I was recently rebuked for promoting «an expensive idea of sex, only available to exceptionally affluent people». The person who said this is, of course, an idiot. Specifically, he was under the mistaken impression that BDSM can only be experienced in secret as a high-end commercial service – and he obviously had not even the slightest clue about what I actually preach.
Toys, clothing, events and pleasantly deviant stuff in general don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. However, that interaction had me thinking… especially when, a little later, I found myself discussing polyamory with a friend, and he matter-of-factly observed that it was «a privilege, not for everyone». And, come to think of it, kink does have some hidden costs – just of an entirely peculiar nature. Evidently, it was time to consider the question further.
The privilege of living erotically
The sort of privilege my friend was referring to was only indirectly monetary, and more concerned with a quality of life issue. Talk with any sexologist, or just think of your own experience, and you will agree that serenity is a key factor for a good sex life. People can hardly feel in the mood for love if they are worrying about serious threats to their well-being, or of their loved ones. It doesn’t have to be global terrorism or being maimed by a tiger, either: securing a reliable job is enough, and so are many other problems that are unfortunately becoming more and more common in our troubled times. Making the rent, affording good healthcare… if you are wondering whether you’ll be able to pay your children’s tuitions a few months from now, looking good in a latex catsuit might in fact not be among your top priorities.
Just to drive the concept home: only slightly below practical medical conditions, anxiety is the leading cause worldwide for sex-related disorders ranging from erectile dysfunction, lack of desire, inability to orgasm and so on.
Even if you lead a blessed existence free of material worries, time is another precious resource for lots of people. For extreme workaholics, sure, but… parents too, for example, whose kids legitimately demand attention – or anyone pursuing higher education, or even cherishing a non-erotic hobby. Do you know how many hours of practice it takes to become actually proficient in bondage?
One of the frequently reported reasons for the success of my Sadistique BDSM party proved to be, improbable as it may sound, its odd Sunday afternoon slot, simply because it allows people to be back home in time for dinner without messing up their working and family schedules!
Managing emotional stamina
Going back to polyamory, my personal experience lead me to believe that – besides its many positive aspects – that sort of relationship has a greatly unreported drawback: it leaves so little “me time” for self-care and for yourself in general! The need to sensibly managing your emotional stamina is in fact something that all the explorers of extreme eroticism should take into account, on the pain of easily burning out.
This is true both for hardcore kinksters and vanilla fellows, and it even becomes paramount in the sad case of those leading a double life to cover an illicit affair, or because they somehow believe that unusual erotic choices must be kept separate from their regular identity. Due to its very intensity, any sort of true passion can quickly turn from thrilling and adrenalinic to exhaustingly demanding.
And that is the true privilege of kink: affording serenity, time and peace of mind enough to operate one’s sex life on sufficient mental energy to fully enjoy it – even when your preferred practices require much more setting up and aftercare than “normal” sex.
I am well aware that this easier said than done, yet luckily there are several tricks you can use to rebalance the circumstances to your advantage even if you think you are too stressed for comfort. Let’s see them.
How to reclaim your passion
First in the list is, inevitably, the same tip you keep finding in every such recipe for happiness: take care of yourself. This is not an egotistic call to narcissism, nor it means that you should stop caring for others too. Fact is, however, that it is easy for any decent person to slip into giving their loved ones so much priority as to forget their own well-being. So make a point of treating yourself well, of taking enough rest, and time for you alone – stop spreading yourself too thin, and you will find out that you will also have much more energy to give back to your partner and to make them happier.
Schedule your kink
Yes, sure: we have all heard the romantic notion of «passion must be spontaneous». Which is fine, but as I often point out, dancing and singing are wonderfully spontaneous fun too… yet if you put some preparation into them, they come out way nicer.
Deciding with your partner on definite times for your erotic encounters won’t destroy spontaneity, but will in fact make them better, since you will know that you can just focus on pleasure, instead of a thousand distractions. You already do that with your work, study, friends and everything else – so why shouldn’t you give your sexual fulfillment the same dignity of those other aspects of your life?
I hate talking about mindfulness, but this really is a case in which even a shorter but actual quality time will beat hoping for the perfect opportunity to magically appear (it won’t) or trying to snatch a quickie around your busy calendars.
