Sex vs. Kink

I was recently asked what the difference between “kink” and “sex” are. It’s a good question, which people will vary wildly in their opinions about. Following is my take on the subject. I encourage others to disagree and to articulate for themselves differently than I do here — one of the most important things we get from talking about sexuality is an evolving and broadening scope of understanding about how things function differently for others. These varied articulations can, in turn, help us understand ourselves more deeply, or in new ways. I am all for that.

I will start by stating that “sexuality” is something separate from “sex”. Sexuality is a general blanket term which describes the factors surrounding how someone likes to (or does) get off, or feel turned on. Peoples sexualities can be identified (sexual identity) in multiple ways and within different categories such as: kinky, vanilla, queer, straight, gay, bi/pan/omnisexual, asexual, leather, fetishistic, Top/bottom/Versatile, D/s, switch, Sadistic, masochistic, hedonistic, primal, so on and so forth, etc… Sexualities evolve, grow, change, are discovered and rediscovered, and emerge throughout one’s life as one has new experiences, is exposed to new concepts, and generally learns more, and accepts or rejects more about what they find. One’s sexuality is influenced by one’s behaviors, though frequently sexual behavior and sexual identity do not go hand in hand (more on this later).

“Sex” is a word which encompasses a series of activities that one can engage in (or not), and which contribute to a person’s view of their sexuality. What is and is not (what “counts” for) sex is defined differently by different people. For the sake of ease I usually define sex as “anything ending in the word sex or job”. By this definition I would include sexual intercourse (PIV intercourse, genital or anal penetration with toys, all types of fingering, hand jobs, fisting, anal sex), also oral sex (cunnilingus, blow jobs, rimming), scissoring, frottage, masturbation, mutual masturbation, and generally anything which includes the rubbing, sucking, or licking of genitals for the intention of getting someone turned on and/or in an orgasmic state, to be “sex”.

Sex is not just about activities though. How we feel about the activities we engage in, and what we want to believe “counts” accounts for what people label as sex as well. “Energetic fucking” can be as much (if not moreso) sexually satisfying, sexy, and pleasurable as plain old vanilla intercourse is. So is energetic fucking sex? Some would say it is, others would say it is not. The same goes for a lot of activities including some of the ones I have labelled specifically as sex above.

Did you have sex if PIV intercourse only happened for a second with someone you wish you hadn’t hooked up with? What about if it was someone you desperately wanted to fuck? It turns out that we’ll label what counts and what doesn’t count as sex differently depending on how we felt about the situation. People often also say things to the effect of “we sorta kinda had sex not really” in situations where they feel grey about consummation. Is it sex if no one orgasms? What about if only one person involved in the equation does? I don’t believe there is any hard and fast rule to completely defining what is sex and what is not sex. There are a lot of “sexual activities” though, and some of them sometimes seem to count more than others to the general population. It is absolutely possible to believe you have had sex with someone who does not consider the time you spent together sex at all.

Moving in the direction of our next subject for definition, I personally would consider all of the activities I outlined above as examples of “vanilla sex”. I am sure a lot of people would consider at least some of them to be “kinky” though.

A “kink” is a bend or an irregularity in the system. What is kinky and what is not kinky resides entirely in the realm of speculation and personal definition too. The first question one must ask when deciphering whether an activity is “bent” must be: whose system are we evaluating for kinks? Fact: what’s kinky to you may be completely vanilla to me. Things that were defined as kinky to me in the past, may now be viewed as mainstream and vanilla as I’ve gained understanding or experience of the activity in a new way. For instance, consider activities such as spanking and oral sex. Some people consider both of these things to be kinky, some consider both of these things to be vanilla, and people also believe all the variables in between. There is no hard and fast definition about what’s kinky until a person who wants to define it for themselves does so as such. Lines in the sand, all.

What’s the point of defining something as vanilla or kinky to begin with? Well, I think like all perfectly imperfect language useage, it’s shorthand to find others who might be into what you’re into. We take a general idea (rather than our stringent personal definitions) of what’s “normal” behavior and label ourselves on one side of the divide in hopes to attract or repel people who we believe may identify similarly or differently than ourselves. The follow up questions are the important ones to anyone you wish to engage sexually or kinkliy with: ok, so you’re [vanilla/kinky], what types of things do you like to do? What feels good? What drives you wild? What should I do/not do to turn you on?

