet to look at the kink community.

Complete Article HERE!

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Yes, Your Fetish Is Totally Normal

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Fetishes are way more common than you might realize—here’s how to explore yours in a healthy way.

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Kinks and fetishes are less taboo than ever—ours is a post–Fifty Shades of Grey world where BDSM has become mainstream and shows like Broad City, Hot Girls Wanted, and Slutever have helped normalize everything from pegging to cannasexuality. It’s real progress, but it doesn’t erase the fact that for many of us, fetishes can still feel totally weird or even shameful.

The first thing you should know: Fetishes are much more common than you might realize. Nearly half of participants in a representative survey published in the Journal of Sex Research in 2017 reported being into something psychologists consider outside of the “normal” range on the sexual spectrum. An earlier survey taken in 2015 found nearly half of participants had tried public sex, a quarter had tried role playing, 20 percent said they’d experimented with BDSM, and 30 percent said they’d tried spanking.

That doesn’t mean you have to jump straight into a BDSM dungeon if you think you might have an unexplored fetish. The idea of dripping hot wax over someone’s body or having a toe in your mouth can feel a little bit…intimidating. Maybe even scary or weird, so take it as slow as you need.

Here is everything you need to know about what a fetish is, how to know whether your fetish is normal, and the healthy ways you can incorporate it into your sex life.

What is a fetish?

The simplest way to define fetishes according to sexologists: usually nonsexual things that ignite sexual feelings in a person. “A fetish is sparked when things that seem completely normal bring you great sexual satisfaction and pleasure,” says Daniel Saynt, a sex educator and founder of The New Society for Wellness (NSFW). You can have a fetish for a thing (perhaps being attracted to feet), or a place (as in having sex in public); you can even have a fetish for a texture, such as latex.

By definition, fetishes fall outside of the sexual “norm,” but that doesn’t mean every out-there sexual desire qualifies as a fetish. There’s a line separating a fetish from something that you’re just kinda into. To be considered a true fetish, the object or act must be a part of a sex act for you to get turned on. If you enjoy the occasional or even regular spanking, for example, that doesn’t mean you have a spanking fetish—people with a true spanking fetish need that act of domination to get off.

So where do these sexual kinks and quirks come from? “Most fetishes are thought to be learned behaviors in which a person comes to associate a given object with sexual arousal through experience,” says Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., a research fellow at The Kinsey Institute and author of Tell Me What You Want. That may come from childhood or adolescence, or you might stumble upon a fetish as a sexually experienced adult. “You may not know you’re into a fetish until you try it,” adds Saynt, “which is why I always encourage people to try new things and be curious.”

Is what I’m into normal?

Most of us can relate to having a sex fantasy that feels downright weird, but most of them are totally harmless and fine to explore. If you have a thing for fishnet stockings and your partner agrees to wear a pair to help get you off, go for it. If you get turned on by feet and enjoy watching foot porn while you masturbate, you do you. Totally normal fetishes include everything from age play to gagging and golden showers.

A fetish crosses the line when it harms another person in any way and/or violates consent. For instance, pedophiles have a fetish for children, but this is not in any way healthy or OK—acting on this fetish is both completely illegal and morally repugnant. Frotterism, when someone gets pleasure from rubbing up against someone else in a crowd, can also be deeply problematic for the same reasons. Violating another person in any way is never OK and should be reported immediately. “If you have strong, recurring fantasies about an activity that is nonconsensual and/or poses a serious risk of harm to you or others—and especially if you’re concerned that you might act on this fantasy—it’s worth seeking help in the form of professional counseling,” says Lehmiller. “Find a credentialed and certified sex therapist in your area. They’re the ones who will be most well-equipped to help.” To find a qualified therapist, check out the The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

Fetishes can also become detrimental to your sex life if they get out of hand. If it feels like your fetish is taking over your life or keeping you from having healthy relationships, or “you’re seeking it like an addict might seek their next fix,” that’s a problem, Saynt says. In these cases, it’s also worth reaching out to a sex therapist who can help you deal with shame, anger, and overwhelming compulsions that might arise from a fetish.

How to have a healthy relationship with your fetish

If you’re looking to add your fetish for feet or bondage into your sex life, you can definitely do that in a way that’s healthy and positive.

The first step: opening up to your sexual partner about what you’re into. With so much shame and stigma around fetishes, this can admittedly be difficult—it might take some time. “A useful place to begin is by sharing some of your more ‘vanilla’ sex fantasies first and perhaps acting on some of those,” Lehmiller says. “This will allow you to build up trust and communication skills at the same time, which can lay the groundwork for introducing more adventurous fantasies later.”

As you experiment, always check in with your partner to see how they’re feeling. It’s important that both of you are feeling comfortable and sexually satisfied.

What to do if your partner really isn’t into it

If you experiment with fetish and find your partner really isn’t into it—or they find it straight-up weird—that’s OK. Not everyone is going to have the same turn-ons. Still, it’s important to have an open and honest discussion about it. Shaming a partner for what they are or aren’t into is not a productive way to move forward in a relationship.

If you can’t agree on a fetish, Saynt suggests talking about ways to incorporate your fetish into your sex life in a way that doesn’t directly involve your partner. If your partner isn’t down with golden showers, ask if they’d be comfortable watching porn that involves pee play.

