- Oh, Billy Joel, you make even horrible traffic better. 'I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life…' #
- @maureengh Why are we talking about unfair? S'all well? in reply to maureengh #
- @jamesbcarp No possibility of putting in & waiting to see if you're matched? Does this cryptic tweet mean you're doing that w/out success? in reply to jamesbcarp #
- ♺ @KinkForAll: #KFADC got a venue: Bethesda Chevy-Chase HS! But we've only 5 days to raise funds! Please donate at http://tr.im/kfadc Pls RT #
- @dandelionjar I stole that from @maymaym, naturally. Am I with it enough to figure out that symbol on my own? (Answer: No.) But thanks! in reply to dandelionjar #
My how time keeps bloody happening.
I suppose I should start with the sorrow – it comes. It goes. Right now, it’s gone. I feel brave and confident, comfortable and happy, secure and well. I will not be overwhelmingly surprised if the sadness comes back again with a vengeance, but it seems to be growing less and less. I am pleased.
But it was there, in and around the more important and worthwhile events of my life. KinkForAll Boston happened – the sadness kept me company right up to the day of the event, and the Little Hater paid a visit , too. But the event happened, and it was impressive. We lost our venue 8 days before the event, found a new one two days before it, and we still had about 70 people show up. For the first time ever, people who hadn’t planned to go walked in and participated – I think holding it in the Boston University Student Union helped that hugely.
There had been alot of discussion of diversity on the list, and that topic – how to make the event welcoming and comfortable to people of all ages, races, and backgrounds, was much discussed. It is my personal goal with KinkForAll unconferences to create a space where everybody can talk about everything involving sex.
This includes the BDSM community, but is not limited to it. This is a very hard concept to grasp, both for those within and those outside of the BDSM community. People within the community only ever expect to be able to talk openly about their sexuality in spaces where nobody outside their sexuality is present – so they gear their talk specifically for and to themselves, without the introduction and explanation that people outside of the community require. And people outside of the BDSM community largely do require that explanation, because outside of closed off spaces where BDSM practitioners talk amongst themselves, nobody talks in clear, educated way about that practice or community, at all.
It’s a difficult thing for all involved.
But each new event, I think, gets better. I can’t wait to see what the next one looks like.
In the meantime, in order to battle a few of the misconceptions I find most difficult, I went to KinkForAll Boston and I did a presentation. There is video:
And below, making this entry incredibly over-long, is the text that I used for the presentation:
Defining Kink: Wikipedia, Language, and Sex for All
Let’s start by taking a look at classical definitions, shall we?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary online (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Kink) defines kink thusly:
Main Entry: 1kink
1 : a short tight twist or curl caused by a doubling or winding of something upon itself 2 a : a mental or physical peculiarity : eccentricity, quirk b : whim 3 : a clever unusual way of doing something 4 : a cramp in some part of the body 5 : an imperfection likely to cause difficulties in the operation of something 6 : unconventional sexual taste or behavior
It’s not the OED, but it’s a perfectly acceptable academic reference.
Academic references don’t necessarily Move With The Times – paper dictionaries are almost always out of date.
Not that I don’t love dictionaries, nor do I think that even language not currently in common use is ever really out-of-date (Medieval Studies major, here) but that’s not what I came here to tell you about….
It’s academic suicide, but let’s check WikiPedia – it’s Up-to-Date, edited constantly, crowd-sourced and self-regulating. Just the thing for talking about language that is constantly being defined and changed, and used in different ways by different people.
And academic reputability aside, when want to find out about something we check Wikipedia first, and then start looking through it’s bibliography to figure out where to go next.
Allow me to demonstrate: Raise your hands, everybody. If you’ve used OED in the past 3 weeks, lower your hand. NOW, if you’ve used Wikipedia in the past 3 DAYS, lower your hand.
[A few people lower their hands for the OED. Almost no hands are left in the air after Wikipedia.]
In human sexuality, kinkiness or kinky (adjective), is a term used to refer to an intelligent and playful usage of sexual concepts in an accentuated, and unambiguously expressive form. Such expressions may represent a mature degree of social and sexual intelligence, wherein partners and prospective partners mutually communicate sexual understanding, interests, and tastes through outward and characteristic expressions such as gesture, dress, and conducive interaction.
In current usage, the term “kink” has instead come to refer to a range of objective and objectifying sexualistic practices ranging in degree from the playful to the paraphilic. These include spanking, bondage, dominance and submission, sadomasochism (BDSM) and sexual fetishism.
Kink sexual practices go beyond what are considered conventional sexual practices as a means of heightening the intimacy between sexual partners. Some draw a distinction between “kink” and “fetishism”, defining the former as enhancing partner intimacy, and the latter as replacing it. Because of its relation to “normal” sexual boundaries, which themselves vary by time and place, the definition of what is and is not kink varies widely as well. Practitioners are sometimes considered to be perverts by “outsiders.”