Now let’s revisit that idea from earlier about “Identity vs. Behavior”. Someone may not identify as kinky, but may also get really turned on by, let’s say… being tied up. Their behavior, when they decide to get turned on by going out and getting tied up a bunch, may be viewed by others as kinky. So is that person kinky? To much of their community, the answer may be yes. Does it matter? No. It matters to the person identifying the way they identify why they choose the identity they choose. Even if they are enjoying categorically “kinky” activities on the regular, if that person identifies as vanilla, they are vanilla. We don’t know all there is to know about that person or their reasons for choosing one identity over another. A person’s identity is their right to define as they choose for their own reasons in whatever moment they are sharing it with others. It’s important that we trust and respect people and their processes of uncovering and defining their own lives. This doesn’t mean we can’t ask questions or have a great conversation about how we view the definitions of these words differently, and we can also discuss the finer points of growing and discovering or rejecting new facets of identity over time. This also doesn’t mean we should deliberately hurt or mislead others by being opaque to the meaning of our behaviors and the expectations we set up when we use certain words exclusively to people we’re sharing our identities and sexualities with either… At the end of the day, we are all works in progress for better and for worse. We are all responsible for meaningful clarity and reasonable transparency about our interactions with others. We do not all agree about where these gray definitions land, hence the need for multiple ongoing conversations about our needs, wants, and expectations from the people we’re sexual and sensual with.

How you feel about these subjects is important. How you feel about them helps you figure out your own personal boundaries and articulate yourself more clearly than if you only thought in black and white dictionary definitions about what “should” or “shouldn’t” make you feel turned on, sexual, or sensual with another person. Also, as important as it is to respect people’s differences, community standards exist and account for some degree of safety and general information dissemination for reasons. The young person who believes oral or anal sex “isn’t sex” may be more vulnerable to STIs because they believe they are still “a virgin” and therefore invulnerable to the consequences of engaging in sexual activity. Here we see that differing community standards can contribute to education and/or potential harm through an unexamined ignorance of all the contributing factors which play into behavioral reality. Does it matter that you’re [gay/kinky/monogamous/heteroflexible…]? Only to the extent that responsible conversations with the people you are engaging with sexually/sensually/kinkily/romantically with are able to happen relatively transparently.

So go to it! It’s the most natural thing in the world to be turned on. Let’s talk about sexuality, sex, kink, behavior, and identity…

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

Telly from Sesame Street

Telly from Sesame Street, remember? Most people don’t. He was the purple monster (I think I learned in later years — our tv was black and white) who worried all the time. He walked around like a muttering animated fur covered ulcer feeling awful, guilty, and worried about e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. He was constantly being talked down from ledges and explained to that everything was going to be ok.

Telly was my favorite, even though I hated his scenes.

I really felt him. I understood those overpowering huge feelings — unquenchable terribleness concerning anything and everything — in my little two and a half foot tall body. On the inside I was more often than not like Telly as a kid. I don’t think I’ve outgrown him, but the Telly inside me and I are better friends than we used to be.

Inside me there are settings that look very black and white. Yet I don’t believe in such dichotomies. The dimmer switch doesn’t work that well, it jumps around turning the lights on and off jarringly. Life is complex and even though we are constantly trying to hold on to some sort of “truth” to keep the fear of hopelessness and meaninglessness at bay, we are also lunging forward every day with mistakes and experiments. Our animal selves are reaching out to connect with one another in the most meaningful and inappropriate ways, and our brains are making rational decisions irrationally based off a chart of “acceptable ethics” we didn’t each actually internally create.