You can also spend some time experimenting sexually with your partner—maybe you can discover a new fetish or kink you can both enjoy.

Complete Article HERE!

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What is it about feet that some people find such a turn-on?

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Why is foot fetishism so popular among gay men? And how do people incorporate their passion for feet into their sex lives?

Foot fetishism may be more common than you imagine

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Are you into feet? One the the great things about the internet is the way in which it connects people with niche interests.

Through sharing online, people are able to explore their sexuality and gender with others around the world.

In fact, the net reveals what many may have considered ‘niche’ are actually not so. This could be applied to foot fetishism.

Scroll through Grindr, Scruff or any other popular gay hook-up app, and you’ll soon discover someone with a passion for feet or footwear.

The world’s most common fetish?

‘I regularly meet people who report being “into feet”, alongside other things like trainers, socks, etc,’ says psychotherapist and clinical sexologist Dominic Davies, founder of the UK-based Pink Therapy network of therapists.

‘I would say it’s a fairly common interest.

‘People can be into feet for many different reasons,’ he continues. ‘It should be borne in mind that sexual interests vary massively across, time and place. There are cultural contexts to take account of. In some cultures, feet are considered unclean and should not be touched, one must sit with one’s feet facing away from others.

‘In our cultural contexts, some people find being at someone’s feet and worshipping them quite a submissive or humiliating act so it may occur in BDSM [bondage, discipline and sadomasochism].

‘But aside from that our feet have many nerve endings, they have both sensitivity and sensuality; so the receiver of foot worship may derive a great deal of pleasure from having them licked or sucked or nibbled.

‘Nerves on the feet respond to touch’

Davies’ view is backed up by a London-based, club promoter, Andy. He runs a monthly fetish night devoted to foot fetishism called Feet on Friday, and another called Sneax on Saturday.

‘Nerves on the feet respond to touch’ he says. ‘The part of the brain where they end up is a similar part to the brain where people’s erogenous zones are kept. So there’s a bit of relationship between the two.

‘It’s a bit like why some people like having their nipples played with. There’s a physical reason.

‘And for a psychological reason, for a long time in the 80s and early 90s, before the days of PrEP, it was seen to be an activity that lots of people enjoyed that was very safe. Just a sensual thing to do. I think that’s also part of it.’

His night, Feet on Fridays, attracts 70-80 guys each month. Andy says it’s a very mixed crowd with a wide range of foot-related interests, beyond just toe sucking.

Many people have a fetish for sneakers and other sports shoes.

‘It is really super diverse. The thing about the foot fetish thing is that you get people who are into so many different things. You get people who are into clean feet, or who like sweaty feet. Men who like hairy feet. People who like smooth feet. Then you get the guys who are into socks and footwear, whether it be boots or trainers or smart shoes.

‘Then you get people who are into doing things with feet, like tickling or guys into trampling.

‘Everyone has their own sort of things that they’re into, and I think that a lot of people are into more than one thing. But it’s just a very diverse spectrum of feet related things. There is one guy there who’s into giving pedicures.’

Trampling

Mark (@crushmyguts), a 37-year-old gay man, is one such foot worshipper. He has a particularly interest in being squashed and trampled under another guy’s feet. He says he first became aware of it during secondary school.

‘Those adolescent years, when boys are becoming men, all of a sudden I found myself curiously interested in what those men had on their feet! I was certainly into it in time for my first school crush.’

Mark says when he spots a guy he’s attracted to, the first thing he look at is his footwear.

‘What peaks my interest? Nikes more often than not, but sneakers generally. Solid rough boots can do it for me too.

‘Once the footwear is off, I’m usually more attracted to white sports socks, and if they have nice feet, then I’m up for them naked as well.

‘Some guys just find it too unusual’

When it comes to incorporating his attraction to feet into his sex life, Mark says, ‘I’ll be honest, it does pretty much dominate my play, and in a dominant way too. I like to go under my guy’s hot sneakers, boots, socks and sexy feet – literally have him walk over me, trample me.’

Are most guys he meets happy to indulge his interest?

‘To varying degrees. Some guys just find it too unusual. It freaks them out. Others will be like, “here’s my feet”, maybe get me to massage them for a bit, possibly even step on me for a few minutes, then it’s back to something more vanilla, back into their comfort zone.

‘And of course relationships and play often involve indulging your partner – on both sides – with some common ground in the middle.

Turned on by certain types of feet

Other guys who talked to Gay Star News expressed a strong interest in certain types of feet.

‘I am attracted by chubby men feet, the feet need to be chunky,’ said one.

‘One thing that drives me crazy is tanned and hairy feet with delicate soles,’ said Vinicius Ribeiro (who shares some of his feet-related interests via his Instagram @mr_boytoy). ‘But the aesthetic part is not the main thing. What really appeals to me is the whole package. I prefer executive daddies with black socks or sweaty bad boys.’

Another found long toes a particular turn-on. Several mentioned the submissive-dominant aspect of foot worship.

More common in men than women

According to Davies, it’s not surprising that many guys in dating apps express an interest in feet.

