There’s a popular saying in the kink community: ‘Your kink is not my kink’, which is sometimes abbreviated to YKINMK. (I like that ‘kink’ is hidden in the acronym). Some people go so far to say YKINMKBYKIOK (Your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay.) [More info on ridiculous acronyms of that nature here.]
It’s a phrase that gets a great deal of play because there are a LOT of fetishes out there and even a variety of ways to practise the same ones. Kinky people like to specialise, is what I’m trying to say. They like to take something already esoteric and put leather and chains on it to make it their own.
However, all BDSM folks get thrown in together so if you’re going to hang with the group you either have to learn to respect that other people are going to do things that aren’t your bag or be a hypocrite and act like your kinks are ‘normal’ and everyone else is a perverted freak. And not the good kind.
So if you’re going to scare the normals but don’t want to offend your fellow pervos, then you’d better get cosy with the phrase (and the concept behind) ‘Your kink is not my kink’. As long as everyone is both consenting and adults—go crazy. Knock yourself out. Literally knock yourselves out, if you want. God knows, I’ve seen some things that will never leave me, but I support my fellow kinksters. I applaud their…pain tolerance. And imagination. And flexibility…
What was I talking about?
Oh right. The point of this essay was that it was possible a kink you thought was yours alone could be shared with others.
The community has such a variety of everything—getting into BDSM is like taking an intro class to taxonomy—that it’s easy to focus on the differences between your fetishes and what other people are into. As humans we naturally focus on differences rather than similarities—it’s what kept us alive when we had to spot the danger in the jungle. Unfortunately, it now makes holiday dinners a nightmare because some family members just won’t let go of how ‘different’ your new love is.
Sometimes we focus on the differences when there are more similarities. Sometimes we say ‘Your kink is not my kink’ when that may not necessarily be true.
The Beginning of the Revelation
It started after I published a post on FetLife entitled ‘Calling All Teacher’s Pets’:
Pageism is the desire to act as a page to a beautiful woman. The word first appeared in Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis.
Budding Pageists were probably Teacher’s Pets. I was. From age 12 onward I was the pet of my English teacher every year and would happily do errands unasked including washing the board, cleaning the erasers, grading papers, etc.
I think I chose those teachers because English was my best subject and they praised me. I only wanted to be appreciated, praised and to please the women I served.
This doesn’t seem to be a particularly well-known (or known at all) type of sub so it’s become my mission to find others like me. I know we’re out there. I know there are people who loved being teacher’s pet.
One of the responses came from a user I’ll call Kinkster1. Kinkster1 one rightly pointed out that there were other submissives in the world who had or desired a non-sexual relationship and weren’t interested in physical humiliation. Kinkster1 went on the say they couldn’t see how this kink would be limited to being a page to a beautiful woman.
I then quoted the original definition of pageism:
That comes from the original definition of pageism, which comes from Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis and I quote in Something of a Different Nature:
‘While his masochistic fantasies and acts were entirely of a coarse, sensual nature, his “pageism” consisted of the idea of being a page to a beautiful girl. His conception was perfectly chaste, but piquant; his relation to her that of a slave, but absolutely pure—a mere platonic submission. –Richard von Krafft-Ebing about Case 50 Mr Z.
To which Kinkster1 said Krafft-Ebing was referring to a specific case. That he was referring to that particular man’s pageism. Kinster1 didn’t have a problem with the word or concept ‘page’, but was curious as to why it was confined to the service of a beautiful woman. They wanted to know about submissives with the desire to serve in a non-sexual way, with no pain component in a D/s relationship to a man or even a woman who wouldn’t be considered conventionally beautiful.
My initial, interior reaction to this was, ‘No, you’re wrong. I know, because I was a born pageist and I know far more than you or anyone.’
Then I thought about it for three seconds and realised they had a really good point.
