Education, or Ignorance?

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jun 13, 2008 in communication

The abstinence-only proponents would have us believe that educating teenagers provides them with an impetus to screw. If they know what actually happens – a penis goes into a vagina (and we won’t even discuss the alternatives, because that would make their kids gay, and THAT is not possible) and ejaculates – then they’ll be tempted to do it! It’s like Reefer Madness, only with orgasms! Sadly, we’ve seen studies come out lately that say that STD’s are on the rise in the under-21 crowd – and yes, that includes these kids. There are also studies that say that young women who take pledges to remain abstinent are more likely to have sex without condoms than young women who don’t take these pledges.

Why am I talking about this in a kink-oriented blog? Because I see the same thing happening some circles in the kink community. Breath play? It kills you! We must never talk about it! Scat play? Oh, the horror! Heavy body modification & body play? Why, you’ll be messed up for life! The kink community has their dirty little secrets – and frankly it’s time we got over it.

Yes, your kink may not be okay for me, or for anyone else – but if you make a conscious choice to do it, and your partner(s) make the same conscious choice to do it, and it doesn’t affect anyone who is unable to consent, then who am I to complain?

Moreover, I am a part of the community of people who practice and advocate for consensually based BDSM practices as a healthy part of one’s sexuality.  I am a firm believer that each person deserves access to the information that they need to practice their kink in as healthy a manner as possible – whether that’s emotionally healthy, physically healthy, or psychologically healthy.  I am also a firm believer that, while organized educational classes and events cannot teach everything, they should be a forum for as wide a range of practices – including taboo practices – as possible.

The challenge comes in when I hear about organizations that, due to pressure from a vocal sub-group, choose to not make classes and discussion available about various topics because they are either unsafe or otherwise taboo.  Breath play, rape play, age play, heavy humiliation…all topics that are edgy for many groups to consider having presentations on.  Yet, aren’t they, due to the potential for significant complications (physically and mentally), more important for all of us to enter into an educational dialog about?

Hiding our collective heads in the sand and trying to act like we all play in the same predictable ways is unhealthy for us – and while it might not be the most politically savvy way of handling BDSM advocacy and education, at some point we need to remember that we come into community with one another in order to create and live a life – sexually, and otherwise – that it authentic to us, even though it doesn’t match up with what the societal standards of our culture are.  By not acknowledging our shadow play, we’re eliminating our connection with our true selves and our core sexual fantasies, and that is precisely what causes sexual repression in the first place.


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