Something that I don’t advertise a lot is that I’m an active member of the local kink/BDSM community, which is very handy when writing erotic fiction. I’ve been a member for about ten years, and over my lifetime I’ve seen some interesting changes in the way society views kink. It used to be a huge shameful secret that never saw the light of day.
Nowadays it seems almost cool.
How did that happen?
Looking back, it seems even stranger. Pretty much since the start of all monotheism, sex has been pretty much frowned on, and anything to spice up sex has been labeled as deviant. Things became even stricter under Victorian times with the invention of obscenity laws and diagnosing those with “deviant” sexual behaviors as insane.
Of course, sado-masochism, which can “injure” the body, is still illegal in many places. Yet more and more, these same illegal activities are explored in movies, books, and television shows. (One of my favorite arcs was Griffin’s fascination with BDSM clubs on CSI. Cracked me up every episode.)
On the one hand, it’s a cultural thing. The British with their Victorian thinking, and America with the Quakers and the Puritan and all that, I get. Kink isn’t quite as kinky in some places, like Japan, which can outkink the U.S. most days of the week. (Tentacle porn? Check. Grown women dressed as adolescent school girls? Double check.) But even here in the good-ole-repressed United States, things have been slowly thawing out for the last couple hundred years or so. A big shift started during the 1960’s and the whole “Sexual Revolution” thing, moving into the LGBT movements in the 70’s and beyond. We’re still not at the point where somebody can come out at your office and admit that they like to take a paddle to their wife while she calls him “Daddy.” But where that would have gotten you arrested, now it may just get some uncomfortable silence and maybe a snicker or two.
I find it interesting that over time, society seems to be turning more open-minded on more and more things, whether it’s acceptance of different races/cultures, feminism, gay rights, and now sexual freedom. There seems to be a correlating drop-off in religious rigidity, but I won’t speculate on that.
For now, it’s fun to watch as more an more mainstream “vanilla” people open up to their curiosity and peek through the doorway to see what the kinksters are up to. Whether that’s in film or the ever-growingly popular erotica that being produced today, it all adds up to one thing.
Kink can be fun after all. And sexuality is more complex than we ever want to admit.