Are You Secretly Into BDSM?

You may have heard the old adage, “Erotic is using a feather, but kinky is using the whole damn chicken!” Although that saying is cute and giggle-worthy, it isn’t particularly helpful if you’re trying to figure out if BDSM is right for you.

What if I told you that you might already be kinky? That’s right, you may have been dabbling in BDSM for years without even knowing it. In fact, many of us do it often but don’t have a clue. So how can you tell if you’re unknowingly into kink? Before we figure that out we need to unlearn some assumptions about what kink is and isn’t.

Vanilla vs. Kinky

Most of us believe vanilla and kinky are polar opposites. If you’re one you can’t be the other and regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall, your side is “good” and the other is “bad.” In reality, the line between vanilla and kinky is blurry. What each of us considers kinky or vanilla is subjective based upon what society tells us and on our own personal viewpoints.

By definition kink is classified as any unconventional sexual practice or turn-on. It’s safe to say most of us peg traditionally conventional/vanilla sex as lights out, missionary position, with no feather or chicken anywhere in sight. On the flipside, the majority of us agree activities like spanking, bondage, and roleplay games fall in the kinky camp. But what about all the other things in the middle?  

How do we classify anal play, oral sex, dirty talk, using sex toys, being commanding in the bedroom, assuming a passive role during sex, a smack on the ass, or using a blindfold? These acts may be considered components of vanilla sex to some people and as wild as swinging by the chandelier to others. How do we collectively decide what’s kinky and what isn’t? We can’t. There is no one-size-fits all definition of kink because it’s too subjective. It’s likely you’ve done at least one of the things I just mentioned. Does that mean you’re kinkier than you thought? Perhaps.

Kink vs. BDSM

Just like there isn’t a universally agreed upon distinction between vanilla and kink, the grey area between kink and BDSM is even murkier. In fact, many non-vanilla people regard them as one in the same and use the terms interchangeably.

I can’t count the number of times someone has come to me for advice with this kind of question: “How can I tell my partner I want to get just a little kinky in the bedroom? I’d really like it if they’d talk dirty to me, tug my hair, hold me down kind of forcefully, or maybe even use a blindfold. Oh but, I don’t want to do any of that weird BDSM stuff. That’s over the top and way too freaky for me!”

That’s when I break it to them that what they described actually is considered BDSM.

What is BDSM exactly?

BDSM is an acronym that stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. Technically that’s BDDSSM but the simplified BDSM isn’t as much of a mouthful!

One popular misconception about BDSM is that practitioners have to enjoy all the letters of the acronym to be “doing BDSM.” I often hear people say, “I’m interested in some aspects of BDSM but I’m not into pain so I guess it’s not for me.” It turns out if you’re only interested in the B (bondage), for example, and that’s all you do– you’re still practicing BDSM.

Another misconception is the only way to do BDSM is to emulate what went on in Christian Grey’s red room of pain. If role playing that type of character turns you on, then that’s a wonderful place for you to start. That  isn’t your only option, however. BDSM doesn’t have to be mean, commanding, and dark. You’re not required to call anyone Sir or Mistress, wear leather, kiss anyone’s boots, punish your lover because they’ve been bad, or act out any other tired BDSM stereotype. Just because that’s the only flavor of BDSM we see in the media does not mean it’s the only option available to us.

Imagine this kind of scene:

I lightly tie my partner’s hands to the bed posts and gently tickle him with a feather until we both collapse into a fit of giggles. After, I playfully tease him with my body and the promise of sex acts. The catch is, he has to earn each nibble, kiss, and more by giving correct answers to my silly riddles. When he answers wrong he gets another tickle. I’m also wearing a baseball jersey and yoga pants . . . until they come off during the riddle part of our sexy scene.

That doesn’t sound very 50 Shades of Grey but it’s still very much BDSM. What’s more is that scene actually embodied every letter of the acronym– bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and the tickling is a lighter, more humorous form of sadomasochism.

It’s important to realize BDSM is defined by acts you are performing & the power dynamic between you and you partners, not by the flavor of your play. BDSM can be silly, serious, sensual, loud, quiet, intense, playful, centered around sex, or not include sex at all. It’s unconventional erotic play that can be as mild or intense as you and your partners desire.

So, are you kinky?

Now that’s we’ve reframed kink and BDSM, think back on some of your past sexual experiences or fantasies. Do some of those things fall under the BDSM umbrella? If so, congratulations, you’re kinky . . . even if you have no desire to ever step foot in the red room of pain.

Wow, I AM kinky! What now?

Visit sexpert.com regularly! This is my first article in a series about BDSM for sexpert.com. My future writings will help guide you on your kinky journey. We’ll get into the nitty gritty of BDSM and cover topics like: how to talk to your partner, negotiation, how to figure out if you are submissive or dominant, play safety, BDSM tools, advanced play, and a whole bunch more. If there’s something you’d like to see in a future article please let me know in the comments.

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Sunny Megatron is a sexuality educator, sex and relationship writer, media personality, and pleasure products expert. She’s also the host and executive producer of the groundbreaking, sex-positive Showtime original television series, SEX with Sunny Megatron.

Her approachable demeanor and infectious humor puts audiences at ease in her sell-out sexuality workshops and university guest lectures. Named one of the 6 most savvy sexologists in North America, her work has been featured in Cosmo, Playboy, Jezebel, Buzzfeed, and CNN. Sunny’s popular sex ed youtube channel features sex tips, tours of interesting sexy places, and plenty of reviews of the latest pleasure toys.

Recently nominated for XBIZ 2016 Sexpert of the Year, Sunny’s passion is helping people become their authentic, sexual selves by learning to overcome shame and shed inhibitions. As a lifestyle BDSM enthusiast, much of her work centers around normalizing alternative sexual practices and ending sexual stigma.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Loved the article, look forward to the rest and eagerly anticipate the path these articles will put me and my Mr. on.

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