That’s a lot to take in. Let’s break it down:
Kink is “intelligent and playful usage of sexual concepts in an accentuated, and unambiguously expressive form” That’s good! And it indicates “ mature degree of social and sexual intelligence” That’s great! (go us!)But
Unfortunately “In current usage, the term “kink” has instead come to refer to a range of objective and objectifying sexualistic practices ranging in degree from the playful to the paraphilic. These include spanking, bondage, dominance and submission, sadomasochism (BDSM) and sexual fetishism.” So according to our up-to-date, crowd-sourced, techno-savvy reference here, “Kink” has come to be associated with just one group of people, which is not so good.
However: “Some draw a distinction between “kink” and “fetishism”, defining the former as enhancing partner intimacy, and the latter as replacing it.” So we have one good indication of what “Kink” might not be. But that’s not terribly clear, so let us make a brief digression to take a look at what “Fetish” and “Fetishism” are. Heading back to our hide-bound Merriam-Webster dictionary, we find
Main Entry: fe·tish
Variant(s): also fe·tich ˈfe-tish also ˈfē-
1 a : an object (as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner; broadly : a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence b : an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion : prepossession c : an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression 2 : a rite or cult of fetish worshipers 3 : fixation
So, leaving WikiPedia alone for now, and go with the academically accepted sources. These definitions include the word “Psychological,” “Pathological,” and “Necessary,” all of which I think we can generally agree are not integral to our definition of the word “Kink.” As the “Kink (Sexual)” article in Wikipedia says, Kink should “enhance emotional intimacy” Which is, of course, a good thing, and something that a pathological fetish does not do. So, why is it that:
“Practitioners are sometimes considered to be perverts by “outsiders.” What’s an outsider? According to the first definition in the Wikipedia article, anybody who takes the time to think and talk about sex in an intelligent way either has some Kinks or is Kinky. How can there be insiders and outsiders in that? That presupposes that being Kinky puts you in some sort of closed community, which goes back to the idea that Kink can be associated only with people interested in BDSM and similar activities. But even so, why is that community necessarily closed? Because of fear – of the law, of social judgement, of the pain that can come from owning up to one’s interests. All completely legitimate, but reducing Kink to that and that alone takes away the “Playful” nature. The idea that “practitioner are … considered perverts by “outsiders” either conflates Kink with BDSM and nothing else, or conflates it with Fetishism, both of which we see cannot be our definition of Kink. If we hold Kink to it’s definition as “a term used to refer to an intelligent and playful usage of sexual concepts” how can it become a pejorative that turns people into “perverts”?
Maybe perverts are people who’s “sexual practices go beyond what are considered conventional sexual practices as a means of heightening the intimacy between sexual partners.” What’s conventional sex? Wikipedia tells us it’s the same as “Vanilla Sex” and “Among heterosexual couples in the Western world, vanilla sex often refers to the missionary position.” but the “Vanilla Sex” page (to which the search “Conventional Sex” redirects) also says “The British Medical Journal defines vanilla sex between homosexual couples as “Sex that does not extend beyond affection, mutual masturbation, and oral and anal sex.” That’s a much wider definition! AND
Looking back at the “Kink (Sexual)” page, we see “Because of its relation to “normal” sexual boundaries, which themselves vary by time and place, the definition of what is and is not kink varies widely as well.” Now isn’t that telling? It turns out that we can’t give a consistent definition for “Normal,” “Conventional,” “Vanilla” sex, because it’s changing all the time – any definition we put down will become as quickly outdated as the dictionary we put it down in.
So we’ve pulled apart the Wikipedia definition, and the Merriam-Webster definition.
We know a little bit about what Kink isn’t – Kink isn’t Fetishism. It’s not pathological, and it doesn’t act as a replacement for emotional connection and intimacy.
We know as well about what Kink shouldn’t be – exclusionary, prejudicing. Kink is not BDSM and BDSM alone. In fact, there’s no reason that Kink should necessarily be opposed to conventional sex – think of it as Sex 201. A little bit more in-depth, perhaps. Requiring intelligence and thought, explicitly open and honest communication, and with any luck, provides lots of fun. One can do Kink just by talking, one can have a Kink just by knowing enough to know what it is that really gets your motor going.
Listen to WikiPedia, since you’re looking at it anyway: Kink is “Intelligent and playful usage of sexual concepts in an accentuated, and unambiguously expressive form.” And if not everybody can, under that definition, currently be called Kinky, then that’s the reason why the people who can be called Kinky need to get out there, get talking, and change the world – So that Kink can be For All.
