Accept everyone's lifestyle — kinks and all

Kinks aren't gross, but shaming others for them is

College is notoriously known as time for exploration, both sexually and emotionally. We quickly learn how truly bizarre people are. What is even more exciting is that we connect with people over these peculiarities and oddities.

If abnormalities allow us to connect with others, it makes no sense to ridicule them. This is especially true when it comes to sex and sexuality, one of the most intimate facets of ourselves. Kinks are sexual or lifestyle preferences that may not be normative ideals of sex or personalities. 

Kink shaming it still commonplace. Kinks are kept in the corner of peoples' lives, stigmatized despite being a totally normal part of sexuality. As long as adults are consenting and respectful, kinks can be normal and healthy.

“Kink shaming is about having judgment around someone else’s sexual interests. It's designed to create shame around sexual interests that are not considered ‘vanilla,’" said Kim Glenn, a sex and relationship therapist. “In my professional experience, kinks are extremely normal.”

Kink shaming only creates more shame and secrecy within our lives. While it may not be the best idea to talk to everyone we meet about kinks, we should be able to openly and authentically communicate about this with our partners.

"Anything that appears different or is misunderstood can create fear, which is a catalyst to destructive behavior,” Glenn said. “Sharing you kinks with your partner can create more physical, sexual and emotional intimacy with your partner." 

Relationships are all about intimacy, not just sexually but emotionally as well. Without intimacy, relationships are unfulfilling. Thus, if we create a culture where it's not safe to share your kink with someone you trust intimately, we are setting up unhealthy attitudes about relationships and sexuality.

Kink shaming simply stunts the conversations we could be having. It makes us feel ashamed of our sexuality, something we should actually be celebrating. It hinders our sexual development and stops us from experiencing emotional and sexual liberation and growth that comes with college.

If we do not feel free to explore our sexuality in college, we may connect guilt and shame to sex. This will ultimately lead to unhealthy sex lives and relationships.

Kink shaming serves no positive purpose. It does not produce new ideas or open up positive dialogues. Instead, it simply embarrasses people and perpetuates negative attitudes about sex.

Just because something looks different doesn’t automatically mean it is weird or wrong. Of course, in all of our relationships, consent and respect are exceptionally important, and there are some instances where kinks are not okay. However, if a kink does not hurt anyone, it should be expressed without fear of ridicule in a relationship.

Opening the conversation about kinks simply creates a more authentic and positive culture surrounding sex.

We need to foster a sense of authenticity in our conversations with our partners. If we can begin to shut down kink shaming, we will be able to facilitate more positive sex culture and positive sex lives as a whole.


Reach the columnist at sljorda4@asu.edu or follow @skyjordan4 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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