Women and Kink: Relationships, Reasons, and Stories, a female-forward book by Jennifer Rehor & Julia Schiffman, engages the powerful voices of individuals in kink to expose a glowing biodiversity of thriving kinksters. Revealing the hows and whys of those in Kink, the book takes a humanizing approach to demystify and unmute those who refuse to accept anything less than full love for themselves and others on our journeys to radical authenticity.
In my adventure through the pages of this book, I found myself repeatedly de-coupling the commonly associated behaviors and connotations of various concepts as they were discussed through the kaleidoscope of voices assembled in Women and Kink.
In the lens of modern media, we often see kinky experiences depicted as:
Though, in contributing my voice to the myriad of perspectives in this book, kink has never felt that way, for me. Specifically, and albeit rather personally, I have a necessary atonement that I have been stumbling on in my, often uncomfortable, orientation towards growth.
That voice in your head – you know the one. That voice. The voice that pep talks us when we’re nervous while simultaneously sprinkling in some of the cruelest comments ever heard? That one.
Despite my best efforts, my voice has been telling me that it’s not okay that my kink doesn’t look like other people’s kink. That I must be somehow broken. And no matter how many times my therapist tells me “That’s kink-shaming!”, I can’t seem to shake the thoughts and emotions of somehow not fitting in into this world of self-identified alternatives.
Essentially, in my head, I heard something along the lines of:
“If I don’t fit in with the folks that don’t fit in, then fucking what?”
Instead of questioning the systematically flawed definition of what kink “should” look like, I began to question myself. And with this, I began to internalize a good bit of guilt and shame.
I am a woman of the water element. I am sensuous, intuitive, and creative. I also have a lot of painful trust issues.
For me, kink, and more specifically, bondage, has allowed me to love and care for that part of myself. In surrendering the heavy walls that I carry each day, I can access a side of myself that softens enough to put them down, if only for a little while. As a rope bottom, I trust my top enough to go there with me.
I know the aesthetics of bondage can be shocking. The stark contrast to our shared common familiarity. Talk to me – ask me questions that you wouldn’t otherwise. I don’t want to talk about the fucking weather!
In this exchange, I will do my best to be tender with you. But please, hear me when I say that this is my sacrament! In surrendering myself to the ropes and to my top, I am unshackled of the daily shields that I so desire to disrobe. In a seemingly backward way, I feel I do not have the strength to walk without them! A different type of strength, I suppose.
Ropes, for me, is where the analytical meets the metaphysical. Where god and sex allow me to become aware of the binds that restrain my experience. If only for an hour, this is where I tune so finely into them that they almost disappear from my existence. This is where I simply am.
Granted, I am not advising this as a remedy. I have always been a glutton for strong sensory experiences. I love to pour my body onto the mat through hot yoga. I love to blast music and feel the bass vibrations in my belly. I love the pressure of the ropes against my being. Together, the ropes and my partner create a space where I can feel supported. A space where I can breathe. A space where I won’t get hurt.
And there it was! I was ashamed that something that I had so readily deemed as a type of risk-oriented, dangerous, edgy, behavior, to me, felt soft, and safe.
So, here we are. Rope is my space to do that. My voice is still an asshole sometimes, but I know that when it’s acting pissed off, judgey, or just fucking brutal and mean, I always have the opportunity to bind it up, and tell it that it’s okay to feel that pain. Rope brings me immediately to the visceral sensory experience of the present moment and then through the passive sustained duration of the holds, reminds me that I am stronger than that pain, as it slowly begins to fade, and then pass.
As endorphins flood my body, I bliss. In full connection with myself, my top, and the rope, I am connected to my very essence. I hang here, light on this tree. I hear birds chirp as they fly overhead. I admire the birds. I long to fly with them – light and free. Free of these thoughts. Free of these ropes. Free of these binds that limit my perspective.
It is here that I remember that I am the earth, the water, the fire, the air, and the space. That I am not an idea or a concept, an argument or an emotion. In not attaching to those, I feel their presence strain through me, as the clouds cast shadows of their movement overhead.
Maybe this is just one more voice. Maybe I am just one more expression. One possibility. Thank you to Jennifer Rehor, Julia Schiffman, and the many inspiring voices in Women and Kink. You have encouraged me to further explore my own voice and fearlessly bloom into one more beautiful flower in the garden of kink.
In using their book, Women and Kink, as a walking guide for self-reflection, I de-coupled many of my misinformed associations of what kink “is.” If practiced in a healthy way aimed to facilitate love, connection, and wellbeing, I believe our existence is kink. We quickly forget that we are all just vibrating cells walking around on a lava ball of suspended rock and will someday, likely, return to the stardust from which we were created.
No one knows what the fuck we’re doing here. We’re all scared at times and we’re all a little lost. For me, kink creates a space to allow those emotions, those thoughts, the very often cumbersome, heavy weights of being human, to exist. And for me to be okay with their existence. With my existence, as a spiritual being existing in a very physical form.
For a moment, it’s okay that I don’t know. Who I am or why I’m here. For a moment, I simply surrender my desire to know, and admire the beautiful mystery of my consciousness and purpose. To embrace my physical and spiritual existence not as a binary, but as an extension of nature – rooted in the earth and swaying in the sky.
Guest Posted and Written by Larissa Farrell, Education Coordinator at CPS & Owner/Digital Content Creator at LCF Writing Services
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