- Kink On Tap – Changing Sexuality Podcasts One Sunday Evening at a Time
- Crowed-Sourcing Sorrow Management – Notes on Friendship
- My Mother and Other Miracles (Or: Wandering Out of the Closet)
- Almost certainly I will talk more about May. No big surprise, there, really…
- Awakened to find myself entirely unwilling to leave @maymaym's arms. Felt suddenly INCREDIBLY UNWELL, called work to say so. Lovely morning. #
- Saying another #goodbye to @maymaym at Logan #Airport, radio plays 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough.' Still hard, still totally worth it. #
- @maymaym Get to it today! It's just a few trips down to the basement and then it will be gone and you won't feel like you've just unpacked. in reply to maymaym #
- @jamesbcarp Fail Direct Message. Enjoy your out of city plans! in reply to jamesbcarp #
- @maymaym Oh, you're keeping the boxes for #fun, not 'cause you're lazy! How could I have misinterpreted? Of course I'll lock you in a #fort! in reply to maymaym #
- I'll have you know it did not get dark at 7:30 pm in the old days. Like, last month. (Remind me of this when it's getting dark at 5:00). #
- Just had amazing conversation w/ my #mom. #Sex, #BDSM, & more – she's a rockstar. Smart, understanding, interested w/out prying. I love her. #
- Sometimes it feels like I receive nothing, am forgiven nothing, make nothing count. Like other people is living and I am not-dying. Breathe. #
- Read in a kid's book about Mother Nature: "the mountains are her bones." #Remembered "45 Years" by Stan Rogers. Closed book, mourning #love. #
- Hey #noisebridge Just watched @maymaym's #Gender #Tech talk, from Providence. Amazing! Thanks! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Hey #noisebridge Has been noted that #Polyphasic #Sleep and #relationships don't jive. So true. (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Spent half a year trying to solve problems by #consensus. Glad others do it better. #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Amazed that @solidsnack just took a #question in a 5 minute pres. Well done, fella! #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- #Social tweeting keeps me up past my #bedtime. It's almost midnight year. Darn you #noisebridge! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Now have two more #friends #watching #noisebridge online. Thanks for streaming! We talk about ya! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- @mala describes apparent #carnage at #noisebridge. Wish I was there to see it! #maker #pres fun! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- #Blood, and #wine, and #life. That is all. #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- "I'm like a Steve Irwin of #emotional #hell. Um. Instead of #crocodiles." Amazing! #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- "This guy new how to #punctuate" BRILLIANT! I am for all puctuating. #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- @mala I would co-opt that project! I would be all over #5mof. W/ bells, and #humor! #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Need to pee, sleep. Can't… leave… #noisebridge! Darn you, @maymaym. Look what you do to me! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- I am suddenly very #confused. Is this a pres? Can i pee now? What am I missing? #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Ooh! The guy who is teaching @maymaym #ASL talks about #massage. Take notes, dear! #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Hey #noisebridge sudden internet #lag! Hope we get it back! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Lasting is good. I missed a few moments – what's going on? #Bones bad? #Fat bad?#noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Hey #noisebridge #poor streaming #audio transmutes 'break' to 'rape.' Confusion on the internets! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Hey #noisebridge, #massagedummy – and I mean this honestly – #amazing #mullet! You win, fella! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Hey #noisebridge good job adjusting the camera view! Thank you from the internets! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Hey #noisebridge non-tweeting online friends note "wikiwikilatexwiki …. bzzz.." #Audio #woes! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- "Any questions?" "Yeah!" Rock on, #noisebridge! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Goodbye @mala. Thanks for tweeting with me. #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- "Pay for anything, but not the #alcohol" Rock on, #noisebridge. Can't wait to see you in person! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Just so ya know, I introduced @maymaym to #Emperor #Norton. Happy #Birthday Sir! #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- "if you are a disbeliever in the #wave-nature of #light, here's your #proof." Rock! #noisebridge (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- Hey #noisebridge, you've been spectacular, but it is past my #East #Coast #bedtime. Thanks again! (noisebridge live > http://ustre.am/3x7u) #
- @maymaym Now to really bed. Thanks for call, livefeed, love. So glad I could enjoy w/ you. Hope to see #noisebridge in person in 3 weeks!<3 in reply to maymaym #