‘In Justin Lehmiller’s survey of 4,175 Americans’ sex fantasies from his book Tell Me What You Want, he found the following results with respect to whether people reported having ever had a sexual fantasy in which feet or toes played a prominent role: 4.7% of heterosexual women, 18.4% of heterosexual men, 10.9% of non-heterosexual women, and 20.9% of non-heterosexual men.

‘For non-binary individuals, it was 18.7%. So these fantasies are most common among men and non-binary folk.’

Why do we develop fetishes?

Why foot fetishism is more popular with men remains unknown. However, Davies also has plenty of thoughts about why we develop fetishes generally.

‘Sexologist John Bancroft proposed that there are two periods in our life when we’re especially likely to develop fetishes. Around the age of eight or nine we might have some kind of intense emotional experience – probably non-sexual. It could be excitement, or fear or anything pretty intense.

‘And whilst in that hyper-aroused state, we have a powerful sensory experience that unconsciously hooks the two things together.

‘An example I often cite is a little boy being taken for a spin in his Dad’s new car: the smell of leather, the warmth of the sun, Dad’s excited mood and a special bonding just between father and son.

‘Years later, he wonders where his interest in leather comes from, and his first recollection takes him back to this innocent and yet highly charged emotional experience.

‘The second active period is usually puberty when curiosity and experimentation and burgeoning sexuality can give some peak experiences. I’m sure there are other ideas around too, but in my clinical experience of exploring these things, I’ve found a remarkable correlation with his theory, even though correlation doesn’t equal causation!’

Most of the guys who spoke to us for this article were unable to trace their interest back to specific events of childhood, with the exception of Ribeiro.

‘I remember always liking to play with feet since I was very young … my cousins spent the night at home and we slept together. We usually lay in opposite positions and their feet were close to my face, and this turned me on.’

Damaging or harmful?

If all involved are enjoying themselves, fetishes can add an extra dimension to sexual pleasure. But is there a point where fetishism can become unhealthy or damaging?

Only, says Davies, if it crosses lines of consent. Or if you feel it getting out of control. In that instance, he recommends talking to a kink-based sex therapist.

But if you find yourself attracted to feet but have never had the courage to mention it to a sexual partner, rest assured you’re far from alone. You may be surprised by how many other people are into the same thing. As the saying goes … if the shoe fits!

Complete Article HERE!

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The Sexy, Secret History of Leather Fetish Fashion

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From post-war motorcycle groups to modern-day sex apps, this is the story of how leather became a symbol of masculinity and sexuality

By Louis Staples

This article is part of a series on AnotherManmag.com that coincides with LGBT History Month, shining a light on different facets of queer culture. Head here for more.

“When I’m wearing my leathers, I like the way I get to be such a symbol, a trope, of masculinity and sexuality,” explains Max, a 38-year-old gay man from London. Max is a “leatherman” or “leatherdaddy”, two common descriptors for gay and bisexual men who fetishise leather clothes and accessories.

“Fetish fashion” is the term used to describe the intrinsic link between clothing and sexual fetishes, with materials like leather, lace, latex, and rubber holding particular prominence. Dr Frenchy Lunning, author of the 2013 book Fetish Style, writes that fashion has historically been the easiest way to “traverse” from one spectrum of fetish to the other. Lunning gauges that, in the history of fetish fashion, there have been two climaxes – no pun intended – with the first occurring between 1870 and 1900. “The Victorians went crazy over silk and velvet,” writes Pat Califia, author of Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex. “As quickly as new substances were manufactured, somebody eroticised them.”

When fetishwear resurged for its second peak a century later, between 1970 and 2000, leather was the material of choice. On the gay scene, an infatuation with leather was alive and well as early as the 1950s. Today, leather fetishwear is worn by leathermen like Max in sex clubs, parties, Pride parades and hook-ups, but some incorporate leather into their everyday lives, too. Common clothes and accessories include leather trousers, boots, jackets, gloves, ties and caps, with harnesses, masks and jockstraps more often worn during sexual encounters.

While leather fetishwear is not exclusively queer, there is a widely acknowledged parallel between the increased visibility of gay and lesbian identities and leather-based fetishes in contemporary culture. Recon – a fetish app for gay and bisexual men – allows leather wearers to connect with others and follow a year-round calendar of global events such as “London Fetish Week” and “Leather Prides” in cities from Los Angeles to Belgium. Paul, a 34-year-old Recon user, tells me that he equates leather with “power, strength and dominance”. He doubts that he could be with someone “vanilla” – a term for someone who doesn’t have any fetishes. “There’s nothing hotter than the feeling of leather on my skin, it’s peak masculinity,” he says. Max, who was first drawn towards leather five years ago, also associates it with manhood. “It’s just so fucking masculine,” he explains. “The more masculine I’ve become over time, the more I’ve been into it. When I wear leathers, it feels like my exterior is reflecting my interior. It’s weighty too: the opposite of something light, diaphanous and feminine.”

“There’s nothing hotter than the feeling of leather on my skin, it’s peak masculinity” – Paul, 34

These remarks reveal leather fetish fashion’s significance to masculine gay identities, particularly those relating to sadomasochistic (S&M) sexual practices. In Hal Fischer’s seminal photography book Gay Semiotics, which analyses coded gay fashion signifiers in 1970s San Francisco, leather accessories like caps were indicators that the wearer was interested in sadomasochistic sex. Lesbians also adopted leather and, nowadays, female sex workers and dominatrixes often wear the material. Though, traditionally, the gay leather scene centres on “dominant” men wishing to “own”, or exert control over, a “submissive” male partner.

