The Most Ridiculous Assumptions People Make About Being Kinky

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The Most Ridiculous Assumptions People Make About Being Kinky

Let’s set the scene: I’m 23, drinking chai in a charming coffee shop. Sitting across from me is a gloriously burly guy in a leather jacket (and, as I know from his Fetlife photos, also in possession of two equally glorious full sleeves of serpent tattoos).

Then the conversation veers from what we do for a living to something more intense. He takes my hand, gently stroking the back of it, and indicates the deeply unsexy red burn line on my wrist.

“And is this from doing one of your… scenes?” he whispers in a voice full of anticipation.

“Nah,” I say. “I burned myself making muffins this morning.”

The devastation on his face is so remarkable that I wish I had taken a picture. It was like I’d farted right before he was about to come, AND kicked his puppy in the face.

Next, he asked me if I’d like to have sex with him in his car, which was currently parked on a busy street during the height of tourist season. I ended the date right then and there and sulked my way through the rest of my tea, alone, wondering how something that seemed so promising could go so wrong in the span of 15 minutes. Was it unreasonable to assume that I didn’t need to be constantly projecting submissive vibes during a first date? And certainly other kinksters made muffins, right?

In the years since that dating snafu, I’ve come up hard against the many faulty assumptions people make about me when they find out I’m kinky. Some of these misconceptions are even understandable. One friend was amazed that huge stretches of my skin weren’t burned, and when I asked him why, I realized he’d taken me saying I was into “fire play” to mean people set me on fire directly, rather than the circus-style tricks I often emulate. And I can’t count the number of times people have assumed that “puppy play” involves  real animals, or “littles play” involves real children. But sometimes, the things people say to me have just had me throwing my hands in the air and saying, “What the fuck?!”

Like the time I found myself having instant chemistry with a guy at a munch–the kind that had us both trying to discreetly grope each other on the walk home–but I forced myself to come up for air and say to the guy, “Before this goes further, you should know that I’m poly.”

In other words, I wanted him to know that I had multiple other partners who all knew about each other, in case he only believed in monogamy.

“That’s okay,” he said, “I have a girlfriend,” and then went on to explain how  he had gone to the munch in secret, since he’d never told her about his kinky desires, and never planned to.

I was boggled and offended. He assumed that because I was poly, I was a cheater and effectively asked me to help him cheat on his girlfriend–and nope nope nope octopusse’d out of there.

However, none of my stories are as amazing as my friend, who had told her roommate she was a “dom.”

As she tells it: “I thought I was communicating my preference for being the dominant partner in a romantic relationship.”

She didn’t realize what assumptions her roommate would make about the word “dom” until she brought her boyfriend over for a game night.

Her roommate asked why she’d invited someone over. When my friend expressed confusion, the roommate said that she hadn’t realized that dominatrixes liked to socialize with their “clients.”

“He’s not my client, he’s my boyfriend!” my friend exclaimed in shock.

It turned out that the roommate’s main (and perhaps only) point of reference for the term “dom” was a book called Whip Smart, a memoir by Melissa Febos’ about working as a professional dominatrix in New York City. When my friend told her roommate that she felt  a dominant/submissive relationship was a fulfilling choice for her, the roommate had mistakenly assumed she was confessing that she was a sex worker.

My friend’s roommate isn’t the first person to have a skewed interpretation of a sexual subculture, but her inability to imagine a kinky relationship seems to be unfortunately common in my experience. D/S is the only sexual practice I know of that people will immediately assume doesn’t exist outside porn or sex work, as if all BDSM practices are on the same level of difficulty as a death-defying stunt in an action movie. To me, this is like watching a porn where a man and a woman have penetrative sex and assuming that people never do it except when a camera’s rolling.

The worst thing, though, is that even fellow kinksters sometimes fall prey to nonsensical or restricting ideas. Fetlife is full of strange stories, such as the dom who told a sub that “submissives never buy their own sex toys”. There’s also the surprisingly insidious idea that if you can “dominate” someone, it will extend to all other areas of your life and you can practically bend fate to your will.

Fortunately, tropes aren’t everything in the Kink World, any more than they are in any other part of life. Blogs like Happy BDSM and Fluffy Bunny Domination are proof that not everyone believes their relationships need to look one way, and if  there’s one thing I’ve learned from all the ridiculous assumptions and miscommunications, its that there’s always going to be room for me to be my zebra-sock-wearing, muffin-baking, and knock-knock-joke-making self.

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