By Shanna Katz
Let’s look a little at opening our minds, and looking towards learning more about the wants, needs and kinks of others in the community.
The concept of “Your Kink Is Not My Kink” (ie, I’m not into that/that squicks me out, but I totally respect your right to do it and enjoy it) has been a long standing tenet of the kink community, both in real life and online. While it is not always followed (someone always seemingly something to say about how “gross” or “weird” any given act is), it’s often repeated as a mantra.
I vote we take it another step; your kink isn’t my kink, but I’d sure like to learn a little more about it. It’s that step between tolerance and acceptance, or between acceptance and inclusion. Notice that I am NOT in fact saying that everyone suddenly has to like every kink; nay. I’m just saying that instead of playing the “I tolerate you because you’re not like me” card, perhaps we could play the “I celebrate your differences from me, and want to know more” card.
This can play out in all manners of kink. Perhaps you are a M/s traditionalist – maybe start up a conversation with a self-identified switch, or kinkster, or pervert, and get to know a little bit about their identities. Maybe you eschew protocol and poo-poo it – take some time to attend a High Protocol lecture or dinner to get a little more insight as to why some people love the formality and structure of it. Scared of single tails? Sign up for a class on single tailing 101 to learn a little more about the tool, why people love it, how to use it safely, and so on.
Why does this matter?
Because as long as we preach tolerance instead of acceptance, we still create cliques and barriers, telling people they are not good enough to be included, or that their turn ons scare us. If someone was to say that they “tolerate” people of color, or people with disabilities, or queer folks, one would probably call them out as a bigot, state that they are all people, and preach acceptance. However, when someone says “oh, I tolerate littles/puppies/edge players/fire play/High Protocol/TNGers/no protocol/fill in the blank with your kink/fetish/activity of choice,” we all nod sagely and repeat “Your Kink Is Not My Kink.”
It is ok to be squicked. It is ok to not get something, or understand why something is a turn on. It’s even ok to be turned off by it. However, knowledge is power folks, and you’re not going to get that power unless you take the time, effort and energy to learn a little bit more about the things that squick you, the things that you don’t quite get, the things that turn you off. It’s only once you take the step of learning a little bit more about that thing that just isn’t your think that you can then say Your Kink Is Not My Kink, and really mean “It’s not my thing, but I accept (and perhaps celebrate) your liking it…even if I don’t.” Let’s move from tolerance to acceptance, to inclusion and celebration!