Sociologist Meredith G. F. Worthen, author of Sexual Deviance and Society, writes that the leather community first emerged after the Second World War, when military servicemen had difficulty assimilating back into mainstream society. For many of these men, their military service had allowed them to explore homosexual desire for the first time. When the war ended, a void was left by the absence of homosexual sex and same-sex friendships. Instead, many found sanctuary in motorcycle communities where leather clothing was popular. The men who rode these bikes were icons of cultural masculinity, conjuring up an image of dangerous rebelliousness that was alluring to many gay men who were weary of seeing themselves depicted as effeminate pansies. Peter Hennen, author of Faeries, Bears and Leathermen, believes that this caused gay men to “invest in leather with a certain erotic power intimately tied to the way it signalled masculinity.” Queer cultural historian Daniel Harris suggests that the “raw masculinity” that leather evokes “shaped a new form of masculinised gay identity among leathermen.”

Leather’s military routes, combined with its significance in hierarchy-driven male social groups, are thought to be behind its importance to sexual practices like S&M, which centre on order, discipline and control. Yet outside the leather fetish scene, artist Andy Warhol famously used garments such as the leather jacket as a device to appear more masculine from the 1950s to 1960s. Transforming his personal style, Warhol sought to present a more macho, aloof persona to the heterosexual male-dominated New York art establishment.

“Tom of Finland ‘set the standard’ for the ‘quintessential leatherman replete with bulging chest, thighs and cock’”

Max tells me that cultural imagery, such as “Tom of Finland, Robert Mapplethorpe, Marlon Brando and James Dean” contributes to his love for leather. Finnish artist Touko Valio Laaksonen, commonly known as Tom of Finland, is behind leather’s signature homoerotic aesthetic. According to feminist studies professor Jennifer Tyburczy, Finland “set the standard” for the “quintessential leatherman replete with bulging chest, thighs and cock.” By depicting working-class men like construction workers, bikers and lumberjacks, Finland allowed gay men to feel masculine and strong while maintaining their interest in those of the same sex. His images are the antithesis of the effeminate gay stereotype that was widely circulated at the time, bringing connotations of hyper-masculinity, strength and, of course, sex to black leather. After being circulated in physique magazines such as Physical Pictorial throughout the 1950s, his work quickly became emblematic of the gay fetish community.

Following the popularity of leather in the queer sanctuary cities on America’s coasts, international travel increased its global appeal, with leather kink scenes developing in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, and parts of Scandinavia. Imitations of Finland’s images became the customary advertisement of fetish events in these places, which were often disguised as motor sport or biking clubs. For the first time, Finland’s reclamation of masculine imagery provided gay men with what communications professor Martti Lahti describes as an “empowering and affirmative” gay image.

Though after years of resurgence, the leather fetish scene is facing challenges. Rising rents and gentrification in the world’s queer-friendly cities have caused most clubs to shut their doors. Fetish apps and websites now mean that attending a leather event is not necessary to connect with leather admirers. Lesbian leather wearers, who have traditionally operated their BDSM club scene separately, have been most harshly impacted by club closures as most gay leather nights purposely ban women from entering. With a full outfit of leathers costing several thousand pounds, it is little wonder that younger kinksters are turning to cheaper alternatives like rubber or sportswear to fulfil their fetish needs.

“Rising rents and gentrification in the world’s queer-friendly cities have caused most clubs to shut their doors. Fetish apps and websites now mean that attending a leather event is not necessary to connect with leather admirers”

The extended rights and freedoms won by queer people in recent decades have also resulted in pressure from wider heterosexual-focussed society to assimilate to their norms. Queer historian Lisa Duggan has described how the pressure to comply with what she calls “neoliberal” aims has resulted in a “depoliticised” and “desexualised” gay identity revolving around “domesticity” and heteronormative institutions like marriage. This gay identity can be exclusionary to those that fall outside its “acceptable” norms.

As the visibility of “vanilla” gayness has extended, heterosexual kink aesthetics have moved further into the mainstream, ushered in by pop moments like Madonna’s Justify My Love, Rhianna’s Disturbia and Christina Aguilera’s Bionic era, plus books such as 50 Shades of Grey. Reality star Kylie Jenner even graced the cover of Interview magazine dressed as a “sex doll”, clad entirely in skin-tight black latex. Though despite figure skater Adam Rippon wearing a leather harness once on the red carpet and the occasional performance costume from Jake Shears, the Village People’s Tom of Finland-inspired outfits and Robert Mapplethorpe’s extremely explicit photographs – both almost 40 years old – remain gay fetish fashion’s most visible representations.

With visible mainstream gay identities remaining “desexualised”, the false link between kink, sexual deviance, immorality and even criminality – a trope peddled for decades to depict gay men as “socially wrong” or “sick” – still lingers, even within the LGBTQ+ community. Andrew Cooper, author of Changing Gay Male Identities, suggests that overt sexuality has become less important to gay identities since the AIDS crisis, when sex – and communities like the leather scene that revolve around sex – became associated with death and shame. In Beneath the Skins, a book that analyses the politics of kink, Ivo Dominguez Jr writes that, as gay identities and attitudes become more sanitised, “leatherphobia” remains a significant barrier. Dominguez suggests that those who practice leather are seen by the wider LGBTQ+ community as “poor relatives they wish to hide” or an “albatross around their public relations neck”.