When I’m emotionally strong and feeling well I celebrate my feral deeds with hedonistic campfires and the barbaric yawp of an animal in heat, victorious in my fuckall war against repression — crystal clear about the effigy burnt up made of shame. When I am low, depressed, shaky, or weak inside, out come the tears and quivers, begging forgiveness for what I have done, thought, or risked, infected with remorse and self loathing at my counter-understanding of the the world, different from what I’ve been taught… Fear bleeds and creeps under my skin and I lie awake terrorized at who I might be: in fact who I am. What I’ve done for the freedom of my soul and the pleasure of my skin, I wring hands over moments later awash in guilt and shame. The concept that I should ever become an anybody terrifies me when I realize I might be crushed under the weight of facing this monster publicly who is me…

Neither of these, of course, represents truth. My mind ravages my body, my body in turn continually finds time to overpower my mind. Each of these moments an ultimatum for my heart, poor beatup civilian in the middle, to take sides. My stomach seethes and rebels, trying to shut the whole system down, while my head chatters incessantly allowing me no repair and no rest, so my heart (Maria or Gordan in this story), searches for the answer to this chaos, the understanding which will bring meaning to each of these feelings, mellowing out to find the line I can live with somewhere in between. Inside there are many wars being raged every day.

Why, even as a young child, did I perseverate so deeply, disquietly questioning the very basic impetus to remain tethered within my own skin? Why such intense and early connection to guilt and shame. I had (have) a ton of it.

When I found out about the concept of reincarnation I was appalled and depressed for days. I worried that there was any truth to it because “WHO THE FUCK WANTS TO DO THIS AGAIN?!?!?!!!!” I was staunchly aware that I didn’t. Life was not weight which should be borne again and again, one time was enough! Maybe even too much. To imagine rediscovering all the pain that emotions bring, again and again, even once, seemed too much for my young mind. Later on in High School I read Camus and learned his theory of the “Theater of the Absurd”: nothing was, nor ever will be again, this window of living is but an absurd moment in chaos. Theater. I was finally pacified, satisfied, and hopeful about my eventual nothingness.

I’ve gotten older though and I want to travel the world outside of storybooks, and I doubt I’ll be able to see as much as I desire. I probably won’t build that house with my own hands. I don’t think I’ll have children. There is a growing list of professions and experiences I’d like to have which I never shall wrap my hands around, a list of mouths I’ll never kiss, stages I’ll never touch, levels of ecstasy I’ll never reach, plateaus of peace I’ll never find…

In this life I’m living I’ve repeatedly made mistakes, gone too far, felt remorse, cut myself off, pushed boundaries I felt were important to push, trusted my instincts, fallen on my face, picked myself back up better skilled, and championed the challenge. I am teasing free this ball of twisty knotted line and it is chaos theory, way way bigger than only me. The older I get the more easily I recognize the cycle of it all too. I can, from further and further distances away, observe my moments of burning high flight before the fall. I recognize myself bottoming out. I know I am not in truthful territory during these highs and lows. But there’s Art there. Struggle is integral to seeing complexity and finding undiscovered degrees of perspective. I connect with ideas that are beyond me, larger than the sum of of my experiences, feelings I could not follow were I not here now in the middle of the up and down agony of… whatever it is I’m flying and crashing about right now.

The up and down agony of reality. Nothing about our lives is ultimately controllable, yet without our struggle to organize, life is not energetically sustainable.

So I come to my theory of perfect tension. The meaning of life is, I think, to find proper tension. Adjusting constantly, tendrils snaking out to each body one is connected to, keeping time with the cyclical humming we are all a part of/immersed in. Now tighter, now loosening up, now hold it firmly and breathe, breathe together, let go slowly, don’t fall if you can help it… We’re balancing in our separate corners with the million lines to one another continually supporting and threatening each other as we go. I am feral. I want to be loved. I am perverse and sexual. I want no shame within my vulnerability. I must trust. There are walls. No one will catch me but me. Autonomy. Interconnectedness. It is a mess to be born of atoms, and a challenging blessed practice to be.

Does it matter that I cheated on my vocab test in second grade? I was a wreck for weeks. I didn’t tell anyone until now. Really. The shame of being a disappointment to my parents. Whispered promises to a god I don’t believe in begging for some peace from this feeling of inner decay. I begged to that anonymous bigger thing in high school too, worried so deeply, hoping I’d start to bleed. I find myself there in adulthood about saying the wrong words to people I love, or afraid I’ll have a heart attack from eating the wrong recreational thing, or when worried I’ll find myself exploited for my mistakes which might look like tresspasses to the people not inside me… Of course I do better on my strong days, a purring lion-faerie riding dandelion seeds on the wind. On those days nothing can harm me, for I believe above all in my reasons for doing what I have done, in my own intentions and decisive jumps. Still, moments, weeks, years, decades later I can locate each rotted gut feeling, tendril upon tendril of tension wracked with guilt and disharmony carried alongside me still, worried I did the wrong thing. It is a messy gaping bag of cancer I haven’t figured out how yet to set free.

