Photo by Becca A. Lewis

Photo by Becca A. Lewis

Right now you might be thinking to yourself, “how is questioning a kink activity?!”  Well, aside from the fact that questioning is a kink of mine, I’ll fill you in on just how important it is!  Grab a ‘cuppa your favorite and come right on down the rabbit hole my friends…

Questioning kink:  Being a sexual explorer is natural.  Most of us have physical, sexual, or kink related feelings, urges, turn-ons, questions, curiosities, and desires at some point in our lives (or ongoing).  Whether they are born from attraction to another person, evolve from fantasies we’ve seen, heard, or read about, whether they are of our own creative design, learned methods, or are inexplicably developed fetishes, we human beings have gotten nowhere in our evolution without questioning and without investing in these questions.  Kinky sexuality is defined as someone who includes sexual activities deemed culturally abnormal in their play.  It follows that the people practicing kinky behaviors are people who have invested some amount of thought and research into the subject of their practices.  This, to my mind, makes the very idea of being a kink practitioner a Sexy Scientist type endeavor.  Inquire on please!

But more than just wondering “what will happen if…” I believe it is important that we ask ourselves:

  • Who are we interested in playing with
  • What exactly is it that turns us on, our partners on, or our curiosities up, and what do we expect to get from the experience
  • Why is the chosen activity a good one for this time with these partners
  • When is it appropriate and safe to forge ahead
  • Where is the right place to start researching/playing/laying the groundwork
  • How do we navigate through our ideas and bring them into being respectfully, responsibly, and healthfully (or safely, sanely, and consensually) for everyone involved

Questioning partners:  It is of utmost importance that you be able to openly and respectfully negotiate with the people you play with.  I will say this applies to a lot more than just kink play, and it is a great rule of thumb for becoming a valued coworker, friend, partner, family member, community participant, and lover in general.  But it can be really scary.  It can be terrifying to ask someone you are or would like to be intimate with to look at your private desires and participate in making them realities.  It is unthinkable to some people that they would put themselves in the hot spot for possible judgment.  To be rejected is an unbearable thought sometimes, but it is also a part of life.  “Nothing risked, nothing gained” is good balance for thought; if you never say what it is that you truly want, your chances of getting it are much much slimmer than if you can muster up the courage to simply ask.  And one rejection does not mean the entire world is likely to say no.  Imagine moving on and finding the strength to locate a community of people who will share your joy and participate happily in the things that fulfill you the most.

For those who are bringing up the subject of kink for the first time with their partners, or those who do not know if their desires will go over well, starting slowly and carefully is advisable.  Remember that just because you are going out on a limb to state your needs does not mean that hearing all about them will feel completely safe and worry free to the listener.  Like a good caning, warming up to an idea before going all in has its value in resilience, not everyone will tolerate to the same level at all times.  Consider timing and pace as you work out how to approach new ideas with a partner who is less precocious or versed in the matters of your interest.

Talk about your ideas, find out what interests the people you are playing with, compromise, try new things out, start slowly, do your research, and check in frequently.  Let your questions rather than your assumptions lead you.  You will build the world you want by being curious and committed to respectful journeying more quickly than you will by startling a lover or being deemed unsafe, untrustworthy, or assumptive in a moment of play.

BWcult-322 CCQuestion yourself:  I think most people go into various subjects with a pre-conditioned (and often two-dimensional or unrealistic) idea about what the subject is all about.  Part of the joy of learning more on a new subject is discovering all the things you don’t know about it, uncovering reality as it actually is, and adding new dimension to your thinking.  Kink is no different, and one of the greatest things about kink is that YOUR experience of the subject will be different than the experiences of others.  It is subjective and personal and though you will probably share a lot of common experiences and reference points with others, you have the opportunity to define what it is to you on your own terms.  So question what you might already assume about various activities or relations, see if the way you always thought something had to be done can be done in a way that’s even more exciting to you and your partners, experiment!  I find one of the best ways to come up with experiments I’d like to try is by having a question about why something does or doesn’t work for me as well as I think it could.  From there I meditate on the question, free associate, do some research so I’m not reinventing too many wheels, and fantasize about new scenarios from what I’ve learned.  This is all to play with myself and figure out what might most turn me on before I invest in putting it in motion – is my new endeavor something I’ve already tried, something I’ve found out about from another source, or maybe something I imagined somewhere down the line?  How do I want to move forward with this newly refined idea?  Who might be a great partner in crime?  How might I come about having this newly designed experience?  What do I think will work or not work about the scenario?  How can I tweak it to fit the needs of my partners too?

