10 Things Everyone Can Learn from Kink

One of the most fortuitous events in my life was discovering the kinky world at about the same time I started puberty. It provided me with a buffer from the shaming, consent violating, controlling norms of our predominant culture. I didn’t realize how much pain I was protected from growing up kinky until much later in life.

Thirty years down the road, I look back and can honestly say, regardless of what activities you actually enjoy doing in bed kink culture can teach you a few things. Now, I am not talking actual kinky bedroom play. This isn’t about how to flog your partner or how to tie them up. For that information, check my resources page. This is about things everyone, everywhere can learn from kinky folks.

1. Educating yourself about sex as an adult is a great idea! In the predominant culture, sex education is something you learn in school sometime between 5th and 8th grade. It involves learning the proper names for genitals, sometimes about birth control or STIs, and a lot of shaming around talking about sex. That is no good!

Kinky folks of all ilks tend to continue their sex ed throughout adulthood. We go beyond picking up a copy of the Kama Sutra and trying to figure out the geometry of the positions. Instead, we read books, read blogs, attend classes, attend conventions and even hire private instructors. Some of this evolves out of the need for safety because a lot of kinky activities involve risk. Some of it comes out of admiring a professional’s work and wanting to master the activities. And some of it comes out of the fact that there are a lot of nerds and geeks in the kinky world and we like to learn new, cool stuff.

As a result, a lot of kinky folks have a lot more skills five and ten years into their journey than they did at the start. Like most learning, the more your learn, the more you realize you don’t know very much and want to learn more.

Luckily, with the mainstreaming of a lot of kink, things like blow job and oral sex classes are becoming common in many communities. So even if you have no interest in tying up someone or using knives on your partner, you can find a class suited for your interests. Check out your local sex shops, adult learning annexes, BDSMEvents.com, and the Fetlife event section for your town to find classes near you.

2. Consent is important. Talk about consent is all the rage right now. Kinky culture relies on understanding consent and making it explicit. This stems from the nature of what many of us do for sexy fun. If I tie you up and hit you and you did not say you wanted to do this, its assault. So we learn how to ask and negotiate what we want in bed.

If the concept of affirmative consent and consent culture is new(ish) to you, I strongly recommend starting with Kitty Stryker’s book Ask: Building Consent Culture. Also check out many of your local sex stores, book stores and adult teaching spaces. Many of these places have classes on consent.

3. Talking about what you want in bed is important. One of the most damaging things popular movies have done is to romanticize the idea that the best sex is sex that no one discusses. We all know these films. The guy pursues the girl. She tells him no a bunch of different ways and keeps blowing him off. He goes all crazy stalker boy and ignores her needs. She is woo-d by this creepy behavior. They fall into a passionate kiss and make love that is mind-blowing.

First, seriously that stalker behavior is terrifying and gross. Second, great sex is sex you talk about first. We need to learn to express what we need and want to our partners. People are not mind readers. We don’t magically know what our partners need or want. They don’t know what we like and need. YOU HAVE TO SPEAK UP.

This doesn’t have to be a checklist of “must dos” for a sexual encounter. It should be more than the “Never Do This” list. It takes practice to learn to tell someone what you don’t want and what you want. Trust me, learning to do this will improve your sex life.

4. Sex toys are not a replacement or a comment on your sexual abilities. I hear it all the time from vanilla folks, “My partner uses a vibrator so why do they need me?” Um… because a vibrator has a limited range of things it can do. It does not provide human connection. It does not feel like a person. It cannot replace you.

Its like using a can opener and a rolling pin in the kitchen. They are important tools and are used for specific things. However, a can opener and a rolling pin sitting on your kitchen counter won’t make you dinner. The won’t look into your eyes over a meal and ask you how your day was. Hell, they won’t even flip the egg in the pan.

Some folks, many folks, like to incorporate sex toys into their sex lives at times. Great! Try stuff out. If you like it, add it to the rotation. If its a flop, let’s hope it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

5. As a corollary to 4, LUBE IS GREAT! Again, a lot of folks believe if they need lube they they are failing in bed. NOPE. Not true.

Look, a lot of cis women can self-lubricate their vaginas. That does not mean that they don’t want or benefit from additional lube. If you are going anyone- regardless of gender- in the butt, crack out a lot of lube. For anal, you always need more lube than you think you need. If you are having sex with someone with a vagina, using