Yet the leather scene could certainly be more inclusive itself. In addition to its exclusion of women, it is overwhelmingly white. When combined with the fact that elements of the leatherman aesthetic have been co-opted by various sub-fetishes and groups that eroticise white supremacist roleplay and Nazi iconography, this paints a particularly objectionable picture. Then there’s the fact that much of the hyper-masculine culture that surrounds leather promotes the idea that feminine men are inferior. Society’s ever-evolving understanding of the effects of entrenched, socially-constructed gender binaries and toxic masculinity has undoubtedly reduced its appeal further.

However, despite its current challenges, the history of leather fetish fashion is as fascinating as the black cowhide is transformative to those who lust over it. Leather can conjure solidarity among those who feel alienated, while acting as a symbol of sexual liberation. Its history tells a nuanced, important story of just how integral fashion can become to communities and subcultures. To its devotees, it represents more than mere aesthetics or the leather-clad bikers of the past. To them, leather fetish fashion is a way of life.

Complete Article HERE!

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11 Sex Tips for Guys Just Coming Out of the Closet

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By Zachary Zane

A few pointers for people who are just starting to explore their sexuality!

Right after coming out as gay/bi, the idea of having sex with another man can be nerve-wracking. The mechanics, while simple, aren’t necessarily intuitive. It also can be tough to really connect to another guy sexually right after sashaying out of the closet. Well, as we begin 2019, let’s make a New Year’s resolution to explore having better and more meaningful sex. With that in mind, here are 11 sex tips for guys who’ve just come out as queer.

1. There will always be cute guys

Cute guys are a dime a dozen. There will always be cute guys, so don’t be upset if one rejects you. Seriously, it’s not the end of the world! Don’t do anything stupid just to have sex with one. Relax. You have the rest of your life to sleep with cute guys.

2. Use condoms (even if you’re on PrEP)

If you just came out and are just starting to get comfortable with your sexuality, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is getting an STD or STI. Honestly, it’s just going to bum you out and make you never want to have sex again. So wear condoms. (Even if you’re on PrEP!)

3. Tell him what you’re into beforehand

Sex shouldn’t be a guessing game. If you’re into something, let him know beforehand that you like X, Y, Z, and it would really turn you on if he did that to you. That’s one of the (few) things that’s great about apps like Grindr. You can explicitly state what you’re into before meeting up without any judgement.

4. Be vocal during sex

In addition to saying what you’re into before things start heating up, you should also be vocal about what you like during sex. If that position isn’t doing anything for you, tell him you want to change positions. He isn’t a mind reader. Let him know what’s up!

5. Have sex with guys who are outside your normal “preference”

We all have men who we are attracted to and not attracted to. I’m not saying that you should sleep with men you’re not attracted to, but I am saying that you should broaden your horizons. Often, societal norms dictate to us what’s attractive. If we’re able to break away from societal standards of beauty, it opens us up (metaphorically and physically) to a wider range of sexual and romantic partners. 

6. Be vers

It’s 2019. Being a top or bottom only is so passé. Do it all. Be a millennial, renaissance man! Besides, being vers makes you a better lover because you’re aware of the mechanics of both types of sex.

7. You can say “no” anytime before or during sex

You can always say no anytime before or during sex without an ounce of shame. If you don’t feel comfortable, you have a right to stop having sex at anytime. Is it awkward to kick guys out of your house? Yes, it is, but it is worth the awkwardness. If you’re not into it, and he’s being aggressive, tell him to GTFO.

8. Figure out your own method of cleaning your butt

There are plenty of ways to get a deep clean. Figure out if a douche (or some other way) is the right way for you! While I douche, I’ve heard of some folks using ear syringes to clean out because it’s less forceful.

9. Never feel embarrassed, ashamed, or awkward about asking a guy’s status

You should never get uncomfortable or feel bad for asking a guy what his status is, as well as asking him to use a condom. In the era of PrEP, there is definitely a little bit of condom-shaming, but while you shouldn’t judge them for not wearing a condom, they shouldn’t judge you for wanting to wear one.

10. Use lube

Lube is your best friend. The more lube the better. You want to be turning that bed of yours into a Slip ‘N Slide! Additionally, it’s important to see what type of lube feels best for you. Some guys prefer water-based, whereas others prefer silicone or a hybrid mix of both. 

11. Explore your kinks

We all have some form of kink. Something a little more exciting that we’re into. Explore them now. There’s literally no reason to wait. And no matter how “weird” you think your kink is, there are literally thousands (if not millions) of guys who have the same one. You’re definitely not alone.

Complete Article HERE!

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Kinky Sex and Fetishes:

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How to Talk to Your Partner About Them

It’s normal to want to try new things in bed, but communicating those desires can feel wholly unnatural. These tips can help.