Not only that, but having set aside those hours for your partner and yourself, you will also better enjoy the time leading to your date. Just like when you were a teenager, you will find yourself fantasizing and preparing for the meeting, thinking up little surprises for your loved ones, making yourself sexier and generally savoring the expectation.
Nurture your cerebrality
If you are reading this, you most probably are not the kind of person who thinks of ‘sex’ just as a mechanical back-and-forth act. However, you still may underestimate the truth in that saying that goes «your main sexual organ lies between your ears» – and no, it is not the nose.
As soon as you give proper attention to the mental aspects of eroticism, you find yourself free of all physical limitations. Your passion can continue out of the bedroom in countless ways, playing with your partner also with words, fantasies and small symbols. Say, trussing them up in the most spectacular kinbaku session remains wonderful, of course, but now you can also feel a deep thrill every time you see that simple string bracelet on their wrist – simply because you tied it close yourself in a very special moment, and you both know that it has the exact same meaning of the coolest slave collar.
And what about turning your boring supermarket run into an exciting kinky game, by browsing the aisles for items you’ll later use as sex toys? After all, some people can even turn having no sex into an erotic game, and I am still getting Christmas cards from a nice couple I coached in transforming their dreadful daily public transit commute into a pretty hot erotic experience…
The mental side of kink is also a wonderful realm to explore when you are in a long-distance relationship, or unpartnered. Browsing porn websites can be fun for a while, but exploring and learning about new forms of pleasure tends to prove much more beneficial – be it online or through some good books on the subject. The basic rule with sex is that the more you know, the better it gets.
Yes, of course kink is best experienced in the flesh, just like any contact sport – and as sports media prove every day, people can find their fun also in ruminating about their passions from a distance.
Explore the sensuality of little things
Fetishists are like poets: they take sublime pleasure from details most people don’t even notice. Another important trick is to follow their example in every aspect of your daily life. I guess we can all agree that playing whatever erotic game you like the best with your partner is an unsurpassable experience – however, most of your time, you are bound not to have the opportunity to do that due to common circumstances. In all of those cases you can just resign yourself to switch your libido off… or you can turn it to other kinds of stimuli.
The first example that comes to mind is focusing on the sensuality of food. Eating is something you have to do at least two times a day, so why not making it a little sexier? Put some attention into appreciating not only the taste, but the texture, the combinations, the cooking process, the choice of dishes that go into the experience of sharing a meal together or creating one for your lover, and even such a mundane event will give you a little kick.
The same goes for appreciating art with your partner, or exercising together, or more generally for enjoying whatever good sensation you can experience together in a celebration of your being sensual creatures, happy little islands of pleasure in the middle of the indifferent seas of everyday routine.
Surround yourself with kinky friends
The last tip for increasing your opportunities of enjoying kink is, logically, to reduce your vanilla obligations. I am not suggesting to go all out and leave your day job to open a sex dungeon, nor to stop every other social activity, of course. However, you may want to spend more time around other kinksters, if only to be able to openly talk about an important part of your personality. And I mean it: even between sexual explorers, not all interactions have to be erotic.
Many times it is not even just a matter of having to keep your interests hidden, but of attitude. Most people outside of the alternative sexuality scene are unfortunately unused to how radically unfiltered kinksters commonly are in expressing their feelings and vulnerabilities, or around concepts like tolerance, equality, empathy, consent, negotiation and so on that the latter have generally interiorized on a very deep level. The different approaches are both fine, but often having to tightrope between the two can feel offputting, or downright exhausting.
These reasons make it advisable to expand your kink-friendly social circle. The best way to go about it is to seek new friends at the numerous munches, workshops, parties, events and festivals dedicated to every sort of deviant practice under the sun. I haven’t listed online venues because they are customarily overflowing with questionable characters who usually steer very clear of live meetings, where their problematic behavior would be easily spotted and shunned.
Not everyone you’ll meet will be a candidate for friendship either, but with time you will surely bond with the right people to go shopping with, invite over for dinner, have serious talks, take a vacation together, or do whatever you are used to do with your friends. With the important difference that this time you’ll be able to express yourself fully, without worrying about judgment or inappropriateness. That will be infinitely relieving, believe me.
And there you go. Erotic happiness is a process, and the above suggestions can really help you attain a more privileged place on the path toward sensual fulfillment. If you want to learn more about it, my books and the rest of this site will provide you with plenty of further information. In the meantime have fun, and let me know if you put this article to good use.