Kinky

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Kinky

The term kinky refers to any deviant or unusual sexual preference or activity. Originally designating something that is bent, twisted, or otherwise abnormal, kinky took on a sexual connotation in the early twentieth century. As an adjective, kinky can refer to a person, object, activity, or sexuality, so that one may be a kinky man or woman, wear kinky outfits, engage in kinky acts, or have a kinky sexual lifestyle. Kinky sex is always defined in contrast to the social, cultural, and historical norms of a period, and certain kinky practices—ranging from anal sex to polygamy—have been explicitly illegal. The appeal of kinkiness is as much mental as physical: The mental awareness that one is engaging in deviant or even illegal sexual behavior heightens the physical pleasure. Early uses of the term refer especially to homosexuality, but over the years the concept of kinkiness has referred to sex among and between lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transvestites, transsexuals, and heterosexuals. Some define kinky sex as anything that occurs outside the bounds of marriage or is not focused on reproduction, so that seeking out specific sexual activities and/or partners purely for pleasure is deviant and kinky. Perhaps the most famous kinky text is the Indian classic from the fourth century ce, the Kama Sutra, where various sexual positions are depicted and described according to the physical, emotional, and spiritual pleasures they produce.

Most definitions of kinky sex refer to sexual practices grouped under the acronym BDSM, shorthand for sexual acts that include bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism. All of these sexual activities rely on an explicit power dynamic in which each person plays a distinct role, and they often include props such as whips, handcuffs, ropes, leather outfits, and other pain or torture toys. In addition to BDSM activities, kinky sex includes group sex, fetishism, spanking, infantilism, watersports, swinging, and much more not typically accepted by mainstream culture.

In the United States, the nickname for the kinky subculture is the scene, and individuals may search out and join the scene through the Internet and through physical gatherings of scenesters. Through web sites, listservs, and message boards, the Internet has been responsible for creating a community among individuals who previously felt their sexual preferences were their own immoral perversions. In addition, the Internet has helped individuals find others who share their passions, a particularly difficult task in rural or sparsely populated areas.

It is important for those into kinky sex to practice some caution in choosing partners and sexual events. Much of the pleasure of kinky sex comes from the strong power dynamic enacted in situations of, for instance, domination and submission; senses are heightened by the presence or illusion of total power, which often produces a feeling of danger. Those who seek to be submissive, who get pleasure from being tied up or humiliated, must choose dominant partners who wield their power safely. All participants must also agree to a certain number of ground rules before engaging in kinky sex to avoid overstepping anyone's personal safety limits or placing anyone in real physical danger. Taking these steps helps differentiate kinky sex from abusive sex.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brame, Gloria G. 2000. Come Hither: A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex. New York: Fireside.

Midori. 2005. Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink; Educational, Sensual, and Entertaining Essays. Los Angeles: Daedalus Publishing.

Moser, Charles, and J. J. Madeson. 1996. Bound to Be Free: The SM Experience. New York: Continuum.

                                          Michelle Veenstra