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Chances are, you’ve fantasized about having kinky sex. Most people have, according to sex researchers and people who say words. It’s also likely that more people have enjoyed what might be considered “fringe” activities in the bedroom than we would likely assume. So, the window of what constitutes “normal” sexual behavior is expanding. But not everyone has jumped onboard. Although, maybe they should. Studies show that novelty is a major contributor to sexual satisfaction, especially in the context of a long-term relationship. And, honestly, kinks and fetishes are nothing to be ashamed of.

Of course, there are a lot of opportunities to fail in the quest to become a sexual adventurer. Deliveries can go awry. Desires can be miscommunicated. At the end of the day, there’s no shortage of ways trying to introduce something new can dissolve into an embarrassing misadventure. Yeah, talking to your partner about sex can be weird. Still, it’s important to try. Listed below, we bring you a few different ways to kick off the conversation.

Start Small

So you want to try something new during sex. Maybe you’ve been thinking of bringing some BDSM, one of the most common fetishes, into the bedroom. Our advice is to start small. Remember, the acronym covers a lot of territory. It’s probably better to err on the lighter side of the spectrum before throwing on the gimp suit. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid accessories all together during the introductory phase. Instead, try talking to your partner about some light spanking, hair pulling, or maybe some edge play before diving into deeper waters.

Watch Some Erotic Films Together

We’ve said it before: if those who can’t do, teach, then those who can’t say, show. If you don’t have the words to communicate a certain sexual interest, then don’t worry. There is most certainly a video out there able to demonstrate your desires. As Rule 34 of the Internet states, “If it exists, there is porn of it.” The professionals have a way of making things look more appealing. Just keep in mind that it’s not realistic.

Read Some Erotic Literature

Ok, so porn might not be for everyone (although, research statistics would suggest that those who don’t care for the medium fall within a decreasing minority). Fortunately, there’s a slightly less explicit option out there to entertain, and it comes in the form of words. Erotic literature has become an increasingly popular genre over the past couple of years, with websites popping up all over the place designed to host this kind of content. Try combing through the selection. Find a passage that speaks to you, and your kink. Now go ahead and share it with your partner.

Go to a Sex Shop Together

Not everything has to have a specific aim and purpose. Entertaining more nonchalant activities can also help get the erotic wheels rolling. Try hitting up a sex shop with your partner. It’s a low-stakes way to become familiar with what’s out there. Sometimes, the best kind of inspiration comes when we aren’t looking for it.

Let Pop Culture Guide You

Maybe these explicitly sexual options aren’t for you. Don’t worry; there are, in fact, some PG approaches to talking about R-rated activities. All you have to do is put on some TV. Want to put pegging on the radar? Just tune into Broad City for a brief introduction. Interested in analingus? The cast of Girls has got your back. Into a good spanking? Check out Secretary. Seriously, there’s so much out there.

Amp Up Your Sext Game

Millennials have been accused of prioritizing digital communication over in-person encounters. And while that may come back to bite us in some ways, it does provide us with a skill set we can use to combat anxieties over speaking about sex, IRL. Chances are you text your partner throughout the day. Try introducing a little spice into the routine. You never know when a sexy message will spiral into a more substantial dialogue.

Complete Article HERE!

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Fat Fetishes Are Complicated,

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Body Shaming Is Not

By Kasandra Brabaw

At 30 years old, Annette “Nettie” Hedtke is tired of dealing with family members, coworkers, and persistent diet ads all trying to control her weight. She’s fat, and she’s finally ready to embrace her body. We see her go through this journey, from pretending to drink a diet shake with her boss to loudly declaring “I’m fat!” at a family dinner, in TBS and Refinery29’s new web series, Puffy. But on her way to body positivity, Nettie encounters some roadblocks, including a cute man named Allen who seemed perfect for her…until he called her a cow.

It starts out innocently enough, when Allen tells Nettie that she’s hot “like a sexy farmer’s daughter.” Then, his fantasy quickly takes a turn from wanting to watch Nettie milk a cow to pretending that she is the cow and he’s “pulling on [her] soft pink udders.” Nettie backs off at this moment, feeling that Allen is calling her a cow and fetishizing her body. And her instinct to run is totally understandable. Fetishization is a complicated subject in the fat activist community. Like Nettie, many people want to run at the first sign that someone is attracted to them because of their body type. Many plus-size women have had similar experiences with people who reduce them to nothing more than a body, or want to control their body and size through feeding (a sexual kink where one partner gets pleasure from feeding the other). Those kinds of kinks are totally fine, as long as both partners share that interest. But if the plus woman doesn’t want to be fed, realizing that her partner sees her body as a sexual object can be dehumanizing.

Yet, some fat activists push back against fetishization concerns. “There are some fat women I know who describe nearly any physical attraction from men as fetishizing,” fat activist Your Fat Friend tweeted. She and other fat activists wish that wasn’t the case. “I’d love to get us to the point where attraction to fat bodies is normalized, and we don’t read it as somehow necessarily unsafe/unsavory,” she wrote. We call someone who has a preference toward plus size bodies a fetishist, but fat is only a fetish because society tells us that it’s not normal to find it attractive, body positive advocate Marie Southard Ospina previously told Refinery29. “Telling your bros you like fat chicks? That’s weird, at least in some communities,” Ospina said. “If your preference is something that isn’t conventionally attractive…it can still be deemed a fetish.” And having a fetish has it’s own set of stigma attached to it (just look at how quickly Nettie dismissed Allen when his farm role play stepped a little too outside of the norm for her interests).

