Recent posts

Stereotypes About Kink And Alternative Sexualities

Molly Ren’s post at The Frisky about the ridiculous assumptions people make about BDSM/kink got a chuckle out of me. Yes, a lot of folks assume that practitioners of BDSM (short for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) are sex-crazed deviants… but that’s generally not true. In fact, if anything, practitioners of alternative sexuality lifestyles such as BDSM/kink and polyamory tend to have a heightened sense of consent and boundaries (arguments have been made about BDSM being a sexual orientation, but for now we’ll go with lifestyle). If anything, the insights and communication strategies from queer, poly, and non-normative relationships offer many benefits to straight, monogamous, and vanilla folks. Continue Reading →

And Then I Brought Up Flesh Hooks.

One of the topics I discussed with my fall college-level class on non-monogamy is BDSM and kink. I deliberately introduced the topic at the end of the semester, when we’d already studied sexual and gender configurations around the world, past and present, with an eye toward how gender, sexuality, and relationship models inform one another’s construction. Our purpose was to critically evaluate how these things work, not to judge them. My goal was to give my students a vocabulary for discussing various sexual practices, and then to have them turn that critical gaze on subjects closer to home and happening in contemporary America: swinging, polygamy, polyamory, and kink. But there I was, on Day 1 of discussing BDSM, mentioning extreme examples of kinky play like flesh hooks and blood play. Continue Reading →

Just Because You’re Not Into It Doesn’t Mean Someone Else Can’t Be

I want to address a common misconception I see in discussions of sexual preferences, in part because it’s helping lay a foundation for a discussion of sex work I’m going to explore in some upcoming posts. People seem to have this idea that if they’re not into it, no one else can be or should be. Like, “Ew, I think anal sex is gross, who could do that?” Or “I can’t believe some people like being tied up and spanked, that’s disgusting.” Or “I would never, ever sell sex, how could anyone else do so?” Continue Reading →

BDSM As A Sexual Orientation

The idea of sexual orientation is a complicated one. There’s a certain comfort in believing that you’re “hard-wired” to be a certain way, especially for minority or stigmatized groups who can justifiably say, why would I choose this given how hard it is to be this way? I think this also connects to how in the Western world, identity is seen as something stable and intrinsic; yeah, people will change over time, but you are who  you are at your very core and you were probably born that way. Sex activist Clarisse Thorn has promulgated the idea that BDSM (a configuration of activities including bondage and domination, sadism and masochism, domination and submission) is a sexual orientation. This may seem strange at first, especially if you’re used to hearing that being gay or straight is a sexual orientation. Continue Reading →

Being Sexually Submissive Or Sexually Anything Doesn’t Impact Your Competence

I love this piece by Clarisse Thorn investigating the links between some women’s sexual submission and the rest of their lives. To quote my favorite part:

“Sexual kinks don’t necessarily affect one’s performance in non-sexual fields. A sexually submissive woman won’t make a bad CEO (at least, not because she’s sexually submissive). I mean, come on, it’s not like there aren’t sexually submissive men in powerful corporate positions.” In short, your sexual preferences are just one part of your identity. Continue Reading →

Fashion And BDSM Are Not The Same

obey me!

Not everyone who wears leather pants is into BDSM, and not everyone who is into BDSM wears leather pants. Unfortunately there are cases where the mainstream or popular media confuses BDSM and fashion. I encountered two specific articles recently that have troubled me quite a bit. One was from the August issue of Cosmopolitan magazine and the other was a movie review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from the New York Times. Korin Miller’s Cosmopolitan article Whips, Chains, Cages. Continue Reading →

Introducing New MSP Blogger: Kiersten

Lovely to meet you!

Hi everyone! I’m Kiersten and I’m very
excited to add my voice to the MSP blogging team. I’m an insatiably curious nerd who happens to be fascinated with sex. There really isn’t much about it that isn’t interesting. I’m about to start my fourth year at the University of Chicago and in a desperate attempt to satisfy my curiosity I’m majoring in Gender Studies and minoring in Statistics. Continue Reading →