By questioning myself I learn a lot of new things, I try a lot of new things, and I realize that my values have a lot to offer when it comes to getting unstuck from a paradigm I realize no longer serves me.  It is also great practice for being comfortable questioning concepts in general and questioning people or situations in particular.

Questioning me:  I love it when someone approaches me with a question about a subject that I know a lot about or with something particular they’d like to know about me.  It feels radical and wonderful and exciting and challenging.  I can feel my mind and emotions gearing up for something tasty.  I feel valued.  Everything is possible, and we enter into a world meant for dance.  The first time I negotiated a scene with a play partner it was beautiful.  The energy and desire to play was established between us: first energetically as we met, and then verbally as we chatted and decided to make time to play.  We made a pre-play date to negotiate.  He came to my room at the convention hotel and sat on my bed and asked

Who are you?  What do you want to experience tonight?

My answer was that I wasn’t sure.  I knew I liked being challenged and had very little experience with kink.  I let him know I didn’t know my physical boundaries, my emotional limits, or what to expect from play, but that I was game.  He talked about the things he liked: rope, canes, power exchange, needles…  and I thought we should try them all grounded in the idea that we would pay attention to what my body seemed to like and what I was adverse to.  We would take care to look for boundaries and we would communicate throughout the scene as we had new ideas or tired of an activity.  Sex was off the table.  He had me kneel by his feet while he told me he liked to be called “Sir” during play, and asked me if I was comfortable with that.  I told him I didn’t like playacting and that I wouldn’t use words like that if I didn’t mean them, but I would keep that in mind if I felt them while we played.  He understood and agreed that was best.  Needles were particularly interesting to me and I wanted to make sure we got them in.  He found that ending an evening of play was a good time to get to ‘sharps’, that they were a great activity to wind down an evening with (by the end of that night, I found I agreed).

This first negotiation differed greatly from the next scene partner I played with.  This partner knew what he wanted and knew I had little experience in they type of play he liked best.  We had very little time to explore together, and so the scene itself was a kind of negotiation and experimental interview:

Have you ever been punched before?


Would you like to be?


The impact felt wonderful…  slaps across the face, a choking throat hold, being thrown on the bed, teased… all with consistent and playful engagement, each time asking my consent and permission to act first.

Others have been straightforward list checkers who want my Red/Yellow/Green assessment of various activities, or fantasy storytellers who ask me to add to their picture of what could happen in the scenario they unfold.  Each partner a negotiator the way that works best for them, each a person with desire and libido behind the questions asking me to participate, accepting my varied responses, and a better partner because of these things.

Asking and answering, listening and responding helps us know one another better and become closer.  It is in feeling heard that I am most at ease and turned on and trusting.

Karin Performing with Clothspins

Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Quest on:  One of the most valuable things you can find on a journey through the self is partnership.  By this I mean others along the way who you can bounce ideas off of, work concepts out with, feel connected to, and know you’re not alone because of.  On your journey into the center of what kink can mean to you, I hope you find partners of all shapes and sizes to fulfill your various needs – friends to commiserate with, lovers for inspiration and experimentation, travelers who will infest you with new ideas, and teachers to help get you to the places you’d like to go.  Simply talking to the people around you is a great place to start.  I wish you the strength and joy of conversation in the subjects that interest you; you’ll be surprised at how common various experiences are, and how kind and curious people can be even when they don’t understand a concept fully.  Of course there are bigots and dangerous people to beware of, and I do not advocate forging ahead in any conversation without measured awareness, but also people can be wonderful healing springs in a desert of fear when you let them be.  I hope you find your fellow journeymen.  Good luck asking the hard questions when you need to, and have fun with the easy ones along the way…

To Breath and Being,
~ Karin

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~Thank you.


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