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Someone you know is kinky…

One of those someone’s is me.

Since the first big interview I have done as part of the publicity for my book, Appetite, is soon to be published (The Guardian on Saturday 20th January), I wanted to own and make clear the references I make with regards myself and kink.

I have been vaguely open about the kinky stuff as I have come out to people about being in a conscious, ethical non-monogamous relationship (radical relationship /poly). Interestingly, the sex is the one aspect of poly that most people I know seem to avoid asking about.

I also noticed that I felt I could be honest and vocal about being sexually and emotionally open but that I felt less open about saying that I also really enjoyed a certain type of sex and sexual/physical experience.

When I say I am kinky, what that means to me is I (currently) identify as sexually submissive/prey and as a masochist. I enjoy being spanked. I enjoy being hit, choked, slapped. I like water play and sports. I like all sorts of penetrative and non penetrative sex. I like sex, in many forms. I like it with humans of all colours and backgrounds, with men and women and those who identify as men and women or neither.

I know how problematic this kind of conversation is in the context of our current culture. Misogyny and sexual aggression exists in all societies. I know this. My kinks do not condone sexual or physical violence towards anyone, woman, child or man.  I enjoy primal physicality, I enjoy BDSM, I enjoy these things in my sex life because I DISCUSS and I CHOOSE them. I consent to them. I  set the boundaries. I set the limits. I say when it stops and, when I say or signal stop, my lover always stops. I learn and question and communicate what I want for myself. Consent and communication are absolutely, unequivocably, critical in the sexual relationships I have with others.

I abhor all non-consensual physical and sexual violence and I am appalled by the way in which BDSM is used by some as an excuse to mistreat people. I am not naive: it has happened to friends of mine. It has happened to me. I have been in situations where my needs were not discussed, where boundaries were not just over-stepped but stomped over, where I was left feeling very unhappy, hurt and upset. I, too, did not talk of these things. I, too, kept quiet and blamed myself. This is part of the problem. This is why I am speaking now.

Any and all cultures (alternative and mainstream) can be hiding places for abuse.  If a church can be a site of abuse, why not a home, a marriage, a straight nightclub? Part of why I am being open about all of this is to do my part towards ending the secrecy and shame that makes this kind of abuse possible.

So, I carry on with the openness about all aspects of my life. I, to paraphrase Maggie Kuhn, speak even though my voice shakes…

I enjoy going to fetish events like Torture Garden, Subversion and Zara del rose and being spanked or whipped. I enjoy public and group sex. I enjoy seeing and hearing people enjoying themselves. I enjoy the learning process and the openness that, for me, is so much a part of being in and sharing these spaces. People often have to overcome many internal and external obstacles to go along to a sex club or fetish party that, once inside, we are all so  much more welcoming. Inside the event or party, there is an acceptance of difference and acknowledgement of personal courage in a way that feels special. That first event, TG in September 2016, felt, to me, like coming home. That is not to say that some kinky and sexually open people are not dicks because there are really more than plenty of those… even one is one too many. But we call these people out and hope that the community continues to support, and not blame, the ones who are hurt and affected by their actions.

Exploring my kinky side has helped me understand my self better and has made me a more receptive friend, partner and parent. I am very aware of my privileges in being able to afford and enjoy the freedom to make these choices. Part of my giving back is sharing my own truth in the hopes that it helps people feel able to speak their own. I support my community financially and I offer a listening ear, advice and help where I can.

I still have missionary, vanilla, cuddly, sweet and soft sex. But it is only one of the types of sex I have. And that is what is key for me: that we see sex as something that changes with our needs and moods, that we connect with our bodies and minds deep enough to have, or not have, the sex we wish to. We can choose not to have it, we can choose to have it hard and dark and dirty or we can choose to have it soft and sweet and slow.  We can even have sex that includes both. We can choose to only kiss and cuddle. The choice is ours. By learning what we do and do not like, what our needs are at this time, in this moment, we can learn to know ourselves better.

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