Thought Processes and Definitions
I’d been calling myself a pageist for twelve years and hadn’t questioned my definition. I had had no problem substituting certain aspects—for example, the original pageist (OP) was male and the original object of his desire was a ‘beautiful girl’.
I could easily see women being pageists even though the OP was male. Perhaps because, to my mind, pageists were secretarial-types and personal assistants and those tended to be females. Now I’d call them service-oriented submissives who specialise in secretarial duties.
But back to younger me. I wanted to page for an older, sophisticated woman rather than a ‘beautiful girl’ and had no difficulty switching those two aspects of the original definition, either. (I find older women to be elegant and intelligent which is beautiful, too. ‘Beautiful’ doesn’t have to mean young or perfectly symmetrical.)
The only part of the definition that was set in stone, to my mind, was that the D-type would be female. That was set because both the OP and myself were interested in women. I never examined this because no had asked me too.
Most D- or s-types in BDSM have both male and female versions (Doms/Dommes, Masters/Mistresses, baby girls/baby boys, etc) one of the exceptions is FemDom, but that proves the rule. BDSM is about being who you want to be and whom you want to worship and worshiping that person the way you want. It’s about giving consenting adults as much room to play—both in their fantasy-lives and in play-space—when they can find the time (and dungeons).
So it would only make sense for pageists to be able to serve men or women. And the concept of ‘beauty’ is completely up to the submissive.
Looking for Other Pageists
When I joined FetLife one of the first things I did was see if there were others like me on the site. To my surprise, there were a few people—fewer than ten—who listed it as one of their fetishes.
While writing this I checked again and this time there were only three of us (I’m certain there were a few more the first time I looked). One was male and one was female; one was listed as ‘into it’ and the other as ‘into everything to do with it’. Curious about their definitions I sent this message to them:
I’m working on an essay about pageism and saw that you listed it as one of your interests. As there are currently only three of us with this fetish I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering a few questions. You may answer briefly or at length.
How did you first hear of pageism?
How do you define pageism?
How would the ‘ideal’ pageist behave?
If you’d like to add any other information, please do so.
Thank you for your input.
It’s been a month since I sent the message and I’ve received no response so if you consider yourself a pageist (or if you have any thoughts on the matter) please leave a comment.
For all I know, the people on Fet can only get turned on listening to Jimmy Page music and they had no clue what I was talking about.
It’s hard when you’re the only person who’s heard of your kink. On to the next step.
A Working Definition of Pageism
What would being a pageist entail based on the source material and the BDSM tradition of being open to as many genders on either side of the slash as possible?
It’d be some sort of service-oriented submission. The OP had no sexual desire so specifically non-sexual service-oriented submission. The sub could be male or female, as could the Dominant.
Definitions of a ‘Page’ [from Merriam-Webster]
 A (male) attendant to a knight who was in training to become a knight or was a youthful attendant to a person of rank in the medieval period.
 A page could also be someone (male or female, any age) employed to deliver messages, assist patrons, serve as a guide or similar duties.
 Pages can also be a boy serving as an honorary attendant at a formal function, such as a wedding.
As I said earlier, when I first read the word I thought of a sort of secretary. Someone who ran little errands here and there. It was more about filing and organising than doing household chores. But that was just me and, obviously, has nothing to do with the Original Pageist. What it meant to him we’ll never know. ‘Service-oriented submission’ generally refers to submissives who do housekeeping sorts of things chauffeur, valet and cooking. The OP could have meant that, though it seems a different word would have been employed.
Summation: One Life’s Goal
If ‘pageism’ and ‘pageist’ became its own sub-type (heh heh) of service-oriented submissive that focused on secretarial duties—and I don’t know why it shouldn’t, there are far more specific fetishes with their own names—I could die happy. I would have brought a new term to popularity (even if it was within a small community) and connected a group of people I know exist. Imagine the ‘Pageist and Proud’ merch!
Because if you want to give secretarial service to a D-type, my kink could definitely be your kink.