This time a couple years ago, I was buying and using sex toys that included handcuffs, rope, wrist and ankle restraints, whips, and paddles. I figured it was all just fine. My sex life is my business alone, and everyone else’s sex life is their business.
Since then, not only have I read several persuasive articles to the contrary, but a couple of personal experiences I had contributed to changing my mind.
As I mentioned, I was in a relationship that integrated elements of BDSM into our sex life like they were something special. Going shopping for these new toys was supposed to be like treating ourselves; using them was supposed to be daring and sexy.
Instead, BDSM was a cloak for my boyfriend to hide behind, mixing sexual abuse into the emotional that was already taking place. Sure, he occasionally took the role of the submissive, but I made sure to respect all of his boundaries. He did not give me that same courtesy when the roles were reversed.
Another thing that made me question kink culture was the enormous amount of abhorrent and misogynistic porn available for consumption. During my last couple of years of college, I watched porn with some frequency. I wouldn’t call myself addicted by any means, but it was a common fixture in my life at that time.
One evening, through following rabbit holes on various sites, I stumbled upon a porn trailer – only a couple of minutes advertising what was probably a 1-2 hour feature – that nearly made me sick. It was not arousal but morbid curiosity that compelled me to watch the entire trailer. I don’t want to elaborate on specific details; I’ll just say that it involved urine and feces.
After I recovered from my shock and disgust, I started thinking critically about the video I had just watched. The participants were two men and two women. In every scene, without fail, the women were the ones submitting to whatever repulsive act the men requested. Never was a woman the dominant party to a humiliated and submissive man.
This realization branched into other thoughts. Was it possible that this scenario was not happily consensual and mutually beneficial at all, but rather a way for the men to play out their sick fantasies with begrudgingly compliant women? So then, how many other kink-centric porn videos were just like that?
Sex and intimate acts are supposed to be wholly consensual and pleasurable for all parties involved. So then, what place do kinks have in the equation? Not only are they demeaning, unenjoyable, gross, and painful, but in an overwhelming majority of cases, the woman is expected to be the recipient.
To put it plainly, violence and degradation against women is not sexy. Kinks are not liberating at all; they’re just a new way of oppressing us. So yeah, I guess you would say I’m a kink-shamer now.