Coming in Through the Library: The Three Ways to Discover Kink, Two Ways to Experience Life & How They Intersect
I often compare kink to Narnia, where, at first glance, it appears to be a wardrobe full of leather, rubber and latex, but if you push through, there’s an entire world of wonders you couldn’t have imagined.
Sometimes I think it’s a bit closer to the building from Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, where one decadent, lavishly decorated room leads into another, each deeper and darker in hue. Guests can progress as far as they’d like, but at the centre… Actually, it’d be a hell of an idea of a theme-night at a dungeon. Without the piece de resistance.
Perhaps it’s a combination of the two. Not quite so whimsical as Narnia—not quite so dire as Red Death.
I envision kink as having specific rooms, but, unlike Red Death, there are only three and they are connected in a way to allow a person to move freely amongst all three.
A person can begin their journey in any of the three rooms, which are:
The Three Ways To Enter BDSM
- The Bedroom. Someone swats someone on the butt during sex or someone tries some scarves or whatever. Next thing you know, kink is happening.
- The Dungeon. A person knows what BDSM is and they run full-tilt into the dungeon and throw themselves at any and everything that will allow them to be kinky the way they want to be. You know, frenzy. This happens to both tops and bottoms and doesn’t have just to do with activities—it can also be power exchange.
- The Library. People who read a lot (not fiction) actual information—education, theory. Forums, books, articles. These are the Hermiones. The sort of people who create websites and podcasts about kink to better organise their thoughts, share what they learn and learn from others. (Not that others don’t do this—but I’ve found a high number of library-dwellers out here.)
Whether (or how quickly) a person finds their way into another room depends on a couple factors, the largest of which is which of the two ways the person primarily appreciates life.
Two Ways to Appreciate Life
- Physically: These are people who see something and want to touch, taste, smell it, fuck it, whatever. It’s not real to them unless they’ve physically engaged with it.
- Intellectually: These people observe and think about an object/activity’s place in the world and why it works the way it does, how it got there, who made it and the sociological implications of its existence.
Neither of these are correct or incorrect—it’s just the way people are. A person can’t change which one of those they are, though they can be more aware of their inherent nature and either:
- slow down and read something or take a class or
- get out of the house and have a conversation with an actual human
Shame: The Deciding Factor
The other factor, which I believe plays an important role in the way a person progresses through the rooms is shame. If a person experiences the world intellectually and would normally research everything that interests them, they may still look for their kink, but perhaps from a ‘why am I this way’ perspective rather than ‘people like me near me’ or ‘how to do what I want safely’.
The internet is always ready to shame you if you ask the right question.
Whereas, a person who experiences the world physically first may simply never look for information, as that would be admitting they enjoy their kink. Black men who participate in the ‘down low’ culture don’t use condoms because that would be admitting someone planned to have sex, (which is gay, which is bad), even if it’s two men who get together to have sex regularly. There will be a pretense of watching a game or show, but sex will ‘happen’ (every time) and every time it will be a ‘surprise’ so no one will have a condom.
For people with shame about their kink, who appreciates the world physically first, I imagine it would work similarly.
This risks not only physical injury to everyone involved, but also emotional and psychological damage. Leaving off that shame is damaging on its own.
Dangers of Both Types
Physically: If a person is a little late in visiting the library (or never gets there) they risk everything mentioned in the previous sentence. They also risk being labeled a predator or being assaulted because they don’t know any better. That may seem hyperbolic, but if you’ve learned everything you know about kink from the media, as a top or D-type you could understandably think you’re allowed to do or say anything you’d like and as a bottom or s-type you could understandably believe you were supposed to take any abuse (physical/verbal/emotional) from someone calling themselves a top/D-type.
People come into the scene, have a few terrible experiences because they didn’t visit the library (and didn’t happen across anyone who had) and then disappear again. That is a damn shame. Those people not only leave with whatever mental scars (and possibly physical ones, as well), but also shame at any kinky desires they still have, and a skewed idea of what kink is really about.
Being labeled a predator simply because you believe what the media tells you probably sucks. (Some people in the kink community genuinely are predators—they know the rules but they also know they’re are new bottoms who don’t know the rules and they use their innocence against them by proclaiming themselves ‘Real Doms’ or some other nonsense. This isn’t about them.)
I know. Reading is boring. Taking classes is deadly dull. Finding a mentor—yaaaa-AAAWN. You know what’s not boring? Being sued. Having to explain that arrest for assault at every interview for the rest of your life. Or doing a scene with someone you genuinely like and respect and finding out they felt assaulted in every way possible afterward. That’ll wake you right up and make you know you’re alive. Probably also make you feel like the worst person on Earth, if you have a conscience.
More information is always better than less. For both sides of the equation.
Intellectually: I’m going to admit a bias here in that, being a person who experiences life brain-first, I don’t think there’s a danger with being intellectual. The argument would be that you’re not really ‘living’, but what is living? Something you can put on your Instagram account? Are experiences the only thing that count as being alive? Does that mean people who are house-bound aren’t living?
Experiences last brief periods, but a vibrant mind—a person has that twenty-four hours a day and it doesn’t need to be packed full of external experiences to be vibrant. Being entertained from without is something small children need to keep quiet.
However, it is possible to be intellectual to the point of losing touch with reality. The argument-for-argument’s sake sadists (life is difficult enough) for example, are not being useful—they’re controlling people with words by having conversations that have nothing to do with anything and that they themselves don’t even care about.
It is possible to hide behind words, thoughts and theory in order to avoid the task of living—certainly—which is why it’s important for the people who tackle life brain-first to remind themselves to engage with the world on occasion. But thinking isn’t going to land you in hospital or the morgue or on a psychologist’s sofa.
When it comes to kink, bypassing the library is the most dangerous thing a person can do.
Get your library card today. Make sure everyone you know has one.