So, having a fat fetish isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on whether the person who’s attracted to fat bodies is seeing their partner as a whole person, not just a soft stomach. And what Allen did at first, while definitely a little tactless and abrupt, wasn’t terrible. If he and Nettie had a chat about fetishization and desire and boundaries before they got into the farm role play, maybe she would’ve been able to go along with it. Maybe she could have dealt with being the cow in his fantasy if he explained that it had nothing to do with her weight or that he’s attracted to her fat body but also interested in her personality. But what he did next was unforgivable. And it happens way too often to fat women who reject thin men.

As soon as Nettie walks away from Allen, telling him “don’t call me,” he shouts back, “You know, I don’t even date fat girls.” It’s a reaction that happens all too often, says Laura Delarato, a body positive activist and sex educator who works at Refinery29. And it happens because being rejected by a fat person is so shameful that often, a person’s first instinct is to lash out. It’s like getting fired and then telling your boss that actually, you quit. “The idea of a fat woman rejecting a person is so outside of our understanding because we see plus size women, and fat women, and chubby women, and bigger bodies as desperate, like they’ll take anything,” she says. Of course, that’s not true. A fat woman can and will reject anyone she’s not interested in, especially if she feels that they’re objectifying her.

Ultimately, changing that reaction and changing the idea that being attracted to fat is a fetish at all comes down to representation, Delarato says. It’s 2018, and just about every fat woman on TV has a storyline about weight, as if they don’t have lives outside of worrying about their size. We need to see a plus-size woman who has already embraced her body and who has sex with people who find her desirable just because she is.

Overweight and overconfident, 30-something Nettie decides to openly embrace her abundance and “comes out” to the world as a fat person. When she’s met with a range of reactions, from BBW fetishizing suitors to her diet pushing family, she discovers that her weight is a heavy matter — for everyone but her. Watch the full film from Refinery29 and TBS’s comedy lab HERE.

Complete Article HERE!

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What’s The Difference Between Kink And Fetish?

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By Cara Sutra

What’s The Difference Between Kink And Fetish?

With increasing awareness of and interest in BDSM, much of the related jargon and terms have made their way into common parlance. Two such words are ‘kink’ and ‘fetish’. They’re often used interchangeably, but as they are two different words it’s natural to wonder what the actual meanings are. What’s the difference between kink and fetish?

What Does Kink Mean?

Wikipedia describes kink in the following way.

In human sexuality, kinkiness is any unconventional sexual practices, concepts or fantasies. The term derives from the idea of a “bend” (cf. a “kink”) in one’s sexual behaviour, to contrast such behaviour with “straight” or “vanilla” sexual mores and proclivities. The term kink has been claimed by some who practice sexual fetishism as a term or synonym for their practices, indicating a range of sexual and sexualistic practices from playful to sexual objectification and certain paraphilias. 

Kink sexual practices go beyond what are considered conventional sexual practices as a means of heightening the intimacy between sexual partners. Some draw a distinction between kink and fetishism, defining the former as enhancing partner intimacy, and the latter as replacing it. Because of its relation to “normal” sexual boundaries, which themselves vary by time and place, the definition of what is and is not kink varies widely as well. 

…And Fetish?

Meanwhile, the Wikipedia page for fetish states:

Sexual fetishism or erotic fetishism is a sexual fixation on a nonliving object or nongenital body part. The object of interest is called the fetish; the person who has a fetish for that object is a fetishist. A sexual fetish may be regarded as a non-pathological aid to sexual excitement, or as a mental disorder if it causes significant psychosocial distress for the person or has detrimental effects on important areas of their life. Sexual arousal from a particular body part can be further classified as partialism. 

While medical definitions restrict the term sexual fetishism to objects or body parts, fetish can also refer to sexual interest in specific activities in common discourse. 

So, Is There A Difference Between Kink And Fetish?

Reading the above descriptions from Wiki, and drawing on my own experience of both, I’d say there’s a distinction between kink and fetish. However, there’s also a definite overlap. You have a fetish for something, and you’re a kinky person because of that fetish. Or, you’re a kinky person with kinks who enjoys kinky activities.

Or, you’re vanilla with no kinks, no desire to act kinkily and without any fetishes.

At least, that’s my understanding.

How I Understand It

Here’s my thoughts on both. You can be kinky – as in, being aroused by unusual things and practices and acting on that arousal – and you can have kinks. You could have a kink for being blindfolded, or for being spanked.

Having a fetish for something, fetishising an object or a practice seems to be more of an obsessive behaviour. Less of a choice and more of a hardwired compulsion, to the exclusion of sensibility if allowed to run riot. Fetish is often used interchangeably with kink, though, both to demonstrate one’s affection for their personal kink(s) and also because the speaker classes kink and fetish as fairly similar.

Fetish has always been used to show a deeper / more hardcore affinity for a practice than kink, in the circles I’ve spoken and played with. Also, it’s been my understanding that you can have a fetish for objects – fetishising bondage hoods or high heels, for instance – whereas the act of fetishising those things is described as the person ‘being kinky’.