This is the struggle of humanity. Born alone, dying alone, with all of these others that we feel around us — so deeply, so tenderly, so savagely, so cuttingly, so movingly (for better and worse) — in between.

I’ve been told more than once that I’m a path cutter, wielding my machete and hacking into wilderness, looking for the more that there is. Covered in scrapes and bruises, falls, twisted ankles, yet also sitting in wonder at the solitude and beauty I find when the moon is just right and the animals and insects around breathe with me.

I make mistakes, I’ll never stop. I try things I’ve been told not to and creep toward being a better more understanding animal. I stand up for my beliefs and hold a tense line when I must in the face of judgemental reproach. And I am weary some days. I am wrong now and again. I get crazy ideas and start racing head down into the unknown future: danger be damned! This is ultimately all I know how to do, and yes, I know it ain’t pretty… But when I stop and listen: “Human child” I hear my heart say, “there is no other way it is possible to be”.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

Courage

My dashboard garden is back and I’m so happy to watch these beautiful creatures grow!

I feel really great in my body these days. I wish I’d known sooner what hormones could do for me. The experience of enjoying my physical body in the mirror and under my own fingertips rather than feeling trapped in it and persistently worried about how I look IS AMAZING!!! Seriously, I had no idea daily life could be like this. I think T is lifting a lifelong fog of depression and anxiety off of me and I’m very thankful for it.

To everyone who ever point blank told me to my face that “they just see me as a girl”, or “I just seem more femme rather than butch to them”, or that “I just look better when I dress girly”, or that “I’m not a tomboy b/c tomboys don’t wear dresses”, or any other reinforcement of the female femme ideal — which is already constantly crammed down my throat by the rest of the world (and to which I don’t usually choose to interact with face to face): You are a huge reason I didn’t get here earlier. I need you to know that. I need you to know that not because I want to tell you you were wrong, but because I want you to consider the weight of pressuring others to be as you wish them to be. It hurts to be told you can’t be who you feel you are. It is a painful lifestyle to persist holding a line you’re told to hold which feels wrong, and some of us are good enough at holding on, that we really need friends and to have role models who see us for who we are and who give us permission to let that line go.

I sincerely apologize to anyone if my words or actions have ever made them feel small about their identities or wrong about sharing themselves with me. It’s never been an intention of mine. I haven’t always understood as much about how my words affect each person I’m speaking to, and I know I’ll make mistakes in the future too, but I want to know when I do. I want the opportunity to reconsider the meaning of my actions. I want to be better than my mistakes.

I roundly thank everyone who has seen me and believed me and accepted me as I’ve journeyed and evolved and learned to articulate myself over the years. Without you I would still be desperately wanting things I didn’t feel I deserve to get (which is on me, but you all really helped me out a lot).

As I write, acknowledging this feeling of happiness I’ve been feeling since starting T, I want this moment to be a reminder to consider the impact of our very human desire to label others — especially to their faces — with labels we’re comfortable with rather than the labels someone else tells you they want to be labeled as. Almost every single bit of information we take in in this world is gendered, racially loaded, ableist, and constructed to tear our individualities down for the benefit of a privileged class. We can (and must) change that by considering one another not as objects, but as individual creatures with vibrant internal worlds which we will never be privy to the full intricacies of without asking first, without believing the answers we receive, and without caring to wonder more deeply about who we’re interacting with in the first place. When someone tells you who they are (and who they are not), consider believing them immediately before questioning what they’re saying. Consider asking questions about how that works if you aren’t sure you understand. Consider trusting people who gather the courage to tell you something about themselves.

Love from my glowing, growing, vibrant garden inside, and as always —

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature (Crea)

Please support my work at Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

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