- @zacmakes Glad you made it to the train on time. Now-try to get some sleep somewhere along the way? Send my best to the 'rents & keep a bit. in reply to zacmakes #
- Slept #comforted by comforter, then discovered showers around 8:00 am mean #sunshine in the bathroom, sparkling wet skin. Good start to day! #
- Late morning in #NYC. Off to source breakfast, groceries. Later a #haircut, cooking, and 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High." Then maybe out? joy #
- Brooklyn Street fair. #Love #NYC. #
- #NYC in #September is lovely. Wish @maymaym was here to enjoy with me. #
- Am using my #camera at last. Next, iPhoto, flickr, and the #world! #
- @nikolasco That could be really cool! I will be in touch! in reply to nikolasco #
- @maymaym I WANT TO COLLABORATE!! ooh ooh, pick me, pick me! in reply to maymaym #
- Yarr! It be bettar #late than nevar, matey. (I be a wee piratical #monster. Ye savvy?) #
- @bewareleopard That is an amazingly good question. I believe Peter Lorre is his own nationality. He comes from the land of quiet and creepy. in reply to bewareleopard #
- @KFABos By talking to everybody who might be interested, and explaining what a smart, safe, place #KFA is, & how much their input will help. in reply to KFABos #
- At #kfabos. Great people, great venue, great excitement. We did the hard stuff, now for the #fun! #
- RecursiveKink says : "Being 'normal' is a fluid choice" Great point! Wish I'd known that in Junior High. #
- Failing to join #chatroom at #KFABOS http://tr.im/kfaboslive. Not sure that's a bad thing – how many ways can I really split my attention? #
- #KFABOS Fay talks about problems w/ #BDSM terminology, defining oneself & fitting into communities. Brilliant stuff – all from anal sex! #
- Success with #chatroom at http://tr.im/kfaboslive. I think. Anybody else in here? #
- Taking a stint timekeeping at #kfabos. Excited for the 3:40 #diversity discussion! #
- 9waters talks about #therapy, #kink, and fear of #judgement. So good to hear this! I've long wondered about this topic. #kfabos #
- At #kfabos I over hear someone say "it's kinda funny to hear people #talking so openly about #sex. It's kinda #cool" True, dude! It is! #
- Apparently Supeme Court says #discrimination is only prohibited against Immutable #Identity. A company could require makeup! Srsly? #kfabos #
- @eredien How depressing! Definitely something I want to look into. I'll need to know where "Those Unable to Put On Eyeliner Need Not Apply"! in reply to eredien #
- Listening to the difficult discussion of #kink and #political #correctness. So much #historical #context one might not be aware of. #kfabos #
- Up next, the long anticipated #Diversity #Discussion. Nothing else going on in that time slot – is that good or bad? It's necessary. #KFABos #
- #Sexwork panel is continuing into next slot. Fine – smaller #diversity group can engender #participation. More may come in, as well. #KFABOS #
- #KFABOS One presenter changed tag from "no recording" to "recording" for the #diversity #discussion: "because I think it's very important":) #
- #KFABOS Singling out people of minority groups does not #include, it forces #representation. Welcome without pressing, to make a safe space. #
- #KFABOS What're possible reasons for unbalanced #racial & #ethnic mix here? There's a wide range of #age, #gender, #orientation, #community. #
- #KFABOS Does prevalence of #geeks in #sexuality communities a contribute to the #lack of #racial #diversity? Sci-fi has a white demographic. #
- Facilitator asks "Is it bad that the #community is at the level of #diversity that it is?" Immediate answer "Yes." #KFABOS #
- @maymaym: "being open doesn't necessarily create an encouraging, welcoming environment" – just being #KFA does not indicate comfort. #KFABOS #
- #KFABOS @maymaym "What makes for #self-selection, what creates an #on-ramp?" How do we get more people first here, then involved? #
- #KFABOS Even the #Wiki – the tool created for everybody to use- can be a stumbling block to #inclusion. How do we #synthesize everybody? #
- KFABOS @bostonpup asks "How much diversity can we even tolerate?" Good question! If everything's a problem for somebody, what can work best? #
- #KFABOS Rachel says "There has to be #outreach, and there has to be outreach in #communities" – and between, as well! Say "You can do this!" #
- #KFABOS @bostonpup says "Each of us can now be, if they choose to be, an #ambassador of this #event." I would go further. We all SHOULD be! #
- #KFABOS #Personal #connections make the difference. #Reach out to those you know, #whoever they are. Just reach, and do your own small part. #
- #KFABOS #Diversity Things To Do: Talk to everyone. Don't assume interest or lack. Talk to those you want to bring. Answer questions on #KFA. #
- #KFABOS #Diversity Things To do Cont: Put your stuff on line, #Be an #ambassador. #Together, we can not only make events, but #better them. #
- Things are winding down at #KFABOS. A week of almost constant work – nobody said it would be #easy, they said it would be #worth it. It was. #
- My Indian neighbor (Bart) – the 1st flr Indian neighbor, not the 2cnd, just gave May and I some of what he made for dinner. Amazing! #