Manically cross-checking to ensure that your search history is finally cleared of every flogging and every caning or suddenly having no faith in technology’s ability to truly remain incognito: People will go to any length to avoid the embarrassment of enjoying kink. Interestingly, it’s not the idea that one consumes porn that one feels the need to hide but the kind or category of porn, especially the moment it starts deviating from the missionary position.
The anxiety of being caught watching BDSM is no different from the anxiety one feels when telling friends about a new crush. “Oh, but he looks better in person!”, “His meme game isn’t strong but I swear he’s hilarious when you talk to him.” Crushes are people we aren’t even emotionally invested in (yet), so why do we care about what our friends think of them? It’s because of what we want, we perceive as an extension of us. And this applies to kinky porn as well. We’re scared of what it says about us, we are scared of the fact that these are our innermost cravings and desires, that this is who we are. We’re not only scared of how others see us but also of how we see ourselves, we’re scared of being a certain person. And this fear magnifies when how we feel is in conflict with how we think.
Sometimes, the brain just can’t accept what the clitoris wants. One could detest the word ‘slut’ otherwise, but love being called one during sex. What’s offensive in daylight is often a turn-on at night. And while there is definitely a context of consent to any healthy form of kink and acts like choking and slapping cannot be seen in isolation, consent is not the whole answer to why we want something, it’s not the answer to why we crave something. I think that’s the hauntingly beautiful role sex plays in our lives because it is the place where we confront the distinction between what we believe and what we feel.
It is the undeniability of the desire, (people will literally have sex even if there’s a risk of getting stoned to death) that makes sex as scary as it is wonderful. Sex scandalises the very proprieties and ideas of self we hold so dear while also feeling good enough to incentivise us to navigate through those same discomforting ideas and get to the G(ood) spot. Sex is frightening because it betrays us. In an era of intellectual dissection and analysis of every topic, we think we have a certain degree of control over who we are, we think our sense of self arises from all that we know, we think that our thoughts can control what we do or do not desire. We think we can choose to want or not want something. But that’s exactly how it does not work. Ultimately, it is the dominance of the subconscious that manifests in yearning and in longing.
It is notable how fantasies often play around concepts of morality that are borrowed from the traditional cultural fabric. For instance, what underlies the ‘good girl’ fantasy? It entails punishing a girl during sex for liking sex or craving it, judged by indicators such as having an engorged clitoris or a wet pussy.
It seems rather counterintuitive to shame the girl for liking sex as a way to further arouse her, but there’s a reason it works. The ‘good girl’ trope in role-plays exploits the archaic idea of how a woman is not supposed to want sex, and the notion of how in order to be a ‘good woman’, a woman must never want sex for her own physical gratification but only for the purpose of pleasing a man. The moment (in role-play) the man is able to make her feel like she isn’t the one seeking sex she feels she is fulfilling her role by serving only his needs. When she is punished for enjoying something she isn’t supposed to, the appeal lies in the justice of getting what she deserves (the punishment) for betraying the rule (women not desiring sex).
The spirit behind it is the idea: am I finally being what a woman is supposed to be?
A lot of forms of kink revolve around power, specifically the distortions in its proportions. There is a whole spectrum to kink and the spectrum is so wide that most of us fall somewhere in it. It isn’t just about chains and straps in sex dungeons, it could be something as simple as liking it when a guy takes your hair by his fists. Cravings for power distortions are much more relatable for an average individual than one might realise. And like in every other discussion, a discussion about sexual kink too will reek of naivete if it doesn’t take into account the politics of gender. The overwhelming overlap of women with submission and men with dominance has more to it than just men being ‘on top’. Seizing sovereignty in a sexual scenario is quite territorial in nature. To claim and to be claimed both give the same kind of comfort, that we’re someone else’s. For instance, tying your partner’s hands during sex and being able to restrain them is attached to the thrill of owning them, even if only in fantasy or even if only for a while.
There is a romance to that, because it screams the message, “You and only you can do that with me because I love you and I’m yours, just yours.” After all, we are all just frazzled souls looking to belong to other humans. While we try to understand and get to the heart of these fantasies, the important thing to remember is: desires don’t cease to exist just because you can’t make sense of them. No logic or its absence thereof can ever invalidate something that has been felt. In fact, I think it’s comforting that there’s at least one part of life which is ruled by the subconscious and there is peace in the knowledge that this has already been determined for us and it’s not something that needs to be built and established. It is an exercise in futility to try and tamper with these desires. Desires arise from within, what happens on the outside is merely the manifestation.
Let sexuality be outside the realm of your control. Let your fantasies betray you.
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