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The short answer is : "for most people, no, but taking stock may be useful."
Esther Perel says: “the first primary erogenous zone is between the ears.” Indeed our imagination, our fantasy, feeds our erotic life, the force behind our desires, and it drives us to sexual activities. We all have fantasies and desires. And some of our fantasies are really weird – even to ourselves!
Actually, our sexual fantasies are a way for the mind to transform painful experiences into life energy. They are a survival mechanism, and a very efficient one! They are necessary to keep us sane and well-behaved in real life. Shaming them, or trying to suppress them, is actually harmful to our sanity!
Mistaking those fantasies for actual desires is equally insane.
1. The difference between "kink" and "fantasy"
There are three ways (actually, two and a spectrum) our erotic fantasies manifest:
- Things that we really want to actually make true and that we like when they happen. These are actual “desires”.
- Things that are “pure fantasy”, destined to stay in our head and never put into practice. Often, we masturbate to scenarios that we would be absolutely revolted about in real life! Those “pure fantasies” are very far from our real sex life, or from actual desires. They are our inner transgression, and a mechanism of survival against past abuse.
- Things which we fantasize about, and we may wish to try, but we are not sure how much we would like them. Once tried, they will fall into one of the two other categories, but for now they are separate - "exploration ground".
A “kink” is an actual desire, a practice that one actually enjoys in sex (and that most others would find unpleasant).
Not all our fantasies are actual desires. On the contrary - many are our nightmares. And the common media trope "if you are not satisfied, just try to add some kink" is stupid, untrue, and harmful. Kink will enhance your satisfaction only if it is your actual desire. Enacting practices that are NOT an actual desire for either partner will not only be painful, but may even be traumatising - and may harm the relationship.
However, exploring and enacting your actual desires, including "kinks", is the best way to unleash entire dimensions of shared pleasure - as long as everyone involved is happy about it.
Kinks are a healthy expression of our erotic.
However, a kink is something that you should NOT do without previous, explicit, SPECIFIC consent from BOTH parties. Consent means that all parties involved know and choose what is happening and are really enjoying it.
Any kink without previous enthusiastic consent is assault, aggression, abuse, or even rape.
2. But what is a Kink, actually?
Anything that could be considered aggressive in other circumstances is either a kink or abuse – including things that may be considered “common” or “normal” because we see them in porn, such as spanking, or insults! (Which makes communicating about sex a little difficult, because we have so few language options). Many people like some kinky things, and everyone has their own tastes. Just make sure beforehand that you are on the same page.
While a majority of people want to occasionally try a practice that is a bit "on the edge", it's only a minority that really likes domination/submission practices, sadomasochistic games around pain, or intense practices of restrictions of movement (what is grouped under the umbrella "BDSM", those things that we imagine with whips, ropes, handcuffs, etc.).
People in actual BDSM are adamant on consent ("50 shades" is far from the truth). Which means that those who have very strange and apparently painful practices with dreadful toys are usually NOT in any kind of abuse. On the other hand, slapping one's girlfriend's ass without asking her IS abuse (just like most porn stuff is). Just like everywhere else, consent changes everything: if I love spiders, I will be delighted that you put a tarantula in my hand, if I am phobic of them, putting a tiny orb weaver on my trousers is abuse.
To give an example that will feel relevant to men: a couple of years ago, I had casual sex with a woman I had just met. At one point, she offered a fellatio. A few seconds in, she nibbled on my bare glans with her teeth. She freaking BIT me! It was incredibly painful. That was her kink - it was abuse to me. Her bite was probably light, there was no blood, not even a mark - but it took me several days before I could feel desire in my penis again. I jerked off the bed in pain, and was unable to continue. She just laughed it off, commenting that now she knew how sensitive I was. Her “fun” was traumatic to me.
My reaction, however, is also interesting: I did not tell her on the spot that what she did was abusive - which it was! I stopped the interaction on the spot, and I never allowed her in my life again. Many women will react to painful or humiliating practices the way I did: consider it offensive, lose all desire on the moment (and for some time afterwards), and put the author of the offence on their “never again” list.
So, if you get in bed with someone, I strongly advise having a talk about their turn-ons and turn-offs.
3. So how do I know if I need more kink in my sex life?
Jaiya has formalized five “erotic blueprints”. Here is a summary:
- Sexual: enjoys genital stimulation, penetration, sexuality, frequent orgasms. Direct touch and stimulation is key here.
- Sensual: loves stimulation of the 5 senses: sensual touch, perfume, music, gourmet dinner... the environment is important.
- Energetic: revels in anticipation, space, taking time, and spiritual connexion... They can get pleasure with or without touch.
- Kinky: aroused by taboo, transgression, impact, and things that are usually unpleasant to others – domination/submission, playing with pain (sadomasochism)...
- Shapeshifter: needs all of these to get really happy - can adapt to any partner but is hard to please.
Most of us express ALL of those, but in different shapes and intensities. Indeed, many of us express all of those in our lives, sometimes at different moments of the same interaction. However, most of us have one or two dominants: practices that we prefer, or that we need to be sexually satisfied. Jaiya's website offers a free test to see which is your dominant blueprint (follow the link).
Knowing what you enjoy most, and what your partner enjoys most, is incredibly useful in order to communicate and to ensure mutual satisfaction. That is an important matter for mutual satisfaction in a relationship, and of course, knowing your partner’s preferences is among the first steps into creating your own interaction.
However, very few people are completely hermetic to one or more blueprints. Many people, probably most, have some kinky practice they like or would like - desires or "exploration fantasies", or even things they actually practice and do not consider kinky (but are transgressive to other people).
4. Now what?
First things first : explore your sexual fantasies, and try to understand if they are actually just "imaginary" or if you want to try and make them real.
Try to discuss them with a partner. Never try to force your fantasy upon a partner - and never let them try to convince you to try something that makes you uncomfortable.
Next article will be about trying those kinky fantasies for real: follow the link.
But the first MANDATORY thing is to make sure what is an actual desire and what should stay in the closet of your secret mental life. Enacting a scenario that is not truly a desire may bring more harm than pleasure, even to the point of trauma.
And, whenever you try something that may be emotionally challenging, or physically painful, take a lot of safety precautions!
5. A few Important notes:
"Fifty Shades" is not a good introduction to BDSM. It is an abusive, unsafe relationship. Most people in the BDSM scene really care about consent and respect, and hate the movie and book.
Whatever your blueprint is, giving orgasms to your partner is not only a matter of blueprint! You skills will transfer from one scenario to the other, even though there are matters of compatibility. I recommend honing your skills, your listening, your attention;
A common media trope is that if your sex life is unsatisfying, just add some kink – this is of course untrue and harmful. In fact, most serious kinky people will make sure you only venture into things that are in your actual “desire” spectrum (which is a good way to see how reliable they are).
Another common trope is asking “are you boring or open-minded?” (Or using "vanilla" in a derogatory tone to mean: "not kinky"). This is most often manipulative. If someone tries this on you, they are trying to shame you into trying their stuff, with no regard for your actual desire. Big red flag. Flee.
Actually, no one blueprint is more or less prone to eliciting pleasure and orgasms. Go with your preference, be sure that you feel respected and respect your partner, refine your mutual understanding and your own awareness, and explore what truly make you both happy and orgasmic. This is where the size of your expertise really matters.
Had you already pondered the difference between kink and “pure fantasy”?
Do you know where your erotic blueprint is leaning?
Do you have special kinks, or fantasies that you may wish to carry out without being sure?