Do I Have Fetishes Or Kinks?

By the strict definition of the word, I don’t think I have any fetishes. I am not sexually obsessed with or enormously turned on by any inanimate object, that is fetishised. I really like older guys in smart suits, but I’m not sure that it’s a fetish. However I am very kinky, with ‘kinks’ which deviate from vanilla sex including but not limited to:

  • Bondage, including use of rope, cuffs, collars, spreader bars, mouth gags
  • Spanking, by hand or implement
  • FemDom
  • Breathplay
  • Ageplay (DD/lg)
  • Male Chastity
  • Boot & Heel Worship (receiving)
  • Foot Worship (receiving)
  • Fisting
  • Strap On Sex
  • Puppy Play/Furry
  • Voyeurism/Exhibitionism

How About You?

What about you? Firstly, do you make a distinction between the two terms? And do you think there’s a difference between kink and fetish or is it all semantics?

Complete Article HERE!

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Exploring the controversial fetish of race play

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[H]aving spent a lot of my life writing about sex, and exploring all the millions of ways in which people have sex, I can say that very little has ever shocked me. 

One of the few things to ever leave me slightly open mouthed is the concept of race play.

For the uninitiated, race play is a subset of BDSM where the focus of the imbalance in the role play stems from the races of the people in question.

In practice this often presents as people of colour role playing as slaves, or people of Jewish heritage role playing as prisoners.

We did warn you this was controversial stuff.

But it’s also popular. On the kinky dating site and forum Fetlife, the fetish has hundreds of groups dedicated to it and thousands of users who openly subscribe to being a fan.

Yet even in the fetish scene, where most things are fair game, race play is controversial.

Sophia*, 34, told Metro.co.uk that she felt ostracized on the fetish scene: ‘I have friends who are open about doing rape play or age play, but race play is a hard limit.

‘I feel like I’m not even allowed to talk about it, like it’s somehow this line we’re not allowed to cross. As a Jewish woman, I do feel ashamed of the types of role play I enjoy, but I can’t help it. It’s something that is deeply ingrained in me.’

Race play is a complicated and confusing area. The idea that someone might reenact genuine traumas that their ancestors experienced, but for sexual gratification, is a confusing one to anyone who isn’t that way inclined.

My stance on sex and sexuality is always, and will always be, that what you do in your bedroom is no one’s business but your own. As long as it’s consensual, why would anyone need to have any kind of opinion on your sexual fantasies?

In my experience, BDSM can be a way of working out some issues. Having been called bossy, argumentative and controlling for my entire life (thanks for that, society!) I found that being sexually submissive helped to soothe the concern that maybe I was all of those things.

I talked to Master Dominic, a professional dominant and sexual education expert about this complicated but compelling area of fetish, specifically why people enjoy it.

‘It’s always hard to definitively explain why people are into something specific,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Everyone has their own spin on it.’

‘The taboo nature of it is certainly a big aspect, but that can come from a few different places. It can be a relatively simple “pushing the envelope is sexy” sort of thing, or it can come from a place of internalised racism.

‘The latter takes much more consideration, empathy and communication to navigate.

Master Dominic echoed my own sentiment – that sex and fetishes can be used to explore ingrained issues. He explained:

‘People turn to sex and fetish to process and own something traumatic or troubling, and whilst I absolutely think that you are completely within their rights to do so, you do need to try to dissect it a little so there’s an understanding of the context and the need.’

What Master Dominic hits on here is something to be aware of when dealing with more niche fetishes. Those that make us uncomfortable, or that feel out of kilter with an otherwise politically correct outlook on life, can be the hardest to navigate.

‘It can be tough, for sure, especially when one of you is not part of an ethnic minority’ says Dominic.

‘It’s been one of the toughest learning curves in my career, as a middle class white man, to understand.

‘So yes, it is part of the BDSM spectrum in a lot of ways and it shouldn’t be gasped at or judged. Nobody should be policing how anybody else relates to and expresses their race, heritage, gender identity, or sexuality. It’s theirs to own and express as they wish.’

Negotiating race play from the side of the person of colour is fraught enough, but what happens if you’re a white person who has a race fetish? Is it okay to find it arousing? Or is it just your racism adopting a different guise?

Therapist Sarah Berry, who specialises in sex and sexuality explains: ‘We all have different preferences of what we find arousing and may well be more judgmental than political correctness dictates, for example hair colour, height, weight, salary.

‘If someone only goes for a certain race it could be part of this. Or it could be that someone has ideas based around stereotypes or that person being perceived as more “exotic”. If someone is having a hook-up or relationship and is finding it hard to have these stereotypes challenged then this could be troubling.

‘I think, as with many things, it is nuanced and complicated – certainly not a black and white issue.

‘It’s important, if you do exhibit this tendency, to be challenged or to see that race isn’t the only defining factor of the rounded human that they are with. If someone wanted to exert power over someone else that they do not respect because of their race or any other reasons then this is not healthy.

‘Likewise if someone felt they needed to punished for race or other reasons by someone they perceive as superior then this is also not healthy.’

No kinky person wants to refuse their sexual desires on the basis of politically correctness, but no decent person wants their partner to feel fetishised for their race.

Complete Article HERE!

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